Who let the blog out?

Join the Pet Blogger Challenge Jan 9th, 10th and 11thHard to believe, but this is the sixth year I’m participating in the Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Go Pet Friendly. I’ve devoted more than a few lines in those posts to discussion of Phil Collins and my disgust for navels. These things happen.

As always, there is a list of questions to answer in your post. Sometimes I abandon the preferred format in favor of a rambling narrative. Although last year I decided to play by the rules, I’m going to return to my roots this time around. (You can see all of the questions here.) Onward to the introspectionContinue reading


When belly buttons attack…

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10Once again, the time has come to engage in a little bit of omphaloskepsis.  I’m still firmly in the anti-belly button camp, but I’ll try to gaze at my metaphorical navel without getting too grossed out.

Anyway, that’s a long-winded way of saying I’m participating in the annual Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by our friends at GoPetFriendly.com.  Every year, the Pet Blogger Challenge gives us an opportunity to reflect on the past year and look forward – it’s a chance to deliver our own little State of the Blog address. Continue reading


I like navel gazing, but I hate belly buttons

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I only like navel gazing (or, as our friend Pamela would call it, omphaloskepsis) when it’s metaphorical. Please keep your abdomens covered or – at a minimum – at a reasonable distance from my eyeballs. I can’t quite explain why, but belly buttons really weird me out.

Now that we’ve established some boundaries, dear reader, let’s move on to the real topic. (Full disclosure: I may have actually directed a few lines of “Take a Look at Me Now” at the mirror in order to psych myself up before writing this post, but let’s just keep that between us, okay?) This bout of self-reflection has been prompted by the annual Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Go Pet Friendly and Will My Dog Hate Me, two of my favorite blogs. Continue reading


In 2013, you wanted more puppies, more puns, and… more cats?

Today, on the last day of the year, I’m taking the totally original approach of reflecting on 2013. I don’t see a lot of this out there, which I find surprising – I mean, you’d think it would be a natural fit. I can only hope that my trailblazing example will inspire more reflection in the future as one year passes the torch to the next.

Sarcasm duly noted? Good. Because I know every website on Earth (and perhaps Mars?) is doing the same thing… and I don’t care. Nostalgia is my absolute favorite kind of -algia, and I finally put down a deposit on a nice little bungalow on Memory Lane. (It just makes good financial sense.) Let the reflecting begin! Continue reading


Take a look at me now (yet again)

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since I learned the word omphaloskepsis and engaged in some officially-sanctioned navel gazing. (I would say that it had been a year since I engaged in some navel gazing, but let’s get real. It’s one of my hobbies.)

Today’s navel gazing is brought to you as part of the Pet Blogger Challenge, hosted by the wonderful Go Pet Friendly. This post marks my third year participating in the challenge, so I’ll be tackling the questions directed towards repeat offenders. If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you know I love lists (as in my No Frown Friday posts), so it may surprise you to learn that I like to tackle this one in a narrative format instead.

Before I dive in, here’s a link to last year’s post (in case you’re curious). I tried to find a new Phil Collins song to capture the theme of this year’s post, but nothing really fit as well as the one I’ve used in the past. Although it would entertain me to draft a post entitled Sussudio, it wouldn’t make much sense.

Let’s get to it. Apologies in advance for the lengthy post… Continue reading


Take a look at me now… again

Pet Blogger Challenge
You know I love any excuse to engage in some omphaloskepsis. (A hat tip to Pamela from Something Wagging for teaching me that fun word.)  Luckily, Edie from Will My Dog Hate Me and Amy from Go Pet Friendly created the Pet Blogger Challenge, which means that at least one day of the year, my navel gazing is sanctioned… even encouraged.

I participated last year, so first and foremost – here’s the link to last year’s post (which I also started with a Phil Collins reference … apparently it’s a tradition). The post below builds off of some of the items I discussed in that post.

Now, on to the questions.  Amy and Edie have posed a series of questions, which those of us participating in the challenge will be answering on our blogs today.  I’ll be answering the questions for those who participated last year.  (There’s a separate set of questions for those taking the challenge for the first time – you can find both sets here.)

