kinds of drugs and its side effects

Will My Dog Hate Me: The State of the Blog 1/10/11

As promised — the Pet Blogger Challenge! If you’re here and you’ve already written a post answering the questions that Amy of and I posted last week, simply add the url to the Linky tool, below. If you haven’t written it yet but are inspired to do so, get cracking. You have until 11:59 PM Mountain Time tomorrow (1/11) to add your link.

1. When did you begin your blog?

My first post was on April 12, 2009.

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?

I wanted to build an audience for my first book about dogs, Am I Boring My Dog, published September 2009.

3. Is your current purpose the same?

Yes and no. The blog took on a life of its own, but I still hope it’ll be a vehicle to make people aware of past and future books.

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the spirit moves you?

I’ve committed myself to blogging three times a week because, from everything I read (mostly on ProBlogger), that’s the minimum required to maintain reader interest and because it seems manageable to me. I have been aiming for posts on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, the optimum days for traffic according to those same reliable sources, “aiming” being the operative word. Sometimes I post an extra, a funny picture or silly topic, on Sunday. Just to mix things up.

As for the techniques I use to stick to the schedule, they’re the ones that motivate me for pretty much everything: Guilt and self-flagellation. You probably think I’m kidding. Read More »

Posted in Dog Blogging | Tagged , , , | 70 Comments

Ten Favorite Posts I Wrote in 2010…

… plus one semi-gratuitous guilty pleasure video

Put out a challenge, take up a challenge. Yesterday, when Amy at and I were throwing down the gauntlet to pet bloggers to think and write about their blogs on January 10, Dr V. of Pawcurious was asking bloggers to choose their top 10 favorite posts of the year; she would link all of them on her blog. Those challenges dovetailed nicely. After all, to write about my blog, I had to look back at it.

In case you’re wondering, I chose the words of this post title carefully. I had lots of stellar guest posts, but I didn’t pick any of them to highlight here.  I can play favorites with myself but not with other people. I might want to have them guest post for me again.


I wrote a lot about pit bulls and how they had been unfairly maligned this year, but in the end this picture was worth more than 1,000 words: Another Very, Very Scary Pit Bull

I’d had no idea what a little polluter Frankie — ok, I — was, but I’ve seen the (green) light. Look out for a dog poop contest early next year: The Dog Poop Chronicles: A Tale of Personal Growth and Waste Disposal

Part of the Pet ‘Net Family Event, I took the guilt-free zone into the grief arena, letting pet owners know that there’s nothing abnormal about feeling the loss of a pet very deeply: Pet Loss & Grief: Some Coping Tips

Old dogs really are the best dogs. Here’s why: Eight Reasons to Adopt a Senior Dog

I loved the whole BAT training series, based on interviews with Irith Bloom, but this installment was extra special because of its whimsical and wonderful illustrations by Karl Edwards, which also started our friendship (the guilty pleasure video was also part of the BAT series, which is why it’s only semi-gratuitous here):  Training Tuesday: Batboy Forever

I woke up one morning and wished for More Tail Wagging, Less Barking (as a great bumper sticker I got at BlogPaws put it) when it comes to animal rights causes. The result was An Open Letter to Nathan Winograd

Another one about pet loss, this one focusing on the end of life moment. It’s an important topic, and I was very moved by a reader’s letter: Your Dog Won’t Hate You. This I Know.

Can dog grooming really be dangerous? Hell yes! Consider this a public service announcement: Dog Grooming Gone Bad

Sheer silliness, but it’s not often that I create photo essays — and it’s not often that Frankie acts macho: Charles (Not) in Charge

Another public service announcement: Why Cheap, Anesthesia Free Teeth Cleaning is Really Costly

Posted in Dog Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Take the Pet Blogger Challenge!

‘Tis the season for retrospectives,  reflections, resolutions and other “re” words that describe paying uncharacteristically close attention to our lives.

