Pet Blogger Challenge, Or, The One In Which I Ramble About Rambling

Pet Blogger Challenge

Edie Jarolim from Will My Dog Hate Me and Amy Burkert from are hosting The Pet Blogger Challenge. They have created a set of guidelines to help us look back at what we have done with our blogs. As well as to prompt us to consider where we would like to take them in the future. January is often a reflective month, so why not take it one step further and share your reflections with the pet blogosphere? If you’d like to join in, or see what your fellow bloggers are up to, check out either of the above linked blogs.

 Some random day in March 2010, my practically husband suggested I start a blog about our rescue dog, Shiva. We had adopted her not a year before and it had been a very eventful eleven months. He thought it would be fun to have a record of her progress. And I think he also thought it might be a way to shut me up about every little cute/annoying thing she did. Hah! Joke’s on him as I think I talk about her even more now.

If you’ve read this blog at all, you’ll know that Shiva can be particularly trying to live with. The first few months of her life with us I wasn’t sure I was cut out to be a dog owner. But by the time the PH suggested the blog, Shiva had made vast improvements in her behaviour and was no longer barking and lunging at garden gnomes. Finally, I had a little more time on my hands. At first, I admit I just laughed at the idea. I’ve never been any good at keeping a journal beyond a few weeks. I’ve started and abandoned previous blogs with rapid speed. There was no reason for me to think I would actually keep up with another, especially one just about my dog. Would I really have enough to write about? One evening I must have been bored enough to sign up for a WordPress account. I spent a few days thinking about it, coming up with a title. I never intended to actually share it with people. It was a place to post pictures of my dog and keep track of her progress. That’s it.

Obviously, something changed. I’m not quite sure what. It wasn’t until September that I started to take the blog a bit more seriously. Perhaps because I’d found other dog bloggers, a lot of them going through similar problems, which lead me to discover a whole community of people just as dog-obsessed as I am? I couldn’t believe I wasn’t alone. That there were others who care just as much about their pets as I do, maybe more. Others that knew what it was like to have their dogs freak out over every little sound, every little leaf that blows by on the street. For so long I had felt isolated because of my dog and it was stunning to me that I didn’t have to.

So I reached out, connected with others in the pet blogosphere. I got up the nerve to write my first comment and was amazed to find it wasn’t as scary as I’d expected. I was amazed at the warmth I found in other blog writers. A warmth that inspired me to keep writing. I’ve written about it before, but the support in the pet blogging community still wows me every single day.

While I can’t really say I blog on a schedule, I still try to on a fairly steady basis. I participated in November’s NaBloPoMo and the discipline of writing something every single day kind of stuck with me somehow. Though I still don’t think I could keep a private journal for very long, I do really enjoy the practice of sitting down almost every day to blather about what is on my mind. Some days are harder than others. I find the more I try to force ideas, the more difficult it is to create them. Fittingly enough, most of my posts come to be as I’m walking the dog every night. Frequently, I form whole paragraphs in my head while Shiva digs for something disgusting in the snow. It makes both of us happy.

I try not to think about things like traffic or comment numbers. It’s not why I started and it’s not why I write. Brené Brown, one of the women I’d like to be when I grow up, talks a lot about authenticity and integrity. Many of the things she says I think apply a lot to the way I want to live my life in general. Shiva and I don’t participate in agility for ribbons, we do it because it is fun and because it strengthens our connection. I blog for a lot of the same reasons and I don’t want to let that change. With all the wonderful people I have met, it’s just even more fun now than it was when I began. In the future, authenticity may be more of a struggle than it is now, but I’ll take on that particular dragon when it gets here. If it gets here.

Currently, my blog doesn’t generate any income. As I say, it’s all about the fun! For some reason, I get something out of yammering on about myself over and over every day. My life-long issues with shyness have prevented me from being all that upfront in “real life”. There may be a psychological benefit to writing on the Internet for me that I haven’t before considered.


Do I intend to make money by posting pictures of my dog in the future? That would be really cool. But I don’t want to do it if it becomes a simple job. If I have to spend time thinking about what my sponsors want or if every post becomes just another boring product review, then no. That would just be a chore and I would start to dread turning on my computer. I like writing when I feel like it about what I feel like. Right now, that’s good enough for me.

Not that I’m about to turn down some free stuff. Many of you have seen the way Shiva chews through her toys, seconds after the tags are cut off. If any one wants to toss a free bone her way, I’m all for that!



