Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Pet Blogger Challenge

One of the things I love most about the pet blogging community is the support, camaraderie and the many opportunities to come together as a group. This time, Edie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me and Amy Burkert at GoPetFriendly.com created a way for us to share our deepest -- and sometimes not so deep -- thoughts and goals for our blogs. Click on the button to the right to read all about The Pet Blogger Challenge and head to the blog list at the bottom of this post to hear from everyone else!

Here we go!

1. When did you begin your blog? 
My first post went up on July 15, 2010 and was inspired by Blog the Change Day. I spent months before that obsessing about the look and name of my blog, which blogging platform to use, and whether it would come from my voice or Cosmo's. Blog the Change helped me take the plunge and quit worrying if To Dog With Love was perfect enough to publish. Ha!

Cosmo at the first St. Pawtricks
Day Twitter  #PawPawty 
2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?
To give me more than 140 characters to work with. I started my social media "experiment" by putting Cosmo Havanese on Twitter, where I thought Cosmo would be the only animal. Boy, was I wrong! Soon I wanted more space to tell stories about what we were doing with the pet community on Twitter. Cosmo was one of the first anipals to help raise funds for animal rescue.

3. Is your current purpose the same?
Yes and no.  We do support animal causes and tell stories about Cosmo's activities on Twitter. I also use To Dog With Love as a learning "lab" of sorts and creative outlet... to experiment with video and photography and learn how to tell stories in a way that is far different than what I have done during my professional life as a journalist, copywriter and PR/marketing communications consultant.

I created the tagline -- a celebration of the fluffier side of life -- with idea that To Dog With Love would be all about the special relationship people have with their pets and all the types of things you can do to enjoy that relationship together. My goal was, and still is, to provide a balance of what I call the lighter, fluffier topics --  like shopping, dining out  and traveling with your pet --- with education and cause-related topics like pet safety, dog agility and of course animal rescue. We've also done product reviews and giveaways and partnered with some great companies to raise awareness for pet adoption and food drives. 

I've learned an awful lot in the past six months, and expect there's lots more good things to come!

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?
My goal is three posts a week, two at a minimum. That's about as close to a schedule as I can get to at this point. I understand the value of blogging on a schedule but I refuse to be bullied by the blog! (And trying really hard not to feel guilty about it.)

5. Are you generating income from your blog?
Not really, although I think there is a lot of value in generating some of the professional relationships that have come out of blogging. 

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular
Pals at BlogPaws East in Columbus, Ohio
  • The amazing people I've met from all over the world.
  • The opportunity to meet many of these amazing people in person at conferences like BlogPaws and BarkWorld Expo.
  • Providing readers with information they find useful and sometimes entertaining. I get asked lots of questions about pet travel and agility and the blog gives us a way to share that information.
  • Immediate gratification when I hit "post" and readers comment.
  • My inspiration, Cosmo Havanese and his ability to celebrate the fluffy side of life everyday.
  • Helping the anipals who need it most.
  • Partnering with some great companies who help the anipals who need it most.
  • Getting to do cool stuff like radio, TV and newspaper interviews. We'd like to do more!
  • Getting to review and give away cool stuff!
  • The freedom to write whatever I want.
7. What do you like the least?
Maybe Cosmo can figure it out...
  • That I haven't won the lottery yet so I can blog full time.
  • The technical challenges and strange glitches that causes fonts and colors to go haywire. Typically after five hours and lots of contortions I can figure out some crazy way to fix it.
  • Technical challenge part II -- trying to link my blog to my ToDogWithLove.com URL. I tried it once and thought I lost my whole blog. Still haven't figured it out.
  • Still trying to figure out if I really need to switch to WordPress.
  • The number of emails, requests and pitches that I haven't gotten to because there isn't enough time, and frankly because I need better focus.
8. How do you see your blog changing or growing in 2011?
Refining some of the basics... like a better About Me section and focusing in on To Dog With Love's purpose. More posts that provide readers with information they find valuable and can use. You can expect a series of posts from our recent trip to Italy, more on agility and more about our favorite breed, the Havanese! And, perhaps some technology enhancements if I can figure it out.

Enough about me. Here's what everyone else is up to!


  1. I find it so interesting that so many people involved in communications/journalism own a pet blog. I initially thought that you'd be sick of writing if it's what you do for your job. But, it makes sense that you'd want to write about the topics you enjoy and be your own boss, putting up your own content and devoting time to the things you find important.

    Keep up the good work!

    Sam and MargeDog

  2. Thanks Sam! It's kind of like a "comforting" feeling to write about the topics I enjoy and not something I HAVE to do. Makes me happy, just like our furry friends do! Thanks for coming by. I enjoyed your post too!

  3. Hi - I'm here from the PetBlogger Challenge! Always love to find another pet owner/blogger who supports rescue!

  4. I'm so glad to have finally found you! I'll be reading - excited for your plans!!

  5. You already know I love your blog, but I'll say it again just in case - I love your blog! :) I enjoyed reading your thoughts on blogging and learning a little more about how you got started. I swear, I thought you'd been at this for ages!

  6. Wow, but for the impetus for your blog, we could have written each other's survey! I'm so happy to see your blog all grown up, Diane - or at least being a temperamental teenager on it's way to being all grown up. Sorry to hear about the tech glitches. We've all gone through that, to be sure.

    Thanks for commenting on my post. I'm so glad to reconnect after BlogPaws in Denver. Making it only half way through the list in 3 days, I just don't know how much farther I can go without another snow day to buy some down time. I would have hated to miss you here.

  7. Hello! Glad you were able to join the Hop, as I'm seeing your blog for the first time. Nice to meet you!

  8. Pup Fan - I always look forward to you comments and thanks for the huge compliment. I'm still just figuring it all out!

    Hornblower, CindyLu's Muse, Vicky - So great to meet you here too! I enjoyed checking out your blogs!

    Kim - Thanks for stopping by and I'm still thinking about your comments on comments! On a slightly different comment topic, Why doesn't blogger have an option where you can respond to each comment? Or does it? Haven't seen it on any one's blogs (who is on blogger).

  9. Hi Diane - thanks so much for participating in the challenge, and I'm sorry it took me so long to get to your post. I'm shocked that your blog is so new. I guess that's the professional writer skills showing up, because I thought you'd been doing this forever!

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    علما بأن الشركة بالرياض تقضى على مختلف انواع الحشرات كالقوارض شركة مكافحة حشرات بجدة والابراص والنمل والصراصير وكل الحشرات التى تتواجد فى مختلف الوحدات والسكنات مثل المنازل والفنادق والمطاعم والتجمعات السكنيه شركة مكافحة حشرات بالقصيم و المنازل والمدارس والمستشفيات والفنادق وغيرهم
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    نقدم لكم افضل شركة تنظيف كنب بالرياض وبكافة المدن والاحياء القريبة من الرياض , حيث تعرف الشركة افضل شركة تنظيف شقق بالدمام على مستوى الشركات المنافسه بأنها الاقوى والاكثر تميزا وذلك بشهادة كل من تعامل معنا من قريب او من بعيد حيث تقدم الشركة افضل الخدمات المنزلية الشامله وخاصة خدمات التنظيف الرائعه من افضل شركة تنظيف شقق بجدة الخاصة بالمنازل والشقق والفلل وذلك باستخدام احسن المواد والمنظفات المطهره ذات الروائح الذكية والمنعشه والتى تضفى على المكان البهجة والرحه النفسية والصحيه

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