As I wrote a couple of weeks ago in Also Bullied By My Blog, my pal Amy Burkert at and I decided it would be useful — and we hoped, fun —  to look back at what we’ve done with our blogs and forward to where we want to go with them. We invited anyone who was interested to join us, and promised guidelines in the form of a questionnaire — which we’re both posting today. Here’s the link to Amy’s post.

The results will become part of The Pet Blogger Challenge on Monday, January 10.

It’ll be like other group efforts such as the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop  (here’s a recent example) or the Blog the Change for Animals challenge. We’ll have a Linky tool and maybe even a badge if the talented person that we plan to ask for help agrees.

So join us. Show off your blog,  see what your fellow pet bloggers are up to and get a bit more traffic.

We all want traffic — except in the real world.

Without further ado:

1. When did you begin your blog?

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog? Read More »

Posted in Dog Blogging | Tagged , | 65 Comments

Also Bullied By My Blog

I woke up this morning and said some very bad words to myself and to Frankie, who doesn’t take it personally when I curse.

The problem? I had promised to post two runner up winners to my  Is Your Dog Boring You? contest, and realized that I couldn’t — really, didn’t want to — chose after all. The selections were too close in quality (all high). I knew and liked too many of the participants, whether in person or on line, and I didn’t want to offend any of them.

Blah, blah, blah.

But I had promised. And I take my commitment to my blog and its readers seriously.

Then in my email inbox — yes, that’s how I prefer to receive blogs, because my RSS feeds overwhelm me  — I found a great post by my pal Amy Burkert at Called Bullied by the Blog, it explores letting an obligation to blog take the place of enjoying the experiences that she and Rod might eventually blog about.

I’m not quite in the same position as Rod and Amy are, because the lines between my paid day job as a writer and my unpaid day job as a blogger are far more blurred (sometimes too closely for comfort, but that’s another story).

Still, it led me to try to crystallize the larger questions that have been nagging at me lately: Whether I was being driven by my blog, rather than vice versa; what I wanted out of blogging; and whether I was getting it. I mentioned this to Amy in the comments section of her post and we agreed that it would be fun to put together some questions along these lines to pose to other pet bloggers.

So… Amy and I will hammer out the questions. If you think you’d be interested in answering them as part of an end-of-the-year or early-next year blogfest introspective/retrospective, give a holler below.

And I’ll get to that contest, in one form or another. Probably. But definitely not today.

Take that, blog!

12/18 Update: I’m hoping that some of the pet bloggers on The Saturday Blog Hop will join in. We’d love to know how you all feel about blogging and whether there are things you’d like to change about your blog — and your blogging — in the new year.

Welcome to the Saturday Pet Bloggers Blog Hop brought to you by Two Little Cavaliers, Life with Dogs, and Confessions of the Plume!

Here’s how you can join the Pet Bloggers Blog Hop celebration:

* Link up your blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below. You only need to add you link once to be seen on all the Pet Blogger Blog Hop Linky Tools for that week.

** Grab the Pet Bloggers Blog Hop button found on any of your co-hosts blogs and include it in your Saturday Pet Bloggers Hop post so that your readers will know what is going on.

*** Follow your co-hosts listed in the first 3 slots of the Linky Tool and comment on their blogs to say hello!

**** Follow as many other blogs on the linky as you’d like

***** Take a moment to comment on the blogs telling them you’re from the Saturday Pet Bloggers Hop

****** Follow back when you get a new follower through the Saturday Pet Bloggers Blog Hop

Posted in Dog Blogging | Tagged , , | 29 Comments

Putting the Blog Back in BlogPaws

What with all the inspirational Be the Change posts that continue to pour out of the BlogPaws conference I’m almost embarrassed to say this: I went to BlogPaws to learn  about selling books, blogging, and social media.

And guess what? I did.

As a conference that provided good, solid information — not to mention a lot of shmoozing and personal networking opportunities — BlogPaws kicked butt.

