well, practically wordless Wednesday… for me and her royal silliness…
1. How long have you been blogging? And, if you’re stopping by for the first time, please tell us why you started blogging and give us a quick description of what your blog is about.
It has been six years, how is that possible???? seems like only yesterday..
2. Name one thing about your blog, or one blogging goal that you accomplished during 2013, that made you the most proud.
Well, one thing that was a lot of fun we went on a dog friendly press trip. It was both challenging and fun to meet new people and it was a whirlwind tour of SLO, a lot of activities for the pooches (although some scheduled play time would have been good, too). It was a trip to visit a place with other writers and editors (I think I was the only blogger). And I think we all learned a lot. Cici and I have always traveled alone so this was a nice change of pace to have the Visitors Bureau and PR reps set up the itinerary.
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?
Am starting to wonder how much more I can write about dogs and dog travel, although there does seem like an endless amount of material living with a dog every day. As she ages, there have been some health issues. And sadly, it seems like we lost of a lot of dogs this year from Wallace, the world champion disc dog, to three of the former Vick dogs (Lucas, Georgia and xxx) as well as a whole pack of pet bloggers dogs. This has been a rough year. One happy note that did get resolved (FINALLY) was Patrick’s Law was finally passed in New Jersey with harsher fines for animal cruelty and neglect and Patrick’s adoption into the Scavelli family became official.
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?
Alternatively, if you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re still having with your blog, what would it be?
I often feel like I’m just at the edge of the crowd, I do the blog hops and such but often feel like an outsider, do not really feel like I am IN with the other bloggers. This to me is old family issues and like high school. I feel awkward and am nervous about approaching the popular kids, etc. Sitting in the cafeteria alone. Insecurities. Does anyone else feel like they are standing in the sidelines watching everyone else have fun? maybe it’s just this time of year. Hardly can believe it has been another year.
5. What have you found to be the best ways to bring more traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?
by promoting my blog posts on social media (Facebook, twitter) and just letting other people know about my blog (handing out biz cards, etc). I tell everybody, even people who probably could not care less. Giveaways are good, too.
6. How much time to do you spend publicizing your blog — and do you think you should spend more or less time next year?
Not enough time. I am much better suited to publicizing others than tooting my own horn. Just the way it is. There have been opportunities that have come my way in the past which has been nice but I did not seek them out. I should spend more time but do not know that I actually will. Thinking about getting t-shirts, also to raise money, that would be one way to do it.
7. How do you gauge whether or not what you’re writing is appealing to your audience? And 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?
I will answer the second question first, when I am no longer interested and interest in the topic is dwindling. It is often difficult for me to know who is reading what. Sometimes there is a controversy and lots of comments. But mundanely, these are few and far between. I hope that when I share topics of interest to me and what happens with my dog that my readers think it is pertinent to them and are happy to not feel alone (and they seem to be reading).
8. When you’re visiting other blogs, what inspires you to comment on a post rather than just reading and moving on?
When I can relate to the topic and how the post is written, if I think that I can add something different to the comments. And sometimes I feel very moved and don’t say a word when I probably should.
9. Do you do product reviews and/or giveaways? yes, I do.
If so, what do you find works best, and what doesn’t work at all?
I always do positive reviews. If I do not like or my dog does not like a product, I will let the people know that I will not be saying anything. And they usually understand. I may make a constructive criticism. I think being honest, within limits, works. If I bashed products, that would not work at all so I do not do it. Had a few contests, photos worked, but doing giveaways usually gets people involved, depending upon the products offered.
If not, is this something you’d like to do more of? What hurdle is getting in your way?
10. When writer’s block strikes and you’re feeling dog-tired, how do you recharge?
I just write anyway even if it is bad or I feel like I have nothing to say eventually I do. When I’m feeling dog-tired, I snuggle with my puppy girl and she makes me laugh or sleep and helps me recharge.
There is nothing like a big polka dot dog butt in one’s face on your pillow to make you feel better, inspire you and have happy dreams LOL
11. Have you ever taken a break from your blog? How did that go?
Not really. There are times when I only write one or two blog posts a week an other times I write more. Lately, I’ve been writing less posts (one or two a week). It has been difficult dealing with Cici’s health issues and other stuff that has been going on. So in that sense, I give myself a break from having to keep to any type of rigid schedule. That is what works for me. Maybe I have missed some stories but c’est l’vie. I do what I can do and I am certainly not perfect. I am a human bean and we are works in progress.
