Pet Blogger Challenge 

When I ventured into the world of pet blogging, I had no idea what I was really getting myself into or where it would lead me. I could not have predicted that I would reignite my passion for non-profit work and begin my journey into animal rescue or that I would meet (online and in real life) some of the most incredible, dedicated and talented people I’ve ever had the good fortune to know. I am so excited to be participating in my first GoPetFriendly Pet Blogger Challenge! It is not only an opportunity to share some (hopefully) interesting information about me and Sarcastic Dog but it is also a wonderful way for readers to learn about some of the incredible pet bloggers out there writing about everything from dogs and beer to pet health and wellness, nutrition and so much more!

When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?

In 2013, I was asked to be the pet writer for a fledgling Boulder, Colorado online magazine. I wrote several pieces but the project never launched so I had these posts all dressed up with nowhere to go. I was also dealing with some challenges with my rescue dog, Simon, so I decided to start my own blog.

I launched Sarcastic Dog but then life took a very different turn and the blog was largely (completely) ignored until last year when I redesigned the site and recommitted to the blog. The taglineโ€“wagging our tails with uninhibited joyโ€“was inspired by Simon, my eternal optimist. 

Working on positive training with the dogs. Trying to master "place"

Left to right: Zora, Simon & Piper

Initially, I wanted to share my adventures and challenges with Simon and my older lab, Zora. Then I started fostering puppies, adopted Piper and everything changed.  Initially, the plan was to tell funny stories and share resources and cute pictures. My focus has become more about rescue, education and advocacy, particularly in relation to pit bull type dogs.

What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?

My series on changing the conversation around pit bull type dogs was my proudest blogging moment. Pit bull rescue and advocacy is a subject near and dear to my heart so I was humbled, grateful and proud to have received the response I did to the series. Advocating and educating on behalf of bully breeds will be a continuing theme on Sarcastic Dog.

Pit Bulls come in all shapes and sizes

My other proud moment was collaborating with the awesome bloggers A Dog Walks into A Bar, My Life with Dogs PDX, The Broke Dog, The Daily Pip & Denise Gruzensky and more than 20 brands for an extremely successful holiday gift guide and giveaway

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

Without a doubt my favorite post of 2016 is the one that kicked off the Changing the Conversation about Pit Bulls series, Myths and Misconceptions: Bronwen Dickey Changing the Conversation About the Misunderstood Pit Bull 

Read our review and enter to win a copy of Pit Bull: The Battle Over an American Icon

I had the distinct privilege and pleasure of interviewing the author, Bronwen Dickey and it was a turning point in the direction for the blog. (Look for more interviews and reviews in 2017!)

Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?

Attending the Blog Paws Conference was absolutely the most significant action I took for my blog in 2016. I met and have collaborated with some amazing women as a result of attending the conference and have formed several incredible friendships for which I am grateful. The conference gave me confidence in myself as a blogger and encouraged me to take the next steps in growing my blog. Plus, I got to love on other people’s puppies!

Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?

I find it hilarious that my most popular blog post of 2016, by a lot, is my DIY Ball Pit for Dogs post because I am what is generally referred to as “DIY Challenged” 

What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.)

There are so many blogs that I enjoy both in and out of the pet blogging world. Kristin Avery of The Daily Pip is both my DIY challenged spirit sister as well as sharing a passion for rescue and advocacy. Carol Bryant from Fidose of Reality provided the tools I needed to make progress with Piper on overcoming her fear of the car. It’s still a work in progress but Carol’s advice and guidance was instrumental in the progress we made. I am constantly inspired by the incredible images Beth Patterson shares on her blog The Daily Dog Tag.

(I could go on and on listing humor blogs, health and nutrition blogs and more but since you’ve read this far and there’s still a little ways to go, I’ll refrain….for now ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

What is one thing your readers donโ€™t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?

I’m pretty open about the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to my dogs and my life but I don’t think that most of my readers know that I used to sing professionally. I was part of an acoustic duo up in Summit County, Colorado in the early 90s. We did the whole aprรจs ski circuit for several years.  

I also used to own a bakery, The Little Fig Baking Company, here in Colorado. (Yes, we did also make dog treats!) 

What is something youโ€™ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?

If you are blogging with integrity and personal focus, blogging is not a competition.  We all succeed when we support and encourage one another. Also, collaboration is not only fun but it can be an incredible way to grow your following. 

What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?

Grow my Instagram following and email list, be more consistent with my posts, improve my presence across social platforms and learn to take better pictures. I would also like to become a brand ambassador for one of my favorite brands.

Now itโ€™s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community โ€“ is there a question youโ€™d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that youโ€™d like input on?

