It’s become an annual tradition for me to end the year by sharing those blog posts I thought were most touching, interesting, or emotionally powerful throughout the past year. This year I have decided not to limit my selection to just blog posts. Among those included in my list are articles, Craigslist postings and other pieces.
The hardest part was whittling down my list. You may not have the same ones on your list, but I hope you will find them worth reading and sharing.
Do you have one that you want to share? Feel free to share!
Heartfelt Open Letter To Dog Owner On Craigslist Moved Me To Tears – This powerful post is actually a posting on Craigslist. It is an adopted dog owner’s letter to the original owner of a stray dog, named Laurel, who showed up outside an animal shelter one day.
Tails: Let’s focus on getting them back home, not adopted. – This piece is a particularly important one to me. Too many lost dogs are ending up in our shelters as strays. We need to do a better job trying to reunite them with their owners.
Rescue Decisions: The Dog, or the Community? – Sara Reusche is an amazing dog trainer and a great writer. Her blogs posts are relevant, thought-provoking and well written. This one is no different. Borderline dogs are something we should all be talking about.
10 Things To Do If Your Adult Dog Bites – This post was written by my friend, Nancy Freedman-Smith, who is a dog trainer and a wonderful writer. This time of year is particularly hard for dog trainers because it is when people start calling them asking for help after their dog bit a child or adult or another dog over the holidays. This piece may help them as the grapple with what most likely was a preventable situation.
4 Things Dog Trainers DON’T Do – This is a great piece by Laurie Luck. I first shared this on my Facebook page back in June of this year, but it is worth sharing again. I can vouch for the 4 things on her list.
I Rejected The Perfect Pet Adoption Family For The Wrong Reasons – This post was penned by Julie LeRoy in place of Cuda the Pit Bull, who passed away earlier this year. I thought it had a powerful message for those of us in animal rescue. it certainly gave me food for thought.
You Can Survive Burnout: How To Regroup When Your Year Really Sucked – This post came in under the wire (it was just written this week), but it was so impactful that it made me want to share it far and wide. The author is Dr. Jessica Vogelsang DVM. who is a veterinarian I really respect, not only for her brevity and wisdom, but also for her honesty and reflection. She always leaves me thinking.
The Biggest Mistake Pet Owners Make at the End – This is another post penned by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang DVM. I shared this on my Facebook page earlier this year and was disappointed to see that many people had not only NOT read it, but left comments that clearly showed they hadn’t read it. We need to stop telling people that our pets will tell us when it is time, because more often than not, they won’t. Please read and share. Another great post is by Jessica Dolce, How to Talk to Your Gynecologist About Euthanasia. Definitely worth the read.
What’s Important to You? – I don’t know about you, but it seems like the pet owner world has become more and more like the mommy wars over the years. What I mean is that just like the competitive mommy world where judgement about how you raise your children is at an all time high, the same is seems to be the case in the dog world. Trainer and writer, Sara Reusche, shares her perspective. I like it.
Training “Calm?” – I love this piece of Denise Fenzi. Training “calm” is not something that is often discussed amongst dog owners, but maybe it should. It could go a long way towards helping the dog/human bond.
Pet Safety: How Safe Are Pet Products? – Blogger Mary Haight’s, piece on pet safety was an eye-opener for me. If you think your pet is safe in a crate, in a car seat or with the toys that you buy, you may want to thin again. Very little safety testing is done on those items that you think will keep your pet safe. If you really want to learn more about the dangers that lie in the pet product industry, listen to her podcast interview with Linsey Wolko, Founder, Chairman and CEO of the Center For Pet Safety.
Comforting an Old Dog – A powerful piece by Shirley Zindler highlights the important role Animal Control Officers have with the animals they capture. Sometimes just being there is the most important part.
Screw Finding Your Passion – This second to last one has nothing to do with dogs, but has a powerful message nonetheless. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it.
That thing others are shaming you for? Do it anyway. – Crystal Paine’s post on being your authentic self is one worth reading. If you have ever felt like hiding your true self or worried about criticisms by others about how you look or how you speak or write, then this piece is worth reading.
Out of an extreme sense of obligation I was going to write this detailed blog post for the Pet Blogger Challenge, but the truth is I don’t want to write it. I don’t want to examine my goals and accomplishments. I don’t want to look at my stats or my most popular blog posts. I don’t want to talk about product give-aways and publicizing my blog.
I’ve been down this path before. I’ve written about my goals and my bright shiny aspirations for my blog before. And you know what? I don’t even remember what they were. I don’t remember what I wrote last year, the year before, or the year before that. Nor do I care.
None of those words matter because they don’t represent where I am today – tired.
