Monday, May 29, 2017

Essential Social Media & Blogging Advice From The Pros

Another amazing BlogPaws Conference has come and gone and I'm putting into action the valuable Blogging and Social Media advice and tips I came away with.  I'm amazed at how much helpful information was packed into just a few days!

Blogging tips from the BlogPaws Blogging & Social Media Conference
There is so much Learning packed into a BlogPaws conference! If you didn't get there this year, start planning now for next year.
Since many of you were unable to attend the BlogPaws  conference, I'd like to share some of the blogging and social media tips & learnings from Keynote Speakers, and Working Sessions.  As always, there was a TON of knowledge to absorb, so I'm breaking it into 2 or 3 posts to make it easier to digest.  I know you'd do the same for me if you were there and I couldn't make it, so here goes!


THE MOST RETWEETED PERSON IN THE WORLD


Although he spoke on the last day of the conference, I'm starting off with Keynote speaker Jay Baer who talked about what he calls Youtility, or How To Build A World-Class Personal Brand By Being Hyper-Useful.

Jay Baer is known as "The Most Retweeted Person In The World among digital marketers".  He's the President of Convince & Convert, a consulting firm who has helped some of the world's most iconic brands use technology to retain customers and win new ones.  Brands like The United Nations, Nike, 3M, and Oracle.  He is also a NY Times best selling author of five books.

Jay Baer, digital marketing expert, shares social media and blogging tips at the BlogPaws Blogger and Social Media conference.

I could immediately get why Jay is one of the most Retweeted people in the digital marketing space.  I started following him on Twitter as soon as he was announced as a BlogPaws speaker. Right away I found content that was valuable and relevant to me as a blogger.  I've shared much of his content, like this really interesting article about the FTC "crashing" the Influencer party.  Can you say FTC DISCLOSURE ?!?  Might that be relevant to us Pet Bloggers & Social Media Influencers?  Heck, Yeah!


BE MORE RELEVANT TO YOUR AUDIENCE


My Twitter example is a perfect lead in to Jay's key message, which is that We Need To Be More Relevant to our audience, because.....

Keynote speaker Jay Baer at the BlogPaws Blogging & Social Media conference. Jay shares tips on how to grow your blog audience by being more relevant
Relevancy magically creates time and attention - Jay Baer, Digital Marketing Expert
Jay's magic formula?


USEFUL = RELEVANCY = ATTENTION = $$

 THE BIG LIE


Jay pointed out a somewhat painful truth.  We tell ourselves that "our audience is just to busy to read our content" and that's how we justify not having enough action on our content.  But that isn't the case.  It's not that people are too busy, it's that our content isn't relevant enough! They'll find the time to read our content if it is relevant enough.  We should strive to be "massively useful" to our audience.  I realize that if I want to promote my blog on social media I need to be more useful and relevant in the content I'm producing.


4 DIMENSIONS OF YOUTILITY


Jay went on to explain the Four Dimensions of his Youtility model:

1. Solve Problems your audience has.
He said that Specificity creates Relevancy and cautioned us about the dangers of being too broad with our content topics.  "You won't be as relevant if you're not specific", he warns.  I know I need to take steps to stop trying to be all things to all people in the pet space and focus on the one or two areas I can be most relevant.  It's not an easy thing to do! Jay suggests we begin each day by asking ourselves "How Can I Help?" and build relevant content from there.

2. Be Consistent, STOP random acts of content.  
More is not always more and every audience has a "breaking point".   Another concept he introduced that resonated with me was to "Think like a TV station and create SHOWS, using a consistent theme and timeframe".  He suggested creating consistent Shows, and episodes of those shows.  One of the examples he shared was the Dog Rescue Stories produced by Positively Woof.  I think another "Show" that might fit his model is Kristin Avery's series The Specials, on her blog, The Daily Pip. I just love The Specials series!  This has got me thinking about ideas for Shows I can create for Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

3. Atomize Your Awesome
Release content on various channels, in similar ways. You need to be in the places where your audience is.  He shared these surprising facts:
  
😕 The Daily time spent READING in the US is 25 minutes per day.
😕 The Daily time spent WATCHING online video in the US is 72 minutes per day.
😕 People visit 39% fewer web sites than they have since 2010.

The message was clear, Repackage your content and share it across multiple channels!

4. GET PAID
This was another one of my favorite points.  Like many of you I'm often asked to work without getting paid, which frustrates me.  Jay assured us that "It's OK to get paid!".  He shared a quote that a respected individual once shared with him:


"There's no need to be nervous when your heart is in service"

I love that!  Getting paid for the work we do doesn't diminish our passion or our message when we ask to be paid for our work.  Jay pointed out that "If you get paid you can do more for your audience by creating more content, more videos... more everything!"  I wholeheartedly agree!  I would also add that when we get paid it allows us to Give Back even more to the causes each of us is most passionate about.  As bloggers and social media influencers, Jay reminds us that our role is to "Connect companies with their future customers".
  
