What is it about the power of the paw that can unite a group of strangers? I found out at the 2017 BlogPaws Conference.
For anyone who may not know – and that included me until not that long ago – BlogPaws (YES – one word!) represents a social learning community of people who share a passion for pets and charitable pet causes, and who utilize blogs and social media to connect, communicate, and educate others. (You can check out the BlogPaws official mission statement and more on their website.)
As the Chief Editor for the Dogs on Deployment Military Tails blog, (check it out!) I attended the BlogPaws conference to represent my non-profit organization.
Since I had previously traveled on business and attended other conferences, here are 5 things I expected to find en route/at this conference:
- Friendly, courteous hotel staff at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach, SC – check.
- Less than friendly, but trying to be courteous airport staff – check.
- A super comfy bed at the Sheraton – all to myself (sure, sure, I missed my hubby and the dog in the bed too, but come on) – check.
- Unpacking my luggage to find dog hair on my freshly pressed clothes – check.
- People who enjoyed talking about their pets or pet-related causes/blogging about their own/their pets’ experiences – check.
Well, here are 5 more things I was not necessarily expecting to find en route to/at the BlogPaws conference:
- Running into very enthusiastic fellow pet lovers/bloggers heading towards the same conference, all covered in various pet hair, while still at the airport, en route – check.
- Receiving my official “I Pet a Therapy Rat” pin, since, well I did – check.
- Being upstaged at dinner in the grand ballroom by a cat dressed in haute couture – check.
- Receiving an enormous bag of swag that Lucy, my Jack Russell Terrier will be boasting to her pals about at the dog-park (Actually we had that mother-daughter talk, and Lucy graciously agreed to donate most of the goods to a local shelter. You can see her delight in this decision in the pic I’ve posted above) – check.
- Meeting hundreds of people who enjoyed blogging/talking about their pets, pets’ experiences, pet-related causes, non-profits (like Dogs on Deployment), innovative / wholesome / savvy / nutritious-delicious / fun / educational pet products and services – check and double check.
At the BlogPaws conference I met people from WA to ID to NY (yay, NY, my home town!), who represented different educational backgrounds, career interests, political parties, cultures and ideologies, but all of whom agreed that they connected deeply with animals and loved them in one way, shape or form. Whether they shared their pet’s daily adventures via a massive social media following, presented cutting-edge technologies and services that are revolutionizing the way we interact with and care for our pets, or enlightened us on the important work of animal rescue and rehab groups all across the U.S., every unique individual brought something to the table to be shared and appreciated.
We were all better served for having attended the BlogPaws conference. Many people didn’t know about Dogs on Deployment, for example, and how we help active duty military families remain together with their pets. I was fortunate enough to meet several vendors who are eager to hear more about this important cause and get on board somehow. I was also lucky enough to meet many attendees who will turn into advocates, partners, colleagues and I hope, friends.
Last but certainly not least, I found “Good Grief,” thanks to Wanda Kruse, aka @MaggieTKat. More on that in my next post.
This proud pet owner, animal advocate and dog-hair covered writer is so pleased to have been at this valuable conference. All that I’ve taken away from it I will in turn give back to my furry friends in the hopes of improving more lives.
Power to the paw-ple, I say.
It was Mahatma Ghandi who once said:
The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
As the americanhumane.org website tells us, every year since 1915, millions of Americans come together during the first full week of May to show their compassion for animals.
It seems a shame that we should ever have to remind one another to be kind to animals. But when you look around and see that people have a hard time always being kind to one another, it’s not surprising.
As we rap up celebrations for “Be kind to Animals Week,” I notice that even when animals are put into bad situations and not met with kindness, they still offer kindness in return. This behavior is even evident in the worst of circumstances, when authorities are removing and rescuing animals from dog fighting rings, mills, and hoarding situations — they are often met with kisses and wagging tails by the animals who have been abused.
I have tried to do my part over time to help in whatever way I can. One way I found to help animals who would otherwise find themselves in uncertain circumstances is to work with the non-profit organization, “Dogs on Deployment.” When our active United States military members travel on duty for the country, Dogs on Deployment uses a network of volunteers to temporarily foster their dogs (or other pets). Previously, active duty United States military members who left the country to travel on duty, worried that they might have to completely part with their beloved pets.
I have worked with many dogs and animals through the years, and have happily rescued several of them. One thing I can say for sure is that the animals I have rescued along the way have in turn rescued me, many times over. My furry kids mean the world to me!
Please support humane animal initiatives, love animals, and always, always #bekind
I am an animal lover and nature enthusiast. Today I celebrate the Catholic Feast day of St. Francis of Assisi. As you may or may not know, St. Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He is known, among other things, as the Patron Saint of Animals. The prayer that follows is is also associated with him.
A Simple Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, unity.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is error, truth.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is sadness, joy.
Where there is darkness, light.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled, as to console.
To be understood, as to understand.
To be loved, as to love.
For, it is in giving that we receive,
It is pardoning, that we are pardoned.
It is in dying, that we are born to eternal life.
This is a prayer that I try to recite often to myself, particularly when I struggle with God’s will. I have found that this simple prayer speaks volumes to me of the humility and humanity that I need in my life, and that this world is so desperately in need of, too.
As an animal lover, and proud pet-parent, this day has special meaning for me. I realize not everyone shares this view, but I cannot imagine having grown up as a kid without pets (mostly dogs and birds), nor can I now as an adult imagine my life and household without pets in it (a dog and 2 cats). OK, sure, so we humans have to constantly have lint rollers handy. Or, as is the case now, have to accept that there really is no good reason for wiping the cat hair off my lap as I post this blog at my computer, when I darn well know that as soon as she jumps off my lap, (and sure enough, here we go…), the dog will instead jump up into it, claiming victory and becoming the latest shedding culprit.
Wouldn’t have it any other way. Peace to you and yours, whether they be 2- legged or 4-legged.
PICTURED HERE: IN CELEBRATION OF TODAY, BUDDY BUSTS A MOVE…