Tag: BlogPaws

BlogPaws – The Place Where Pet Bloggers Rock

BZTAT at the BlogPaws Nose to Nose Awards

I just returned from BlogPaws 2012, which could very well be the most fun and interesting conference EVER for writers, artists and pet enthusiasts.

I enjoyed the company of fellow writers, artists, people involved in animal causes, and social media/blogging geeks – you know, my peeps.

I learned many new things and I gained inspiration from very gifted speakers. But more than anything, I had the opportunity to enjoy great times with some of the most talented and outright fun people in the world.

As much as I value my ability to articulate, I am reduced to using simple words like “AWESOME!” and “We had a BLAST!” because the event defies verbal description.

As I returned home (it took many hours to fly from Salt Lake City, UT to Canton, OH), I thought about how much I had been changed by this brief 3-day encounter. As I struggled to return to my usual routine this morning, I realized – I don’t want to!

I have no interest in my old routine. It had me stuck.

I am a changed person after gaining new insight and opportunity. If I am changed, my routine needs to change to match it. Otherwise, what would be the point?

One statement by keynote speaker Lena West really hit home for me:

“You can only ride one bicycle at a time. You only have one ass.” ~ Lena West

Lena nailed many other issues that I need to address, but this one really hit home. It made me realize how many activities I have been taking on lately that take me away from my needs and purposes. Not only do those activities misdirect me, they also do everything but nourish my soul.

That is going to change.

(Also, my ass is going to get back onto my bicycle, because I need physical exercise to improve myself.)

We rocked it out in our own special way at BlogPaws. Now it is time to keep the energy flowing and apply the experience to our everyday lives.

I can’t wait to get started.

BlogPaws, Temptations and Schtuffs

 BZTAT's Fabulous Five Felines

As I write this, I am on a plane somewhere between Detroit and Salt Lake City, beginning my annual sojourn to the BlogPaws Conference. BlogPaws is the premiere blogging and social media conference for people who write about pets. It is my favorite thing to do all year, as I get to meet with people from all over the world who share my passion for animals.

I have always been lucky to have a special job at BlogPaws. The first year, I was part of the organizing committee, and I coordinated an art exhibit of pet themed artworks from various artists. I created a mural with conference participants at the second conference, and I was a speaker at the third one.

This year, I have a special job too. Temptations Cat Treats is sponsoring my trip, and they asked me to share information about creating bonds with cats using treats.

I confess that this is new territory for me. I am a pretty basic sort of person, and I have never given my cats treats on a regular basis. Like most people, I thought “treating” was a special thing for now and then, but it never occurred to me to use treats as a way to bond or encourage certain behaviors with my cats. With Okey still very fearful, and Brewskie constantly obnoxious, I am glad to have this opportunity to learn and share with others.

Brewskie will be writing about this process on his blog (I can already hear his snarky take on MY side of the behavior issue). I will also be tweeting and sharing things about the conference on Facebook. I also just obtained an iPad, and I plan to use it to draw and create different artistic images inspired by the conference. Follow my Tumblr blog to see what I am creating!

Do you have any questions about the benefits of treating cats to strengthen bonding? And do you have any requests for my iPad doodling? Let me know in the comments, and I will see if I can get an answer or create an image for you.

New Okey’s Promise Project Launched at BlogPaws!


(Reprinted from Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause, originally posted on 8/29/11.)

Despite a slightly abbreviated crowd due to Hurricane Irene, a brand new Okey’s Promise project was launched at BlogPaws in Tyson’s Corner, VA this past Saturday!

Along with youthful blogger/dancer Miah Thornton, I presented about Okey’s Promise at BlogPaws to a courageous and enthusiastic group at the BlogPaws pet bloggers conference. Special thanks go to the Found Animals Foundation for sponsoring the presentation.

Miah very beautifully enacted Okey’s story and the mission of the entire project, and her moving performance was enjoyed by all. During the presentation, I kicked off the new project on Kickstarter, which you can read about here.

After running into difficulties with finding a permanent location for the last mural, I have decided that the new project will be a traveling exhibit. I plan to create many images of survivors – animal and human – that tell the story of resilience and hope, while also bringing home the reality of pet abuse and domestic violence. There will be several pieces that will go together as a whole, and will have numerous options for indoor and outdoor exhibition.

Please contact me if you would like to consider exhibiting the completed piece in your area.

Before the new work can be exhibited, however, it must be funded. I only have a month to raise the funds. Backers for the project will become a part of a special group called “Okey’s Promise Keepers” as well as receive special awards at specific funding levels. I hope you will consider becoming an “Okey’s Promise Keeper”, and encourage others to do the same. No pledge is too small!

There is plenty of information about the Okey’s Promise mission on [the Okey’s Promise: Art for a Cause] website and on the Kickstarter page. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more. The Kickstarter page allows you to embed the video and a widget that links to the page. I would be thrilled if you chose to share about the project on your blog or website!

I said that we presented to a courageous and enthusiastic group at the BlogPaws, because Hurricane Irene did come through our area, and we had some wind and rain. More than anything, fears of closed airports compelled some to leave early to return to their families. Those of us who remained had a bit of frivolity making fun of news reporters by making crazy hurricane videos. Truthfully though, our area was spared any serious weather. We were all thankful for that!

Although I had great fun at BlogPaws meeting new and old friends, I was very happy to return home to Okey and the rest of the crew.

Okey was happy to see me, and I was happy to see her.

By the way, the music in both Okey’s Promise videos is by my good friend Jason Farnham who has graciously given me permission to use it. Please visit his website and his Facebook page if you like it!