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The Top 15 Blog Posts of 2015

December 30, 2015 11 comments

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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!

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

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Why blog? The Annual Pet Blogger Challenge

January 10, 2015 23 comments

IMG_3405For the past five years, I have participated in the Annual Pet Blogger Challenge hosted by Amy of Go Pet Friendly.

The Challenge has always been a great opportunity to look back at all the work done in the past year and to look forward and think about what I hope to accomplish in the coming year.

In last year’s Challenge, I announced that I was taking a break from my blog. I was tired, and burned out, and completely bored with myself AND my writing. Oh, I kept the blog going (just barely) by posting pictures a couple of times a week, but that’s it. No words. Just pictures.

Eventually, I made my way back (as you can see), but under new self-imposed conditions: to only blog when the urge hit me, and not under meet some imaginary obligation to follow a schedule.

And, I’ve stuck to that too, choosing only to blog when I feel like it and nothing more. Some weeks there was only one blog post to share  and other weeks, three or four. There was no schedule.

No pressure = no stress = HAPPY.

As a result of the changes made this year, my answers to the Challenge questions  are very different. Some just don’t even apply anymore. Amazing how much can change in a year.

So here we go…

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about. 

I am going on year 7 in blogging years. 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.

My blog is a hodgepodge of a lot of things – animal welfare, animal health, dog behavior, training, dog videos and photography (i.e., lots of pictures of dogs).

2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud. 

I walked away and gave myself a break? I’m not sure I have an answer to this one.

3. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own blogs?

  • Blogging less does not necessarily mean a less successful blog. Writing when there is something valuable to share or something new to say is much more satisfying than trying to write a post every day.
  • Choosing not to host my own site is less stressful and less time-consuming. (After seeing all the time and energy other bloggers put into their blogs, choosing not to do so seems so much easier – for me anyways.)
  • It’s okay to blog and NOT do sponsored posts or push a product.

4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

Writing about issues people care about – how to keep dogs safe, have fun with your dog,  and dog behavior issues.

5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you that it was your most popular?

Loose Dog? Don’t chase! Stop, Drop and Lie Down

Totally surprised me. I thought it was an innocuous little post and then it just took off.

6. What was your favorite blog post to write this year?

No idea. Probably one that allowed me to share fun pictures of my dogs. It’s hard for me to remember last week. 🙂

7. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?

Nope. Still don’t do them.

8. What’s your best piece of advice for other bloggers?

Do what works for you. Don’t live to some blogger ideal if that is not who you are or what you want to do with your blog. You don’t have to do product reviews or manage your blog on your own hosted site or share blogger awards or whatever the latest craze is today. Blogging should be fun, not an obligation.

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?

More of the same. No schedule.

10. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

Nothing.

To read what some of the other pet bloggers wrote this year, head on over to Take Paws from Go Pet Friendly!

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:

 

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.

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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