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Meet the Bloggers Blog Hop – Beyond the words

December 17, 2013 80 comments
Meet the Pet Bloggers Hop

Today on No Dog About It blog, I am sharing a little less about my dogs and little more about me. Why? Because today is “Meet the Bloggers” day. It’s a chance for you, the reader, to hop from blog to blog and learn a little more about the people behind the dogs and cats you are so used to reading about.

We pet bloggers tend to be a shy bunch, preferring to let our pets do most of the talking for us. We’re much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. At least, that is the case for me.

This “Meet the Bloggers” blog hop is an opportunity for me (and other bloggers) to put ourselves out there a little more and to give you a chance to see us in a new light.

There were only two requirements for the Meet the Blogger’s blog hop were to:

  1. Include a current photo (with or without a furry friend)
  2. Answer at least 5 questions (from the list of questions provided to bloggers last week)

So here we go.

My picture.

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Okay. Okay. I know. It looks like I’m hiding.

How about this one?

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Melissa (Mel) – That’s me!

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to take a photo of yourself?

Or is it just me that has this problem? (Sound of crickets). Yup. I guess it’s just me. 🙂

Jasper and me by Cathy

Now for the questions and my answers:

    • What’s your favorite non-animal related book? I have too many to count, but among them are The Secret Garden and The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden.
    • What’s your favorite non-animal related movie? Maybe it’s the season, but the only one that comes to mind right now is “Love Actually.” I absolutely love that movie.
    • What’s your favorite non-animal related food? Popcorn.
    • Who’s your favorite actor? Matthew McConaughey. I first saw him in the movie “Amistad” and was blown away by his acting. He has only gotten better with time.
    • What’s one thing you have to do every day? Take a picture. It’s an obsession. Being a pet sitter and dog walker gives you the unique opportunity to see the world in a much different way. You start to appreciate the beauty and humor of the world around you. You get to see things that most people don’t because they are off at work. It’s an interesting and amazing world out there. I started taking pictures to capture some of what I saw every day.
    • What makes you feel fabulous? Walking in the woods and listening to the birds and the wind blow through the trees. It’s such a great way to rejuvenate and let go of the stress of every day life. It allows me to breathe.
    • What do you wish you were more skilled at? Walking and taking at the same time! I joke, but the reality is I am extremely klutzy. I tend to trip, fall, drop stuff, and run into things on a constant basis.
    • What’s your favorite holiday? Christmas. It’s a magical time of year when everything seems possible and I get to sing Christmas carols at the top of my voice.
    • Favorite meal? Roasted Veggie Pizza.
    • What do you like to do in your free time? Read books, travel and hang out with friends.
    • What one word would people who know you use to describe you? Animal-lover.
    • If your pets could talk, what one word would THEY use to describe you? Goofball.
    • What is one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of? Running my own business for three years.
    • How is your pet most like you? That’s hard to answer since I have three of them, but if I had to guess I would say that they are all most like me in that they love being outdoors and exploring new places.
    • What can your body do for you that makes you most proud? Drive a car? I honestly don’t know. Remember? I’m the klutzy one.
    • If you could change one thing about your life what would it be? I’d live in a house in the woods.
    • Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy? Photography. Hiking. Reading. Working with dogs. (Was that four?)
    • What’s one thing you could do to be more kind to yourself? Engage in less negative self-talk.
    • What drives you nuts about your pets? The barking. (Daisy is the only who doesn’t bark. Ever.)
    • What melts your heart? Hallmark commercials, puppies and a good dog rescue story.
    • If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have? A cat. I miss having a cat.

So now that I’ve bared my soul for all of you, what else do you want to know? 🙂

Want to join the hop? Click here. 

Want to read more about some of the other pet bloggers in the hop? Click here.

This hop is hosted by:

 

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No more hiding behind the words – “Meet the Bloggers” blog hop

December 9, 2013 21 comments

Me and DaisyWhen I first started in blogging in October of 2008, it was to document Daisy’s progress as a former puppy mill breeding dog. That was it. I knew practically nothing about blogging, so documenting Daisy’s progress seemed like an easy task when it came to blogging. No muss. No fuss.

