You've come a long way puppy. What hasn't changed in a year? Cleo, our dog, is still my muse. Maybe I should have called this post, "Why we try to give fearlessly."
Cleo's presence is as strong as ever in our life, but something has changed. She has moved into her golden years. I can't pretend or make up reasons why her back legs are gimpy, or pretend to tease her about getting tired after walking a block. We are experiencing the cruel, and gentle, sides of the aging process for a dog. It's my first time, and it isn't easy.
It is tough emotionally on me, but with Cleo, I owe it to her not to pretend, but to live in the moment with her, and learn as much as I can. My goals are to learn about myself, about the aging process, and about not being afraid to love someone I already know I will outlive. I had these goals last year when I did the first Pet Blogger Challenge - my post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge - but this year, these goals are front and center, coloring everything I write, and the blogs, articles and books I'm reading.
What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post? We wanted to educate people about the joys of pet adoption and about looking past the surface when it came to a big dog like Cleo, to stop focusing on stereotypes. With the addition of the Grouchy Puppy blog, my other goal was to add my own voice and to speak from my experiences as a dog lover and pet parent.
Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year? Writing both blogs, growing my audience across many social media channels has been a wonderful challenge. These blogs have been a great place to discuss topics such as adoption and senior dogs. It has been exciting to see the numbers of people increase who enjoy Grouchy Puppy content. Yes, progress has been made in both content and followers. Another goal has been to become more involved locally. San Francisco has great groups that help me achieve this goal. Muttville Senior Dog Rescue is one, as is the San Francisco SPCA. As an introvert, with a beloved, aging dog, it is easy to stick close to home.
Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed? Which are you doing now? Do you still worry about lost traffic, momentum, etc? I still use a calendar as much as possible. This helps me stay organized and not miss out on a fun campaign, timely giveaway or cute holiday like "Walk Your Pet Month."
"Work smarter not harder" still rings true for blogging. I try and harness social media widgets and feeds so that I'm not worrying about things like traffic and momentum.
Are you generating income from your blog? Has this changed since last year? If you are generating income, how (e.g. sponsor ads, affiliate relationships, spokesperson opportunities)? If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how? 2012 is the year we will finally start to generate income from advertising on Grouchy Puppy. Last year the income we received was related to writing sponsored posts. Don't discount karmic currency. I am very proud of the positive influence I had toward nonprofits that benefited from donations such as St. Louis Senior Dog Project getting $1000 from Pedigree and PAWS receiving an important inventory scanner from GREENIES.
Have your likes and dislikes about blogging changed since last year? Not really. I still dislike sad stories. And I like stories and campaigns that motivate you. Encouragement is necessary, as are the tools to make a difference in the lives of animals. A local group run by Kelly Gorman Dunbar that understands this is Open Paw. This nonprofit is dedicated to giving people & pets the tools they need to form a lasting relationship with one another & with their communities.
Overall, are you pleased with the progress you made in 2011? Yes, I'm pleased. I may focus more energy on writing for LIFE+DOG magazine, but my main goal is the same.
How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012? My blogging hopefully will include more partnerships with local nonprofits and businesses that seek to make a difference in the lives of animals. I hope to include more guest posts from interesting folks with interesting perspectives and backgrounds. Going with 2012 with my first old dog, I expect you will see even more content focused on this experience as well.