Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pet Blogger Challenge 2017: Time, Time, Time is Not on My Side

One thing I really hate doing and am terrible at, is writing about myself or my work. It is the most painful thing for me whether it relates to my job or to anything else. I can talk about dogs to no end but if you want me to talk about myself, it will be a two-minute conversation.

It is only for the sake of being social that, once a year, I bite my lip and take part in this challenge.

1. When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for the first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?

I started blogging in 2010, wow. My blog is mostly about dog health advocacy, dog health issues, symptoms to watch for, and veterinary articles and news. Sometimes I post about behavior or training but not very often. I do include stories about my dogs or friends' dogs if they are about health challenges from which others can learn. My blog is open to guest posts--real-life stories about health challenges you've gone through with your dog.

My blog is meant to be a resource, mostly trying to teach people what to look for and how to find the right questions. Without the right questions, there are no right answers. Or the answers might not make any sense, such as the famous answer to life, the universe, and everything, which is 42. (If you read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.)

2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?

For me, the proudest moment of 2016, while dog-related, has nothing to do with blogging. I don't do pride, I don't know how. I don't feel proud, with this one exception. The exception is having become a true hunting partner to Cookie. I was her "frog spotter" and I was able to help her catch a mouse on a few occasions. Not just staying out of the way and not being an obstacle, but actually helping. Becoming more valuable to Cookie did make me feel proud.

As for the blog, I was extremely busy with work and we had a bunch of other challenges, so just keeping the blog up as much as I did was an accomplishment in 2016.

3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

If I had to pick one it would be the interview I got with Dr. Neil Embleton about Simitri Stable in Stride, a new surgical repair for cruciate ligament tears. It originates in Canada and stabilizes the knee with a hinge. We really like this approach and are watching closely where it's going. Ever since Jasmine bilateral cruciate tear, and having large breed dogs, I've been following cruciate repair techniques with great interest. Cookie too had a partial cruciate tear early last year. It was a partial tear and we decided to treat with platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP). By all measures it worked well but there is still the potential that what made the ligament fail the first time might do it again. There may or may not be a knee surgery in Cookie's future and this one is our top contender. There is actually a story behind my finding out about it, which in itself is interesting enough.

4. Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?

Year after year I never had time to pay attention to such things and yet my stats have increased. I'd be damned if I knew why or how. I would like to reach even more people but so far all I can do is to find enough time to write the posts. So in my case, it's strictly the content itself that brings people in.

5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?

Yes, there is a clear trend and it's the same one as it has been in the past. The most visited posts are those about various symptoms to watch for in dogs, such as excessive drooling, drinking, panting, head shaking, bad odor etc. Some of the articles about cruciate injuries, particularly post-op care are also at the top of the most visited posts.

6. What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)

There are many wonderful blogs out there, most of which I don't have time to read. I mostly only read veterinary articles and blogs. One new, very good veterinary blog is CriticalCareDVM, written by a veterinary specialist, Dr. Christopher Byers. It contains easy-to-understand, comprehensive articles about various medical issues that are likely to land your dog with a specialist or at a specialty hospital.

The most inspirational one, though, I think would be Diary of a Real-Life Veterinarian, written by my wonderful friend, Dr. Krista Magnifico. Her mission and dedication to animals runs deep and drives everything she does. Her passion for animals is contagious. It doesn't really inspire my blog per se, because my blog's mission was given to me by Jasmine, but it strengthens and enforces my drive to help.

7. What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?

I don't know if there is anything they wouldn't know if they wanted to. I'm a very transparent person and blog about my dogs regularly as well as share on Facebook. Even though, even after 21 years of being together I still surprise hubby from time to time. The last surpsising finding was that I was a closeted pyromaniac LOL. It came to surface since we started using a wood stove for heat.

I don't know how many people know that I do graphic design for living. It's not a secret either, though.

8. What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?

Since I barely had enough time to keep the blog up, I haven't learned anything groundbreaking about blogging, sorry.

9. What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?

My mission remains, my goal is helping as many dogs as possible. Just recently I came across and I would like to try and get some funding going to be able to devote more time to writing. With more time I could write more and better articles.

10. Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?

I'm always open to input and constructive criticism. I'd love to have some meaningful questions but if I did, I'd probably have found the answers as well. Since as I said, knowing the questions is the way to the answers and solutions.

One thing I'd like to know is what you guys using to streamline and automate crossposting between social media platforms.


  1. Congrats on your numbers continuing to rise!

  2. ...and what a great resource it is ! :)

    on the crossposting tools, we only use twitterfeed for twitter, nothing for FB...

    1. Thank you! And thank you for the tip; it would be nice to have one that does all. Oh well.

  3. Thanks for sharing, really enjoyed reading your post - this is my first blog hop. The only shortcut I use for crossposting is linking my twitter and facebook to instagram, so I can share quickly. I've dabbled in HootSuite but not active enough to use it to it's fullest.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed your first blog hop. Thank you for sharing the tip.

  4. Hi Jana, and thanks for taking part in the Challenge again this year! Sometimes life takes over and just keeping our head above water is we can do - that's an accomplishment in itself.

    Your blog is a great resource, and I'm grateful for it. For pre-scheduling and posting across platforms, I love Buffer. They have a free version, but if you upgrade to the $10 per month version you can automatically pull in RSS feeds from your favorite blogs and easily schedule those for publication as well. I don't know what I'd do without it!

    I hope that 2017 is a great year for you!

    1. Thank you, Amy, for the kind words. and thank you for the tip, I'll definitely check it out as I could use some automation.

  5. I know that your blog is one of the first ones that I come to when I'm searching for something related! Thank you for providing so many great resources!

    Besides Tribber I don't use any automating tools. I prefer to do it the hard way. Lol

    Wishing you all the best this year!

    1. Thank you so much, Jen, glad to hear my blog is useful.

  6. Love your recommendations on blogs; Diary of a Real-Life Veterinarian is one of my favorites to read because it's such a unique perspective (to my eyes at least).

    I love what you do here, and I do consider it an important resource for dog owners with health questions. Knowing the right questions to ask as you mention is so important.

    As far as streamlining I wish I knew how people were so efficient at it. Apart from using Triberr I still schedule all my posts manually. One tool that's nice is the free version of Buffer; it's a simple way to schedule posts on Twitter & Facebook.

    1. Thank you, Jen. Yes, Dr. Krista is one of the most passionate and compassionate veterinarians out there and her blog reflects that.

      I use Triberr also but looking for something that does some of my work for me after the post is written.

  7. Congratulations on getting to your 7th year of blogging! It can be difficult to keep a blog going for that many years. As for crossposting between social media platforms I currently don't use anything (and it shows), but in the past I've tried Buffer and Hootsuite. I've just never been impressed with either.

    1. LOL Thank you. Yeah, I think I'm going to try the Buffer.

  8. Jana, honestly, your blog is one of the highest-quality pet blogs out there to me. If I have a question about dog health, I know I can come here and you're probably written about it. I trust your information too - you are always so thorough.

    As for social media tools. I use Hootsuite or Grum for Instagram, Hootsuite for Twitter, the native scheduling tool in Facebook, and Tailwind for Pinterest. I find that using different tools allows me to choose the one that works best for each (and for my style) instead of using one that does everything just ok.

    1. Thank you so much, Jessica, your praise is humbling. I'm glad my blog is useful.

      Thank you for the tools tips; I have to give this some thought. Or get rich and do it all manually LOL