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!  


By |2018-01-07T18:17:08+00:00January 7th, 2018|Animal Rescue, Blogging, CBD oil, Daily Dog Life, Dogs, Healthy Living|31 Comments

About the Author:

Alison Reder


  1. Pamela January 7, 2018 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    It sounds like your life is conspiring to move your blog along with it. And you’ve come through a challenging year. I think you’re going in a great direction.

    Sorry I don’t have any experience on putting your imprint on a product. But it’s an interesting idea. I’ve considered something a little different–collaborating with a company to develop new products. The boating dog market is seriously under developed. And many of the folks out here traveling with dogs have the means to invest in good gear.

    I, personally, don’t. But I find a lack of really great gear that keeps a dog safe and comfortable doing the things we have to do.

    BTW, Lila is beautiful. I have a soft spot for pittie-type dogs.

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 14, 2018 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Pamela! Given my greatly reduced writing schedule, I probably need to focus on content generation rather than white labeling a product anyway 😉 I share your desire to do some product development. I have a great idea for a leash!

      The boating dog market seems like an amazing place to do some product development! Good safety gear for boating dogs sounds like a perfect niche!

  2. Beth January 7, 2018 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    I loved reading about the way you’ve used CBD oil, too. That was something I hadn’t heard much about and your post was so enlightening! Lila is adorable and I can’t wait to read more about her!

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 14, 2018 at 1:28 pm - Reply

      I love CBD oil! I am so impressed with the results for both dogs and humans and I promise I will be writing more about it this year 🙂 I have to agree with you…Lila is pretty stinkin’ cute 😉

  3. Jodi Chick January 7, 2018 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    You have GOT THIS. I love hearing you (finally) being a little kinder to yourself! You took on so much and everything that once was changed all at once, of course, it’s taking some time to find the new normal! Set your own priorities, plot your own course and answer to no one but yourself. You only have 24 hours, same as the rest of us. I am here and ready to tackle some blog planning one-on-one whenever you’re ready…and I can’t wait to see you in just a few months!

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 14, 2018 at 1:29 pm - Reply

      Thank you!! I hope you know that the “kinder, gentler to myself” Alison is a direct result of your support to make 2018 the year that includes intentional self care 🙂

  4. The Daily Pip January 8, 2018 at 7:32 am - Reply

    You really have had an incredible, transformational year (painful at times, I know)! Wow, can’t wait to see what comes next for you and the blog.

    I love what you said about realizing that your blog is yours. I have kind of had the same realization in different ways. I can’t wait to read more about CBD oil – I am probably the only dog blogger who hasn’t tried it yet. I don’t know anything about the white label/blog branding thing.

    And finally, the weight loss thing is a goal for me, too. I don’t know what happened this year, but ugh I up about 15 pounds. I need an accountability group for what I’m eating. Maybe we can start a side group.

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 14, 2018 at 1:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks! I am hoping to have some CBD oil options on the blog soon. It’s one of my goals for 2018. On the weight loss thing, I think I might just have to make the Healthy Dog, Healthy You challenge an all year round activity so we can all support one another. Also, I miss our weekly check in meetings! Not sure how we can fit those back in but I really appreciated having that extra accountability 🙂

  5. Jodi Stone January 8, 2018 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    You had quite a year. Congratulations on the new gig and most of all, my sympathies at losing Zora. They never quite seem to stay with us long enough.

    I’m currently using CBD oil for Sampson for his arthritis and anxiety, and I’m using it myself for depression and to help me sleep. I’m very interested in what you come up with to sell. But I have no idea what white listing even is, so I cannot help you there.

    I like the idea of an accountability group/buddy. I have a buddy for another project, but never thought of using one for blogging.

    I can’t wait to see what changes you have in store for 2018!


    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 14, 2018 at 1:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Jodi! I can’t tell you how valuable my accountability group has been. I highly recommend connecting with another blogger, or a few and setting up a regular check in meeting where you state your goals for each week and hold one another’s feet to the fire 🙂

  6. Amy@GoPetFriendly January 8, 2018 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for joining the Challenge, Alison! It sounds like 2017 was a challenge, and I’m so glad you’re finding a way to be kind to yourself. We’d forgive anyone for not blogging consistently who had as much on their plate as you’ve had, but somehow we’re always our own worse critics. I love that your friends are helping you overcome that.

    Lila looks like a doll – congratulations on adding her to the family, and my condolences on Zora’s passing. It’s always so hard when they move on. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experience while listing a product, so I can’t be helpful, but I wish you the best of luck! I hope 2018 is a terrific year for you.

