Going to a gathering of pet bloggers, I expected to meet passionate pet people, which I did. I think I even met a real animal lover. His keynote address had people simultaneously weakly weeping and visibly agitated. I saw faces that could not hide their emotional response to his declaration, "the pet care industry is the only industry that asks you to destroy what you love".
Clearly Mike Arms, has a heart as big as a mountain but he shared a phrase that I will never forget, "a dog has our heart already, they need our minds". Wow. If that motivation isn't what is behind development work for every form of animal center/shelter, it should be. I'm not surprised to learn he won the Most Admired CEO Award in 2007.
With the words "the pet care industry sucks" following me out of the ballroom that morning, I went to my first breakout session featuring Carol Bryant from FIDO Friendly. She candidly discussed ways to approach traditional media and how to get your story noticed.
When I wasn't learning about creating compelling content, I was out in the hall watching the pet artist Vicki Boatright, aka BZTAT create a Dialogues Mural. [see photo below]
My favorite "Hi!! It's so great to see you in person rather than just online!" hallway moments from BlogPaws West came from Jane at Petfinder, Freaky Dog People, Nigel Bugger and the typists behind such Twitter handles as: @designcoyote @Fergusthedog @CosmoHavanese.
Because part of my commitment to Be the Change includes volunteering with Muttville, a senior dog rescue here in San Francisco, I made a beeline to sit in the session called Leveraging Your Social Media Skills to Help Rescues & Shelters.
Muttville is all volunteer and could have not send anyone to BlogPaws West. Fortunately for me, they trust my note taking and we will be getting together shortly so I can pass along the many strategies and useful resources I came away with.
As much as I loved and applauded the winners at the Pet Blog Awards, a huge starstruck moment for me was off stage. It was just incredible and inspiring to meet Miah Thornton, the resolute yet charming young lady (and her mom) behind Start the Change. We're hoping she is soon included in our Influence Positively interview series (please check your email Miah!).
Being the change you want to see in the world can begin at any age, as demonstrated by Miah. You can feel compelled while listening to dog music played on a baby grand, or looking into the eyes of your own beloved pet. Why BlogPaws changes people is simply because the people who attend already want to change and give back to pets and animals. The conference helps provide the tools and network to move forward - step by step - and be the change ourselves.