Thankful Thursday (Friday eve)

Happy Thursday!

Or as I like to call it Friday eve to make it sound so much nicer. 🙂

 

What am I thankful for?

 

I’m thankful for the friends I’ve made at the various pet blogging conferences – Blog Paws & BarkWorld- I’ve been to. It’s been 3 years since I went to my very first one which was Blog Paws and I was so nervous/scared/excited that it gave me anxiety.

I had all kinds of worries and had asked all kinds of questions to their newbie group.

That experience was a very positive one and it gave me the courage to go to BarkWorld later on that year.

I got to meet so many people, fellow bloggers who had been doing this for years, those who had just started, those who were in the pet industry and of course all the awesome pets.

 

So I wanted to say thank you.

 

Thank you for welcoming me into the pet blogging community, thank you for taking me under your wings when I didn’t know where to start and just thank you for being you.

 

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BarkWorld Recap

Holy cow, so much information from BarkWorld, my brain is still on overload.

Let me start by saying I was so gld to have my husband who is city savvy with me to do the driving in the city because I would have had panic attacks.

This was my second BarkWorld, so I knew what to expect, but this was the first time I’ve stayed downtown Atlanta so it was entirely new to me. The last BarkWorld I attended was in Buckhead where we found and fell in love with Zesto’s, which thankfully was about a 10 minute drive from downtown.

Atlanta seems to really love quick open fast food, as we were told by my sister-in-law to try The Varsity, so we had that on the way in, Zesto’s the next day and Henry’s Tavern as it was right across from the hotel we booked and the Loew’s where the event was.

I highly recommend all three places if you are driving there, if not definitely stop by Henry’s, they have Parmesan fries. *drools*

For those who have never been to downtown Atlanta, it is pricey to park there during the day and overnight, we paid $20/night to park. The valet parking at our hotel was $25.

Let’s get to the conference portion of it, Thursday night was a premiere party for Lucky Puppy which is a quarterly magazine by Dogster.

Friday was the first official day of the conference and the keynote speaker was Gus Kenworthy, if you’re not familiar with the name you may be familiar with the term “Sochi Dogs” from the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He and his partner rescued 5 of them, unfortunately 1 of them passed while being held by the Russian government, but the rest of them are alive and happy.

Katie Capteron the Editor in Chief of HLN/CNN Digital spoke on Saturday touching on the top 10 viral animal stories, one of which was the two dogs hugging hours before being euthanized. This led to an outpouring of support and the rescue that got them, Angels Among Us was in attendance. She touched on several other stories, such as the dog whose mouth was taped shut, the vet tech who shot the feral cat with a bow & arrow, the two dogs rescued from underneath the I-5 bridge in California by Hope for Paws (who was also in attendance)  and of course the #1 story which was Cecil the Lion.

She had the room crying at the injustice, clapping at those that were rescued and reminding us that if we see something online we need to post it, state how we feel and share.

My favorite keynote speaker was Shorty Rossi from Animal Planet’s PitBoss. He warned everyone that we may laugh, cry or not like what he has to say at the beginning of his speech. He went into his background – how he was mistreated, how he got into trouble with the law, found that his love for animals helped him cope and when he got out he knew he didn’t want to go back to doing bad, he wanted to make a difference.

It was then that he found his first pit bull. In trying to get a tv show about his production company he was approached about doing a show about his pit bulls. It was there he found the platform and audience to make a difference in these wonderful dogs lives.

He encouraged everyone to educate themselves on these “bull breeds”, giving the group some surprising statistics such as: Golden Retrievers are the most likely breed to bite, 1 out of 600 pit bulls in shelters get adopted, support the rescue groups that support the dogs and most importantly you can’t change everyone’s mind but if you can change one person’s mind, then it’s worth it.

One of the questions he got from the group was how does he handle negativity on his page, his answer was simple: the first negative post, he deletes it, next negative post he deletes and blocks the user.

He stressed not to judge a breed by one dog and to use social media to make a difference.

 

These were the big names of some of the speakers, there were other speakers teaching how to use Periscope, SEO and more.