A big Thank You to Jay for sharing his valuable insights with us!  You can watch Jay's inspiring and enlightening BlogPaws presentation in it's entirety on YouTube.  I highly recommend making the time to watch it, he shared a lot more than what I've captured here.  In addition, if you don't watch the video you'll miss his hilarious ferret story!   Here's the link to Jay's BlogPaws video presentation on YouTube




Onward to SEO Help


SEO (Search Engine Optimization) For The Beginner and SEO For The Advanced Blogger sessions, presented by Jill Caren, of 2 Dogs Media.


Jill Caren is the founder of 2 Dogs Media, a New Jersey based web development and digital marketing agency named for her two beloved dogs Ginger and Riley.  Jill has been featured in publications such as BusinessWeek, Search Engine Watch, and CIO (Chief Information Officer) magazine.  She also gives back through her social goods website, CharityPaws which helps animal rescues and charities raise funds with positive inspired apparel for animal lovers!


SEO DOESN'T HAVE TO BE SCARY


I'm the first to admit, I need a lot of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) help, and quite frankly SEO scares the heck out of me! For the first time, I attended an SEO presentation that didn't utterly confuse and frustrate me.  The last SEO class I went to left me confused, frustrated, and nearly in tears.  


Jill Caren, SEO expert teaches BlogPaws conference attendees how to get more traffic to your blog using SEO
2DogsMedia is named for Jill Caren's two dogs, Ginger and Riley.

At the conference, I pushed myself to attend Jill Caren's Beginner SEO session, and although it wasn't completely easy-peasy I was able to follow along quite well. I was surprised that I actually understood a lot of it!  I was so pleased with the Beginner session that I ended up staying for Jill's Advanced SEO session as well, and it was great! I was sure I'd be completely lost in the advanced session but I actually got a lot out of it. 



HOW SEO IS DONE


Here are some of the tips on how to grow your blog traffic and how SEO works that resonated with me the most.  I see myself definitely being able to implement many of these suggestions:

Jill started off by saying that Step 1 should be finding out what your audience wants.  She then discussed growing your blog traffic & audience organically for FREE. I'm all about free, so I was listening pretty intently!   Here are some of Jill's recommendations:

Have your own domain and host it elsewhere.  Having a secure site is also important, not just for the obvious security reason but also because many brands don't like to work with blogs or web sites that are unsecured. 

 Jill is a huge proponent of Google's WebMaster tool to monitor and analyze your blog's performance.

 It's critical that you have good Title Tags and Meta Descriptions, as these impact Click Through Rates, and therefore they impact your Google ranking.  Include keywords in your Title Tags.



Jill Caren addresses the BlogPaws conference, sharing blogging and SEO tips

 Compile 10 - 15 keywords or keyword phrases to utilize in each of your blog posts.  Keywords are something that always frustrated me.  I could never really figure out a good way to find keywords.  Jill made a few suggestions, one of which is using a tool called answerthepublic.com.  It helps you find what questions people are asking about your topic, which you can then translate into keywords and phrases.  Try to place keywords in the beginning of your post if possible. I tried it and I love this tool!  It's pretty easy to use and kind of fun too.

 She also suggested simply using Google search to find keywords. Enter your topic into Google search engine and see what populates beneath the words you've typed in.  Also scroll down to the bottom of the page to see what other related search phrases pop up.  Another easy way to find keywords!  I've done my due diligence and added keywords throughout this post using these 3 methods, let's see what happens!

 She advised having breaks within your content and using H1 and H2 header designations.  This is another easy one to implement!  As you can see I've done that here.

 Another important thing Jill talked about was site speed.  If your site is slow to load, you will not rank well!  It should only take 1 - 3 seconds to load, if it's more than this there may be a number of things slowing your site down.  She suggested using GTMetrix.com to assess the speed of your site and look for ways to improve it if needed.  I tried it with my blog and my speed is 8.4 seconds to load my 3.62MB blog page size - Yikes!!  Apparently I've got some landing page redirects, and broken links somewhere.  I've got some work to do to improve my site speed! Google is probably dinging me for this big time.

Jill posted the full SEO Session Overview from her BlogPaws SEO sessions on her web site; 2DogsMedia  It's a great recap of what she covered in both the Beginner and Advanced sessions.  You can utilize her overview as a recap for those who attended either of the sessions, or as a starting point for those who were unable to attend the conference or her sessions.

I can't wait to start putting Jay and Jill's pearls of wisdom into action for my blog! 


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Post BlogPaws Conference High

THE AMAZING BLOGPAWS CONFERENCE IN MYRTLE BEACH WAS A WHIRLWIND OF SEEING BLOGGER FRIENDS, MEETING SPONSORS & LEARNING!!

At the BlogPaws Social Media and Blogging conference, Myrtle Beach, 2017
This was Icy & Phoebe's second conference!