But as I started moving forward with my pet sitting business, I realized I needed someplace to share pet-related information and pet products with my clients. Daisy the Wonder Dog just wasn’t the place to share that information. I needed some other vehicle to do that. And just like that, No Dog About It was created.

I never could have guessed that it would turn into my main blog or that I would still be blogging 5 years later. It may have started out as a place to share information with my clients, but it has become so much more than that. It has become my soapbox, a place to share my feelings and experiences, and a community of some pretty amazing people who share and support and give back in ways I never imagined. I never expected that. I never expected it to hit more than a few people at the most.

As a blogger, it’s easy for me to pretend that no one is reading what I write. Oh I could look at my numbers and disprove that very easily, but I like pretending that I am this anonymous writer who can share her thoughts, feelings and experienced without the exposure and scrutiny of a normal writer. I like that I can, in some sense, be anonymous. I don’t have to share pictures of myself or anything else I felt was too private to share. I thought remaining private in a social-media driven world where privacy is almost impossible was a good thing.IMG_8881

Then a friend of mine shared a recent conversation she had had with someone who wasn’t a blogger. What he said struck a chord with me and several of my blogging friends, he said “People want to imagine themselves and their pets out doing the things you’re doing with your dogs. If you put yourself in the pictures, they can see themselves in your place.”

Interesting. I hadn’t thought of that before. I guess I just assumed seeing my dogs and reading my words were enough. Maybe I was being too protective of my privacy. Maybe my own issues with my body image didn’t matter as much to my readers as it did to me. In speaking with my fellow bloggers, I discovered that I wasn’t alone. We were all grappling with this. How much to share? How much to keep private? Why were we afraid to share pictures of ourselves and our pets?
What if we changed that? What if we decided to challenge ourselves and share more?

As my friend Kristine said, “the more we can put ourselves out there and authentically be ourselves, the more we give others the permission to do the same.”

So in honor of being more authentic with you and with ourselves, the “Meet the Bloggers” blog hop was created. On December 18th, bloggers will have the chance to challenge themselves by sharing more about themselves. There are a few specific requirements (see below), but in the end you will be able to learn more about these bloggers and hopefully, feel a little more connected to the people behind the words, including myself.

So what are the rules for bloggers?

1. Join us for the hop on December 18. (A Linky list will go live that day, so make sure to add your post. If you want to add the Linky code to your post, you can find it here.)
2. Grab the badge that best describes you (options and code can be grabbed here).
3. Your post must include a current photo of you (with or without a furry friend).
(Need a little help on taking a good self-portrait? My friend Kristine Tonks shared this great little post on how to take a good one.)
4. Answer at least five (or more, if you’d like!) of the questions below:

  • What’s your favorite non-animal related book?
  • What’s your favorite non-animal related movie?
  • What’s your favorite non-animal related food?
  • Who’s your favorite actor?
  • What’s one thing you have to do every day?
  • What makes you feel fabulous?
  • What do you wish you were more skilled at?
  • What’s your favorite holiday?
  • Favorite meal?
  • What do you like to do in your free time?
  • What one word would people who know you use to describe you?
  • If your pets could talk, what one word would THEY use to describe you? What is one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
  • How is your pet most like you?
  • What can your body do for you that makes you most proud?
  • If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?
  • Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy?
  • What’s one thing you could do to be more kind to yourself?
  • What drives you nuts about your pets? What melts your heart?
  • If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have?

Then you, the reader, can hop around from blog to blog learning as much as or as little as you want about your favorite bloggers.

Meet the Pet Bloggers Hop
The hosts for this blog hop are Go Pet Friendly, I Still Want More Puppies, Kol's Notes, No Dog ABout It, The Daily Dog Blog, My Brown Newfies, CindyLu's Muse, Life With Desmond, Bringing Up Bella, Heart Like a Dog, Rescued Insanity, Peggy Frezon and NepaPets.

The Top 12 Dog Blog Posts of 2012

December 30, 2012 29 comments

FD004740Here we are, looking at the last day of the year, December 31st, 2012. It’s hard to believe it is almost over isn’t it?