 

I did my first Periscope with Trista Polo from According to Bella after welcoming her to BarkWorld as it was her first time there and explaining some of the things to expect and look forward to.

Then I got a chance to be interviewed by Lisa Illman. I was petrified, but the chance to talk about my passion helped ease my nervousness, a little bit.

I was lucky enough to speak with Isabella Maso the owner of Isabella’s Pet Shop. She’s 10 and making bowties and flowers to help benefit shelter pets. I couldn’t resist them and picked up two for the furry children.

I spoke to the owner of SleekEz, Kuddly.co, Tomlyn, Vetericyn, PetPages, Smitten, Paintapic.com, Lindsi Jones of Lindsi Jones Photography who volunteers at a cat rescue not too far from my hometown, I met bloggers who were just starting, pet sitters, artists, etc.

BarkWorld was a wonderful experience and they have already announced the dates for next years – October 13-15th at the Loews in Atlanta, GA.

So if you get a chance to go, if you have an Instagram, Periscope, Facebook, blog, Etsy page, a pet related business or blog, go.

It is a whirlwind of information, but you will make friends with the 4-legged and 2-legged alike.

 

I will be doing reviews, interviews and trying my hand at periscoping.. I did download the app and I apologize in advance as I’m not a fan of being in front of the camera, but rather behind it.

 

 

Pets that Blog: Meet Chip & Reilly

From Our Dogs to Yours logo

How old are Chip & Reilly?

Chip is a twelve year old Doxie-Poodle mix. Reilly is a four year old Dalmatian.  Chip is every bit as serious as he come across in From Our Dogs to Yours, though he becomes a much different dog when you show him a ball, and Reilly is an absolutely fun loving free spirit, though he is maturing a bit.

How did they come into your life?

I was working as a vet tech at an animal hospital while in school when a toy poodle mix had to have an emergency C-section because she had ovarian cancer while pregnant. We were able to save three puppies, who ended up being abandoned. My family ended up adopting one, who we named Chip.

Reilly was a present from my husband. We found him on Petfinder.com.

Where did the idea of From Our Dogs to Yours come from?

I wanted to do something online and my love of dogs led me to focus on that. The actual idea and format came from a family discussion, just building from a basic idea until we got to the site you see now.

Chip jersey small

What are some products you would recommend for first time dog owners?

Reilly and Chip would say that the basics are a good place to start, a place for the dog to sleep, dishes for eating, a collar and leash or lead for walks and anything needed to make the house safe for the new family member. Beyond that it depends on the age of the dog.

For those who adopted a puppy, they’d say puppy pads, puppy toys (but no rope), harness leash and a short leash, and a crate the puppy could grow into and that can be blocked for potty training.

If they adopted an older dog, then they’d say adult toys, gentle leader or harness, extendable leash for longer walks, and dog exercise pen.

For both, they’d recommend a dog tag on their collar, preferably one with name and phone number. With that tag, a GPS tracker that will help the pets find the dog should something happen to it.

I saw that you attended your first BarkWorld, were you overwhelmed, scared, excited or all three? Will you be attending BarkWorld again next year?

I would say that I was part all three but mostly excited about the possibilities. I wasn’t sure what to expect since I’d never been to anything like this before.

Barkworld was good opportunity to meet in person those I’d met thru social media, learn about new products and find out some ways companies are giving back to those in need. I can’t wait to get to it again next year!

Chip & Reilly of From Our Dogs to Yours

What are Chip & Reilly’s favorite things to review?

First are those things that have special meaning in their own lives, such as Chip’s discussion of the combination dog crate / end table he got several years ago after back surgery to protect him from hurting himself again (he was very active) and still enjoys.  Of course, the both love to review any type of treat or food, but what dog wouldn’t?

Reilly Party Time

Can you give a sneak peek of what’s in store in the future?

We are going to be doing a Halloween photo contest! You should see that happening very soon!

We also just started a Pintrest page, however that is still slow to get started as we figure out Pintrest! Both Chip and Reilly love to ham it up for the camera.

