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.
Did somebody say chicken wings?? Make mine spicy!
Superbowl 51 (OK — excuuuse me, “Superbowl LI”) will be played this coming Sunday, February 5, 2017. Enough of these Roman numerals. Smart dogs have decent math skills, but come on already.
So Lucy the dog and I were just wondering what some of your favorite foods have been to eat during the Superbowl?
- chicken wings
- sliders (tiny burgers, really)
- guacamole and salsa with chips
We’d love to know if you care to share in the comments?
In our household, during previous Superbowl games, at least one or two of these items has made its way onto the table — followed by Lucy trying to jump onto the table. Just how high can a Jack Russell jump? Four feet and up, easily. And this one has a good running game!
To be fair, Lucy is just as concerned for the Puppy Bowl 2017, to air on Animal Planet. And as an animal lover and supporter of rescue groups and humane education, I have to give everyone involved credit.
All dogs involved in Puppy Bowl 2017 are available for adoption through The Sato Project. WONDERFUL NEWS!! READ MORE:
While it is the general consensus that we’ve got it good here, and we love you (that’d be both cats and the dog — me, Lucy) there are a few things under review. In case you weren’t aware, yes we pets do meet together in solidarity. Here I am at our last business meeting, taking minutes.
We are bewildered. Periodically, it seems to upset you to no end to find mysterious, nasty, sometimes unidentifiable piles of “stuff” we leave behind the house and on our property. OK, so these piles range from bile, to vomit, to remnants of half-dead bugs, and at last, to about fifty shades of poop. Collectively, we all think this is pretty cool, but you do not. To that we say, shit happens, get over it.
Second item, regarding cleanliness and your endless quest to have us all groomed properly. We find your efforts really sweet and rather amusing. Really, you must have noticed the places where we lick ourselves. And our breath? All right, yes we all have exceptionally bad breath, but if it doesn’t phase us why does it bother you so? Probably best to just leave us be.
Lastly, and this item is just from me, Lucy the dog. I’ll pause here to again remind you of how incredibly cute I am.
To the question you always ask “Does Lucy want a cookie?” I say, don’t get me wrong, I love me some Milk bones. They are one fine snack treat!! But… as a maniacal (Parson) Jack Russell Terrier, my energy and anxiety level exhausts me, and so sometimes after a long day of being me, I would prefer that you consider asking me instead, “Does Lucy want a flame-broiled burger, medium rare?”
We hope you will give careful consideration to our suggestions and demands. But if not, well admittedly, it’s not like we could really do anything about it. We send you our appreciation and…
Much Love, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY from the Pets
Happy Mother’s Day One and All, from Lucy’s Mom
My husband and I have the good fortune of living with my 90 year old mother. She is kind, sweet, and as helpful as she can be in her frail, petite, aging frame. We’re grateful for her company in our lives, and acknowledge that we are blessed, especially now as my husband prepares to face the first Mother’s Day celebration without his own dear mother, who passed away this past October.
My mom can be a joy, as well as a real hoot — a hoot in the way that only elderly parents can be.
My mother eats Cheerios 11 at a time. That’s right, the phenomenon of a shrinking stomach, and therefore shrinking appetite, occurs with aging. Breakfast for Mom each morning consists of a bowl of 11 Cheerios, a few drops of milk, and fresh coffee. Pouring out any fewer Cheerios for her (say, maybe 8) results in the “I’m hungry!” exclaim that much sooner, and pouring out any more (say, like 15) results in feeling “too full.” Since my three pets combined eat like captive, hungry prisoners everyday, this is good news for me. What I save in cereal I well make up for in dog food and cat food.
Evidently, this itty-bitty senior breakfast phenomenon gives way eventually to the practice of having pre-lunch, followed by an actual lunch a short while later. Suffice it to say that my kitchen sees a lot of action, which leads me to my next point…
My mother enjoys “early-bird” dinner — or as I like to call it, “lunch.” No matter the day, occasion, or what we all may have had to eat earlier in a given day, dinner is best served, well, as a late lunch. The ever stressful “what will be cooking tonight?” conversation generally begins over afternoon coffee. Enough said.
My mother enjoys “early-bird” dinner — or as I like to call it, “lunch.”
Announcements and proclamations that begin with “I’ll just use a knife,” or, “I just used a knife to do it.” Upon first hearing this long ago I nearly went into Ricky Riccardo mode, wanting to say with a Cuban accent and all that “Mom, you have some splaining to do.” As it turns out, any knife Mom finds in the kitchen utensils drawer, expensive or not, has hundreds of uses. Who knew?