Have you ever thought about quitting your blog altogether? What makes you stay?
yeah, lately. When I am feeling down. But then I will get inspired by something someone has written or is doing related to dogs. I’ve thought about writing a writing blog but don’t know what I’d say. And I thought about doing a dating one, 300 dates in a year. Of course, I haven’t had ONE date in a few years. Can a 60+ year old woman find true love ??? sounds like a lot of trouble. Maybe a cooking blog? nah, have not found another topic that I could maintain. health, blah. maybe. pet communication, see? have not run out yet.
12. What goals do you have for your blog in 2014?
For my writing, I’d like to write more articles for pay in publications. For my blog, keep on writing. More interviews. More fun topics. More travel. I’d also like to actually get my ebook formatted so that I can actually sell it. It is based upon my blog and it has reviews of 80+ places in California that Cici and I have traveled to and stayed at with lots of tips, for fun travel with canines.
I’d also love to do more Blog Paws promotions. The Subaru one was a hoot.
Don’t stress — and don’t be afraid to ask for help! If you have any questions
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Fans of the Vicktory dogs will want to read this wonderful interview with Hector the Pit Bull and his family…
from Little Red‘s mama…
1-14-12 Can you say relaxed!!! This is Little listening to her new CD — “Through a Dog’s Ear”. She got this wonderful gift from her good friends CeliaSue and CiCi. We love it! All 5 dogs respond to this music in the most amazing way. After breakfast (which is at 5 am in my household), the dogs are up and down and in and out and have a hard time settling. Now I put on the Through a Dog’s Ear CD and the dogs all take extended naps while I have time to sink into a novel before the day really gets going. The music is classical piano pieces and the cadences are designed to calm dogs. It’s been clinically tested with shelter dogs and I can say unequivocally that it works!!! We’ve been listening to the music every morning in preparation for Little’s 1st acupuncture session. I played the CD for her to keep her calm. It was really a special time. I’ll write about it later this weekend. Right now we’ve got some more listening and napping to do.
Handsome Dan is adjusting to his new home with his baby sister Josephine. They like to take it easy on Sunday mornings.
Cherry Garcia also had acupuncture recently…
Ellen, Ray, Squeaker and Oscar are still looking for their forever homes. They are at Best Friends Animal Society.
When I thought about how to honor Pit Bull Awareness Month (and how to Blog the Change), it occurred to me to do an update about Ginger… one of the three former M. Vick dogs I met in Monterey at the SPCA. I was hoping to also get stats on pit bulls in Monterey from the SPCA but so far nada. There are about 8 pit bulls available for adoption on their website. They are inundated with a large number of chi’s right now.
But in many many shelters across the country, a majority of the dogs up for adoption and the dogs that are euthanized are pit bulls and pit bull mixes due to human ignorance about the breed. Pit bulls are abused across the board, in all ways, starved, neglected, abandoned, made to fight so humans can make money and tortured for no reason other than how they look and human fear and hatred of dogs. Every year 4-6 million healthy pets get euthanized in shelters across the USA and a high percentage of those are pit bulls and mixes.
(Updates about Patrick, the starved dog in NJ and Lennox, a dog that is not even a pit bull, who may in a week be euthanized in Belfast, Ireland …)
Ginger and her mama are very special and fabulous ambassadors for Pit Bulls everywhere. LOVE is the KEY factor that MAKES the difference in a DOG’s Life. And Ginger personifies how great pit bulls are… goofy, loving, sweet and loyal… Even after being fought, tortured, abused, ALL of the former Vicktory dogs are a great example of the breed. Eight of the former Vick dogs are now therapy dogs. And most of the dogs are now spending time in loving homes with other dogs, kids, cats and humans. Several have their own facebook pages… Hector the Pit Bull, Handsome Dan, Cherry Garcia, Jhumpa Jones, and others. Clearly, it is NOT the dogs that cause problems, it is the humans that make a difference, one way or another.
From Stacy Dubuc, Ginger’s wonderful adopter aka doggie mama:
After being rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels, Ginger made the long journey from Virginia to The SPCA for Monterey County. Two years old at the time, she had spent most of her life in a kennel and had had very little positive interactions with humans. She quickly went into a foster home to provide her with a quiet stable environment where she would hopefully come out of her shell. Her early months in foster care were not easy, she was incredibly timid and would cower and hide whenever approached. The timid shell of an animal I brought home needed way more than simple material items – she needed compassion, patience, love and some sort of understanding after the ordeal she had been through.
Our early days and months were not easy – her clinging to the back of her crate for hours on end as I cried and wondered if we would ever be friends, her fleeing from any attempt at a gentle touch, refusing to eat for days as I tried a variety of techniques to prevent her from wasting further away…it goes on and on and has probably been experienced by many a person fostering an abused animal. We worked through those tough times and eventually became friends.
