|Scratching belly of "flat cat|
This year I went to my first Blog Paws conference. What is it? It's a pet blogger's conference! It doesn't matter if your pet is a dog, cat, ferret, horse, or chimpanzee or if you work for a vet or rescue shelter. All pet owners, educators and caretakers were welcome and their pets!
Fortunately, I've had the opportunity to appear on local TV and magazines for Riverfront Cats to raise awareness and educate the public about the plight of homeless cat, but blogging is a powerful way to regularly engage readers and motivate them to take action--pass on information about homeless cats or make a donation or both. There's so much to blogging than just writing. It's a bit of an art and science involving marketing, branding, social media, networking and more. This conference updated me on proven practices and techniques.
One of the highlights was meeting famous bloggers that I had communicated with for months over email and Facebook but never met. So as I was staring at the name on the badge, the light bulb went off, and a verbal explosion and refrain ensued, "Oh my cat! You're Janea from Paws and Effect!". These are bloggers who excel at the trade and focus on the cute, the funny, their personal cats, cat behavior, or cat toys and furniture, etc. and have a loyal following. Each of these people have inspired me one way or another.
|Deb Barnes, Christine Michaels, Dorian Wagner|
(now do we look like crazy cat ladies?)
Two people who went above and beyond blogging about the Loews Hotel cats are Deb Barnes author of The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey, and blogger, and Dorian Wagner of My Daily Cute blog. Their efforts demonstrate that concerted tactics, incorporated into a blog, is powerful!
Thank you Deb & Dorian--you are amazing! (I think it's time we have Cat Lady hero costumes made!)
|Christine, Dorian, Tamar, Debbie|
(Debbie won award for best Meow blog--Glogirly Congrats!)
Like any conference, vendors were available to showcase new products and explain their benefits. I was amazed at the advancement and creativity of pet products from food, nutrition, grooming, training, odor control, pet decor and furniture, and the importance of a "Pet Trust" instead of a will to ensure your pets are protected like children and not used furniture that can easily be discarded at a shelter. Very informative and useful information for all pet owners. Off the top of my head was Rachel Ray's Nutrish (pet food), the FURminator (a grooming tool), and Pet360 (education on pet parenting).
Blog Paws thought of everything. With increasing popularity of cats, this conference featured a "Catification Lounge" and a treasure room of modern cat furniture from Moderncat.net hosted by Kate Benjamin and Jackson Galaxy.
The conference also featured high caliber speakers such as Steve Dale, Lena West, and Betsy Saul, co-founder of Petfinder.com. For me, Betsy struck a deep chord. Her presentation covered the history of animal rescue and the current, harsh realities about the biggest problem--stray and feral cats. She spoke about leadership and what it takes to start a movement. She then asked us to have the courage to get out of our comfort zone and be willing to start the crazy dance (see video below) and lead this effort. I'm sitting in the back of the room percolating-- "Betsy, I've been doing the crazy dance in Miami!" It was an affirmation, a sign from God, from Bast, the universe--I'm on the right track and in the right place with the right people. Hence my decision to formally start a nonprofit to get to the root of the problem of homeless pets-- EDUCATION--is my movement. http://www.pawsitivelyhumane.org/
Thank you Blog Paws and fellow bloggers! You have inspired me more than you know. Together we can make a difference and help many homeless pets!!!