Is the foot-lock on my backyard door jammed again? Open it with a knife. Did you think the slice of toast stuck in the toaster would stay stuck for long? Not a chance! Rambo, I mean – excuse me, Mom got that toast out, with the toaster still plugged in, using a handy dandy knife. Pesky jar top not opening, despite using the rubber-thingy designed to open pesky jar tops? Well, not a problem, Mom got it open with a knife. Can’t get the back of the damn TV remote control open in order to change the batteries? Mom’ll just use a knife.
Pesky jar top not opening, despite using the rubber-thingy designed to open pesky jar tops?
Gotta replant some plants with that giant 30+ lb. bag of potting soil and don’t care to be bothered to use the assigned gardening supplies? Funny thing! The knife opens the bag and can also be used to stir up the freshened soil and newly repotted plants. Misplaced that silly letter opener? Clearly, a knife will do.
Extra company coming to join us for dinner? Great! We’ve got plenty of knives to go around. Yep, they’re all clean. I officially check them. And that loose tooth that’s been bothering me for a little too long? Whoah, hang on now. Did you really think I would make my toothache public knowledge?
Coming in my next segment… “The Perils and Pitfalls of Couponing”, “When BINGO Goes Bad,” “Our Bathrooms – Our Selves,” and more!!
Spring has sprung at last. Time to shake off the winter doldrums, shed a few of those winter pounds, and turn with a fresh, sunny perspective towards new beginnings.
What’s that? There, … in some kind of plastic wrap lying in the dark recesses of my refrigerator? Oh God, pleeeease let it be some leftover Hershey’s chocolate kisses that survived the Holiday Season, with their shiny, green wrappers still in tact, waiting to be unwrapped and enjoyed like a child’s toy on Christmas morning. Come closer, my love. Oh, it’s kale. CUE SCREECHING HALT. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made friends with kale, but we will never be besties.
DON’T GET ME WRONG, I’VE MADE FRIENDS WITH KALE, BUT WE WILL NEVER BE BESTIES.
HEALTHY EATING CONFESSION
TRUTH: I have incorporated kale into my cooking and my diet, as my husband and I continue seeking out ways to boost our metabolism through good nutritional choices. We pride ourselves, after all, in taking care of one another this way.
HALF-TRUTH: I really enjoy the benefits of kale. See CUE SCREECHING HALT, above.
HEALTHY HABITS CONFESSION
So many winter storms. We survived the Polar Vortex. I don’t know who coined this evil term, never before heard by anyone who has for years has watched any sort of weather forecast, mostly to just find out whether one needed to carry an umbrella or not. Previously, “it will turn from cold to frigid,” was the most alarming meteorological speech pattern we had heard. Nonetheless, this past winter had many of us stuck indoors much longer then we wanted to be, giving new meaning to the term, cabin fever.
Determined to not let my mind turn to oatmeal while stuck inside on those blistery days, I completed one puzzle after another. Jumbles, search-a-word puzzles, crossword puzzles, you name it, I tackled it, to pass the time somewhat constructively until Mother Nature was done with us. On a roll, I tried my luck with “Alphabet Sudoku,” expecting to be enthralled by it.
TRUTH: This mystifying puzzle exists, and actually has a loyal fan base, just as traditional Sudoku puzzles do. Both types of these puzzles provide challenging intellectual stimulation.
“Alphabet Sudoku,” I’m just not that into you.
HALF-TRUTH: As a wordsmith, I wholeheartedly embraced “Alphabet Sudoku.” Actually, my first thought was that the name itself sounded like “Chef Boyardee,” the beloved after-school snack I asked Mom to serve up when I was around 10. “Hey, Mom, do you think today I could get a can of that ‘Alphabet Sudoku’ that I love so much? My second and prevailing thought on “Alphabet Sudoku” was that it just wasn’t fun. Annoying. Frustrating. Whatever, I’m just not that into you.
Well, I guess that’s enough spiritual cleansing of the body and mind for now. I’m off to determine if the kale from the dark recesses of my refrigerator is bad. How does one really know this? Does it turn greener or just wilt away?
PS – TO ANY METEOROLOGISTS OUT THERE… I KNOW YOU FOLKS HAVE RECEIVED A LOT OF HATE MAIL THIS PAST WINTER, SO I WON’T ADD TO YOUR ANGST. I JUST ASK, PLEASE, THAT YOU STOP NAMING WINTER/ICE STORMS. LET’S RESERVE THE PRACTICE OF NAMING AS IT APPLIES TO BABIES, OR AS YET UNDISCOVERED SPECIES OF PLANT OR ANIMAL LIFE. THANKS.
As my owner is still cursing the polar vortex, I decided that I’d jump on the blogging bandwagon in her place. My name is Lucy, the Jack Russell Terrorist. Here is my latest pic. Sure, I slow down a bit in the winter months, but that’s me buried in the blanket somewhere.