It is hard to believe but November 6th will make four years since Ginger came home with me. It has been such a pleasure watching her evolve into the confident, happy, and incredibly loving dog she is today. She loves running about the yard, going for long walks along the rec trail, naps, treats, etc. The dog that used to cower from people is now curious and willing to meet new people. While, she will still shy away from being petted by most strangers, she will eagerly sit and take treats from them. Most of the people we meet will never know her past…they simply see her as a beautiful happy dog passing by them on the trail.
I realize that this is not what I usually write about but it is so important that I feel compelled to discuss it. At first, the media was blacking out coverage, now there is some coverage, mostly trying to dismiss the worldwide nonviolent protests happening all around the world, people protesting for Freedom and economic justice, JOBS, universal health care, homes and more… And as the powers that be deride, ridicule and try to play down the protests, the protests are getting bigger and spreading all over the nation and Canada.
the whole world is watching…
There were about 20,000 Americans protesting on Wall Street this week, and for the past three weeks… and around the country… demanding that giant banks pay their fair share of taxes, end the foreclosure crisis, and create jobs. We are the 99% of Americans who have been forced to bear the brunt of the recession, financial insecurity. The 1% elite who have bought politicians and those responsible for the financial recession, none of the criminals have gone to jail but hundreds of non-violent protesters have been arrested… the GOP even contributed millions to the NYPD as incentive to bust up the protesters on Wall Street, are changing laws to fit their agenda all in an effort to beat Obama in the next election and more, so much more.
Regular every day middle class Americans ARE FED UP of being forced OUT into the streets, without food, without homes, without jobs, without pensions and benefits and without health care and the American Dream.
these are the real working class people (the middle class) who are protesting, not hippies and homeless people as the media says…
faces of the protesters:
The Wall Street Protesters Are Now In 15 Major Cities Across The Country http://read.bi/ox4GCG
protesters are single dads and single moms, nurses, veterans, librarians, teachers, engineers, doctors, veterans and regular every day working people, union members, seniors, disabled, people all over America, middle class people, even a corporate lawyer … Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Independents, they are ALL represented, this is NOT about race, ethnicity nor party politics… it is about people’s needs vs corporate greed.
“We Are the 99%.” “The reason I’m here now is to speak for the other 99 percent of this country that has been denied a seat at the negotiating table,” protester Henry James Ferry told TIME early in the movement’s second week. “I don’t hate capitalism; I don’t hate rich people. I think you should come down to Wall Street and make as much money as you want. And when you do, you should pay a fair tax rate back to the city and the country that gave you the opportunity.”
Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass
I Hear America Singing.
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deck-
hand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing
as he stands,
The woodcutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morn-
ing, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work,
or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young
fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.
I hear 99% of Americans protesting… by CeliaSue Hecht
i hear 99% of America protesting, the Wall Street elite who fear monger and steal elections and dreams
Those single moms, teachers, union members, seniors and twentysomethings,
each one protesting the unjust, unfair and economic uncertainty they’ve been forced to bear
The college graduate with a 3.87 GPA and $65,000 in student loan debt who makes $180 a week.
The art teacher with a spinal injury who lost his job of 24 years, is about to lose his home, cannot work nor collect disability or unemployment worrying about his family.
The unemployed woman laid off after 20 years who wants to donate a kidney to save a friend’s life who may not be able to because of high cost she is forced to pay.
The child of a mother with no job, no home, no healthcare who committed suicide in 2010.
A former student who now has to dumpster dive in order to eat.
The 45 million Americans who are eating due to food stamps and the shrinking middle class.
Each one protesting what belonged to him or her and now is gone.
The way America used to be, the former greatness of the USA now fading into oblivion.
Protesting with open mouths, signs, and strong determination, to revive the American dream, end the wars, and bring FREEDOM and LIBERTY for ALL back to America.
what do the protesters want? justice…
do you seriously want your dog to have to beg in the streets for food because you can no longer take care of them???? Get Empowered… Join the Protests !!!
if you have a Bank of America account and do not want to pay the new $5 a month fee, change banks before November 5, open an account at a local credit union,
Whose Side Are You On: The Moral Clarity of #OccupyWallStreet #Occupy
Dear Wall Street
15 core issues our country must face
$30 a week is not exactly eating caviar
Join the ongoing Virtual March on Wall Street and bring your dog/cat/pets… LOL… We have the POWER…
Occupy Wall Street protests are coming to a city near you… Boston, LA, SF and more… Canada, too…
WE ARE TOO BIG TO FAIL… WE ARE THE 99%
Cici has a new doggie friend, a Jack Russell named ANGEL. they played fetch at the park. Mostly, Cici tried to take Angel’s ball away from her and chewed on and hid the ball… but it was great for her to PLAY and BE A DOG…
and it was fabulous to see the new photos of Patrick just being a dog, http://www.ahscares.org/showarchive.asp?id=822
Below, is an article I wrote for Coastal Canine Magazine. Good for me to just be a writer… no drama.