In fact the reason that I’m writing this post is that I’m reading through my notes from the “Developing a Sustainable Social Media Strategy That Works For You” by Lena West of Xynomedia. Under bullet point #11, Get Business, I jotted down the following:

Have something to say and then have the guts to say it. Be who you are and say what you feel – those who mind don’t matter. People who don’t resonate with who you are as a person won’t buy your product. Get people to trust you, show up as you are.

I like to believe I’m socially responsible and that I love animals in general and one animal in particular. But no one is going to know anything about my social responsibility unless they read my blog or my book. And I’m not going to have any money or time to donate to good causes unless I have a bit more of both commodities for myself by being a smart businesswoman.

And you know what else? If someone has a pet blog that gives people pleasure, maybe a nice break from a bad day, or provides a service, from responsible dog training to pet sitting, but isn’t trying to raise money or do other good works, that’s okay too. Some of us are better than mommy bloggers. Some of us aren’t.

So excuse me if I’m getting a little tired of  all the BlogPaws self-congratulation.

What did I get out of BlogPaws?

  • The confidence to polish a book proposal that’s been languishing on my e-desk because of self-flagellation (one of my favorite exercises) and send it to Penny Sansevieri as well as to a traditional publisher.
  • An editing assignment, because I was able to speak up and say, I’m happy to provide informal advice but this is also what I do for a living.
  • An analysis of my blog’s strengths and weaknesses  by Stephan Spencer and his daughter, Chloe Spencer, at the excellent Driving Traffic Through SEO panel– and great information about the tools to address the latter.
  • The inspiration to get on Squidoo. Now if there’s anything that made me get all mushy about BlogPaws it was the fact that Megan Casey, who is a media rock star as one of the co-founders of the multimillion dollar media site — but who’s heard of her, while everyone’s heard of Seth Godin, ok that’s a whole other blog post, or maybe a feminism lens on Squidoo — spoke to us. And gave one of the most low-key but effective talks of the conference.
  • The guts to publish this post.

Update: I was being wussy by not linking to the “mommy blogger” allusion in this original post. Now I have.

Posted in Dog Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , | 35 Comments

My Year in Bookselling: 7 Things I Did Right

It’s been a year since the publication of Am I Boring My Dog and a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Sad to say, the reports about publishers not having the time or money to promote all but the most famous authors or the most topical books are true.

Which is how I became a bookseller, with a single-book inventory.

I made lots of mistakes and I’m still learning. I’ll get to all that another time.

But I also did some things right.

1. I began blogging  about dogs before the book’s publication

You need to establish yourself as an authority on the topic you’ve written about if your book is nonfiction, and there’s no better way to do it than by blogging (assuming you’re not a TV personality and/or don’t have a regular column in a popular magazine). I already had a website,, but it was more of a resume, covering my writing in general but not the topic of my book in particular.

I considered giving my blog the same name as my book so people would make the connection between them, but decided that was too constraining. Now, when I write another dog book, I don’t have to establish another blog.

2. I got on Twitter

Writing a blog is all well and good, but you need to get people to look at it. One of the ways I achieved that was by being a good Twitter citizen — engaging dog bloggers/dog professionals/dog lovers in conversation, provide links to interesting articles, pictures… and, of course, to my blog posts. For me, it was a gradual, organic process, one that I continue to enjoy, as much for the virtual friendships as for the professional perks.

Here’s a good intro to Twitter.

I’m told that Facebook is even more effective. I’m working on that.

I also read ProBlogger and haphazardly follow its instructions such as reading other blogs, commenting on them, etc… But that’s also a fairly natural and organic process once you find yourself in a virtual community — which I was led to by Twitter.

3. I held a contest

My friends and I had so much fun coming up with titles of books that would bore a dog, as per my cover illustration — War and Pee, for example —   that I decided to continue the festivities with a contest. A lot of people joined in with great contributions. It’s hard to gauge the results precisely, but the contest piqued sufficient interest in the  book for at least some of the contributors to buy it; one of them reviewed it.