It was reported in the news this week that new technology has been developed in Europe that will translate the thoughts of dogs like myself into words for humans to understand. On behalf of my canine counterparts worldwide, I just wanna say “Genius, … seriously.” I previously thought that having you twits out working all day, year after year, on my behalf was brilliant, but you’ve just kicked it up a notch. Sure, stay outside now with your snowblowers, shovels and ice picks while I cozy up here, chillaxing on the couch and offering my point of view on this research data.
Lucy the Dog’s Point of View on Latest Research Data
One of the researchers used language like “ionic current flow” when strapping the helmets on the participating dogs. Honestly.
I’m flattered, but maybe you should all be researching genomes, or cures for diseases, climate change, that sort of thing.
Well, well, let’s review a few commonly held beliefs about us dogs for starters, OK humans?
BELIEF 1: “A dog only wants to please it’s master.” This is a basic premise of any basic obedience program. FACTOID 1: “SOMETIMES TRUE.” Would rather lick myself, wreak some type of havoc, or do absolutely nothing at any point in time rather than do anything for the sake of being obedient at any given moment. Let’s be real, I’ll get a damn Milkbone outta you eventually.
BELIEF 2: “Certain dog breeds have overtime exhibited superior intelligence”. FACTOID 2: “TRUE, but then there is the ever present ANOMALY.” As it turns out, this is true of my breed, the (Parson) Jack Russell Terrier. They are generally very smart dogs. Pursuant to this fact, I am indeed the anomaly, and frankly, not all that bright. Just ask my tail if it agrees. I chase it daily, whilst I run in endless circles to the point of exhaustion. So next time you guys are out there searching for your dream dog, check closely for the Surgeon General’s warning that comes stamped on us. It reads, “may not adhere to breed standards.”
BELIEF 3: “Dogs don’t really seek out ill behaviors or enjoy being ‘bad’ out of spite. Acting out is an indication of anxiety or some other underlying behavioral problem.” FACTOID 3: ” KINDA TRUE” I personally begin my day with yoga, meditations and prayers. I contemplate the many ways I can consider being good, or at least not evil. This includes wondering how I might avoid the temptation to eat the cats’ food instead of and/or in addition to my own dog food. I simply find it compelling and enticing and so I eat the damn cats’ food, even though I know it’s exhibiting bad behavior, and that it’s gonna really piss you off, again. Listen, the cats are fat anyway, so you may as well just think of it as a favor from me, to you all. You’re welcome! Oh wait, no what’s that, I don’t get gratitude – I get grief?
Anyway people, listen, all this analyzing is making my tiny brain hurt. I’m told that the Spring will make its way here in just a few weeks, and so I must reserve my energies so that once the warmer weather arrives, I can go back to being my lunatic self, endlessly jumping and running amok and continuing to watch all you humans develop ways to understand me better. I’m flattered, but maybe you should all be researching genomes, or cures for diseases, climate change, that sort of thing.
Seeing as I’m hopelessly adorable, I thought you’d all appreciate seeing me in all my glory, sans blanket.
Now, where did I hide that Milkbone — love those things?!!
Come here, you big, beautiful bag of Peanut M&Ms. You know what size, my friends, the “sharing size.” That’s right, let the games begin.
I generally find new year’s resolutions are too lofty and silly. But as 2014 ushered itself in, for whatever reason I found myself thinking I could try to be mindful of habits and lifestyle choices going forward. And so I vowed to watch the “Biggest Loser” on TV without snacking on a bag of extra-salty pretzels for the two hours it airs. So far, so good.
The following morning I make it through my workout and become so uber-proud of my small accomplishments that I later run out to meet with the boys and celebrate. No silly, I’m not drinking. Ben and Jerry, those boys. Thankfully, neuroses, logic and guilt prevail by the time I get home. And so, rather than indulging in the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, the freezer in my garage instead gets stocked regularly with that offender, where I hope it will stay until the Summer months. I go on to justify swimming laps in the pool should burn enough calories to indulge myself in some good old “Cherry Garcia.” Did I mention I don’t swim?
Well anyway, let’s see… now let me get my Super Bowl snack checklist in order so I make sure we’ve got all the goods for game time Sunday.
Pizza/Chicken Wings/Hot Dogs/Burritos/Soda/Beer/Sunflower seeds/Pumpkin seeds/PotatoChips/Pretzels/Dipping Chips w/Salsa/Guacomole/Snack-size Snickers/Peanut M&Ms
Yep, that looks about right. OK so maybe by next Monday morning I am still in a food coma, bloated with salt, and a few pounds heavier. It’s the SuperBowl, baby! What can you do? I will simply go back to eating the regular sized bag of Peanut M&Ms and call it a day.
Hey, wait, when do the Olympics start??!