The best part of the BlogPaws conference is seeing all our blogger friends & having fun together!
At the BlogPaws Nose to Nose awards dinner with Kristin Avery of The Daily Pip and Denise Yoder-Gruzensky of Denise's Dog Dish.  It was such a beautiful event!

The best part about the BlogPaws conferences is seeing our blogger friends in person & hanging out together!  In this photo I'm with Kristin Avery of The Daily Pip, Robin Mudge of Playful Kitty, and Nose to Nose WINNER Susan Nation of Talent Hounds - Congrats Susan!  Congrats to Kristin for being a FINALIST in two categories as well!

At the BlogPaws Blogging and Social Media conference in Myrtle Beach, May 2017
  
The BlogPaws Blogging & Social Media conference culminates in celebration at the BlogPaws Nose to Nose awards dinner!  Congratulations to all the award winners and the 56 finalists as well, you are all WINNERS!! The official final list of award winners will be available on 5/26/17.

At the BlogPaws social media and bloggers conference with my husband, Icy & Phoebe.
With my husband John, Icy and Phoebe at the Nose to Nose awards reception

At the BlogPaws Conference Nose to Nose awards event
Icy wore the animal print skirt I made for her to the BlogPaws Conference Nose to Nose awards event.

Red Carpet event prior to the Nose to Nose awards dinner at the BlogPaws Conference
Icy and Phoebe on the Red Carpet!

** Stay tuned for upcoming BlogPaws conference posts on the awesome social media and blogging tips we gleaned from learning sessions and fabulous keynote speakers at the conference, amazing sponsors and how they help pets and people, and great products we discovered!

Did you attend the BlogPaws conference in Myrtle Beach? Tell us in the comments!

JOIN THE BLOGPAWS WORDLESS WEDNESDAY BLOG HOP!!


Monday, May 15, 2017

A Dog Gets Ready To Dazzle At Yappy Hour

PHOEBE IS READY TO SPARKLE AND DAZZLE AT THE BLOGPAWS CONFERENCE THIS WEEK!!



SHE JUST LOVES THE SPARKLE ON TOP AND THE CUTE RUFFLES ON THE BOTTOM OF HER DRESS.  THE TOP IS GLAMOROUS WHILE THE BOTTOM IS KIND OF "BEACHY", PERFECT FOR MYRTLE BEACH, DON'T YOU THINK?



REST UP BEFORE ALL THE GREAT YAPPY HOURS AT THE BLOGPAWS SOCIAL MEDIA & BLOGGER'S CONFERENCE, PHOEBE, ALL EYES WILL BE ON YOU!



DO YOU LIKE PHOEBE'S YAPPY HOUR DRESS? LEAVE US A COMMENT AND LET PHOEBE KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF HER NEW DRESS - AND PLEASE  LOOK FOR US AT THE CONFERENCE IF YOU'RE GOING!!


PetSmart
(I'm a PetSmart Affiliate Partner and this is a PetSmart Affiliate Link)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Tulip Festival At The Park

LAST WEEKEND WAS THE TULIP FESTIVAL IN OUR TOWN PARK.  THEY PLANT THOUSANDS OF TULIPS ALL AROUND THE PARK EVERY SPRING.  IT'S A GLORIOUS DISPLAY OF COLOR, MAKING IT EVEN LOVELIER TO WALK AROUND THE LAKE AND ALONG THE PATHS.  I GAVE YOU A PEEK AT ONE PHOTO IN OUR WORDLESS WEDNESDAY POST, TIPTOEING THROUGH THE TULIPS. NOW I'LL SHARE THE REST OF THE PHOTOS OF PHOEBE'S DAY AT THE TULIP FESTIVAL.

I love this photo of the lake with the swans swimming serenely along, and pretty tulips lining the water's edge.  These two swans make a nest every year and have babies, it's so sweet!

Tulip Festival at the park

Phoebe sits and contemplates life among the tulips.

Phoebe among the tulips at the Tulip Festival

The tulips are everywhere, around the lake and along all the pathways!  There are tons of different varieties and colors of tulips!

Beautiful tulips line the pathways and the lake at our park's Tulip Festival

Phoebe is posing on one of the decks around the lake.  A couple of fountains help aerate the lake to keep it clean (you can see one in the background).  There are not only swans that call this lake home, but ducks, geese, fish and turtles all live in harmony on the lake!

Hecksher Park, Huntington, Long Island NY

So we never forget, the park created this 9/11 memorial to commemorate the attacks of September 11th, 2001.  Many people in our town work in the Wall Street area.  This memorial honors those in our community who lost their lives in the 2001 attacks in New York City.  The vertical steel pieces of artwork that line the walkway to the memorial fountain were constructed of steel that came from the World Trade Center.  The fountain is at the end of this walkway, but I wanted to be respectful and not disturb the people who were visiting it so I don't have a photo of that.

Memorial to honor those who lost their lives in the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Hecksher Park, Huntington, NY

PHOEBE LOVED HER DAY AT THE TULIP FESTIVAL.  THERE WERE SO MANY NEW SMELLS AND PRETTY FLOWERS, DOGS AND PEOPLE TO MEET & SNIFF.  I HOPE YOU ENJOYED HER PHOTOS!  

