2014 Pet Blogger’s Challenge

Calvin on Susans shoulder more crop

Calvin and me

1. How long have you been blogging? Please tell us why you started blogging, and, for anyone stopping by for the first time, give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
I’ve been blogging for three years, though I’ve only recently ramped up my game, by combining several blogs and sites into this one. Life with three dogs and four cats is a thousand miles from dull. There’s always a tale somewhere: hiding in a box, splashing through a mud puddle, or taking up an entire couch. I post stories, features, photos and articles on topics of interest to animal lovers of all stripes and spots. My pets write Haiku by Cat and Haiku by Dog, which I post along with photos that capture the essence of the poems. And when they’re not thinking deep thoughts, my dogs and cats send text messages, and I post them, too, with pictures that make the punch lines even punchier.

Why did I start blogging? I love to write, I love to take pictures and I love my furry family members. It seemed like the best way to combine all three.

2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you most proud.
I’m really excited that I started Haiku by Cat and Haiku by Dog. I’m getting such positive feedback; I love writing them. Below are two examples: Jasper, Lilah and Tucker know where to sit under the table and Dawn escapes when she thinks something is afoot.

Haiku by Dog: when dinner is served / best place: under the table / next to Grandma's chair


Haiku by Cat: floating whispers heard / silently I disappear / missed vet appointment

3. When you look at the post you wrote for last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge, or just think back over the past year, what about blogging has changed the most for you?
This is my first year doing the Challenge. So much has changed for me this year:

I combined my blogs into one, and built it on WordPress, which was the first time I used the tool. I taught myself about Plug-ins, hired someone to create a logo and used and basic code. But if I really think about it, what has changed is that I opened myself up to the pet blogging community and have found new friends with whom I have so much in common.

4. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own sites? If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?
I’ve learned that on WordPress, if there’s a thing you want to do, someone has probably already thought of it and created a Plug-In to make it happen. The trick is to search until you find it. My current challenge is to become more visible; I’d love to have more visitors and shares. But I think that’s what most of us want, right?

 5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
The best advice I have is to write about things that your target audience is interested in. Don’t just write stories about your own dog or cat for example, but on topics that dog or cat families would want to read about. And be honest; show us the good, the bad and the ugly. We all can relate.

6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog, and do you think you should spend more or less in the coming year?
I’ll probably do more, mostly through social media. Right now, it’s a few hours a week, but I have a full-time job, so it’s hard to find more time.

7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience?
I read every comment and look at my Google analytics and other stats. If people are talking about my content, visiting my site or liking or linking to posts, then I know I’ve reached people.

8. How do you know when it’s time to let go of a feature or theme that you’ve been writing about for a while?
That’s a good question and I’m not sure how to answer it. I don’t just write for an audience; I also write for me. So it’s okay with me if there’s a topic people aren’t interested in, as long as I’m interested. Not everything on my blog is about attracting an audience.

9. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
If there is something I can relate to, I’ll post a comment. Or if someone asks a question that I can answer in a few sentences.  I’ll respond to a great photo or a wonderful story or simply good writing.

10. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways?If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?
I’d love to do product reviews, but haven’t done any yet. I’d love to learn more about how to get involved in doing reviews.

11. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
That’s easy. I play with my pets, take a walk, pet someone, snuggle someone. There’s nothing like a purring cat on my lap or a walk in the woods with the dogs to clear my mind and enable me to get back to writing.

I don't have to look too far for inspiration.

I don’t have to look too far for inspiration. That’s Athena on the screen, and Calvin on the desk.

12. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go? Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
I’ve taken short breaks from some of the writing, usually when life gets in the way. Sometimes things happen, and something has to give. But I always come back. Writing is like therapy for me, and the stories and ideas keep coming. I can’t stop for very long.

13. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
I want to become more visible and then try and use my voice to help pets. All my dogs and cats came from shelters and foster homes; I’d love to give back and to support the idea of adoption. That would make it all worthwhile.

I am also writing a book based on my three years of blogging; I’m hoping to have the manuscript complete by the end of the year.

Cat on lap by laptop

All the animals love to hang out with me in the office. Here, Elsa Clair keeps me company.


This is a blog hop; find out what other pet bloggers think by clicking on one of the links below.

4 Comments on "2014 Pet Blogger’s Challenge"

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  1. Hello! Just stopping by from the Pet Blogger Challenge! So very nice to “meet” you! Looking forward to reading more! 🙂

  2. I know I’d love more visitors and more shares, I think we all do – you’re right! 😉 Your haikus are great!

  3. Pamela says:

    You must feel such a sense of accomplishment for consolidating your blogs on WordPress. Most people complain about the tech issues. But it sounds like you met the challenge with grace.

    Hope 2014 brings you lots of traffic! 🙂

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