An old boyfriend turned up, too, but that’s a whole other topic. As far as I know, he didn’t buy a book.

4. I got helped by HARO

If you’re not familiar with Help A Reporter Out (HARO), you should be. It provides a service to journalists who need sources for their stories, as well as to people who want to promote their products — including books.

I’ve used HARO in both capacities.

  • As an experiment, I decided to pay for one of the ads that run with every thrice-daily e-newsletter. It was expensive, even though it was on sale. I discovered that people pay a lot of attention to Peter Shankman, the guru behind HARO — and that a lot of people weren’t aware my ad was an ad, and assumed I was getting an endorsement from the HARO guy. Within hours, my book was #14 in the Pet Book category on Amazon. My “fame” didn’t last much beyond the proverbial 15 minutes and I don’t think I got anything close to the return on my investment as far as royalties were concerned, but what a kick!
  • By answering the media queries related to my book’s topic, I’ve been cited as an expert on-line and on the radio.  A prime example of my HARO success was my interview with Tracie Hotchner, who posted a HARO query seeking pet book authors to talk to on her NPR shows.

5. I networked.

I don’t really like the verb “network” — it’s one of those jargon-y biz-speak constructions — but it’s the best I can think of to sum up interactions with people that can be professionally beneficial.

I contacted people I knew from other professional contexts — including the terrific Paris Permenter and John Bigley of, whom I’d met in my travel writing days — and asked them if they were interested in reviewing my book. In the case of Paris and John, they were and they did.

I also went to the BlogPaws conference in Columbus, where I met other bloggers, some of whom ended up reading my blog and/or doing reviews of my book, including one of my favorite writers, Dr. V of Pawcurious.  I’m going to the second conference, in Denver, today — which is one of the reasons I was inspired to write this post.

I’m not suggesting you become an egotistical self-promoter — unless that’s your style (in which case I totally begrudge you your success, if you are in fact successful). I’m just saying don’t be self-effacing to the point where no one even knows you wrote a book — my default MO. People attend conferences to form mutually beneficial relationships.  If they don’t know about your accomplishments they won’t know that you can be helpful to them — and vice versa.

6. I realized it was okay to ask for “just one more thing.”

When I got emails from people who said they liked my book, for example, I would thank them effusively and then ask, “Would you mind putting what you said on Amazon?” No one ever refused, though a few people forgot. Follow-up bugging remains beyond my capabilities.

7. I had great friends.

This isn’t really something you can achieve all of a sudden — or, if you’re one of the aforementioned phony self-promoters, ever. I was lucky enough to have several friends plugging my book for me, including two cat people who bought copies as gifts for dog lovers, told their friends about it, etc. The much blogged-about Clare, in particular, went far beyond her job requirements as my best friend: She not only  bought ridiculous quantities of books (I lost count at 25!)  but was even more irate than I was when my book was snubbed, belittled, etc. I find righteous indignation on my behalf extremely comforting, far more so than sympathy.

Posted in Dog Blogging | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Denver dreaming: Take me to your BlogPaws pets

Love Sponge Chloe, BlogPaws Bound

Getting ready for the BlogPaws West conference involves finishing up a bunch of assignments that are not — shockingly enough — dog related. And I’m not going to be taking Frankie along to Denver because he’s not exactly a road warrior and the idea of dealing with needles and insulin and a carrier… well, I break into a cold sweat even thinking about it.

But one of the great things about BlogPaws is that it’s all about the pets — and that includes actual as well as virtual ones. I’m already excited at the prospect of getting reacquainted with Chloe, the love sponge Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who owns‘s Mary-Alice Pomputius. I’m also hoping to meet Ty and Buster, the pups of; I saw their Winnebago home at the Columbus, Ohio, BlogPaws, but the boys didn’t put in an appearance. Prima dons, perhaps?

I know there were cats there, but I didn’t encounter any. I did meet a charming ferret and a very soothing  — he purred encouragingly at me before my talk! — guinea pig.