IS YOUR DOG ENJOYING SPRING BLOOMS?  LEAVE US A COMMENT AND SHARE!



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tiptoe Through The Tulips

Phoebe was tip toeing through the Tulips this weekend.  The park near our house had their Tulip Festival.  

My dog Phoebe enjoying the tulips at the park!
Phoebe enjoys the beautiful tulips at the park!

I'll post more pics of the Tulip Festival on Friday!  CAUTION: Tulips can be toxic to pets, so don't let your dog eat any part of the plant!

THIS IS THE BLOGPAWS WORDLESS WEDNESDAY BLOG HOP!!


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Ready For The BlogPaws Social Media & Bloggers Conference Experience?

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?! THE BLOGPAWS SOCIAL MEDIA & BLOGGING CONFERENCE IS NEXT WEEK

LEARNING, COLLABORATING, AND NETWORKING ARE  AT THE HEART OF THE BLOGPAWS SOCIAL MEDIA & BLOGGER'S CONFERENCE!
This post is sponsored by the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated as a BlogPaws Conference Ambassador to help share information about the BlogPaws 2017 Conference but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article

TIME IS RUNNING OUT, CONFERENCE TICKETS ARE NEARLY SOLD OUT!  IF YOU HAVEN'T GOTTEN YOUR TICKET YET, REGISTER HERE SO YOU DON'T MISS OUT! USE MY AMBASSADOR DISCOUNT CODE:  BP17-10off-Ambassador  TO GET 10% OFF YOUR CONFERENCE TICKET!  

HAVE A TICKET BUT STILL NEED A ROOM?  MAKE YOUR HOTEL RESERVATION HERE


Don't Miss the BlogPaws Social Media and Blogger's Conference!
Reserve your spot at the BlogPaws Social Media and Blogger's Conference in Myrtle Beach


WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE BLOGPAWS CONFERENCE?  LEARN MORE HERE

 *** IF YOU'RE ALL SET TO HEAD TO THE BLOGPAWS CONFERENCE HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ***

BEFORE THE CONFERENCE:


CHECK OUT THE  ESSENTIAL BLOGPAWS 2017 CONFERENCE EVERYTHING POST ON THE BLOGPAWS WEB SITE.

 DON'T MISS THE #BLOGPAWSCHAT PLANNING & PAJAMA TWITTER PARTY, TUESDAY, MAY 9th 8-10PM EASTERN TIME.  THE ENTIRE BLOGPAWS TEAM AND ALL THE CONFERENCE SPONSORS WILL BE PRESENT!  BRING ANY CONFERENCE QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE.

 IF YOU'RE A FIRST TIME CONFERENCE ATTENDEE AND YOU HAVEN'T CHECKED OUT THE BLOGPAWS SLC (SOCIAL LEARNING COMMUNITY) NEWBIES COURSE, SWING BY NOW!  YOU'LL GET LOTS OF FIRST TIME CONFERENCE ATTENDEE TIPS AND CONNECT WITH OTHER FIRST TIME CONFERENCE ATTENDEES.

 BE SURE TO READ THE WEEKLY BLOGPAWS CONFERENCE ATTENDEE NEWSLETTER TO STAY UP TO DATE ON CONFERENCE HAPPENINGS.  THE NEWSLETTER IS EMAILED TO ALL CONFERENCE ATTENDEES EVERY THURSDAY.  IT ARRIVES VIA EMAIL (THE EMAIL YOU USED TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE) FROM CAROL BRYANT (Carol@blogpaws.com).

 DOES YOUR BLOG VISUALLY REPRESENT YOUR BRAND IN THE BEST POSSIBLE LIGHT?  IF YOU'RE NOT SURE,  TAKE A LOOK AT THE FREE BLOGPAWS DOWNLOADABLE WORKBOOK, HOW TO PREP YOUR BLOG FOR THE BLOGPAWS CONFERENCE.  THE TASKS IN THE WORKBOOK WILL HELP YOU POLISH UP YOUR BLOG IN PREPARATION FOR THE CONFERENCE.

 BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE UPDATED CONFERENCE SPONSOR TWITTER LIST AND THE CONFERENCE SPEAKER TWITTER LIST.  FOLLOW  & ENGAGE WITH CONFERENCE SPONSORS AND SPEAKERS!

Gain Social Media and Blogging insights from BlogPaws Conference Keynote Speakers
Gain valuable insights from the Expert BlogPaws Keynote Speakers!

