Adrienne Dinardi is an animal care manager at the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society and she also works with the behavior and enrichment team at the shelter in Menands. In her spare time, she is a professional wrestler who goes by the moniker Kennedi Copeland.
Q: What does the behavior and enrichment team do at Mohawk Hudson Humane Society?
A: The Behavior and Enrichment team, or BAE for short, focuses on those (dogs AND cats) with greater behavioral needs which might require a little bit more time and effort. That extra one-on-one attention can come in the form of training and overall basic obedience, decompression time, additional enrichment for mental stimulation, etc. This is just a very brief synopsis of what the BAE team does.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of working with animals?
A: For me personally, I tend to gravitate more towards the shy and fearful animals. I think it’s because contrary to my wrestling persona, I’m actually a pretty shy individual myself and can understand where they’re coming from. Being able to earn their trust and connect with them gives me a feeling of accomplishment and sense of purpose. Ironically, this parallels with professional wrestling because you want to be able to connect with the audience and your fans.
Q: How did you get involved in professional wrestling and is there one wrestler you try to emulate?
A: I have been watching professional wrestling since I was in nursery school (although I probably shouldn’t have been.) Besides animals, wrestling has been the one consistent in my life and there was never any doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be involved. I began training at a facility that was close enough in proximity while I was still in high school. (I always got a kick out of my peers inquiring about my black eye or busted lip.) I am a huge fan, or “Edgehead,” as it’s affectionately referred to, or Adam “Edge” Copeland, hence the last name. “Kennedi” derives from Myles Kennedy, the vocalist who performs Edge’s entrance theme song. These two have been my biggest inspirations not just in my wrestling career, but in my life as a whole.
Q: Your signature move is the “Fujiwara Armbar.” What is it? And what is it supposed to do to your opponent?
A: The Fujiwara Armbar is a submission hold meant to incapacitate my opponent by, for lack of better phrasing, ripping their arm out of its socket! I have a background in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and train under Brian Beaury, so I try to apply whatever knowledge of joint manipulation I have in the ring whenever possible.
Q: Your Instagram photos show you snuggling with cute kittens and other furry creatures and the next frame is you getting bloodied by a chair or using a chair to bloody someone else. How do you balance (or explain) those two extremes?
A: It isn’t always an easy feat balancing the worlds of animal welfare and professional wrestling, or even explaining the two for that matter. Thankfully, my work family is extremely supportive of my side hustle! I am fortunate in that I am able to work Monday through Friday, and wrestle on Saturday and Sunday. Everybody is very understanding when I walk (or hobble) into work on Monday mornings with a few new bumps and bruises, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
If you would like to see someone featured in Five Questions, contact Jim Franco at [email protected] or 518-878-1000
Spotlight News, The Spot 518 and Capital District Family Now are divisions of Community Media Group, LLC. Our local offices are located at 341 Delaware Ave, Delmar, NY 12054. You can contact us at 518.439.4949.