For some reason, I like to tackle this challenge in a narrative format, rather than in a list. I realize that this preference probably seems odd, especially given my general fondness for all lists. Bear with me – I get pretty wordy ahead…

Assessing my 2011 goals:  My goals for last year were simple – I wanted to maintain a consistent posting level, add some photography posts to the blog, and become more involved with local rescue groups. I’m not sure I’d say that any one of these goals was more important than the other – however, I’m fairly pleased with the progress I made, particularly towards the first and second goals.

Last year, I posted 228 times, compared to 123 in 2011.  I began to include more posts about photography – in addition to occasional tips, I conducted my first interview with Seth Casteel, a professional photographer who also takes photographs of shelter pets. These photography posts actually informed my volunteer work – I contacted a local rescue group and visited the shelter to take some photos for its website.  I plan to make volunteering at the shelter a regular event, and will be sharing my adventures with you along the way.

Moving the goal posts:  In addition to the goals above, I do think that my goals changed throughout the year. I set a few new goals for myself along the way – including moving the blog from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress. I did some of the research (with help from some of my blogging pals) and considered my options, but I haven’t pulled the trigger yet. My new goal is to complete the move sometime before June (although I hope it will be before then). This past year, I also wanted to feature adoptable pets on my blog – I’ve turned it into a weekly feature.  Finally, I wanted to make more use of Facebook and Twitter to promote the blog, and I’ve definitely used these on a more regular basis.

How many posts does a blogger post:  Last year, I explained that I didn’t have a very strict schedule (other than Wordless Wednesday and No Frown Friday).  At the time, I was trying to post three times per week.  I still try not to slip below that level – although I’ve now added a regular Sunday post as well (the aforementioned adorable adoptables).  So, I’m slightly more schedule-driven than in the past, and I think that these regular posts help me keep my momentum going. However, I’m actually trying something new this month – I’m going to try to post every day in January.  I may try to continue daily posting after that, but I wanted to start with a more manageable goal.

(Don’t) show me the money:  I still don’t generate income from the blog.  I have been approached by various companies, but I’m not quite ready to take that step. I’ll probably reconsider that plan as opportunities come my way, but I don’t feel any pressure to decide right now.

The Good, the Bad & the Furry, revisited:  I think my likes about blogging have remained fairly consistent. One of my favorite things about blogging is still the sense of community. My connection to the pet blogger community grew by leaps and bounds this year. I became involved in more events (like K9 Kamp and Social Media for Social Good) and began to correspond with other bloggers through email and other channels. I became a more active member of the BlogPaws Community site and signed up to participate in the 31 Days to Building a Better Blog Challenge – so many valuable discussions!

However, the biggest change on this front was probably the fact that I finally met several other bloggers in person, thanks to the fact that BlogPaws 2011 happened to be in my ‘hood.  Meeting other bloggers and participating in the conference has had a significant effect on my connection to the pet blogger community. Rather than just other bloggers, I now think of many of these wonderful people as my friends.  It’s a nice feeling.

My dislikes, on the other hand, have evolved a bit.  My least favorite thing at this point is probably the technical side of things. I’d like to become more savvy on this front – if I could increase my skill level, I think my dislike would fade.

Back to the future:  I’m fairly pleased with the progress I made in 2011.  As for 2012, I see a few changes – including that long-desired move to self-hosted WordPress. I’ve set a goal to volunteer at least monthly, so that work may influence the blog content as well – and now that my eyes have been opened to the possibilities of shelter pet photography, I anticipate future posts on that subject. This past year, I also refined the focus of the blog a bit – humor with a dose of heart – and I hope to continue to find my niche.

I also want to use this year to really think about where I see the blog going in the future – whether it’s to maintain this space as a purely personal one or to take it to another level.  I have been tossing around a few ideas, but nothing concrete. Perhaps by the time next year’s Pet Blogger Challenge rolls around, I’ll have a better answer to this final question.

Want to read other entries in the Pet Blogger Challenge?  Visit Will My Dog Hate Me and Go Pet Friendly, or check out the list below!


Take a look at me now

Pet Blogger Challenge(Yes, that’s a Phil Collins reference. You’re welcome.)

Thanks to Edie at Will My Dog Hate Me and Amy at GoPetFriendly.com, I’ll be engaging in some introspection today.  Edie and Amy have posed a series of questions – those of us participating in the challenge will be posting our answers to those questions today.

