Every year, following the chaos of the holiday season, I try to spend a little time reflecting on the previous year and considering how I want to approach the coming year. I’m not much of a New Year’s resolution kind of girl. (Way too much pressure!) In year’s past I have focused this reflection primarily on my personal life and physical health and not so much on the blog. That is until last year when I first participated in the GoPetFriendly Annual Pet Blogger Challenge.

I read through last year’s questions and answers where I got to share a lot of information about myself that might not normally come up on Sarcastic Dog. This past year was a challenging year with a major move and the loss of one of my dogs so I’m sharing my 2017 blogging journey in the hopes that it will inspire others.

The 2018 Pet Blogger Challenge:

 

For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic?

Sarcastic Dog was started in 2013 (sort of) . I had written several articles as a pet writer for an online magazine in Boulder, Colorado but the project fizzled and I was left with some posts I loved and a lot more to say. I was also dealing with some challenges with my rescue dog, Simon (Now almost 11 – What?!?!), so Sarcastic Dog was born…and then ignored… for a while…

In 2015 I attended my first BlogPaws conference and I was filled with a renewed sense of passion and commitment to Sarcastic Dog. I completed a site redesign and recommitted to the blog. The tagline–wagging our tails with uninhibited joy–was inspired by Simon, my eternal optimist. 

My passion is animal rescue and changing the conversation about bully breeds and the animal welfare industry. #adoptdontshop

What was your proudest blogging moment of 2017?

Hands down, my proudest blogging moment was presenting with fellow influencer, Bryn Nowell from A Dog Walks into A Bar at the 2016 BlogPaws conference about how to work with brands.  

Honorable mention for the proudest blogging moment was running my second annual Sarcastic Dog Healthy Dog, Healthy You Walk the Dog Challenge The 30 day challenge is one of my favorite activities of the year and I have plans in the works to make this an ongoing healthy living challenge and not just an annual event.

Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

This is tough. I had several posts I really loved writing this past year but my favorite was about using CBD oil as a positive training tool.  I am a huge proponent of the use of CBD oil for dogs (and people) in dealing with anxiety, arthritis, pain management and other issues. This post was one of my more popular posts and started me on a path towards learning as much as I can about CBD. I will be carrying a line of CBD oil on the blog this year and look forward to sharing more about what I am learning.

CBD Oil for dogs can be used to ease anxiety making positive training sessions easier and more effective

In terms of your blog, how do you measure success?

To be honest, with the shift in my blog’s focus to be more about rescue and advocacy and healthy living with your dog, I am redefining what success means to me. Traffic is certainly a key metric but I am also starting to define success around the level and quality of engagement particularly in having conversations about challenging topics and making a difference in the lives of people and animals.

In what ways has your blog changed during 2017?

I made some changes regarding the language that often feeds the conversation surrounding pit bull type dogs but I will be revisiting that again in early 2018 as the conversation keeps shifting. I made a few visual changes but otherwise, my blog didn’t change much in 2017. I have some big plans for 2018 that might include some layout and font changes but my big focus will remain the same: content generation.

What was the biggest blogging challenge you overcame in 2017, and what did you learn that could help other bloggers?

There were two big challenges that heavily impacted my blog during the second half of 2017. In July, I applied for the position of VP of Operations at Wayside Waifs animal shelter in Kansas City, Missouri. I was offered the position on July 25th and had to start work on August 28th! Packing up 26 years of stuff and memories and saying goodbye to my beloved Colorado friends and hiking trails and sunsets in such a short period of time required my full attention leaving the blog a bit neglected for longer than I would have liked. Sadly, just two and a half weeks after arriving in Kansas City, my 14 and a half year old yellow lab, Zora, let me know it was time to say goodbye, further derailing my blogging efforts.

It was an incredibly challenging time for me – physically and emotionally – and, being my own worst critic, I was incredibly hard on myself for not having been more organized and for not posting as much as I would have liked. I missed opportunities and got behind on blog related correspondence, which made me feel unprofessional and very disappointed in myself. On top of that, I have gained some weight as I have been doing Olympic level stress eating.

THE BIG TAKEAWAY: I am not, in fact, Wonder Woman.  I had to reach out to friends and fellow bloggers and the biggest lesson I learned was that my blog is mine. You don’t have to answer to anyone when it comes to your posting schedule (unless of course you are working with a brand and have a deadline then you have to at least get those posts done!) and the world will not disintegrate into dust if you have to take a break.  Be kind to yourself, reach out for some guidance and breathe. And… chocolate.

When things get hard, what keeps you blogging?

My accountability Mastermind Group. Shortly after attending my first BlogPaws conference, I started a Mastermind group with several other BlogPaws members. We’ve been meeting every two weeks for two years via videoconference and we support one another in setting and achieving our blogging goals. This amazing group of women encourages one another through writer’s block, disappointments and when life gets in the way making blogging hard. Also…chocolate.

Looking forward to 2018, what are you hoping to accomplish on your blog this year?

2017 was an amazing and challenging year. I am starting to feel slightly more settled here in KCMO and am slowly getting into a new routine (though I doubt I will ever appreciate having my alarm go off while it is still dark outside because that is just so wrong!) In 2018, I hope to accomplish the following:

Further refine the mission and focus of my blog as I delve deeper into the animal welfare space

Post more consistently and more frequently

Share more about the use of CBD Oil 

Launch my online store

Share my healthy living journey as I strive to create a new normal and get back in shape

Introduce Lila, the newest member of the crew to my readers #oreodog

In addition to what you’d like to accomplish, is here one specific skill you’d like to improve or master this year?

Time management! Seriously- I cannot overstate this enough. I need a whole team of specialists (Are you there, Jodi Chick at Kol’s Notes?) to assist me on this. After free-lancing for more than a decade, my new job requires a more traditional schedule leaving me in need of mastering the art of effective time management. 

My Question for other Pet Bloggers

Has anyone white labeled a product to match your brand? As part of launching my online store in 2018, I would like to white label a couple of products I really love and am looking for advice from anyone who has gone down this road. Please comment below if you have any experience in this area. Thanks!!

Thank you for reading more about Sarcastic Dog!

I look forward to learning more about each of the bloggers in the hop and wish everyone a happy, healthy, productive and adventurous 2018!