AT THE CONFERENCE:


🌝 WHEN YOU'RE AT THE CONFERENCE, ENGAGE WITH THE SPONSORS!  VISIT THEIR BOOTHS IN THE EXHIBIT HALL AND CHAT THEM UP IN THE DINING AREAS.  IF IT SEEMS A BIT INTIMIDATING AT FIRST, HERE ARE SOME GREAT TIPS FROM FELISSA ELFENBEIN, DIRECTOR OF INFLUENCER MARKETING AT BLOGPAWS, AND AUTHOR OF THE BLOG TWO LITTLE CAVALIERS:


Tips on how to engage with BlogPaws Conference Sponsors.  Show the sponsors some Love!
Show our Conference Sponsors some Love!  Follow these tips from Felissa Elfenbein on engaging with sponsors at the conference.

🌝 JOIN US FOR THE OFFICIAL BLOGPAWS 2017 PRESS CONFERENCE ON THURSDAY, MAY 18th AT 9:45am SHARP IN THE MAIN EXHIBIT HALL!  THE PRESS CONFERENCE WILL BE BRIEF SO DON'T BLINK OR YOU MIGHT MISS IT!

🌝 FOLLOW THE BLOGPAWS CONFERENCE HASHTAG, #BLOGPAWS TO STAY UP TO DATE ON WHAT'S HAPPENING THROUGHOUT THE CONFERENCE.  YOU CAN FOLLOW THE CONFERENCE FACEBOOK PAGE AS WELL.

🌝 DON'T MISS A BEHIND THE SCENES SNEAK PEEK FEATURETTE OF THE NEW MOVIE, MEGAN LEAVEY ! THE MOVIE IS BASED ON A TRUE STORY OF A MARINE AND HER K-9 HERO, REX.  THE MOVIE WON'T BE RELEASED UNTIL JUNE, BUT CONFERENCE ATTENDEES ARE GETTING A SNEAK PEAK!  THE FEATURETTE WILL BE SHOWN DURING BREAKFAST ON THURSDAY MAY 18th, 8:30am.  BE SURE TO MARK YOURSELF AS ATTENDING ON THE BLOGPAWS BLOGPAWS SCHED PAGE; http://blogp.ws/BP17Agenda  & BRING TISSUES!


🌝🌝 TOP OFF AN AMAZING CONFERENCE EXPERIENCE WITH THE NOSE TO NOSE AWARDS AND DINNER!  WALK THE RED CARPET AND CHEER FOR ALL THE TALENTED AWARDS FINALISTS, THEN CELEBRATE AT THE AFTER PARTY!  


TIME IS RUNNING OUT, CONFERENCE TICKETS ARE NEARLY SOLD OUT!

Enhance your Blogging & Social Media Skills at the BlogPaws Conference
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
May 18 - 20, 2017 
Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel


STAY CONNECTED, FOLLOW BLOGPAWS ON TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, AND FACEBOOK!!


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of BlogPaws. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding hearts are among the most beautiful and delicate flowers.  I plant two types in my garden, the Fern Leaf Bleeding Heart and the Traditional Bleeding Heart.

Dogs in the garden

Fern Leaf Bleeding Hearts are strong and resilient.  They bloom early and last throughout the entire growing season. 

Dog among the bleeding hearts flowers

Traditional Bleeding Hearts are fragile.  They bloom early but their beauty is fleeting, only lasting a few short weeks.

My dog Phoebe among the bleeding heart flowers in the garden

My Bleeding Hearts are dedicated to my friend Susan who is going through a terrible and painful time in her life right now.  She is like the Fern Leaf Bleeding Heart, strong and resilient.  Like so many others, my thoughts and prayers are with her today.  Stay strong, friend.

"That which does not kill you makes you stronger" -   Friedrich Nietzsche, German Philosopher

THIS IS THE BLOGPAWS WORDLESS WEDNESDAY BLOG HOP!!


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Perfect Dog

Life is full of "First's".  The first time you rode a bicycle, your first day of school, your first best friend, and of course your first pet.  The bond we form with our pets as children is a special and unbreakable one.  It stays with you forever, and in many ways it changes us.

I will always remember my first dog, Ginny.  She is what people would call my "Heart Dog", the one that grabs hold of your heart and soul and never lets go, never leaves you for the rest of your life.  As the youngest of 5 kids, I literally grew up with Ginny.  I hardly remember a day in my young life without her.  I was 7 when that fluffy bundle of joy, a Golden Retriever mix, joined our family.  She left us 17 years later when I was in my twenties.  Ginny was everything to me; my best friend, my respite from an otherwise chaotic household, and my protector.  She always "understood" me. She knew when something was wrong and when I needed someone to comfort me.

You never forget your first dog.  My first dog Ginny was such an important part of my childhood.
My childhood dog Ginny, my Heart Dog.  I will love you forever sweet girl.
I have so many wonderful memories of Ginny, she was truly a special dog.  I know we all say that about our childhood pets, but she really was!  She never needed any kind of training, she instantly grasped all the basic commands and never misbehaved.  Wherever you went Ginny always remained at your side.  She was super smart, friendly, always gave kisses in abundance, and was as loyal as any dog could be.  She loved everyone she met and everyone she met loved her!  I was so lucky and so blessed to have Ginny in my life.  To me she was the perfect dog.