What will the new year bring? Only time will tell. I guess if you believe in numerology, then maybe there is some good news to be found in numerologist, Glynnis McCants’,  prediction for the new year. According to her, 2013 is a “6” year (2+0+1+3 = 6) which means a focus on family and business – “I see it as a good cycle for everybody who felt this year they couldn’t get it together…they have another chance.”  Pretty good news if you felt a little out of sorts (like me) in 2012. We shall have to see if it really comes true.

In the meantime, I thought I would use this last day of the year to share my annual list of favorite blog posts.

As with every year,  I had a hard time whittling my list down to just 12, but I think I did it.

Please note: These are blog posts I selected myself because they had an impact on me. I also thought they might be of interest to you. If you have others you think qualify, please do share them in the comment section below. I love finding new ones to read. I would love to know what blog post(s) touched you most this year.

So, without further ado, here are My Top 12 Blog Posts for 2012…

1.  Pondering Poppies In January – My friend Jenny Pavlovic is probably the most fearless person I know. She tackles the biggest problems as if they were merely a pebble in her path. She helps animals and humans, and tries to make a difference in all that she does. To be honest, I am a little in awe of her ability to just barrel ahead – fearless, dedicated, committed and kind. Earlier this year she wrote a blog post that pretty much summed up her philosophy on life. I admit I have a personal connection to this blog post, but it wasn’t why I chose it.

2.  A Perfect Storm – This blog post made the rounds in February after a news reporter was bitten in the face by a dog that had been rescued from a reservoir the day before. I am sure many of you recall the discussions that went on at that time – who was to blame, what people could learn from it, how to prevent a dog bite like this in the future, etc. What struck me most about Kari Bastyr’s words were both the measured way she discussed the issue and how she highlighted the need for us humans to better understand our dogs. In her own words, “Going forward, I would like everyone to take a step back and think about all the things your dog is trying to tell you. Do away with everything you ‘think’ you know about dogs, everything you have learned from your dogs growing up, and everything you try to do to ‘make’ your dogs listen. Watch and learn because your dog is trying to tell you things every single second.” Powerful stuff. I hope you will give it a read. It is well worth your time.

3.  Tread lightly – My friend Debbie Jacobs is probably one of the smartest people I know, and that doesn’t just apply to her knowledge of dogs. Her wisdom about fearful dogs, however is quite amazing (and helpful!). I thought this particular post was quite powerful. I could not agree with her more. As she says in the post, “When interacting with a fearful, shy or anxious dog, tread lightly, you may not be able to see the cracks in the ice.”

4. A Dog Park is No Place for a DuckKristine Tonks from Rescued Insanity is a thoughtful and thought-provoking type of blogger. I always know that she will leave me thinking (and in this case, laughing). This post had me not only laughing out loud, but doing so while riding on the train, during rush hour. I even made a point and going back to read it when I got home that evening. I knew then it just had to be on my 2012 list of favorite blog posts. Need a laugh? Read on!

5.  How I Failed as a Rescuer: Lessons from a Sanctuary – This post from Notes From a Dog Walker is pretty powerful stuff. The number of comments (629) should tell you enough about it’s impact. I think it’s a good example of what we as dog bloggers do best – share the raw emotional truth of our experiences with our pets, and the pets we care for, whether in rescue or a shelter. I guarantee it will leave you thinking.

6.  Chix-A-Lot Friday: Let’s be gentle, not judgmental – I have to admit, I love Aleksandra’s blog, Love and a Six-Foot Leash, for two reasons: 1) She is a fantastic photographer and I love looking at her pictures of her dogs and the dogs she has fostered, and 2) she is another blogger who is wise, thoughtful and thought-provoking. This post is one of her more thought-provoking posts and one that I think every dog trainer, dog blogger and dog “expert” should read. I know that I am still learning the lessons shared in this post.

