Saturday, January 6, 2018

Pet Blogger Challenge 2018

Wow, another year has gone by. This one actually felt pretty long, though, for a number of reasons. Short or long, it has come to an end, and it is time for the annual Pet Blogger Challenge blog hop hosted by Go Pet Friendly.


Go Pet Friendly is a fantastic website, featuring all things related to traveling with your dog and more.

It has been a few times I have taken this challenge, and it is always fun to go through the questions and learn about fellow pet bloggers. So let's get to it.

Jasmine is the force and inspiration behind my blogging and writing. Since her passing, this is now her legacy.

1. For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic?


I don't know how many times I've answered this question, but every time I do, I have to go and look it up. Here it is--I started in 2010. Closing in on an anniversary! My main topic has been the same all along - owner to owner dog health advocacy topics. Sharing our journey and challenges so others don't have to learn the hard way like we did.

2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2017?


Two things. Firstly, I don't do pride; it might be the way I was raised. If I did good, it was expected. No accolades. My life's goal never was to achieve something to be proud of but rather to avoid things I'd have to be embarrassed by. Though that bit did not always work out as planned. Secondly, I confess I did have something as close to being proud of achievement in the past year as I'm gonna get, but it's not directly related to the blog. It was finishing, publishing, and, can you believe it, getting recognition for my book, Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog. So, wow, I'm still trying to get over that.

3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why?


Aren't you suppose to love all your children equally? Ha! My favorite, since I have to pick, isn't a post but a series. Because I write about dog health issues, I was asked several times to write something more generic about improving dogs' well-being and health. I put together a series on dog longevity topics. That would be my favorite. The latest post is here and at the end are links to all the other articles in the series.

Cookie, Jasmine's heiress, walks in Jasmine's shoes in every way, good and bad. That includes health issues.

4. In terms of your blog, how do you measure success?


Typically, blog success is measured by the number of visitors. I measure it by the number of dogs I find out were helped by some of the articles.

5. In what ways has your blog changed during 2017?


It hasn't, really. It hasn't changed much since the beginning. I might experiment with different ways of presenting the information, such as the series mentioned above, or different columns, but those are all really just the logistics. The goal and the message have been the same.

6. What was the biggest blogging challenge you overcame in 2017, and what did you learn that could help other bloggers?


Same as every year, my biggest blogging challenge is time. I have not, nor I plan to monetize my blog, so I can only devote my free time to it. And there hasn't been much of that. Why I haven't monetized my blog? I don't want to write posts around a product pitch. I want to write what I feel I need to write. I am not a salesperson by any stretch of imagination. I'm having a hard enough time plugging in promotion for my own book.

7. When things get hard, what keeps you blogging? 


The mission. It's the mission that drives me.

8. Looking forward to 2018, what are you hoping to accomplish on your blog?


Nothing different from any other year, just keeping on with the mission.

9. In addition to what you’d like to accomplish, is here one specific skill you’d like to improve or master this year?


Blog-related skills? Yeah, I should improve my SEO skills. Maybe one day. Or maybe one day I'll just be able to hire somebody for that. Wouldn't that be nice?

10. My question for the pet blogging community?


How about a request instead? Does anybody want to share their dog health challenges story on my blog? Or we could do a blog hop.

I always look for real-life stories. People learn so much more from an actual story than from any presentation. Would you guys want to work with me on a series such as, for example, Symptom(s) I Wish I Noticed in My Dog? Imagine how many people we might be able to help that way.


43 comments

  1. Publishing your book is a great accomplishment for 2017. If anything, your book should keep people from feeling foolish when they want to address symptoms that aren't seen as serious.

    Just this week, a retired vet in our marina thought I was too worried about Honey having a UTI. Even if not life threatening, I can't see ignoring a problem that could be painful.

    I could see a blog hop that supports people addressing chronic health trouble in their pets to be really useful. Have you brought it up in one of the BlogPaws groups?

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    1. Thank you, Pamela. Nobody should ever feel foolish bringing up a concern. Most of the time, dog parents are proven right. I could only work with a vet who takes any of my concerns seriously, regardless of how silly and unimportant they might seem.

      No, didn't bring it up anywhere yet, came up as I was doing this challenge.

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  2. I would like to feature your book on That Mutt this year, so I will email you about that.

    If you're interested, I could share a story on your blog about the health issues Ace was having awhile back (with that odd drain tract). It turned out to be an autoimmune issue called Panniculitis where the fatty layer under the skin gets inflamed. I appreciated your support during that time trying to figure out his problems!

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    1. Hi Lindsay, lovely. Yes, please email me about that.

      Yes, I'd absolutely love for you to share Ace's story(ies). It doesn't matter if it's an older story or a new one; the "take home" doesn't change.

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    2. OK I'll get in touch with you later in the month!

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  3. Publishing your book is HUGE!!! Congrats!

    My blog is also mission-driven so I totally respect that. I love your idea of blog hop based around chronic health issues. I would definitely participate as Ruby has a few ongoing issues.

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    1. Thank you :-) I think mission is important. One needs to have something to say.

      I'd love for you to participate, if you'd like, shoot me an email.

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  4. You should be SO PROUD of your book and the recognition it's received. What an incredible achievement. I've always loved your blog. I may not always comment (because I often have crap all of value to add), but it's such a comfort to know it and all your due diligence is here. I recommend it to people searching out info on specific canine health topics all the time.

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    1. Thank you :-) I have a hard time believing you have crap all of value to add. But you're right, no point to "great blog" type of comments.

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  5. Kudos to you on your book! I often come here when I'm trying to sort something out with the dogs.

