Saturday, May 23, 2015

BlogPaws Conference Jitters

I am a special kind of introvert.  I am an introvert who, days before a lunch date with an old friend, thinks, Oh my god, why did I ever agree to this, I'd rather do literally anything than go out and socialize.  One who hems and haws about whether or not to go on a double date because the other girl is a stranger and meeting new people makes me so very anxious.  I'm an introvert who breaks a sweat at the thought of introducing myself.

But I'm also an introvert who, once back to my room - my husband, my books, my job, my solitude - says, "That was so much fun!  Why don't I do this more often?!"  This is confusing and not very fun for poor Jared, who experiences both pre- and post-event Chelsea, which are nearly polar opposites.

So when it comes to big events like BlogPaws...sigh.  Color me stressed!  I know that I will end up having a great time.  I know I will meet some fantastic people and learn so much more about the pet blogging world.  I know this.  But pre-event Chelsea doesn't seem to know this, and she won't stop worrying! ;)

You might not guess from looking, but I am terrified in this picture.  It was right before a wedding where Jared and I were the guestbook attendants - lots of forced socialization!

Seriously, though, I'm more excited than anything.  Since I've been neglecting the blog lately and trying to get my head on straight, I was worried I wouldn't get as much out of the conference as I might have six months ago.  But I don't think that's true.  And to be honest, this is as much of a getaway for my husband and I as it is a learning experience.  Truthfully, I might be most excited to see all the dogs.  And grab Jared's arm and "Squeeee!" when I see one I recognize from another blog.  (You have not heard squealing until you have heard me around a cute dog.  I apologize in advance.)

I was concerned about getting sick, for sure.  For whatever reason, my "episodes" tend to happen in crowded, public, or embarrassing places (like my first date with my husband, my first day at TWO different jobs, and the biggest shopping mall in the Midwest...), and BlogPaws definitely fits all three criteria.  But I am planning on packing a tote for each day that will have all of the things I need, should I have an issue:  Medications, an ice pack, LOTS of frozen water bottles, packages of salted peanuts, and an iPod full of episodes of The Office.  Plus a super-husband who is well-versed in the art of taking care of his unconscious wife. :D  So I'm crossing my fingers!

Two posts that I have found very helpful so far are:

M. K. Clinton - Packing for a BlogPaws Conference
Cat Wisdom 101 - Packing it All In

They both have packing lists plus great tips for attending a conference!

Do you have any jitters when it comes to social situations?  I sure would feel less silly if you shared them with me in the comments ;)  SO looking forward to meeting you all!  I'll be the one jumping up and down and squealing over your adorable dog or cat! ;)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Kids' Guide to Interacting with Dogs

I am the library director at a very small public library.  This year's Summer Reading program theme is "Every Hero has a Story."  We go for four weeks, and each week will be a different type of hero - superheroes, community heroes, animal heroes, and how to be a hero yourself.  I love trying to integrate my two passions - reading and animal rescue - and I'm excited to have the opportunity to do so for this program. 

For the "Animal Hero" week, I am trying to track someone down who has a certified therapy dog who could come in for a visit.  I know the kids would love taking turns petting the dog and asking all sorts of questions about its training.  I am a bit nervous, though, about the kids interacting with the dog.  We generally only have about 10 kids who attend regularly, ranging in age from preschool to 5th grade, but there's a good chance we could have more this year.  I am worried about grabby hands, loud and excited yelling, and a nervous dog. 

I plan to use these amazing infographics to go over the dos and don'ts of interacting with animals.  I found them through Winding Ridge Lane, but they are the work of the late, great Sophia Yin. 


I'm sure you've seen these before, but aren't they amazing?  Any other suggestions for bringing a dog around children? 
I'm also excited for the "Being a Hero" week, which will focus mostly on positive personality traits and doing various "good deeds".  For one of the crafts, we will be making cat toys, which will then be donated to a local animal shelter.  If you have any other ideas, I am more than open to them!  I'm always looking for ways to get kids interested in both reading and volunteering!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Don't be a Breed Bully

Dobermans were once thought to be the most vicious breed out there.  Then it was German Shepherds...then Rotties.  Now the media is picking on pit bulls, the goofy clowns of the dog world.

What breed is next?  What breed will be added to the "dangerous dog ordinances" that are spreading like wildfire here in Iowa?  Which group of dogs will be publicly damned and banned from attending training classes or living in certain towns?

According to my Facebook feed and comments on recent news articles about BSL (breed specific legislation), two breeds that might be in danger of becoming the media's next targets are the Presa Canario and the Cane Corso.  Both beautiful breeds have the square head and the muscular build that can make them look intimidating, and both have a reputation of being bred for fighting.

But I want you to meet Spike.

Spike's human sister was diagnosed with cancer at a very young age.  His owner noticed that while she was at the children's hospital, Spike began losing weight drastically.  He acted lethargic and refused to eat.  But each time the child returned home in between hospital visits, Spike was back to his old self and eating normally.  Then she would leave again, and he'd stop eating, and so on, until the poor dog himself had to be hospitalized and fed intravenously.  Through it all, Spike was there for his human dad, resting his head in his lap and serving as a source of comfort for the man, who was devastated over his daughter's diagnosis.  

Spike passed away last year.  But his family will never forget his devotion and endless supply of love and support.  Why are stories like this not shown on the news?  Why not show the amazing things these breeds do for us instead of focusing on negativity?  Breeds that the public consistently slanders have such potential to be wonderful pets.  And many aren't given the option - they sit behind bars in shelters because people are frightened of them.  Give them a chance.  It is often the breeds that look the most intimidating that need the most love.

Since we're talking about Presas, here's a beautiful young male up for adoption!  Located in Toledo, Ohio, Tiny is about two years old and according to his fosters, a "big goofball"!  Click the link for more info or to adopt the ironically-named Tiny.  Isn't he gorgeous?!