MayzieMom here! Mayzie was kind enough to loan me the blog today to tell you about my Big Adventure to BlogPaws last week.
Well, I’m going to try anyway; BlogPaws is an overwhelming sensory experience that’s difficult to describe. But I’ll give it my best shot, both in words and pictures. So here, in no particular order, are my…
Top Four Takeaways from BlogPaws
1. Pets and Their People Rock
I’m an introvert. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t like to talk to people or socialize. I do. However, I usually prefer one-on-one conversations, rather than large groups. And BlogPaws was LARGE! Over 500 attendees this year. That’s enough to make any introvert want to curl up in the fetal position.
But guess what? People who love their pets are really, really nice. And pet bloggers are especially supportive of each other. Everyone was there to learn but also to give back. In the moments when my inner introvert started to feel frazzled, it seemed there was always someone (either human, canine or feline) reaching out to me with a warm smile or a kind gesture to pull me back from the brink of fetal-position-curled-uppedness.
2. Connection and Common Passions Create Change
As many of you know, I took a journey from believing the media hype about pit bulls to being a staunch advocate for them. Although we only occasionally address these issues directly on the blog, it is my hope that we are changing hearts and minds by showing Mayzie and others like her as what they are: wonderful family dogs. And I certainly know that there are many others out there with the same mission.
I was fortunate to meet and spend time with some of these individuals at BlogPaws: Imelda from I’m Not a Monster, Frankie and mom from Frankie, I’m a Lover Not a Fighter, Lucy and dad from Lucy’s World, and Zoey and mom from Wishcuit and Zoey Says Stick It to Cancer. This was not planned. I just stumbled across them during one of the social events and Imelda graciously invited me to join them for a happy hour. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by this amazing group of people, sharing stories about our four-leggers, discussing the challenges we face and how we can make the world better and safer for our dogs. I felt energized by these inspiring, funny, passionate people, and it made me feel so hopeful about what the future holds for these kinds of dogs and their families.
3. The Importance of Purpose
There were many great sessions with an incredible amount of useful information. But the ones that stayed with me were the ones that emphasized the importance of purpose.
Steve Dale, a pet journalist and author, gave a keynote address in which he spoke about how wonderful things are for pets right now, but also how much work there still is to do. For instance, while people own more cats than any other animal, they don’t get the respect that dogs do. As a whole, they don’t receive the same level of veterinary care, and when cats go missing, only 2 percent are returned to their owners, versus 20 percent for dogs. This is the type of thing that we bloggers can help change. Whether we realize it or not, we are powerful and our voices have influence. Did you know that more people rely on bloggers for veterinary advice than on their veterinarians? We owe it to our animal companions to at least occasionally talk about these issues and to ensure that the information we’re putting on our blogs is accurate.
Along these same lines, Iain Langridge, the GM of Petfinder, presented a session about being purposeful in the things we undertake. In other words, what is it that drives your blog, rescue or business? He made the argument that being purposeful — instead of just having a purpose like making money — is the secret to success, and this clarity of purpose has helped make Petfinder what it is today. I have thought about this constantly since his session. I am purposeful when it comes to my volunteer efforts and this blog. But what is the larger purpose of my own business? After the session, I spoke with Tom Collins, one of the founders of BlogPaws, and he helped me begin to crystallize the purposeful direction of my business. I still have some work to do on it but I am grateful that this session started me down that path.
4. Cats and Their Bloggers Are Taking Over the World
I was astounded at how many cats were there with their assistants, and I think they took home the majority of the Nose-to-Nose Blogging Awards. However, BlogPaws is noticeably dog-centric and I’m pretty sure we dog bloggers think we have the corner on the pet blogging market. Nope. Uh-uh. It’s just what the cats want us to believe while they quietly work toward their goal of world domination. BlogPaws (and the rest of us) probably ought to start sucking up now.
I want to thank the team at Pet360 and BlogPaws for creating this incredible event and for helping make change happen, one blogger at a time. I also want to thank, sincerely and from the bottom of my heart, the truly wonderful people at Nutrish for giving me the opportunity to attend. It’s an experience I’ll treasure forever.
PeeS from me, Mayzie: I would also like to very much thank BlogPaws and Nutrish and all the other super cool sponsors from the bottom of my tummy for sending home this humongous bag of DEElicious goodies! YUM!
Momma, I’m gonna miss you while you’re at BlogPaws. Are you gonna miss me?