Unless someone has a formula for cloning myself or winning lottery ticket numbers, I would love to hear how others balance full time work with putting in the time and effort necessary to build blog traffic, improve social media presence and create a consistent content. I would also love some tips on writing a blog post in fewer than 8 hours ๐Ÿ˜‰

Join the Pet Blogger Challenge Jan 7th, 8th and 9th

Check out the amazing blogs participating in the 2017 Go Pet Friendly Pet Blogger Challenge

By |2017-02-20T21:24:34+00:00January 7th, 2017|Uncategorized|26 Comments

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  1. The Daily Pip January 8, 2017 at 4:41 am - Reply

    Awe, thanks for the lovely comment. Meeting and connecting with all of you was definitely a highlight for me, too! I’m also kind of in awe that you had a baking company because baking for me is kind of like DIY projects – following directions/recipes is hard and I have a long and colorful history of baking mishaps.

    In terms of time management, here are my thoughts. I just gave the Bryn the same long-winded answer on the very same subject.

    Bottom line, it is really hard. I also work full time and have some other responsibilities with various elderly relatives that I’m responsible for and also like you, a daughter. For years (like 20), I kept thinking that eventually my time would come and my responsibilities would decrease and I would have more time for my own dreams and goals. About two years ago (at my first Blogpaws in Nashville) I faced the cold, hard truth, that the right time was never coming and if something was important to me – I just had to do it, no matter what, and this would mean making some sacrifices, which for me usually means sleep. I get up about 3 or 4 in the morning every day, even weekends, and work for 2 or 3 hours before going to work or starting the rest of my day. Yes, it sometimes sucks, but it is my time (before anyone else is awake) when I get to do what I want without interruption. My advice is to carve out some time for yourself everyday – and hold tight, no matter what else happens. I have been fortunate to have some success this past year and I credit this success to finally committing to making time for myself in spite of whatever craziness is going on in the rest of my life. I wish it hadn’t taken me almost 50 years to figure this out, but oh well …

    And now, because it is 5:30 in the morning and I have several hours until the rest of the crew wakes up, I am going to write my Pet Blogger Challenge post, which I totally forgot about until I read your post (and Bryn’s last night).
    The Daily Pip recently posted…Post Holiday Snooze FestMy Profile

    • SimonDawg January 8, 2017 at 9:05 am - Reply

      That is great advice and I really appreciate it, though, if you have those winning lottery numbers, feel free to send them my way ๐Ÿ˜‰ So incredibly grateful to have met and connected with you and I look forward to more opportunities to collaborate ๐Ÿ™‚ See you in May, if not sooner!

  2. Sarah January 8, 2017 at 11:08 am - Reply

    Thanks for the lovely write up, I love the picture of Zora, Simon and Piper and very impressed they are all looking and posing for the camera ๐Ÿ™‚

    • SimonDawg January 12, 2017 at 1:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks you Sarah! I wish I could say that my crew is just super well-behaved and trained but in reality, I likely had a side of beef or some other super high value treat keeping their attention ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Jana Rade January 8, 2017 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    LOL When you find the answer to your question, let me know! I’ve been struggling with time a lot lately. I had to resort to posts that I can write relatively quickly. So my main dilemma every time is “what can I write about quickly enough?” I wish I had time for longer, well-researched posts. But for now I don’t. I’m hoping that once I finally get my book out there it might generate SOME revenue which than would allow me more time for improving the book as well as for writing better posts.

    • SimonDawg January 12, 2017 at 1:32 pm - Reply

      I’m in the same boat, Jana! I always seem to choose topics that require a significant amount of research, writing and revision time in addition to the time that goes into preparing images and graphics. Best of luck on the book! Let me know when it’s available!

  4. Kimberly Gauthier January 8, 2017 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    I think this is the first time I’ve been to this blog and I love it. I love the simple design, the logo, and the font.

    I work full time and my blog is nearly a full time job too. What has worked for me is creating work hours that I stick with and my family respects. That’s the only way I can get everything done.

    Have a fabulous 2017.

    • SimonDawg January 12, 2017 at 1:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks for checking out Sarcastic Dog, Kimberly! And, thank you for the advice to schedule specific work hours. I need to do that and stick to it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Amy@GoPetFriendly January 8, 2017 at 10:08 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for participating in the Challenge, and welcome to the pack! I absolutely love your focus on changing the conversation around pitties – thank you for taking on that mission.

    I wish I could tell you that there’s a magic formula for growing your blog and staying on top of everything. Honestly, I feel like the best thing is to not over do it, and avoid getting burned out. Blogging is hard work, and focusing too much on where you’re going can take the joy out of the journey. Writing content is the top priority, so focus there first, and then choose one or two social media platforms that help you meet your goals. After that, it’s a matter of time – it takes a while for your blog authority to develop, so be patient and enjoy the ride. I hope that helps, and that 2017 is an amazing year for you!
    Amy@GoPetFriendly recently posted…The 7th Annual Pet Blogger ChallengeMy Profile

    • SimonDawg January 12, 2017 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the opportunity, Amy! It has been such a fun challenge and I am thrilled to be learning about so many other blogs!

      I appreciate the reminder to avoid getting burned out. It’s really easy to do and I am not always great on the self-care front. Wishing you the best in 2017!

  6. Elaine January 9, 2017 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    I so wish I had an answer to your time management issue besides getting up earlier each day, haha!