Soon you’ll see a Recipe section on our page as well! We will be asking for everyone’s favorite recipes that they’d like to share!

Anything else you would like to add about From Our Dogs to Yours or Chip & Reilly or yourself?

From Our Dogs to Yours started out as a way to try and make some money while sharing my love of and knowledge of dogs but I never imagined how much fun it would be and how many great people I would meet as a result. I also didn’t expect Chip and Reilly to take on such real personalities, but their web personas really are an extension of how they act around the house.

Many many thanks to Miss Christina Booker (who I met at BarkWorld) for answering all the questions. You can follow the From Our Dogs to Yours facebook page or follow the From Our Dogs to Yours Blog, they are also on Pinterest, Twitter @FromOurDogs2urs. Pictures were borrowed with permission and belong exclusively to Miss Christina Booker and From Our Dogs to Yours.

This article is a part of the Pets that Blog theme, for more interviews on blogging pets, click the image below. Many thanks to Miss Ann from Pawsitively Pets for the image. 

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Thankful Thursday: BarkWorld

After getting all my notes together and all the pictures, I wanted to finally have a sit down and tell you about my trip to BarkWorld.

First meet Elise the traveling catnip shrimpie, she started her travels way back in May when I went to BlogPaws. Here she is in my purse ready to go

Elise the traveling catnip shrimpie
Elise the traveling catnip shrimpie ready to go to BarkWorld

My husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to drive to Atlanta, GA for BarkWorld. 

Elise the catnip shrimpie posing
Elise the catnip shrimpie posing

It took us about 8 hours to get there and I had an extra day to rest up and get ready for my speed dating with a few of the pet brands that would be there. Speed dating is on its fourth year and I loved the concept. You get 6-7 minutes with each brand to tell them who you are, what you do and they get to explain to you who they are and what they do.

Here was my speed dating list

Speed dating list for BarkWorld 2013
Speed dating list for BarkWorld 2013

I was a bundle of nerves as I had talked to pet brands before at BlogPaws while visiting booths and such, but I never had the experience of sitting down at a table and explaining what the blog is about and what I would like to do in the future with it. I had a great time, nearly lost my voice a few times with all the talking, but I got to talk to a newer company called Nourish the heart, they make dog shampoo and for every ounce purchased, they will donate an ounce to a local shelter. They were at one of the sessions and showed a wonderful presentation of the before and after photos of shelter dogs washed with their product.

I also got to speak with a representative from Best Friends Pet Care, they are in 18 states at the moment and one of the locations they have is at DisneyWorld. I’ve seen the signs driving down there to visit, so it was great to talk to them a bit to find out about their facilities and what they do.

Best Friends Pet Care Logo
Best Friends Pet Care Logo

I attended some great sessions and had some great food (yes, I have to talk about food).

I really enjoyed the Cat Blogger to Dog Blogger Session, we got a bit off-track in the conversation, but I liked the concept of the session as it was to facilitate learning about what the other blogger does and working together towards the same goal.

I attended a Roundtable Session where we talked about Image Sharing, if everyone shares the same image on the same social media or if they use them differently and what would drive traffic to the blog. The most important thing I got from it was to title every picture so that it is searchable. So you will notice that posts from the past few days have been titled. In that session there was a discussion about using hashtags, searching for a specific hashtag you want to use before just using it as it may be linked to some questionable content.

I got to meet may dog bloggers doing the expo and one of them (Prudence’s mom Miss Theresa)  was nice enough to explain how to use Pinterest for the blog. Once I get that going, I will be sharing the link.

I was lucky enough to get into a session where Victoria Stilwell from It’s Me or the Dog did a presentation on how her idea to help people understand how to train their dogs, to her new brand Positively. She spoke in detail about connecting with people, her books and how positive reinforcement works so much better than negative reinforcement. There was a book signing and she got to chat with some of the people who attended the sessions.

Many of the highlights of the expo was getting to talk to brands, fellow bloggers, pet the dogs, see some kittens, exchange business cards, take pictures, eat and take in as much information as I could.

