Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 Pet Blogger Challenge

Once again, it's time for the Pet Blogger Challenge. Pet bloggers worldwide answer the same 10 questions and share their thoughts on blogging -- What works? What doesn't? What would you like to do better? A great big thank you to Amy at Go Pet Friendly (one of my favorite pet blogs) for hosting this

Welcome new readers (please leave a comment) and welcome back regular readers (Hi Mom). Kelley's Dog Blog is a strange glimpse into the life of a crazy chick and her dogs. For those who don't know me: I'm an animal control officer, an avid reader, a wife, a mother, a dog lover and an active member of the community. I try to juggle it all and fail miserably -- making for some fun stories along the way.

Here are the questions for the 2018 Pet Blogger Challenge:

Jedi, the star of Kelley's Dog Blog
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 started blogging in 2012 after I lost my heart dog, Logan. The blog was pretty morose, so I don't recommend you read it. It got better with the arrival of new puppy, Jedi. I've wanted to show German Shepherd Dogs since the late 1970's. Do the math, and you'll see that this puppy might be my only chance to get in the ring. As such, I thought the blog would be a great way to chronicle our adventures. Unfortunately, I'm disorganized and somehow the blog became Kelley's Random-But-Mostly-Dog-Related-Stuff blog instead. In the beginning I never expected anybody other than my mother to read my blog. Surprise! Apparently people find my sarcastic, slightly neurotic, and sometimes homicidal thoughts amusing. And my tales-of-a-pissed-off-animal-control-officer make others feel normal in comparison.

2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2017?

Honestly, I'm just glad that I didn't quit. 2017 was a crappy year. It started with a health crisis. (FYI: If you treat your body like crap for 30 years it will rebel. Go figure!) Shortly thereafter I made the decision to end Jedi's dog show career. It was the right decision, but it was still heartbreaking. We shifted our efforts to various dog sports (nosework, barn hunt, rally) and have had more drama there than we need. The fact that I didn't just say screw it and quit blogging completely is a big accomplishment.

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

I love dog shows! My favorite posts revolve around those. I love the pictures from the 2017 German Shepherd specialty shows last April. And I'm proud of the ongoing series about putting on a dog show.

My posts with the most hits are the snarky work-related ones. This year Dear Beachgoers and More Crazy Work Stories were the most popular.

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

I feel most successful when I get feedback stating that I've helped somebody. I've gotten messages from people who've always wanted to show dogs but we're chicken (much like me). I've heard from people who found some of my tips helpful. Heck, even a "Thanks for the laugh, it made my day" makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.

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

Nothing good, I'm afraid. This year the blog has been inconsistent. I've written entirely too many I'm Still Here posts. I'm determined that 2018 will be better!

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

Writers block is horrible! When I'm tired or stressed out -- which was more often than not in 2017 -- the words just get stuck. Sometimes I'll start an idea but by the time the words start flowing it's too late to post. (For example, I just finished a great post on things to do with your dogs when it's too hot to go outside.)

When words fail, take pictures
My advice: write down thoughts when they come to you. I use Blogger, which is Google-based. My phone is also Google-based, so it's nothing to open up Blogger and record a sentence or drop in a picture.

Speaking of pictures, take lots. Sometimes a good picture can spark a post. For example, I saw that Lowe's was dog-friendly and snapped a picture of Jedi in front of the sign. That simple picture fleshed out into a
nice post about dogs in public.

7. When things get hard, what keeps you blogging? (Question submitted by Pamela Douglas Webster of Something Wagging This Way Comes -- another one of my favorite blogs.)

My online friends! There were a couple times this year where I was ready to just give up completely, but then I'd get an email from a regular reader saying "Hey, I miss you and Jedi. Are you okay?" Awww . . . I love you guys!

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

I'd like to be more consistent. I'm also toying with the doing the Blogging From A to Z Challenge again. I did it in 2015 and absolutely loved it! It really helped me focus on where I wanted my blog to go.

9. In addition to what you’d like to accomplish, is there one specific skill you’d like to improve or master this year? (Question submitted by Jodi Chick of Kol’s Notes -- and yet another one of my favorite blogs.)

How do I get my Dog Blog to tweet?

Time management. Beside my own blog, I'd like to visit others regularly and leave comments.

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? Share it here, and we’ll answer you in the comments!

I don't understand Twitter. Does anyone have a good primer on tweeting for the technologically-challenged?

OK, that's me in a nutshell. I look forward to reading everybody else's posts. Every year I find new and exciting blogs through this challenge. I hope you take the time to hop around below. Later, -- K

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