Ban the Bullfights – Be the Change

Ban the Bullfights – Be the Change

1985 - Sevilla, SpainINNOCENCE LOST

Flying to Sevilla in 1985 with a pack of fellow 9th graders, the school system’s hope was to teach the Spanish language while immersing us in rich and colorful culture. We learned a new and colorful vocabulary all right, the locals were happy to give lessons, but it was not in the curriculum and we would not receive extra credit.

We also experienced a tradition that had young, rabble-rousing boys reveling in real-life bloody violence and girls upchucking their Chorizo. I’m not referring to our stealth acquisition of sangria. I’m referring to our first (and my last) bull fight.

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2012 Pet Blogger Challenge

2012 Pet Blogger Challenge

Pet Bloggers ChallengeEdie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me and Amy Burkert of GoPetFriendly.com are co-hosting the 2nd Annual Pet Blogger Challenge today, inviting all pet bloggers to answer eight questions about their blogs.

I’ve anxiously awaited this day, planning to use the PBC’s questions as a tool to redefine why I blog and what I’d like to either accomplish or abandon here. Please pardon my taking a few liberties in prose form to better explain 2011’s situation.

GOALS: THEN AND NOW

The 2011 Pet Blogger Challenge (my previous post) aimed to explore “how and why” I blog about animals and how that’s working for us as a group. I quote myself as saying then, in reference to goals from my start in 2009, “This One Wild Life still celebrates relationships with all things animal, vegetable and mineral.” I go on to say, “I wanted a way to record and remember favorite moments with these magnificent beings, exploring and sharing the human emotion attached to my animal relationships.” That goal of keeping the human/animal connection at the forefront has held fast, but I feel the execution – or my vision of it – has essentially failed.

SPIRALING OUT OF CONTROL

In August, just as my health slammed me through a series of hairpin turns, my blog garnered the attention of an inordinate number of brands. I’d wake up, rub my eyes, ask “Who have I scheduled for review today?” and hammer out some unique and quirky perspective. I convinced myself it was creative and fun, but really, it was easier to promote products than to find some clever way to continue blogging while avoiding my personal drivel and drama (unless you know me on Facebook). And those products [read Bandaids] just kept coming.

I cut my posting schedule down to Mondays and Fridays, tossing an easy Wordless Wednesday in the middle. By September, with few exceptions, there was hardly room for personal reflection, even when I wanted to write. The brands had taken over. And I had let it happen.

A HACK ATTACK

Like sweepstakes? So did the hacker who pointed every one of my posts to a series of them. My hands were in so much pain and I was so deeply rooted in overall fatigue, I was beyond overwhelmed by the issues. A friend of mine and I tag-teamed a patch repair, but I had to design a new theme from scratch. Every post and picture needed reimporting. Then, when I left New York for radiation therapy in November, I was hit with a pingback spam attack. The physical pain of deleting 4000 comments snapped my spirit in two, threw it to the floor, and buried me deep in the pile-on of misfortune.

Nothing exciting or original sprang forth after that. I was reviewing the same products every other blogger did, still adhering to my promise of honesty and integrity, but any unique perspective had been snuffed out. Giveaways stopped drawing entrants. People stopped caring enough to comment, and who could blame them. Even I was bored with what this space had become.

THIS ONE WILD LIFE OR DEATH?

I declared it time to euthanize the blog and put everybody out of their misery. The kind encouragement of Edie Jarolim and Kim Thomas convinced me otherwise, bolstering my will to breathe all the rich color of life back into what became a pathetic and grey PR machine. It was slow and steady work, which I began and abandoned several times since September, but on January 6th, I finally, fully and rather quietly took my blog back.

Now it’s time to rethink it.

MOVED BY SPIRIT OR SCHEDULE?

Amy and Edie ask, in question 4, “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?”

In 2009, I blogged as the spirit moved me. I was a nobody. It didn’t matter. In 2010, I followed the experts’ rallying cry for daily posting. “Content and consistency are KING!” they cried. Funny thing, that. There sure was a lot of crap suddenly floating around. But, hey, it was consistent. And I should mention that reading all that production was exhausting.

Then, Scott Stratten delivered the 2010 BlogWorld keynote in Vegas preaching “Don’t spread Meh. Spread AWESOME!” The Hallaluja Chorus and trumpets echoed between my ears. That’s it! Blog only when you’re brilliant! That really worked for me… Until the 2011 take-over, when I blogged myself into a creative and intellectual ditch.