When my older brother and I fought she would get in between us and start barking, like a Canine Referee.  We'd have to laugh and stop fighting!

When things got "heavy" at home and I was upset she'd come over and lay her head on my knee or nuzzle me to let me know she was there for me and that it would be ok.  

I was a teenager when an Uncle I loved dearly was in the hospital.  We didn't know if he was going to make it through a complicated surgery (he didn't), and I was left home alone while my parents rushed to the hospital.  I was sitting on a living room chair crying when Ginny came over and placed her head on my knee.  She licked my tears away as I hugged her vigorously.  She knew when I really needed her.

Oh, how I wish I had a photo of Ginny dressed like Cinderella that Halloween I decided to bring her Trick or Treating with me and my friends!  I remember putting her in a blue Cinderella princess dress from my Halloween costume the year before - Ginny was nothing if not a cooperative dog who only wanted to please her owners.  

The neighbors got a kick out of this beautiful Golden Retriever dog who came to the door dressed as Cinderella.  In those days, we didn't dress our pets up or spoil and pamper them like we do today.  Although my Mom did make her a bowl of meatballs and spaghetti so she could join in our Italian family dinners on Sundays!  Not giving the dog people food that could be potentially toxic wasn't of particular concern back then either.  My Father declared Ginny "An Italian dog" because of the way she devoured Mom's meatballs - she made the best meatballs!  Living in an Italian household, Ginny probably ingested more garlic than any other dog in the county, never mind that garlic is toxic to dogs!

My first dog Ginny.  I was 7 when we adopted her and in my 20's when she passed away.  My Heart Dog, Ginny
Ginny loved running free through the woods next door to our house.
Like all our pets, Ginny was a shelter dog, and like many Long Islanders we got her from the Bideawee Home animal shelter.  I remember my Dad loading my brother and I into the car to "go get a dog" at Bideawee.  I remember looking into the cages and seeing a litter of adorable puppies, Ginny among them.  I remember the car ride home and how me and my brother fought to hold our new little golden ball of fur in our laps.  I remember the whole family, my parents and my 4 siblings, gathered around this new puppy in the family room brainstorming to come up with a name for her.  I don't recall who came up with "Ginny" but it was perfect, and to this little girl she was perfect.

Ginny definitely had us all at "woof".  She captivated our entire family for 17 years.  Decades later I still think of Ginny and what she meant to me.  It's amazing that after so many years, I can still vividly remember the glorious experience of going to adopt my first dog, and so many of the wonderful experiences I had with her.  


I am proof positive that giving a child a pet can be the most wonderful gift of all. Pets can teach a child so much; Responsibility, Kindness, and most of all Unconditional Love.  I'm filled with gratitude to Bideawee for giving my family the joy of our lives, a Golden Retriever mix puppy who for us was The Perfect Dog.   

POPULAR POSTS:

There's a Rescue Organization For Every Breed Of Dog

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Do you remember your first pet?  Tell us about it in the comments!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Flowers For Angel Dory

I always say, one of the best things about blogging is all the wonderful pets you come to know and love through their blogs.  The worst thing is having to say goodbye to some of those beautiful pets.  Last week we said goodbye to Dory, from the blog Dory's Backyard.  On this Blog Hop we all come together to honor Dory with a Flowers For Dory Tribute.

Saying goodbye to our sweet friend Dory from Dory's Backyard.
Look at Dory's gorgeous smile, This beautiful photo was borrowed from the blogs Kinley Westie and  Dory's Backyard  Join us on this special Blog Hop, Flowers For  Dory, below
I loved seeing photos of Dory on her blog, Dory's Backyard.  She had the most adorable smile.   

Flowers For Dory, a tribute to Dory from Dory's Backyard

Jakey, Bilbo, and Arty will miss their big sister terribly.  Perhaps she'll visit them in their dreams to let them know she's ok and will wait for them on the Rainbow Bridge.


Dory was such a sweetie.  I will miss seeing her adorable little face on the blog.  I'm sending a photo of my favorite kind of flowers, the puppydog bouquet, in Dory's honor.

A Flower Puppy as tribute to our friend Dory, from Dory's Backyard

Run free, playing on the Rainbow Bridge,  Angel Dory!


THIS IS A BLOG HOP IN HONOR OF DORY, FROM DORY'S BACKYARD

Friday, April 21, 2017

Two Adoptable Dogs Looking For LOVE!

There are several days in April devoted to pet adoption, but really Anytime is a great time to give a shelter pet a home!  There are so many pets in need at shelters and rescues everywhere.

Today I'm spotlighting two dogs beautiful shelter dogs who are in need of a loving home.  They are from Bideawee, in Long Island New York.  I grew up on Long Island, and Bideawee has been a fixture in our community ever since I can remember.  Talk to any native Long Islander and chances are a good percentage of them will say they adopted a pet from Bideawee at some point in their lives!