Something to do with my free time, a way to remember all the wacky stuff Shiva does, a way to stop boring people at parties with all my dog stories, bragging about all Shiva’s death-defying (not really, except for that one time last summer on the teeter) tricks, connecting with so many incredible, inspiring people who make me laugh, cry, and hang my head in humility every day, those are all the best things about having a dog blog. Getting away with run-on sentences is another small perk.

But what are some of the things I dislike? That’s a much harder question to answer. I’m too green to really have a clear idea of the pitfalls of pet blogging. Truthfully, the thing I dislike the most is the lack of time. If I’m writing a post, I am not reading other people’s posts, which is something I equally enjoy. And if I’m reading other people’s posts I am not spending time with my dog. The reason for all of this in the first place. It’s not an easy balancing act.

The Pet Blogger Challenge was created by two people who felt bullied by their blogs. I interpret that emotion in my way. At times I do feel pressured to keep coming up with new ideas to stay relevant, to support my personal goals, to keep myself focussed lest this blog die the same death all the others did. Thus, I want to keep at it, I want to keep spending the time it takes writing. However, the more time I spend writing, the less time I have to enjoy all the other things that make writing worthwhile. Frankly, that make my writing even remotely interesting.

I guess that’s my only complaint. Not enough hours in the day. Maybe getting paid to blog wouldn’t be such an evil thing after all.

As this dorky little blog grows, I would like to do more to give back to the community that has done so much for me. I would like to find a way to celebrate everything the pet blogosphere has achieved. Not just in the name of animal welfare, though that is important, but in the name of ourselves. Pet lovers, pet bloggers, rock hard. This community is filled with the best kind of people in the world. People who care about others, people who make sacrifices, people who will take five minutes to stop and impart a kind word, people who realise that such kind words matter. This is a place I am so grateful to have found and I want to deserve the honour. There has to be a brilliant way to acknowledge the silliness, the preciousness, the awesomeness, the stark genius, of this entire community. I am going to find it. One poor-quality video at a time.

60 thoughts on “Pet Blogger Challenge, Or, The One In Which I Ramble About Rambling

  1. I too can relate to your time pressures. I want to read a few more blog entries this morning but that would make me too late to give Honey a nice walk before work.

    You leave thoughtful comments for other people all over the blogosphere and I wanted to thank you for your generosity.

    Although I too blog for myself, I was getting a bit discouraged by having only a few comments. Your kind words at Something Wagging This Way Comes really encouraged me.



    • Thanks again for your kindness. I have always highly valued your opinion as you have so much more experience with dogs. You always make me consider things in a new way.

      I can’t believe you get up at five am just to blog…


  2. dear kristine, you are one of the bright lights in my blog reading hour. that sounds sappy but it’s true. when/if you read my post and get to the part about what i don’t like about blogging – you’re definitely NOT what i’m talking about. thanks to people like you, i still do feel somewhat connected to the community though i have few friends!

    btw, we shared one major word in our posts. HUH.

    hurrah for your dorky litle blog! xox


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  4. Like your other blog followers, I enjoy reading your blog. How should I describe your blog? Let me see… it is always full of insights, your own thoughts, your opinions (which I find I share many same opinions with you but I don’t know how to say it out right, like you), the ways you see things are sharp and neat, I should say it is very clever too.
    I like to read about Shiva, she is a hyperactive dog and I admire how you spend your time with her, train her and play with her. She is a clever doggy and it is amazing how many tricks she has learned and she is so good at them. Besides, I can see she is so eager to please you too which means both of you have a very close and strong bond.
    You’re a very good writer too and I indeed enjoy reading everyone of your post and I wish I could write like you : )


  5. Speaking of your wonderful blog, I was raving about you to my mom this weekend because she used to attend this camp called “DogSkills Adventure Camp” and it just sounds EXACTLY like something you would do. It’s now called “Pawsitively Great” or something to that affect.

    Regardless of the name, it’s this camp in northern Ohio that is all about spending a whole 5 days in a cabin (no worries, they have electricity and showers, even!) with your favorite furry friends and they have classes taught by these amazing trainers, a lure course, a lake, parties every night (complete with fashion show haha) and my mom just LOVES it.

    I was just telling her how wonderfully talented you are at training and how I wish you lived closer so you could go. But that’d be quite a drive. Maybe they have something up there like that that you could go to? I think the Shivster would love it!