Instead of working, I’ve been fantasizing about the furry creatures I’m going to encounter this time.

So tell me: Which bloggers are bringing their pets to BlogPaws this time? I want to read all about you  in advance, so I can recognize and be properly deferential to the Furred Ones. Please post links to your sites below.

Posted in Dog Blogging | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Versatile & Lovely Blogger Awards, Pet Edition

Confession: In the past year and a half, I received a Versatile Blogger award from Jana Rade of DawgBusiness and one from Sharon Castellanos of Grouchy Puppy, as well as a Lovely Blog award from Vera Marie Badertscher of A Traveler’s Library. And I haven’t passed them along.

That is VBBK (Very Bad Blog Karma).

The basic tenets of both awards are the same, except for the second section, which only the Versatile Blogger award requires.  So without further ado:

Thank the person people who gave you the award: Thank you very much Vera Marie, Jana, and Sharon. All evidence to the contrary, I was very moved and appreciative for the recognition.
Share 7 things about yourself:
  1. I am in the process of arranging to have a swarm of bees on my roof relocated. Note that the word “relocate” is not a euphemism for “sent to bee heaven.” I don’t want to have ABK (Angry Bee Karma) in addition to VBBK so I am not planning to euphemize my bees.
  2. I honeymooned in two of the three Axis of Evil countries, Afghanistan and Iran, and one Cold War enemy, the Soviet Union. In my defense, I was a hippie, they weren’t Axis of Evil countries at the time, and I wanted to visit the Hermitage.
  3. I sometimes let Frankie lick my plates and then serve other people from them (after actually washing them).
  4. My Ph.D. dissertation was later published as a book,  The Collected Poems of Paul Blackburn.
  5. Despite this evidence to the contrary, I often dream that I never finished my dissertation or that, because of some technicality, I have to give my Ph.D. back.
  6. My office floor is strewn with piles of paper, theoretically en route to file folders that are often mislabeled.
  7. I revise everything I write endlessly. This last revelation has been at least 5 different things.

Pass the Award to 15 as many as you have time for other bloggers you’ve discovered

In spite of having established a guilt-free zone, I worry that the people I didn’t choose for the awards won’t like me. I assure you, I love many other blogs. I owe all the following bloggers money.

I leave it up to the bloggers themselves to decide whether they’re Lovely or Versatile or both (note: If you’re Lovely you don’t have to share seven things about yourself, embarrassing or otherwise).

Dancing Dog Blog. Mary Haight brings a wonderful blend of compassion and serious smarts to a blog that is often the bearer of (useful) bad news  — pet food recalls, puppy mill busts–  but also knows how to have a good time with interviews of small pet business owners, say, and giveaways (my favorite was the monk-made dog biscuits).

Go Pet Friendly. Rod and Amy Burkert complement the service part of their pet travel website — which is extremely useful — with a Fetching News blog that often deals with serious issues about traveling with pets, in an engaged, often playful fashion. Great pictures of their road trips, too.

Dog Spelled Forward. Eric Goebelbecker tackles dog training issues with a daunting intellect and, at times, righteous anger.  And did I mention funny?

Champion of My Heart. Roxanne Hawn manages to squeeze a LOT of topics — caring for aging parents, books, relationships — into a blog that has Lilly, a fearful dog, as its center, writing with wit and thoughtfulness.

Boulder Dog. Deborah Flick blogs from the heart while putting her moving tales of everyday life with Sadie, her fearful poodle, into a larger context of training theories she’s read about and worked with over time.

Dog Jaunt.  Mary-Alice Pomputius brings a delightfully geeky (and exemplary) attention to detail to her reviews of travel-related products and dog-friendly transportation. Her site’s got a great new look too.

Fido and Wino. Shauna (whose last name I can’t find on her blog) is a sassy Woman with Attitude, endlessly upbeat about rescue without ever crossing the line into (shudder) perky. Her ROAR (Rescue Owners are Rocking) series, well, rocks.