The two dogs I'm spotlighting today are Frank and Neida.  They are Long Stay adoptable animals at Bideawee who need a little extra care and patience.  They are part of Bideawee's Long Stay Animals, known as the Bideawee Bunch.  Frank and Neida have been waiting for quite some time for that special person or family to take them home! 

Adoptable dog Neida is a beautiful Border Collie/Terrier mix in need of a loving home from Bideawee
Neida, a beautiful girl in need of a loving home
It isn't every day that you meet a lady as unique and gorgeous as this gal! Please allow me to introduce you to Neida, a Border Collie/Terrier mix. She is a stunningly beautiful 6-year-old pooch, who boasts one sky blue eye, and one that's cocoa-brown! Neida is full of personality and affection and has been with us here at Bideawee for over a year. 


Adoptable dog neida has been waiting for a home for over a year at the Bideawee shelter, New York

Neida's dream home would be the one that can give her all the time and patience that she deserves, so she can settle in, and bond with her family gently and quietly. She longs for a family that she can trust, and who will make her feel safe. In return, Neida promises a lifetime of love, friendship, and faithfulness.  If she sounds like the girl for you, then please ask about Neida!  Find Neida's online profile on this page.


Handsome adoptable dog Frank waiting for a home at the Bideawee shelter in New York
Handsome Frank is looking for someone to love who will love him back!
Everyone please come on over and meet Frank! He is a charming and handsome 3 year old Chinese Shar-Pei mix, who dons the most adorable little ears! If they don't get you, Frank's wrinkly face and happy-go-lucky smile certainly will. Over-flowing with spirit and love, Frank is gung-ho for his people pals and playtime alike. He loves to run around and play games! Weighing in at 50 pounds, he's a great size for anyone seeking a medium-sized companion! Frank is seeking an adult-only home that can provide him with daily exercise, adventures, and playtime. A home with a canine companion is a possibility as well, as long as Frank and his future doggie siblings hit it off on the meet and greet! If Frank sounds like the one, please ask about adopting him today.  Find Frank's online profile on this page.

Frank and Neida's adoption fees have already been covered so their adoptions are FREE!  Contact BIDEAWEE if you are interested in Frank (ID: 1650 or Neida (ID: 0809) they're at the West Hampton location.


Bideawee is America's First No-Kill Animal Rescue, saving lives since 1903
There was a third dog named Scout in the Bideawee Bunch that I was supposed to spotlight as well.  He had been at Bideawee for Five long years!  That is way too long for any pet to wait for a loving home!  I just learned that Scout has finally been adopted!  I am overjoyed to see this long timer finally go to a forever HOME.  Scout is proof that no matter how bleak a shelter pet's future seems, there is always hope.

Bideawee is a wonderful organization.  They do so much for pets in need throughout our community.  They are extra special to me for two reasons;  


😺 Icy and I do our Therapy Dog volunteer work through Bideawee.  They provide us with assignment where we can do the most good helping people, and they give us the support we need to do so.

😺 The biggest reason Bideawee is so special to me is that I'm filled with gratitude to them for giving my family the joy of our lives, Ginny, a Golden Retriever mix.  I was 7 years old when we got Ginny, and in my early twenties when we lost her.  Having Ginny in my life was so important to me, she was one of the greatest gifts a child could have in her life.  She was my true Heart Dog.  


My childhood dog Ginny, the joy of my life.  I'm so grateful to have loved you, I'll never stop missing you my sweet girl.
Frank and Neida could be one of the greatest gifts in someone's life too, if given the chance.  I hope you'll consider giving Frank or Neida a loving home.  If you can't adopt right now, please share this to help them find a loving home with someone else!

Thank You!!


JOIN US ON THE PET PARADE BLOG HOP!!


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Improve Your Social Media and Blogging Skills At The BlogPaws Conference

BlogPaws is the premier online social media company for Bloggers, Micro-bloggers, & Social Media Influencers.  Enhance your Blogging & Social Media Skills! 
Join us at the BlogPaws Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina! 
May 18 - 20, 2017 
Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel
Myrtle Beach, SC 
This post is sponsored by the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated as a BlogPaws Conference Ambassador to help share information about the BlogPaws 2017 Conference but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article

Have you registered for the BlogPaws Conference and reserved your hotel room at the Reduced conference attendee's rate yet?

If you haven't registered don't delay, this conference WILL sell out!  Register for the conference and enter code:  BP17-10off-Ambassador to get my 10% Ambassador's Conference Discount!




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As a Conference Ambassador, I'm pleased to offer you my AMBASSADOR 10% CONFERENCE DISCOUNT!!  Use the code  BP17-10off-Ambassador to receive 10% off the price of your conference ticket!  Click here to Purchase Your Conference Ticket   (discount applies only to the conference ticket, not hotel or airfare and is not available to members of the BlogPaws Influencer Network i.e. those who have gotten paid for campaigns through the BlogPaws network)
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If you've bought your conference ticket but haven't reserved your hotel room at the discounted conference rate, don't wait!  There are only a limited number of hotel rooms at the discounted conference rate at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel so Reserve Your Conference Hotel Room now!