7.  Exploding Dog Butts and Ill-Fitting Clothes – An Experiment in Looking on the Bright Side – If you haven’t been following Elizabeth’s dog blog, The Chronicles of Cardigan, you really should. She is about as funny as any standup comedian. I love her humor and I love her Corgiis. How could I not? They’re adorable and they provide fodder for Elizabeth’s humor. This one in particular had me in stitches. The title says it all. 🙂

8.  There’s A Sucker Born Every Minute and Things Dogs Brag About – I appreciate a lot of things about my friend Kevin Myers, among them are his knowledge of dogs and his love of coffee, but perhaps it is his sense of humor about us and our dogs that I love the most. These two posts are perfect examples of how well Kevin knows us and our dogs. See if you don’t agree. I guarantee you will at least laugh.

9.  Will in December – I highlighted Tom Ryan and his dog, Atticus, back in September, but what I didn’t know then was that he had since taken in another dog, one that very much-needed his loving care. To say that Will is a special needs dog would not be that far off. Neglected, unwanted, and in pain, Will was the older dog that everyone passes by. Thankfully, Tom was not everyone. This loving tribute to Will is so worth reading, although I warn you, you may need a tissue by the time you are through.

10.  An apology to Jehan and Farouk – Georgia Little Pea is normally a quite funny person. In fact, she is more than funny. She is talented. This past year she has been sharing all sorts of interesting stories about her life as she cleans house and considers moving to new locales. This particular post has stuck with me since she wrote it. If you have ever had a dog and felt the guilt of not being the dog owner you had once envisioned yourself being, then this post will resonate with you. I hope Georgia won’t mind me sharing it, but I thought it was worthy of sharing. Maybe read this one first and then read Aleksandra’s (#6).

11.  The Puppiness Project – Trust the Universe; Trust Yourself – Pamela often uses her dog, Honey, to help her, and her readers, better understand our complicated human emotions. It might seem a bit cliché to say that we should be more like our dogs, but I think Pamela has demonstrated that we can certainly learn a lot about ourselves through them. I think this particular post resonated with me because, like Pamela, I’m not much on trusting the universe either. That’s where Honey comes in. See what Pamela has to say on learning trust from her dog Honey.

12.  #20 ~ saved from a life of doglessness – This post just might be one of my favorites for the year. Maybe it’s the beauty of Eleanore MacDonald’s words or maybe it’s the fact that she has had the chance to watch as “the dark shroud of trauma began to wear away” from her dog Lovie (like I did with Daisy), but either way, I found her post powerful and touching enough to want to share it with all of you. There is something about Lovie’s story that hit me at my core. Maybe Eleanore’s talent with music has woven its way into her blog? She certainly has a beautiful voice, and after listening to her music, I already know that she is one amazing woman. I hope you will check out her blog post AND her music.

Life With Desmond – A blog to follow

December 18, 2012 15 comments

DesmondToday, I thought I would do something a little unusual and highlight another blogger, someone I admire.

We bloggers used to do this quite often a few years ago. We would read another blogger’s post, be inspired, and feel the need to expand upon the topic or share our own  experience. As life has gotten busier, I have found myself less able to read all the blogs I would like, but there is one blog I like to visit (and one Instagram feed I like to follow) because I always feel like I learn something new and because I admire the blogger.

So let me tell you a little something about Lauren Forge, the author of Life with Desmond.

  1. Lauren has one of the coolest and cutest dogs around – his name is Desmond.

  2. She is studying to be a professional dog trainer (Did I mention that I happen to love dog trainers?)

  3. She is editor and a manager who has quite a talent for writing.

  4. She has shared some of her personal challenges with her lovebug Desmond, including anxiety, leash reactivity, and Canine Esophageal Stricture.

  5. She has been through some pretty tough times lately. Hurricane Sandy destroyed her home and she has had to live in her parent’s home, in a hotel and an apartment with her husband, Joey, and Desmond.

  6. She manages to keep her sense of humor despite the challenges. (I love the pictures and captions in this post!) In the meantime, Desmond has learned to dance Gangnam Style.