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 14, 2018 at 1:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks for hosting the challenge, Amy! It’s one of my favorite blogging activities and I really enjoy meeting other bloggers and learning about their journeys. Lila is pretty sweet. If your travels bring you through KCMO, please let us know – she’s even cuter in person 🙂

  7. Jana Rade January 9, 2018 at 11:27 am - Reply

    HAHA, time management. When you find out the trick for that, please let me know what it is 🙂

  8. Kalia January 9, 2018 at 9:26 pm - Reply

    Nice to meet you. I am a new doggie blogger and found the challenge just in time to join. I would really like to go to the BlogPaws Conference, but it will probably not be happening this year. I have in my sights for next year though.

    Also, I am very curious to learn more about this CBD Oil you speak of. I will be checking that out. Thanks!! I look forward to reading more of your content!

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 14, 2018 at 1:49 pm - Reply

      Hi Kalia! Nice to meet you too! If you are able to swing it, BlogPaws is an incredible opportunity to professionalize your blogging efforts. I am excited to share more about CBD oil and please let me know if I can answer any questions. I look forward to checking out your blog!

  9. Denise January 13, 2018 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Your mission is so vital for our furry friends and I love that you have been able to translate that into your 9-5 job as well. I truly cannot imagine what it is like to go from freelancing to having to answer to an alarm (I don’t remember a time when I didn’t answer to my father’s wake up call or an alarm). Time management definitely becomes imperative (thank goodness for people like Jodi) but I also think remembering to be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about the number of posts etc.you are making a difference in EVERYTHING you do and I know you’ll keep blogging here too even if it posting isn’t as frequent.
    My heart breaks with your precious Zora crossing the rainbow bridge and rejoices as you celebrated your love for her bringing sweet Lila home!
    I am so excited watching your new ventures creating products. Cheers to 2018. Can’t wait to join you in your new hometown for BlogPaws!

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 14, 2018 at 1:52 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Denise! And, thank you for being a part of the group that helped me through all these changes, ups and downs! You know I need and very much appreciate the reminder to be kind to myself. So excited to see you in KCMO in April! Wishing you an exciting 2018 where wishes and dreams come true 🙂

  10. The Green Dogs January 14, 2018 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    #oreodog – I love her! Best of luck with everything in 2018! <3

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm - Reply

      Thanks! Lila is indeed a cutie pie 🙂

  11. Irene McHugh January 14, 2018 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    Hello Alison! I’m hopping over for the challenge. I remember reading your post about moving with pets and liking your practical and actionable advice. I’ve moved numerous times in my life, both as a kid and even more as an adult, sometimes with pets, but not every time. I don’t have any experience with white listing brands, but as someone who has moved a bunch, I can say definitively it would always take me at least a year to feel truly at home in any new city. Sometimes a bit more time. Your comment about not feeling quite settled stuck out for me. You’ve only been in KCMO for four months. If you’ve got a favorite place to buy chocolate, you’re right on track:)

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 28, 2018 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Irene! I appreciate hearing that others have found it takes time to settle in to a new city. Patience is not one of my virtues but I do have a fabulous place for chocolate that helps get me through 😉

  12. Emma January 26, 2018 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Congratulations on so many life changes and being able to keep your blog going. Time management is tough. Mom has her own business that takes a lot of time. The blog and our sports take up a lot of time too, but Mom finds herself favoring the blog over work which is tough to change. Work is just that work, but it pays the bills. The blog is fun and not a big money maker. Be happy you have a job you seem to love. Congratulations on the new position.

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder January 28, 2018 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for the support and encouragement!

  13. Nicole Porter January 30, 2018 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Wow! Really great!
    Thanks for sharing this important post with us.

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder February 3, 2018 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome!

  14. Ray February 1, 2018 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Great article! Congratulations! Yes, it is really important to reflect on what the last year 2017 had given us. What you wrote was a great example to follow. I will do the same thing and with this, I will be able to know what to do next that would give positive results for the new year 2018. Thank you so much!

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder February 3, 2018 at 1:31 pm - Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Happy 2018! 🙂

  15. Millionaire Dog June 9, 2018 at 7:42 am - Reply

    Wow! Really great!
    Thanks for sharing this important post with us.

  16. Dean August 15, 2018 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    Wonderful and very well written blog. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder August 15, 2018 at 8:47 pm - Reply

      Thank you for stopping by to read the post 🙂

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