    You may remember a few years back we did the Caring for Critters round robin. It was very well received and many readers shared stories of injuries or illness with their pets, and how they treated it. You could do something along those lines. And you know I'd participate as we've been encountering a number of issues with the senior dogs.

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    1. Thank you, Jodi. Yes, I remember that one. Something like that would certainly work.

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  6. Congratulations on publishing your first book, you should be very proud and not be afraid to promote it! Just think about how many dogs you can help just by sharing it.

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    1. Thank you, Debi. I'm a horrible marketer.

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  7. Hi Jana! IMHO, I think getting recognized for writing your book really does tie to your blog. You write about health advocacy on this blog and the book is an extension of that mission. And when you measure success by the number of dogs whose lives were improved because their human read something on your blog, imagine how many dogs may be helped because their owners read your book? I just see what you write as symbiotic: blog feeds book and vice versa. In terms of your request. Bernie has atypical Addison's Disease. We were able to diagnose him early because Matthew and I are both pretty OCD, so we wouldn't let his symptoms go. We also got lucky with an ER Vet who truly heard us and made the "off-the-wall" suggestion to test him for Addison's to rule it out.

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    1. Thank you, Irene.

      Yes, Bernie's story would be extremely helpful to other people. I'd be happy to publish that.

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  8. Wow, Jana - publishing your book is a huge accomplishment! Congratulations! I'm working on a book now, and I know how difficult it is to fit that in around all the other commitments.

    We're dealing with dealing with some chronic health issues here, too. I think doing a blog hop is a terrific idea! There are so many things I wish I'd known to watch for in the dogs. Now that they're 13 and 10, it seems all I do is look for any sign that something is out of the ordinary.

    Thanks for taking the Challenge once again, and I hope 2018 is a terrific year for you!

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  9. Hello, greeting from Indonesia!

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    1. Thank you, Amy. How exciting, I can see how your book is going to be fantastic, judging by your blog.

      Blog hop would be terrific; how do we go about it?

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  10. I have two senior dogs so the dog health challenge stories may be coming on my blog. I'd be willing to join a blog hop or possibly a guest post if I have something worth sharing. That's awesome you published your book! Congratulations and all the best to you in 2018!

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    1. Great; it would be awesome to get enough people sharing stories as part of one campaign.

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  11. I absolutely LOVE your answer to how you measure success! That was beautiful to read! I agree the whole point of any of this is to help animals and those who love them!

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    1. Thank you; yes I believe that's the only meaningful measure.

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  12. Your book is a wonderful resource for any dog lover. You are most definitely accomplishing your mission. I know that I'm a much better advocate for my dogs since I started reading your blog regularly.

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  13. First congratulations on the publishing of your book and would be happy to do a shout out about it on one of my blogs during the year. Doing the blog hop sounds like a fantastic idea and would be happy to join in and discuss Layla and her itchies - how I solved them. Happy 2018

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    1. Thank you so much, Ruth. Wanna do a book review? Let me know and I'll shoot you a copy.

      I would very much like you sharing your medical challenges with your dogs.

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  14. Congratulations on publishing your book, that is an amazing accomplishment! Your hard work and effort is very much appreciated for all dog owners, including myself!

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    1. Thank you, Katie, I hope you'll read it then? ;-)

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  15. You’ve accomplished so much in 2018. Congratulations! I would like to see more about your own dogs and their adventures.

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    1. Ah, adventures :-) They are mostly the same - frog hunting in the summer, mouse hunting the rest of the year, bunny tracking ... Of course, I have been sharing medical "adventures."

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  16. I always love to read the pet blogger challenge answers. I did it a few years ago but haven't participated in awhile. Love reading the stories of where you started, accomplishments you have done and where you want your blog to go.

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    1. Lots of intriguing stories, aren't there?

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  17. I've enjoyed following your blog this year and learning about the health of dogs. Congratulations on your newly published book!

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    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed reading.

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  18. This was so interesting to read and I love how it gives us insight into you and your blog. I love that your goal is to improve pet's lives rather than reach more people. I can relate to that, although sometimes it's easy to get sucked in to what people expect. Congratulations on all your recognition and success!

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    1. Thank you, Heather. I think we all have to do what we feel we have to do.

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  19. I think the fact that you've maintained the blog the same way as you began is something to be proud of, that's very hard to do. And the book, well that's huge! I've had lots of health issues with my dogs, Taffy chronic bronchitis and Dolly pancreatitis. I've written thoroughly on both so would love to share if you like. Sandra and Dolly

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    1. Thank you, Dolly. Yes, I would very much like for you to share those stories.

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  20. Congratulations on the book! I'm so excited for you. What an amazing accomplishment.

    My biggest health challenge is Sydney's thryoid health. Getting weight off of her while making sure she eats enough for energy is a challenge. I finally invested in a home scale for the dogs so that I can track their weight and she is trimming down, but not as fast as I'd like.

    Exercise is also a challenge because of her arthritis. I got some great tips from a trainer so now I just need to be patient.

    Have a fantastic 2018!!!

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  21. Thank you, Kimberly. So unexpected.

    Thyroid health is actually a hot topic, even though not much talked about. So sharing that would absolutely be helpful.

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  22. Special needs/health challenges are close to my heart having had a Diabetic Dog and recently a Senior with Arthritis and Cushing's disease. I'd definitely be interested in a blog hop.
    Congratulations on your book! It sounds like a topic that will be so helpful.

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  23. I love that it's not about the money for you, more about helping others. Ladies and dogs and gentlemen, we are here presented with a good person. Keep up the astounding work! :)

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  24. Congratulations on the book! That's a huge accomplishment! I would absolutely be interested in a blog hop. I am currently working on a post (maybe a series) about Lila and her coprophagia. Not the prettiest topic but it's generating some great content ;-)

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