BlogPaws 2017  Conference will sell out so don't delay, get your tickets & reserve your hotel room now!
Our beautiful conference venue, the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel
Still on the fence about going to the BlogPaws Conference?  Follow this link to LEARN MORE about the BlogPaws 2017 Conference in Myrtle Beach, S C 

My BlogPaws Conference Story:

When I first started blogging I had no idea what I was doing, and I didn't know any other bloggers out there.  My friends and family weren't bloggers and didn't understand what I was trying to accomplish with my blog.  I had no network of like-minded pet lovers that I could share with or learn from, I was eager to connect with an online community.  

Finding BlogPaws was a total game changer for me.  If I hadn't found BlogPaws I would have given up on blogging and social media altogether.  That would have meant giving up on my passion for sharing what I know about pets and animal welfare, and turning that passion into a full time endeavor.  It may sound a bit extreme but it's true, I was only a few months from giving it up completely because I felt like my blog was going nowhere fast!

I found BlogPaws in 2014 and it changed everything for me. I quickly discovered that I didn't know what I didn't know about blogging and social media!  My first conference was a whirlwind of learning and networking.  I knew there was a way to make blogging a business and that there were people doing it. The trouble was, I had NO IDEA how to do it!  But by the end of the conference I felt like the full time blogging life I was dreaming about could actually become a reality!  Thanks to the learning sessions at the conference I had a better understanding of how to "monetize" a blog, how to use social media to promote content and much more

After that first conference, I was on my way to pursuing a life of working from home as a pet blogger and social media influencer.  BlogPaws conferences offer learning sessions at all levels, so each year I've learned and grown my blogging and social media skills more and more.  I've expanded my network of bloggers, social media experts, and brands as well.

In reviewing my Blogging Goals for 2017,  I'm thinking about which Agenda Topics will be the most relevant for me to attend at this year's conference.  Here are just some of the sessions I'm most looking forward to attending:

One of my goals is always to continue growing my blog, so I will definitely benefit from attending one of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) sessions.  SEO optimizing each of my blog posts will help me get my numbers up.  It's not all about the numbers of course, but if I'm putting my heart and soul into everything I write, and I want to consider my blog a business (I do!), then understanding and utilizing SEO is a must.  There's a session for beginners and one for advanced bloggers, I just might attend them both!

 Another goal of mine is to line up more campaigns for myself.  The working session on What Are You Worth In 2017 And How To Make Brands Believe It is definitely on my radar!  There's also a Branding Workshop that will talk about creating a blogging brand strategy and what brands are looking for in the Influencers they choose to work with on their campaigns.

 Online Video Marketing has begun to dominate, especially on social media channels.  Hubspot.com reported that "by 2017 online video will account for 74% of all web traffic"  Needless to say, a session on improving video skills is on my agenda.  There are two great video sessions offered at the same time, I've got 3 weeks to decide which one to take!

 How To Set up Shop and Monetize Selling Your Own Product is another one I'm interested in.  I've got a product idea but I'm not sure how to bring it to fruition.  I'm really looking forward to getting some solid guidance at this session!

 Fabulous Keynote Speakers always provide a wealth of information and a hefty does of motivation!  I can't wait to see what Digital Marketing expert Jay Baer and expert Marketing Strategist Kathleen Gage have to share with us.


And of course there's  FUN stuff like the Yappy Hours, the Revamped Cat Lounge, the Special Events hosted by conference sponsors, and the Conference Grand Finale, the Nose To Nose Awards Dinner!

Whatever level your social media or blogging knowledge and skills are at, there are presentations and sessions that are right for you.  The BlogPaws conference is jam packed with sessions that will help you enhance and expand your blogging and social media skillset.

BlogPaws blogging & social media Conferences are totally Pet Friendly so you can bring your furry, feathered, or scaly muse along!  Get your conference ticket & book your hotel room, before they sell out!
BlogPaws conferences are totally PET FRIENDLY!  That's right, you can bring your furry, feathered, or scaly Muse along!
Stay current with all the BlogPaws conference happenings by checking in on the BlogPaws Conference Facebook Page!  

I regularly visit the BlogPaws web site to stay current with all things blogging, social media and pets!  The myriad of social media, blogging, and pet-related educational articles and resources on the BlogPaws site is unparalleled!  There's so much to learn and share on the BlogPaws web site and it's FREE!

BlogPaws is an inclusive, global community of pet enthusiasts who write about and support pets via social media.  They connect brands with pet parents and pet parents with each other.  BlogPaws is  shaping social media excellence, influence and education one amazing pet parent at a time!

Stay connected with BlogPaws and the BlogPaws community on social media!


What are you hoping to achieve for your blog and social media strategy this year?  How do you think the BlogPaws conference might help you accomplish your goals?  Leave us a comment, we'd love to know what you think!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of BlogPaws. The opinions and text are all mine.