Over the holiday season, I had the chance to take a break from my blog; to step away from it and let it all go. It was so refreshing, cathartic even. Instead of worrying about what I was going to post the next day, I did what I wanted to do. I played with my dogs, read a good book, met some friends for coffee, and spent quality time with family. Not once did I feel the need to stop what I was doing so I could write up some quick blog post for the sake of saying I did.
I felt unhindered.
I felt free.
I’m not sure what my blogging goals were when I first began, but I don’t think I ever envisioned them taking over my life. And yet, it has. To continue to feed the beast seems like a practice in futility. It will always want more.
At the risk of this becoming a self-involved, ego-inflated soliloquy I think I will just lay it all out there. I’m going to take a break from my blog for a while. I need to see what life is like without it. I need to know that I am writing because I want to and not because I “have to.” I need a break.
That doesn’t mean I won’t write a few updates on Maggie once in a while or that I won’t be back to share a few words or pictures when the mood strikes me (I still have a few more things to share), but I want to see how the other half lives. I want to know what it’s like NOT to have a blog as an obligation every day.
We’ll see his it goes. Perhaps there is more to life than blogging after all.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 340,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 15 days for that many people to see it.
Last year, Amy and Edie Jarolim (from Will My Dog Hate Me? and Freud’s Butcher) kicked off the 2nd annual Pet Blogger Challenge with a whole host of questions for new and old bloggers alike. The result was a series of fun, insightful and interesting blog posts written by a wide variety of pet bloggers, all with differing perspectives and insights. I learned so much about my fellow bloggers, and in the process, learned even more about blogging!
I have come to love this annual event. I hope you will find it fun and interesting and enlightening. I know I do.
Not writing a pet blog yet? Maybe you should!
Click on the Pet Blogger Challenge link below to join the challenge. To read some of the other responses from other pet bloggers click here.
Here are this year’s blog challenge questions (and my answers):
1. How long have you been blogging and provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.
I have been blogging for 4 years now. I started blogging about my puppy mill rescue dog Daisy at Daisy the Wonder Dog back in October of 2008, but created this blog, No Dog About It, in 2009 for my pet sitting business. Here is a link to last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge.
2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?
To be more focused in my blogging and to be blogging less.
3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?
Yes, but I would have to say that it didn’t really happen until the end of the year. As I mentioned in a previous post, I was in a bit of a fog last year and I just now am coming out of it and realizing that I enjoy blogging but for reasons that have nothing to do with money or notoriety. I just enjoy writing. Will my blog be more focused in 2013? I don’t know, but I hope it will be more personal.
4. How often do you post?
6 days a week
5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed?
No. I still write when the spirit moves me, I just have less time to do it now than before. On some days I find the words aren’t working for me yet or they are still weaving together in my mind, on those days, I let my pictures do the talking and go back to the writing later.
If you don’t publish on a schedule, why? How do you think your decision affects your audience? How do you know when a topic is “post-worthy?”
Yikes. That’s a tough one. I don’t publish on a schedule because often my best writing comes when I am most “feeling” a story and not when it is most convenient to write. To be honest, it drives me crazy sometimes, but that seems to be how my mind works. I think there are times when a post I am writing is still formulating in my brain and when I go to write it and find that it’s not quite ready for me to post yet. Those are the times when I choose a less controversial topic or less emotional issue that I have saved as a draft for just such an occasion. For me, knowing whether a post is worthy of posting comes down to two things – most of the typos and run-in sentences have been eliminated and my gut says “Go.”
6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your tips for staying on top of it all.
Ir depends. Some days I spend an hour working on a blog post and on others I spend several hours. How long it takes me to write one post determines how much time I have to go visit other blogger’s blogs. One thing I failed at this year was visiting some of my favorite bloggers. It’s something I am hoping to rectify this year. Jen, Kristine, Kelly, Alex and Miss Little Pea – I owe you an apology!
7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?
I think I measure by comments to some degree, and traffic is definitely great to watch, but what makes me feel like it was a good post is if people share it or ask to share it and it makes a difference. The post I wrote earlier this year about why your lost dog may not run back to you hit a chord with people and was shared widely. But, to me, it’s a great success if it helps someone to get their lost dog back.
Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions? I don’t really look at the numbers much. I like to know when there is a spike in my numbers (most often it’s one particular post on a good pitbull story), but other than that I don’t look at them much anymore. I like the interaction more.
8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
I would love to know how other bloggers write on a schedule. I think this is perhaps the thing I have had the most difficulty with as I have gone back to a 9 to 5 job again. Balancing work, my dogs, my blog and managing a life for me can be hard at times. I would love to know how others manage this issue.
9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?
To be more personal, more real and more connected. After living the last year and a half in a fog, I am ready to get back into writing in a way that connects with my readers. I am hoping I will also be less reactionary on certain issues (puppy mills, animal abuse, etc.), but no guarantees. There are simply some hot button issues that will always get my ire up.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 160,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.