Oddly, through it all, traffic kept coming. FatCow web hosting and Amazon affiliate income continued to rise. It seems I have an audience no matter what or when I write. The problem isn’t them. It’s me. I no longer care for my content. I’m going back to awesome whenever it springs forth.

MAY I HAVE YOUR HAND IN … ???

Engagement. This is my more pressing goal for 2012. Comment. More. Share. More. I could love my blog deeply and monogamously again, but I think we should start seeing other people. I’m ready for an open relationship. I spent hours last week stocking Google Reader with blogs I love but rarely read. I’ve followed some of you to the ends of Google Earth. You’ll be seeing me.

That’s right. What I love most about blogging is you. I could do the writing alone, but only you make it a conversation. I look forward to talking with you. Much, much more. I’m so committed, I spent 3 hours typing this with one finger on an iPad.

 

Third and Final Way to Win Cash for You AND an Animal Charity!

Third and Final Way to Win Cash for You AND an Animal Charity!

UPDATE:
Congratulations to winner Kristie Wright and her charity of choice,  The Leon County Humane Society, a membership – supported, no-kill organization!

Social Media For Social Good

Welcome to the final round of our holiday raffle!‘Tis the season to be jolly, and generous, and even a bit broke. But, with some luck, you could feel jolly for generously helping needy animals and even earn a few bucks for yourself – just by making new friends!

Enter to become the one lucky winner who receives:

$112 cash delivered to your PayPal account and
$213 sent directly to the non-profit animal charity of your choice! 

Every animal lover you follow on  Google+ below enters you into the random drawing for a chance to win.  The more actions you complete, the more entries you’ll toss in the hat! Not into Google+?

Mix and match, or enter all four ways if you like. All posts will close at 12:01am Eastern on December 29. The winner will be announced as soon as humanly possible!

First up, please share the animal charity you’ll give to in the comment section below. We’d love to learn about the work they do. Links are welcome and gushing is encouraged!

Our Donation Choice

If we win, we’ll not only send $213 to AnimalKind, Inc. a holistic cat rescue program in Hudson, NY, we’ll donate our $112 personal winnings, too! AnimalKind, Inc. rescues shelter cats from death row; manages feral colonies; offers disaster relief and TNR (trap, neuter/spay and release) to the community; engages with local towns for protective animal legislation; and provides people with the education and financial support needed to be good pet parents. It’s also where we adopted our two cats, Jed and Jackson,

In part one of this raffle, we shared video of our cats celebrating their first holiday season with us last year. Next, we shared their adoption day with a glimpse at the inside workings of AnimalKind. Today, we share what kitten season looks like at AnimalKind – and how much work goes into caring for these babies daily.

Best of luck! And thanks to the supporting bloggers and small business owners who banded together with organizers Two Little Cavaliers and Pamper Yourself in Pink for this social media event, chipping in a few dollars toward the prize money. We’re thrilled to be counted among you!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Holiday Raffle: Win Cash for You AND an Animal Charity!

Holiday Raffle: Win Cash for You AND an Animal Charity!

UPDATE:
Congratulations to winner Kristie Wright and her charity of choice,  The Leon County Humane Society, a membership – supported, no-kill organization!

Social Media For Social Good

Welcome to round two of our holiday raffle! ‘Tis the season to be jolly, and generous, and even a bit broke. But, with some luck, you could feel jolly for generously helping needy animals and even earn a few bucks for yourself!

Enter to become the one lucky winner who receives:

$112 cash delivered to your PayPal account and
$213 sent directly to the non-profit animal charity of your choice! 

Every animal lover you follow on Twitter below enters you into the random drawing for a chance to win.  The more actions you complete, the more entries you’ll toss in the hat! Not into Twitter?

First up, please share the animal charity you’ll give to in the comment section below. We’d love to learn about the work they do. Links are welcome and gushing is encouraged!

Our Donation Choice

If we win, we’ll not only send $213 to AnimalKind, Inc. a holistic cat rescue program in Hudson, NY, we’ll donate our $112 personal winnings, too! AnimalKind, Inc. rescues shelter cats from death row; manages feral colonies; offers disaster relief and TNR (trap, neuter/spay and release) to the community; engages with local towns for protective animal legislation; and provides people with the education and financial support needed to be good pet parents. It’s also where we adopted our two cats, Jed and Jackson,

In part one of this raffle, we shared video of our cats celebrating their first holiday season with us last year. Today, we share their adoption day with a glimpse at the inside workings of AnimalKind.

