This post originally appeared here on April 1, 2010. Since I am going to the second BlogPaws conference in Denver, CO next week, I wanted to share it again (with updated links). It is especially poignant for me since I will be speaking at and creating a mural at BlogPaws West.
When I was child, I was painfully shy. I am talking pathological anxiety, excruciating and terrified of people kind of shyness.
Even though I have been a mental health therapist for 19 years, I still do not know where the shyness came from. I do, however, know what saved me from it.
Having family pets gave me friends of whom I was unafraid, and who showed me unconditional love. My pets also gave me something that I could talk about with people, alleviating some of my social anxieties.
I am 48 years old now, and I now feel fairly comfortable in most social situations. I even have found comfort in speaking in front of large groups. Even so, I still rely on my love of animals as one of my mainstay conversation topics.
So it is no wonder that I gravitated towards pet lovers when I stepped into the vast sea of social media.
Through my blogging cat Brewskie Butt, I have met hundreds of pet lovers from all over the world, and I have developed friendships that are very deep and meaningful through online interaction. I have even had the opportunity to meet some of these people face to face, enjoying a more full experience of our shared love of animals.
Next week, I will get the chance to meet many more of these people and other new friends at [BlogPaws West], the [second] ever pet blogging conference, being held in [Denver, CO]. I can’t wait!
I am looking forward to the event as an opportunity to expand my professional network as a pet portrait artist and blogger, and I am hoping to learn some new skills to enhance my online presence.
More than anything, though, I am looking forward to meeting people who share the love that I have of animals on a personal as well as professional level. And, I am looking forward to meeting some of their pets also, because many people will be bringing their animals with them to the conference!
Robert Brault said, “The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude.”
I believe this to be true. We allow pets into a very special place in our hearts that is unguarded and unfettered. Friends who understand this best are the ones I most want to allow in my company.
So you see, painting pets is more than just a niche art style for me. It is something that connects me to the world from a place deep within my soul.
And that is why meeting up with fellow pet lovers at BlogPaws is so important to me.
I hope to see YOU at BlogPaws!