Now that I'm back and I've had the chance to decompress a bit from my delayed travel, it's time for me to recap the wonderful time I had at the BlogPaws conference.
I think it's safe to say that it was everything you would expect from a conference aimed at pet bloggers. The sessions were all very informative with lots of practical takeaways, and most of them would apply to any type of blogger. I took lots of notes and I intend to refer back to all of them in the coming weeks and months.
Speaking of taking notes, I should tell you about the gift my husband gave me right before I left for the airport. The night before, I'd been talking about how much I wanted an iPad and he offered to edit his current Craigslist ads for drums and other music gear to say that he'd be willing to trade for an iPad.
Well damned if he didn't find someone to take him up on it. He traded...something (he won't say what, so I suspect it was something valuable that he would otherwise have kept) plus some cash, and managed to get me a first generation iPad. Which was everything I hoped it would be, by the way. I spent all weekend downloading apps that people recommended.
So back to the conference. The attendees were welcome to bring their pets and many people took advantage of that opportunity. Predictably, were lots of dogs:
There were also cats:
And guinea pigs:
Papua Piig and his owner Angela Mitchell.
Some people brought Flat Pets to represent their actual pets:
Other people brought stuffed animals, like capycopy here:
I was very excited to meet my fellow Paws on the Ground bloggers, Katharine McMahon of Kat and Dogs, Lisa Taron of Pet Book Lady, Caren Gittelman of Cat Chat with Cody & Caren and Dakota's Den, my awesome roommate Karen Nichols of Mousebreath, Doreen Disbro of Doggies and Stuff, Robbi Hess of Henrietta: The Dish, and Maggie Marton of Oh My Dog!. We all pitched in on Thursday to help sort and cut a massive pile of feedback forms for the sessions that the printer had failed to collate. I would have been more than willing to help out more at the conference, but it was a well-oiled machine.
Because I only blog about my pets part of the time, I wasn't quite sure where I fit in with the crowd, but everyone was so friendly and nice that it was never a concern the whole time I was there.
I was pleased to meet BZTAT, who is a talented artist, a dedicated animal rescuer, and owner of five cats. She and I were united in our disappointment that Laurie Ruettimann (a.k.a. Scrubby's mom) could not attend due to the weather. We paid tribute to her by making a version of Laurie's famous swag videos. Ours was a little long.
For me, one of the big blogger celebrities of the conference was Melanie Typaldos of Giant Hamster. She has a capybara named Garibaldi ROUS and I've been reading his blog for quite some time. Melanie wasn't the only capybara owner at the conference. Stacy Winnick of Dobby's Day was there as well. On two separate occasions, I hung out with the "capybara bloggers" and helped put together capybara puzzles. It was a lot of fun, especially when you factor in the wine.
I met lots and lots of people and I know I'm leaving many of them out. I'll make a point of linking to everyone in a later post.
One thing that was notable about the attendees is that nearly everyone I spoke to volunteers for at least one animal rescue group. Thus, the opening keynote by two of the founders of Rescue Ink definitely resonated with everyone. I was impressed by their no-nonsense approach to saving animals and educating the public by whatever means necessary.
Obviously the weather was a big factor as Hurricane Irene and later Tropical Storm Irene headed up the coast. A lot of the attendees and vendors ended up leaving early, but the remaining group made the best of it.
On Saturday evening we were treated to a sneak preview of the kids' movie Spooky Buddies, which comes out on DVD just in time for Halloween. One of the highlights of the showing was the occasional barks by audience members' dogs.
Remember when I said I'd get back to Lucky? Well, here he is with his owner, Katharine. I am forever indebted to her for not only taking me on two Starbucks runs that allowed me to get the breakfast shakes that sustain me, but also for introducing me to her adorable dog.
Despite my solid cat lady status, I've been thinking a lot lately about getting a dog. However, I didn't know what kind of dog I wanted until I met Lucky.
While I was waiting to travel back home after the conference, I found myself idly looking on Petfinder to see if any of the rescues near me had an Italian greyhound up for adoption. The first one on the page was Toby, offered for adoption by the very rescue group for which I volunteer.
I emailed to ask why someone would give up an eight-year-old dog and learned that his people are divorcing. One more email and I had an appointment to go meet him tomorrow and an invitation to foster him for a while to see if he fits into our household before I make any further decisions.
With my husband fully on board, I'm looking forward to meeting Toby after work tomorrow and discovering whether he's the dog for us. I've been researching the breed and the more I read, the more suitable they sound for our lifestyle.
In closing, I was so very impressed with the conference—and not just because it may have expanded my pet universe. I'm already planning on going to BlogPaws 2012 in Salt Lake City. What do you think? Interested in coming with me?