CENTRAL COAST DOG WALKS
Asilomar Coastal Trail
by CeliaSue Hecht
Nothing beats walking your dog along the Asilomar Coastal Trail along Sunset Drive in Pacific Grove. “Asilomar” is Spanish for “a refuge by the sea.” Once you have walked this coastal trail, you will know how fitting the name is.
Breathe in the fresh ocean breezes, enjoy the sight of the waves lapping the craggy rocks, and hear the pounding surf, while your dog walks alongside the narrow trail beside you. This hike is easily accessible from Pacific Grove. There is a bright yellow “Asilomar State Park” sign at the trailhead. The trail is a mile long and ends at Asilomar State Beach.
To the right, the trail turns into a wooden boardwalk with a bridge that takes you to a rustic wooden gazebo and overlook. To the left is a decomposed granite trail that follows the rocky coastline taking you past tidepools, sandy dunes, native plants, small coves, and several small beaches that are especially nice during low tide.
Dogs are to be on leash but will enjoy exploring every inch of the trail with their noses. They love smelling the fragrant beach sagewort and other native beach plants.
Depending upon the time of day, you may see a lot of people or only a few. You can take your time and enjoy a casual stroll or pick up the pace for a fast, vigorous hike. On one visit, we contemplated the roaring waves leaping and crashing over rocks, and saw seagulls, pelicans and other seabirds. If you are lucky, you may also spot deer grazing along the trail or sea otters foraging along the coast.
We made our way towards the end of Asilomar Beach, where we watched surfers riding the waves. Here, the vast expanse of wet sand truly beckons dogs. Dogs must be leashed while on the state beach, but just beyond the border, about 100 yards from the road, is the start of Spanish Bay Beach where dogs can romp off leash, play fetch the frisbee or ball, swim in the shallow surf, or dig in the sand. Canine heaven.
This is a fairly moderate, flat hike. At times, the trail ascends up and curves around. There are no restrooms or water available, so be prepared. There is a dispenser of ‘Mutt Mitts’ for your convenience. If you plan to visit in the afternoon or early evening as the weather cools off, you might want to bring a sweater.
Getting there: Take Del Monte Avenue from Monterey through the tunnel into Pacific Grove. Now you are on Lighthouse Avenue. Continue on Lighthouse, past the Shell Gas Station until the street dead-ends at the Point Pinos Lighthouse and the golf course. Here, you might see deer chomping on the grass. Take a left onto Asilomar Avenue and the second right onto Jewell Avenue. Jewell Avenue takes you to Sunset Drive, which goes along the ocean. Take a left onto Sunset. About 50 feet down is where the coastal hiking trail begins. You can park anywhere along Sunset Drive. There is no parking here from midnight to 5 a.m.
CeliaSue Hecht is a published freelance writer. Her work has been featured in more than 40 publications. She has a dog travel blog called Have Dog Blog Will Travel and assists business owners in getting published.
sgt peppers lonely hearts club band, it’s wonderful to be here, you’re such a lovely audience, we’d love to take you home…
Cici is a mixed breed. I was told that she was Dalmatian and ? Since then, so many people told me that she looked like a pit bull that I did research and came around to the idea that she must be part American Pit Bull Terrier too.
But the whole pit bull designation is kinda mystery mutt because a bunch of breeds are called pit bull.
BadRap had a whole post about it if I can find it.
Generally pit bull like dogs are American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier but there’s a whole bunch of others thrown into the mystery mutt mix.
Here’s the bottomline… can you find the pit bull here?
The rules for the Magical Mystery Mutt Tour are as follows:
Supposed to have at least two photos of my dog here as well as her traits as part of the tour, hmmm… I don’t know Cici’s height but her weight is about 52 pounds.
well, she is stubborn, silly and sassy. She LOVES people and children, loves to play, wags her tail and licks her tongue incessantly and showing off her belly is her floor show. Goofy as all get out. A very snuggly cuddler. She is always up for a party (with pizza). An adorable polka dot princess of the mixed breed kind. Ya think?
am still worrying about the code, did I do it right or not this time? geez…