    Anyway, just wanted to let you know I was thinking about you! Great entry, as always. 🙂


    • That camp sounds AMAZING! I wish I lived there too. Five whole days? That’s insane. But I bet it is a blast and I can only imagine how many wicked people you meet. Shiva wouldn’t want to come home.

      That is, if I got over my shyness first. I’d probably spend a lot of time hiding in the bathroom.

      Thanks so much for thinking of me. And for being so awesome.


  6. Hi! I’m pretty new to your blog, and I want you to know that after reading a couple posts I added you to my Google Reader. Thanks so much for participating in this Challenge, it was a great way to get to know you better.


    • Thank you! I follow you as well. I think it’s awesome what you have been able to do for dogs and travel. Thanks for helping put all of this together.


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  8. Hi Kristne, I KNEW you where going to chose your own format for answering the questions. Love your creativity and getting to know you and your blog. Like you say it is about authenticity and integrity, not traffic or other numbers. You are genuin and thats why we love to read your blog!


    • Are you saying I’m not a rule follower? 😉

      I’ve loved getting to know you as well! Thanks for being so awesome.


  9. Oh, I am so with you on the time thing. I’m amazed by the dog-loving community, and I keep finding blogs – like I’m relatively new to yours! – to love and read and comment. But then I fall behind on my own blogging schedule. As far as bloggers go, though, I think pet bloggers seem to be a pretty understanding bunch! Lastly, I love, love your focus on authenticity and integrity!! Keep it up!


  10. Hi, great getting to know you and your blog a bit through the Pet Bloggers Challenge. Your blog sounds really interesting and I am looking forward to reading more. I signed up for your feed, and can’t wait to learn more about Shiva too!


  11. Hi! We took the Pet Blogger Challenge too! Our Mama knows what you mean about always talking about dogs, even more now that she has the blog. She has to try and be quiet around Gramma and Grampa because she’s worried they’ll think she has some sort of one-track mind about us. She can’t help it… we are SO cute and amusing and smart! Same with Shiva, right?


    • Thanks! One of the few places she can handle being off leash is the forest a couple blocks from the house. It’s an awesome place to go in the mornings.

      And you should. 🙂


  12. Great answers!

    I think my blog has lead me to a few other things that I wouldn’t have expected. One thing is that my love for photography has really deepened and I find myself appreciating those with great photos a lot more. It’s made me a more consistant writer (at least, on the blog), too! But I hear you on that balancing act between writing, reading and spending time with the dogs!


    • It’s tough, isn’t it? Maybe I just need to give up on sleeping.

      I love your photographs of all your girls. You have so many great adventures and stories to tell. Most of the time, you don’t even need words.


  13. Well said. I think this post speaks true for many of us…..I felt myself nodding & smiling, thinking, “me too.”

    I’d be lost without the support of my blogging friends.


  14. I love following your blog and watching Shiva grow to be a better dog 🙂 It’s fun! And it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one out there with training issues with their dog!

    They are like little children, unfortunately, they just can’t always communicate what they are thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice to know?


    • Yes and no. Yes, when she is actually happy. No when I know she is ticked at me for not letting her sniff every single piece of grass or eat every single piece of garbage. Then I’d prefer she keep her thoughts to herself!


  15. Your blog is great. I love your point of view when it comes to working with Shiva and you’ve done a great job with her.

    I completely the same way when it comes to journaling – I’ve never managed to stick with it. For some reason though, blogging has managed to stick for awhile. I think the online community and feedback is such a huge part of the experience. It’s nice to know you’re not writing into a void 🙂


  16. I have always loved your blog and it is part of my daily blogging life. I appreciate your honesty and fun and wackiness. I hadn’t realized that you struggled with Shiva in the beginning. You make it sound easy. Thank you for always sharing we agree with everything you said. It is an awesome community and you and Shiva being part of that is awesome!!


    • You are too sweet! Thank you.

      Hah! Easy it is not, but when Shiva’s curled up sleeping beside me, it feels worthwhile. I am sure you know exactly what I mean. 🙂


  17. Oh good. Someone else who writes as they walk a dog, grocery shops or drives. Yes, my husband too thought a blog would stop me from rattling on about our dogs to him. It just didnt occur to him it would provide me more opportunities “Someone commented today” “I read today” “I want to do a post on” “Did you read my last post yet” LOL silly men.


    • I know! I think he finds it the weirdest when I talk about people and dogs I met online, as if I know them in real life. But in a way, it feels like I do.