Rather than sticking to the numbered Q&A format, I’m going to take a narrative approach.  Here we go…

Beginnings: I began this blog in April 2010.  As you can see from my first post, I originally started the blog as a private affair.  Many of my friends were starting blogs about their kids, and I thought it might be fun to join the blog-liferation, so to speak.  The name of the blog started as a joke – at my age, you’re always getting asked when you’re going to start having kids.  My stock answer?  “I just want more puppies.”  At that time, I wasn’t sure what I would blog about or how long my interest would last.  Foreshadowing alert – the first post contained very little content, but it did have this:

So perhaps it was destined to be a blog about dogs from the start.  I just didn’t know it at the time.  (My musings continue, after the jump…)

Initial Purpose:  I wanted to share things with my friends and family, and I wanted to do it in a space that gave me more freedom than Facebook or email.  I don’t think I had a purpose beyond that.  Although I wrote some posts about Bella (and other dog-related topics), the rest were all over the place.  I posted about TV shows, posted some recipes, and even attempted the occasional movie review.  While looking back at my earliest entries in preparation for this post, I found the ultimate example of how lost I was, topic-wise.  At one point, I offered this disclaimer (before sharing a sweet video about a shelter pup): “You guys, I promise this blog isn’t going to be entirely about puppies, despite the name and my own fondness for puppy pictures.”  I was really fighting the inevitable, huh?  Score one for irony. 

Changes:  As I discussed above, I thought I started a blog to share things with my friends and family in a private forum.  However, I wasn’t sharing things that were meant to be private, like family photos or a recap of my weekend. At some point along the way, I realized that the private thing wasn’t really working for me.  I also discovered that there were plenty of other pet bloggers out there, and I wanted to join the fun.  So, I made the blog public and began to indulge my desire to post more things about dogs. That’s not to say that other topics are off limits (non-puppy posts do happen), but my content is more focused now.

Current Purpose:  I’m still working on this one, I think.  To some extent, my purpose is to have a creative outlet (hence the punny pet names and other random musings).  I also want the blog to be a fun and entertaining space that others enjoy reading, a place to post photos of Bella, and a way to promote animal causes and awareness.  Like I said, I’m still working on it.

Mechanics:  I don’t blog on a strict schedule, although I do try to post at least three times per week.  (When possible, I like to post more often.)  To make sure I’m adding some new content each week, I post on Wednesdays (now that I’ve discovered Wordless Wednesdays) and Fridays (aka No Frown Friday).   I wanted to designate a day to post a variety of links, hence the Friday post – sometimes I try to tie all of the links together with a theme, but not always.  In order to make sure I at least post on these designated days, I try to write posts in advance and keep a running list of possible themes and links to include.  (Wordless Wednesday is easier – I’m never lacking in the Bella photo department!)  I don’t generate any income from my blog, and I haven’t really given it much thought at this point.

The Good, the Bad & the Furry:  The things I like most about blogging are the opportunity to be creative and the ability to interact with others who share my interests.  I’m always learning something new or smiling after reading the posts of other pet bloggers (it’s a great community), and I think the creative outlet has been good for me.  (I’m pretty proud of some of my posts, if I do say so myself.)  My least favorite thing about blogging, on the other hand, is the (probably self-created) pressure to post.  When I’m short on time, it actually stresses me out if I don’t have time to post.  I do try to counteract that tendency by planning ahead and having some posts ready to go in a pinch. 

To Infinity… and Beyond:  In 2011, I’d like to maintain a consistent posting level.  I’m also very excited about my new DSLR, which will likely affect the content here.  I’ve loved photography for a long time, so I may add some posts on that topic or even a regular series.  We’ll see.  (Seriously… I’d love to have some sort of small photography business on the side.  How much would I love to do pet photo shoots? But I digress…)  I also hope to become more involved with local rescue groups – so if that happens, there may be some posts about that too.  I’m not sure I have a well-articulated goal for this year – but I would like to maintain the blog as a fun and informative place that I hope you’ll continue to visit!

Want to read other entries in the Pet Blogger Challenge?  Check out the full list at Will My Dog Hate Me and GoPetFriendly.