  7. She has lots of give-aways (Worth checking out of you like to win stuff!)

These are among some of my favorite posts by Lauren:

I hope you will take the time top say hello to Lauren and Desmond and maybe even offer her a few words of encouragement as she and Joey and Desmond try to put their lives back together, post Hurricane Katrina.

Photo Credit: Lauren Forge, Life With Desmond.

My 7 Links

August 5, 2011 16 comments

Last week Amy from Go Pet Friendly invited me and 5 other bloggers to participate in the My 7 Links challenge (you can read Amy’s post here). The challenge was started by Tripbase Blog, and then passed on to Edie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me? who then passed it on to Amy. The objective of the challenge is to choose your best posts in seven categories and then pass the invitation along to five more bloggers.

To be honest, I was a bit daunted a task. After all, who am I to judge what my best blog posts are? Yikes! Kind of scary to judge my own writing and then put it out there for others to judge! But, since I completely respect Amy (and Edie for that matter!), I didn’t want to turn down such an honor. So here goes!

1. My Most Beautiful Post

I’m not sure if this is cheating or not, but I really feel that my most beautiful (or maybe most poingnant – is that cheating too?) post was The Dog That Was Not There. I wrote it on Daisy’s blog a year ago, but I still receive comments about it. The wonderful news is that Daisy has come even further than where she was at last year, so perhaps this is just a reminder to me of how far we (she) has come.

2. My Most Popular Post

This was perhaps the easiest one to choose. By far my most popular post was A Letter From a Shelter Manager. I know that it made a big impact on me, but I never expected it to make as much of a splash as it did. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have Alyssa Milano tweet it out to the universe either. At 2,755 hits in one day and 5247 in that one month, it is still one of the most shared of my posts. Thanks Alyssa!

3. My Most Controversial Post

Although I never expected it to be the case, Investigative Report Into A Doggy Daycare Shows Why You Need To Do Your Research, was perhaps my most controversial post. The news story created a LOT of controversy here in the Twin Cities too. My post was focused on getting people to really do their research before selecting a doggie daycare, pet sitter or dog trainer, but as the daycare’s supporters and staff worked to salvage their business and their reputation, my post became a quite the forum for people to share their opinions. Even though I posted it back in November of last year, I still get a few hits on this every week.

4. My Most Helpful Post

Although I can’t be sure, I believe “Why You Should Save Your Dog/Cat Food Bag” was my most helpful post. It’s such a simple suggestion, and one you wouldn’t think would be all that helpful, but it can be so important to do if your dog’s food were to make him sick or if there was ever a recall of your dog’s food.

5. A Post Whose Success Surprised Me

When I wrote Dogs: The Word I Hate Most, I wrote it mostly for me. It was my way of venting over a fellow dog park patron who constantly used the word I hated most. I never expected it to be as popular, or strike such a chord with people. but, it certainly left me feeling like I wasn’t alone.

6. A Post I Don’t Feel Got The Attention It Deserved

I’m not sure why this post never really took off. Perhaps because the subject matter was just too gruesome or the title was just too “in your face”(DOG + HOT CAR = DEAD… Get It?), but my purpose was to get people to visualize what happens to their dog when it is left in a hot car. I worked with a couple of great veterinarians to provide an accurate picture for folks. I still think it’s an important one.

7. The Post I’m Proudest Of

This one was a lot harder to select than all of the others. Maybe because it feels like bragging? I know that I was proud that I took a chance and went out and actually did something for Blog The Change. I was proud that I took a stand for Daisy too. The post was aptly named, Blog The Change – Why Bother Indeed!

And now for the list of the next challengers!

Kristine from Rescued Insanity

Carrie from Tales and Tails

Shauna from Fido and Wino

Leo from Kenzo the Hovawart

Miss Georgia Little Pea from Little Dogs on Long Leashes


It’s the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop! I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome bloggers out there. You won’t be disappointed! Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!

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No Dog About It: Talking with Mary Haight of the Dancing Dog Blog

August 7, 2010 14 comments

I don’t know about you, but I am often fascinated by people’s stories. How they ended up doing what they are doing. What motivates them. Who they admire. Places they’ve traveled.