  18. I love your “dorky” little blog although I think it is far from dorky. I love getting an email alerting me to a new post. I totally understand your feeling about how much you get out of your blog without generating a dollar. I feel the same way. I feel like comments are all the compensation I need. Time is something I struggle with too. I love writing, and reading others blogs, but sometimes don’t have enough time to do both, especially since I have a high pressure job. If I don’t get to visit, I feel guilty….


  19. We love your “dorky little blog!” I wish I had more time to come by and leave comments! I’m like you…I’m a much shyer person in real life than on my blog. I could say things that I wouldn’t say in real life on my blog. Well, I must go attend to this crazy blue heeler that’s dropping a ball on my keyboard…!

    Elyse (and Riley)


  20. Hi there! We found you through the blog hop… We started our blog because our dogs were so rough on their toys… we review dog toys for durable… stop by and see if you find any ideas for great toys that will last longer then 5 minutes! I’m looking forward to exploring your blog and learning more about you and your adventures with Shiva.


  21. Kristine, that was beautiful. It really was.

    This blogging thing has become near and dear to me, especially this past week during Charlie’s healing. I’ve never felt such support, it’s really incredible. The video was poignant and perfect. Thank you.


  22. You did a terrific job with this – and you absolutely nailed what all of us already knew but don’t say often enough: pet bloggers rock hard.

    It’s an amazing community, and if it requires a little work at the keyboard to be a part of it, it seems like one hell of a deal. 🙂


  23. Kristine, you are so much better at breaking out of your own space than I am. Thank you for coming to my blog so often and leaving such wonderful comments. I find myself drowning in projects (aside from my blog) with just enough time to post a few times each week. This leaves little time to hop around and appreciate everybody else. If I dare declare a resolution this year, and I typically do not, I will try to do better returning the favor from now on. I always love catching up with you. Thanks to you and Shiva for the wonderful posts here.


  24. I am a relatively new reader to you blog, about 3 months now, but I love how you chronicle your daily goings on with Shiva. It’s not as dorky as you think. So “rock on” sista’, I’m hooked 🙂


  25. Kristine, that was a WONDERFUL read! I agree wholeheartedly about the time challenge, as I also love reading other people’s blogs and interacting with other bloggers and critter peeps. I’m still trying to strike a balance that will work well for me in the future. I’m so glad I came across your blog, as it feels authentic and warmhearted 🙂


  26. Somehow I missed you last night! Oh, I love this post! You crack me up, girl! lol You hit the nail on the head about the balancing act for time; I’ll bet we all feel that way. You have a great blog – a worthy read – and I thoroughly enjoyed your video 😉 I think Shiva and Chester would be a great match!


  27. I haven’t seen a single person on this hop say, “I’m not making money, and if I don’t start making money I quit.” I think that pretty much speaks for itself. You and everyone here rocks!


  28. My mom and me just LUVED reading this and mom says she’s running into the same challenges as you. We’ve been doing this for almost a YEAR and she’s still trying to figure how to balance real life with blog life. I wish we’d known abouts this earlier. I wonder if we can still pawticipate?

    Wiggles & Wags,


  29. Wow. Kristine – I LOVED your post. I started blogging the same way, to catalog Daisy’s progress. And, I too have never been able to keep a diary for long or write in a blog for too long. It’s a relief to know I am not the only one!

    I agree the pet blogger community is amazing. I have met some of the most giving and generous people through my blog. It’s nice to talk dogs with folks who “get it” ya know? Your comments always inspire me and I enjoy reading your posts (I just need to comment more) – they are not ramblings!

    I hope you continue. It’s nie to read about Shiva’s progress and your progress together on agility. BTW – Have you checked out Johann The Dog? He’s an agility dog too. You might find it an interesting read.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with your blog (and Shiva). I enjoyed reading this.


  30. I’m totally with you on blogging for yourself. And I really just wanted to share photos with family members, and it snowballed from there. 🙂 I love the blogging community in general, and all the love and info sharing it promotes. Congrats on keeping up your posting pace!


  31. There’s a whole world of the dog-obsessed out here, isn’t there? I love your comparison between agility and blogging and both strengthening the connection you have with others!


  32. I like your transitions and clarity. I have been writing for Ghost Writers for a while now, and they pay me well to write blog posts like this, or content articles. I clear $100-$200 on a awful evening.
    Judging by your skill with the english language, you may enjoy doing the same.
    It wouldnt hurt to check them out.Here are the details


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