FearfulDogs’ Blog.  Debbie Jacobs’ assessments of working with fearful dogs is commonsensical, intrepid, earnest, sympathetic — and philosophical. I always learn something about the world from her blog.

Hmmm. I seem to read a lot of blogs about fearful dogs. I can’t imagine why.

Finally I am going to put my favorite vet bloggers into a single “You don’t have to pass this along because you’re way too busy” category: Dr. V at Pawcurious; Janet Tobiassen  Crosby at Veterinary Medicine; Lorie Huston at The Pet Health Care Gazette;  and Shawn Finch at Riley and James Fan Club. Although each has a distinct tone and style, they share a love for animals and the people who care about them.

To be continued with a Travel, Food, and Everything Else I Love to Read About — aka Kitchen Sink — edition

Posted in Dog Blogging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Really shameless nomination request

It’s bad enough to request that people nominate you for a blogging award. It’s even more shameless when the idea to make the request on your blog comes from a competing blogger, my pal Roxanne Hawn.

But it’s all for a good cause: The “Petties” (pet blogger awards), presented by DogTime, are all about helping animals, and the prizes include a $500 donation to a shelter/rescue of the winner’s choosing (mine would be the Humane Society of Southern Arizona. Just saying).

There will be a bit of personal glory involved, I admit it, including an announcement of the winners at BlogPaws West in Denver, Sept 9-11.

Nominations end July 30 (tomorrow).

The good news. You can nominate more than one person, so you can nominate Roxanne and then nominate me. Or vice versa.

When it comes to voting, which will take place from August 2-20, it’s every woman for herself.

Details: I would like to be nominated for the Best Dog Blog (as opposed to Best Pet or Best Cat blog, for obvious reasons).

Name:          Edie Jarolim



Jeez, I even semi-ripped off Roxanne’s nomination form.

But admitting that, and everything else, makes me feel less guilty. So nominate me (and Roxanne). I guarantee you’ll feel less guilty if you do.

Posted in Dog Blogging | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Revisiting the choir: You never know who’ll join

It’s a little ironic for me to be posting about preaching to the choir because:

  • I’m a nonbeliever
  • I grew up attending a synagogue, not a church, and synagogues don’t have choirs
  • It’s a tired cliche, and I try to avoid those

But the topic came up when Karen Friesecke, DIY queen and blogger at Doggie Stylish, suggested that Friday’s avoiding puppy mills post was preaching to the choir because no one who read my blog would ever consider buying a dog via the internet.

I’m going to let you read through the responses to that comment because this post isn’t so much about generally speaking to an audience of converts but about a specific example: The guy I talked trash about in my Sex & the Single Dog Blogger post.

The only reason I felt comfortable putting that up was that I was certain the guy never read my blog — which was part of the problem I perceived with the relationship.

I was wrong.

I got this email the other day:

It may hearten you to know that Buster and I  have just successfully completed his first session of learning how to sit.  Yea!  He’s ready (and so am I) to learn. I might add that he has picked it up almost immediately [….]  I felt badly about punching him the other day. It’s really not his fault and he loves to please.  He just hasn’t been properly taught yet. So I am committing the time to teach him at least the basics of behaving in public.

He added:

I had read your bio and some of your blogs before but was unaware you had made an example of me as an unenlightened dog owner when I looked at your site again. I am not offended by your observations….

First — wow! I wouldn’t be nearly as understanding. If someone had been even slightly negative about me in public, even anonymously, I would be furious and probably never speak to that person again.  So credit where credit is due — and extra credit for following through with dog training.

And I’ll assign blame where it belongs. You know what they say about people who assume… So I’m an ass. But one who is capable of learning too. I will never again make public what should be private, even though I’m pleased with the outcome this time — i.e., the dog training and the consciousness raising.

I would have said “Mea culpa” but that’s kind of, you know, religious.

Posted in Dog Blogging | Tagged , , | 20 Comments