    I love your advocacy for pit bulls and what you mentioned in your advice to other bloggers. Iโ€™m certain Haley would LOVE that ball pit too!

    Iโ€™v bookmarked your site and canโ€™t wait to come back and discover more about you, Zora, Piper and Simon!
    Elaine recently posted…2017 Pet Blogger Challenge and Reader SurveyMy Profile

    • SimonDawg January 12, 2017 at 1:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you for checking out the blog! I look forward to checking out yours as well and I appreciate the feedback on the pit bull advocacy work. Happy 2017 to you and Haley!

  7. Bailey January 10, 2017 at 2:47 pm - Reply

    Very cute photos!! Thank you for sharing. Keep up the great posts! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Take care,

  8. Christine Caplan January 11, 2017 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    First, I;m so so grateful I met you at BlogPaws and through the blogger community last year – I feel like I’ve known you for so much longer so I actually think we knew each other in a past life. Second, I cannot believe you were a baker and singer in your past life. Can we please talk more about the bakery? Did you love it?! Your blog posts about pitties are so inspiring and I know they hep change the narrative and the breed needs more people like YOU. Happy New Year my friend!

    • SimonDawg January 12, 2017 at 10:38 am - Reply

      The feeling is so totally mutual, my friend! Such gratitude for having met you at Blog Paws! Sometimes I do miss the bakery. My favorite part was our booth at the Boulder Farmer’s Market. Looking forward to collaborating more with you in 2017!

  9. Beth Patterson January 12, 2017 at 10:09 am - Reply

    I really loved reading more about you as a person. I’m pretty sure if you can bake like that, you are NOT DIY challenged! I’m also impressed that you can sing, do your dogs enjoy listening to you sing? Do they sing along?

    I love reading your blog and following you on social media. I was absolutely blown away by your series on Changing the Conversation About Pitbulls.
    Beth Patterson recently posted…Help Make 2017 The Year These Dogs Go HomeMy Profile

    • SimonDawg January 12, 2017 at 10:30 am - Reply

      The dogs look at me a little funny when I sing but they don’t start howling, which I’m hoping means they don’t hate it ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thank you so much for the feedback on the Changing the Conversation about Pit Bulls series! Much appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Jessica @YouDidWhatWithYourWiener January 12, 2017 at 6:30 pm - Reply

    Congrats on a great 2016 and congrats again on being chosen to speak at BlogPaws. You’re one smart cookie so I know it will be great ๐Ÿ™‚ I don’t have a secret to cloning yourself, sadly. When I used to work full-time for the government, all I did was go to that job and work on my blog. I would work on it for a couple of hours before work and then a few when I got home. I would spend at least one weekend day working on it too. I think I put around 30 hours a week into it the first few years in addition to my “real” job. I thought I would have more time for it once I made it part of my business but, sadly, I don’t. As you understand, client work almost always comes before my own projects. The good news is that, after a couple of years, the ball was rolling and things were more streamlined so I could ease up on my efforts a bit.
    Jessica @YouDidWhatWithYourWiener recently posted…Winter Hiking With Dogs: Watch for HypothermiaMy Profile

    • SimonDawg February 8, 2017 at 10:33 am - Reply

      Thanks, Jessica! I’m trying to stay on top of things. I think I’m just going to have to overcome not being a morning person so that I can get those morning hours in before starting my client work.

  11. Tori February 14, 2017 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    This is such a great post! I enjoyed getting to know you better. I met you through the 30 day healthy you healthy dog challenge ( I think that was the name). I think community is the best part of blogging! And since my blog is fashion, dogs and DIY I can say that the dog blogging community is definitely the easiest to make friends in!

    How did you get involved in this challenge? I feel like I always see you participating in fun stuff like this! I would love to get in the loop.

    • SimonDawg February 16, 2017 at 6:12 pm - Reply

      Thanks! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post ๐Ÿ™‚ I remember that you were part of the Healthy Dog, Healthy You Challenge! I’m trying to pull together another one for this spring! I saw this hop come up in on the Blog Paws Community Facebook page and I will try to remember to tag you the next time I see a challenge pop up ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Happy-Go-Doodle March 29, 2017 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful post! Thanks for sharing your story. As a new blogger, it’s inspiring for me to read about your journey, your joys, and your passions.
    Also, congratulations on being selected as a BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose finalist. Wishing you all the best!

    • Alison Reder
      Alison Reder March 29, 2017 at 1:55 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much! I’m glad that you liked the post and I’m always happy to connect with new bloggers! Congratulations to you as well on being a BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Finalist! Looking forward to meeting you in person at the conference in May! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Kate Evans April 14, 2017 at 3:07 am - Reply

    Hello Alison, Itโ€™s a wonderful blog that you have shared with me. Itโ€™s an inspiration for me to read about your journey, your joys, and your passions. Thanks for sharing your wonderful story.

    • Alison Reder April 14, 2017 at 8:46 am - Reply

      Thank you for your kind words, Kate. I appreciate the feedback and am so glad you enjoyed the post. ๐Ÿ™‚

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