Life Lessons, resources, and random bits for rescue dogs, cats, and their peeps

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Annual Pet Blogger Challenge

Today is the 6th Annual Pet Blogger Challenge, hosted by the folks at  Go Pet This is my first year participating in the challenge and I am thrilled to join in the fun. 

1. How long have you been blogging? And, for anyone who is visiting for the first time, please give a description of the subject of your blog?

I have been blogging on and off since 2011. I originally started the blog with my dog Pip as a way to raise money for his rescue shelter. When he passed away in 2013, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue blogging without him. I returned to blogging in 2015 with our new dog Ruby, but kept the original name in Pip's honor.

The Daily Pip provides resources, support, and humor for rescue families. I am a huge advocate for rescue and adoption especially for animals with special needs: senior pets, those with chronic medical issues, behavioral or temperament concerns as well as overlooked or misunderstood breeds like pit bulls and black cats. Special needs adoption is one of my greatest passions and raising awareness and compassion for these animals is at the heart of this blog.

2. What is the one thing that you accomplished during 2015, either on your blog or because of it, that made you most proud?

I am most proud that I found a way to reinvent the blog and return with new focus, energy, and purpose.

3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why?

By far, my favorite post was Giving Thanks: Happy Ruby Day, which celebrated Ruby's anniversary with our family as well as Thanksgiving. This post encourages adoption of senior and special needs animals and is the first in a weekly series called The Specials, which features successful special needs adoption stories.

4. What is the one thing you've done in the past year that has brought more traffic to your blog?

I have always been fortunate to have a small but engaged audience who tune in regularly and leave nice comments. However, this year I expanded the blog to Facebook and Instagram, which has made a huge difference in traffic. I also attended BlogPaws for the first time where I met tons of new people and learned the insider tricks of the trade.

5. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? Why do you think it was so popular?

In addition to Giving Thanks: Happy Ruby Day, my Wordless Wednesday posts usually do well because of Ruby's cuteness factor. Two of the most popular were Pink Meets Black and Self Reflection.

6. What is the one blog that you read religiously - other than your own - what makes you such a devoted reader?

I am a visual person and am attracted to blogs that are heavy on high-quality, beautiful images. I also appreciate balance between humor and cuteness with more serious, message oriented posts. A few of my favorites include: Romping and Rolling In the Rockies, A Tonk's Tail, The Dogs of Greenhill Farm, and Two Pitties in the City.

7. What resources do you rely on to enhance your technical, writing, photography, social media, or other skills to improve your blog?

Attending BlogPaws was huge for me - I learned so much and made so many contacts. I continue to read all BlogPaws posts and participate in their monthly blog challenges and online learning opportunities. Because images are such a huge part of my blog, I also took a photography class this fall and recently upgraded my lens and camera equipment.

8. What is the best piece of advice you can offer other bloggers?

Read other blogs and pay attention to what works and what doesn't work. Comment on other blogs and cultivate friendships and partnerships with other like-minded bloggers. Be kind and respectful to your readers - respond to their comments, thank them for their support, visit and comment on their blog if they have one.

Pay close attention to how your images and text interact and find the right balance for your readers as well as your own mission and purpose.

9. What is your vision for your blog in 2016? Do you have specific goals?

In 2016, I will continue to focus on promoting special needs adoptions through my series, The Specials and hopefully, help change public perception of animals labeled as "unadoptable". If even a few animals are adopted as a result of this series, I will feel incredibly grateful and successful.

Other 2016 goals include: continuing to expand my reach on Facebook and Instagram, writing for other online sites and sources, and improving my cat photography skills.

10. Is there one blogging challenge you'd like help with, or one aspect of your blog that you'd like input on? 

I'm not that tech savvy and still struggle with understanding and utilizing SEO as well as Google Analytics. Any guidance or recommendations would be appreciated.



  1. totally awesome pics today...

  2. I love your reinvention of the blog too - and I love all of ruby's pictures

  3. I'm glad that you continued blogging. Your blog is one I read as often as possible, and I think I've been reading it for as long as you've been writing. Pip was a special dog, we all miss him.

  4. Wordpress users have an advantage with SEO. We have some cool plugins that make it easy to put in keywords that will get attention. I don't know if Blogger has something comparable.

    But one trick I've found really helpful is to title posts using the exact phrases people use to search out answers to questions.

    Good luck in 2016. Can't wait to see what else you and Ruby have in store.

  5. I will definitely stop back and check out your "Specials" posts. And we will go visit those blogs you follow, thanks for suggesting them.