Best of luck! And thanks to the supporting bloggers and small business owners who banded together with organizers Two Little Cavaliers and Pamper Yourself in Pink for this social media event, chipping in a few dollars toward the prize money. We’re thrilled to be counted among you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WIN! WIN! Raffle – Cash for You AND an Animal Charity!

WIN! WIN! Raffle – Cash for You AND an Animal Charity!

UPDATE:
Congratulations to winner Kristie Wright and her charity of choice,  The Leon County Humane Society, a membership – supported, no-kill organization!

Social Media For Social Good

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and generous, and even a bit broke. But, with some luck, you could feel jolly for generously helping needy animals and even earn a few bucks for yourself!

Enter to become the one lucky winner who receives:

$112 cash delivered to your PayPal account and
$213 sent directly to the non-profit animal charity of your choice! 

Every Facebook Like you make below enters you into the random drawing for a chance to win.  The more actions you complete, the more entries you’ll toss in the hat! Not into Facebook? Come back on 12/18 for a chance to enter through Twitter. A Google+ fan? Circle your entries on 12/22. Enter all three if you like! All posts will close at 12:01am Eastern on December 29.

First up, please share the animal charity you’ll give to in the comment section below. We’d love to learn about the work they do. Links are welcome and gushing is encouraged!

Our Donation Choice

If we win, we’ll not only send $213 to AnimalKind, Inc. a holistic cat rescue program in Hudson, NY, we’ll donate our $112 personal winnings, too! AnimalKind, Inc. rescues shelter cats from death row; manages feral colonies; offers disaster relief and TNR (trap, neuter/spay and release) to the community; engages with local towns for protective animal legislation; and provides people with the education and financial support needed to be good pet parents. It’s also where we adopted our two cats, Jed and Jackson, who celebrated their first holiday season with us last year.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKTX5Ha1HWw

Best of luck! And thanks to the supporting bloggers and small business owners who banded together with organizers Two Little Cavaliers and Pamper Yourself in Pink for this social media event, chipping in a few dollars toward the prize money. We’re thrilled to be counted among you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway: Angry Birds Pet Toys from Hartz

Hartz Angry Birds ToysHartz for the Holidays recently brought the Angry Birds game to our pet household. Oh yeah. My worlds not only collide, but they are now complete. You too could have a goodie bag chock full of giggling and oinking dog or cat toys, and just in time for the holidays. See below for details!

WHAT WE LOVE

While we gave our free samples some tough workouts, these are my – I mean our – favorites:

The adorable 4” plush ball comes to life with the real Angry Birds soundwaves and cracks me up. It’s also available in a 2.5” version for smaller dogs. Our cats love to bunny kick these, too, so don’t count them out for your cats! You can hear the sounds in our video below.

Hartz Angry Birds DiscWith a red bird on one side and a green pig on the other, the durable yet flexible Hartz Angry Birds Tuff Stuff™ Flyers travel long distances and are easy on our dog’s teeth. Constructed of super-durable ballistic nylon and double stitched seams, this toy can stand up to even the toughest chewers. Grips throughout the disc also make this a great tug toy, and the squeaker in the center will keep your dog interested during solo play. They even float!

Shamus and PigHartz® Angry Birds® Catnip Heads™ catnip refillable toy attracts the attention of both our dogs and cats. One bats it, another chases it, yet another steals it. Yes, we suprvise so the dogs don’t eat them whole – which they would – but it’s a total riot. This favorite goes hand in hand with the Hartz® Angry Birds® Wand, adding an elastic string with unpredictable yet hilarious results. Cats, dogs, birds, and pigs fly through air at once, none landing at the same time.

WHO’S BETTER AT ANGRY BIRDS, CATS OR DOGS?

We had a little competition. Guess who wins…

Hartz has also an awesome video featuring enthusiastic dogs (who aren’t intimidated by cats). Watch “Now They Can Play Too – Hartz Angry Birds Pet Toys

GIVEAWAY

US residents, tell me your favorite toy and whether it’s for a dog or cat in the comments section by Sunday at Midnight EST to be entered to win. Extra entries can be earned by sharing on Facebook or Twitter. One randomly chosen winner will be announced on December 12th. Best of luck to you all!



CAN’T WAIT TO WIN?

Yeah. It’s tough, I know. If you want to just go straight for the perfect gift, these toys are all available on Amazon.com (affiliate link).