Here are some of the pet celebrities (and their people) I got to meet:

Carma Poodale – I saw her on the second day and every time she saw me she had to pull her mom over to get head pets and compliments.

Pepper Pom – what a cutie!

Gizzmo  – it was nice to meet a fellow Floridan

Flat Brian, the Hat and Dad – I learned so much thank you!

Flat Brian
Flat Brian from Brian’s Home

Prudence’s mom Miss Theresa – Thank you so much for teaching me Pinterest.

Oz – Yes.. Oz the great and powerful.. and adorable!

Linus – what a cutie!

Liza & Lizzie – They are brand new to the online pet community, so give them a big welcome.

Flat Dakota & Flat Cody – What an awesome lady, how she puts up with me I will never know.

McGrady – I was amazed by his tricks at the opening night reception.

Sugar – what a beautiful dog.. I adored her little protective purple booties

and I got to meet a non-pet celebrity quite by accident, the wonderfully talented Miss Bethany from Pet Portraits by Bethany.

I want to thank BarkWorld for the expo and all the goodies. Petco has released their Star Wars brand of pet toys, so take a look.

I grabbed some extra goodies for dogs to put in my auction that starts on the 10th. Please stop by and check out the auction and share, all proceeds will go towards Pet Guards Angels. Here’s a sneak peek

Dog Grab Bag
There are 3 dog grab bags up for auction, the auction will benefit Pet Guards Angels.

My friend and fellow blogger Miss Felissa from Two Little Cavaliers let me see the mama cat and kittens she is fostering. I will do a post about them when they are ready to be adopted, but for now, here’s a sneak peek at them

Mama Cat with four kittens
Mama Cat with four kittens, 2 orange tabbies, 1 calico and 1 gray fuzzy with stripes

Aren’t they precious? Okay.. here’s another picture because I just can’t resist such cuteness
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I had a great time at BarkWorld and plan to go again, for those interested, the expo will be held in Atlanta from Oct 20-Nov 1 next year. I hope to see you there.

I would highly recommend checking out the website to see what sessions have happened, liking their Facebook page and downloading the app when the time gets closer as it was very handy to have during the expo.

For those who are going for the first time, I’ve complied a small list of things to bring

Pen & paper for making notes during sessions

Business cards & a plastic baggie to keep the ones you get together

Mini post-it notes to make notes to stick to the business cards for follow up emails or potential guest posts/topics

Smart phone/ipad/laptop – the Barkworld app is extremely handy and I got email reminders for the events I signed up for.

 

 

Thankful Thursday: Pet Sitter Review

Thank you!

First, I wanted to send lots of love, purrs and cat cuddles to all the readers, between being sick earlier this month and falling behind on posts and getting ready and going to BarkWorld and all the birthday wishes, I am truly floored by how wonderful you all are. The online pet community has been so wonderful to me, I can’t begin to repay you. I will be working with Miss Sharon Mohr-Mcdermott on getting pet book reviews going in addition to the pet product reviews. So if you have suggestions for books to read, please comment below.

 

Pet Sitter Review

AmPm Professional Pet Service Logo

Second, I wanted to mention that going to BarkWorld would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the awesome pet sitters I found. This is the second time I’ve used them and I am very pleased with the service and wanted to share.

They are called AmPm Professional Pet Service, they are located in a small town called Trinity, Florida which is in the Tampa Bay Area. Thankfully it’s not too far away from me. Not only do they provide pet sitting services, but they also do dog obedience training.

In my case, they not only fed and watered my cats but they pilled my girl kitty Miss Bitty and cleaned litter boxes.

Please check out their price list for pet sitting services.

My husband and I used them when we went to BlogPaws back in May for nearly 2 weeks and were very happy.

They also offer overnight services, a pet taxi service, aquatic care, 24 hour care and will also care for small pets such as guinea pigs, ferrets, hamsters, rabbits and parakeets.

So if you live north of Tampa / St. Petersburg, please give them a try.

Author’s Note: I was not paid to endorse AmPm Professional Pet Service. This is merely the opinion of myself and the experiences that I have had with their service.

This post is a part of the Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.