That’s why I was so pleased when Mary Haight of Dancing Dog Blog agreed to do an interview. She has a passion for animals that I can appreciate and she often takes up their case on their behalf. She also does a great job keeping people informed of the most current news, product reviews and is always searching for the facts behind each story. If you’re not following her blog, you should be. I always learn something new when I read her posts and I am sure you will too.

So without further ado, read more about Mary Haight of Dancing Dog Blog.

What made you choose to blog about animals and animal-related topics?

I’ve been an animal lover since I was a child. We always had cats in the house growing up and I started riding horses and got my first dog in my twenties. Later I had been involved in not-for-profit work on food safety issues and was passionate about it, but there wasn’t a lot of good news to report in that niche. I’m not a scientist schooled in public health, or a nutritionist, and felt if you don’t make the basis of what you write what you truly know, blogging becomes unsustainable.

With animals, I had the passion to sustain authenticity over time, and I have been involved in that sector for more than a decade. Blogging about animals allowed me to explore topics that would broaden the readership and provide me with opportunities to see another side of life with dogs.

I have also been an officer on the board of Lake Shore Animal Shelter Chicago’s oldest no-kill shelter, for nearly 13 years.

So, how did you get started blogging? What motivated you to start?

A friend of mine who knew I had a lot to say on animal welfare issues told me I should start a blog, but I wasn’t truly motivated to start blogging until something happened at Animal Care and Control in Indiana (ACC).

A request came to shelters in Chicago announcing that ACC was moving into a new facility and had approximately 100 animals they would not be taking to their new place. They informed the shelters in Chicago that if they would like to save them they were welcome to come and get them. Obviously this type of communication wasn’t the best given animals’ lives were at stake. A blog was born.

What topics or issues tend to get your juices flowing when it comes to blogging?

I like to tackle issues. Breed-specific legislation, mandatory spay/neuter, puppy mills, pet shops, pet food problems and internet puppy sales are all related to putting a stop to animal cruelty.

But, most people just want to have fun with their dogs, so I cover ground there too with reports and clips from dog shows and trials, stage and movie reviews. I also offer interviews with trainers and other professionals. And, I like to put together useful information in the tabs section of my blog like: how to figure out if pet insurance is for you, how to choose a boarding/daycare facility, dog play and games, pet friendly hotels, dog allergies, pet beds, and even dog food recipes.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being an animal advocate/pet blogger?

Giving animals a voice. Getting the message out. Giving people information they want or need to help them strengthen their relationship with their furry ones and offering helpful information to people on the edge of giving up their animals. Having other bloggers talk about something you wrote that you feel is important for people to know, and then having their readers see it and share it. Word gets out and animals needing help get it.

It’s also rewarding when you get a variety of responses to whatever was written, especially when you see new people speaking up and coming back to do it again. And it’s wonderful how you can feel as if the people who read and comment regularly are more like friends than strangers, even – or maybe especially – if you disagree. I think the pet niche must have the best people in it – there’s so much great camaraderie here!

Favorite blogging moment or experience?

I wrote “Giving Pet Shops and Puppy Mills the Boot” and followed up with an email interview with Best Friends Animal Society Elizabeth Oreck, National Campaign Manager of Puppies Aren’t Products, and several of my favorite bloggers wrote about it or mentioned it in a recap. I was grateful for that and for the response it elicited in the comments section. I even had a great conversation in the comments area with a journalist I respect. The follow-up helped clear up a lot of misunderstandings some in the sheltering community had. I felt lucky and happy with what I was doing.

What did you do prior to blogging?

I had just come off a ten-year stint caring for my mother. I sold the house in August of 2008, moved to another area, and started the blog toward the end of that year. Prior to that, I was president of a manufacturing firm.

Do you have other blogs you follow that are not animal or pet-related?

Sure! Here’s a few: The New York Times, Huffington Post, ScienceDaily, Food Politics, Environmental Working Group, OrganicHatSEO, treehugger, Problogger, Rubin Museum of Art (check out the art from the Himalayas and if they still have slides, Carl Jung’s “Red Book”), Zen Habits, Damian Calvo (filmmaker)

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