  6. I have noticed and enjoy the changes you made to the blog this year. Great job! Hope to see you at BlogPaws this summer!

  7. The Menagerie MomJanuary 9, 2016 at 1:03 PM

    This is such a wonderful post! I am so glad to have found your blog last year. Thank you for sharing all of the great info and lovely stories that you do!

  8. I'm so glad you're going to keep up with The Specials series. I'm a huge fan (probs because I have my own special needs rescue crew here).

    SEO can seem really tough, but you could get a good start by checking out Moz. I keep flogging that site all over the web, but that's because it really does work. There's a "beginner's guide to SEO" over there that you might find really helpful.

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

  9. Hailey and Zaphod and their LadyJanuary 9, 2016 at 7:44 PM

    I am so glad you found your voice to return to blogging this year too. I really love your specials. It is inspiring me to someday (not now, we have enough with our 2) to consider adopting a special.

  10. Chasing Dog TalesJanuary 9, 2016 at 8:16 PM

    I love seeing all your images on Instagram and it's been great to get to know you a little better through the challenge and the Wordless Wednesday blog hops. I also recommend the Moz website for great advice on SEO. Here's to a great 2016!

  11. We enjoyed reading your answers. We're glad you decided to keep blogging.

  12. Kimberly Gauthier, The Fur MomJanuary 9, 2016 at 10:14 PM

    Any time you want a basic chat about SEO let me know. I'd be happy to chat on the phone one weekend. :) You can message me through my blog or contact me on Facebook.

  13. Colby, Adelle, Stetson, and LinusJanuary 10, 2016 at 12:36 AM

    I just went over to Instagram to make sure I followed you. I'm hoping to make it to BlogPaws this year to meet my fellow pet bloggers face to face. I'm not great with Google Analytics, but I did finally start using it to track links in my email messages. If you have questions on how to do that I might be able to assist you. All the best to you in 2016!

  14. I agree with you, it makes a hug difference to enter more social networks. I always was no facebook fan, but after I jumped over my shadow I see the results... and they are not bad :o)

  15. I have noticed how much better your photography has gotten recently! Your blog is fantastic. Have a wonderful 2016. :D

  16. Reilly-Denny CowspotdogsJanuary 10, 2016 at 8:27 AM

    You continue to do wonders and we love little Ruby as much as we did Pip

  17. I think your investment in camera equipment was well spent - your photography is wonderful!

    Couldn't agree more about BlogPaws! We also attended for the first time this year and learned so much!

  18. I hope I'll be able to attend BlogPaws this year, and would also really like to network with more fellow bloggers.

    I love your Instagram feed! Here's to a successful 2016!

  19. Interesting answers! We would love to go to Blog Paws one year! We don't do too much on social media. Maybe we should!

    Keep Calm & Bark On!

    Murphy & Stanley

  20. Your blog has really gotten a new "look" this year that I like a lot. I also love your balance of great photos and good messages! It's been wonderful to watch Ruby shine this year.

  21. Ruby looks like a cutie! I look forward to following your blog!

  22. You do an amazing job and the photography classes paid off for sure! Great reinvention job!

  23. We're really glad you decided to keep on blogging! Thank you for sharing. We enjoyed getting to know more about you!

  24. I remember the early days. Those days were the best and funnest. I'm so glad that you decided to keep blogging, we've lost some great one over the years. I'm also so inspired by the direction you have taken. I love your Specials series! I'm so bummed that we didn't get to meet at BlogPaws but hope we can connect sometimes this year!

  25. I'm glad you found a way to continue blogging. Some of my favorite bloggers have stopped blogging and it's really such a profound loss.

    Good luck with meeting your goals this year.

  26. Thanks so much for participating in the Challenge, and good for you for finding your way back to blogging. We've had a few health scares over the past year with Ty and I've wondered what blogging would be like without him. Honestly, it's hard to even imagine, so I'm encouraged by your story.

    I also love your new series! How wonderful to bring attention to the success stories of adopting special needs pets. It's obviously something you feel strongly about and I'm sure it add a great new dimension to your blog.

    SEO is not something I feel I'm very good at either. I just try to write about things that people will find helpful and will be useful for a long time. The longer an article gets traffic on Google, the more Google likes it and sends more traffic, so if you can hit on a topic that gets searched a fair amount, that's a good strategy.

    It's so nice to "meet" you, and I hope you have a super 2016!

  27. Groovy GoldendoodlesJanuary 11, 2016 at 7:08 PM

    So many bloggers struggle with SEO "stuff" we're all in the same do-loop. Loved your answers. Look forward to reading more from you this year.

  28. We’re glad we hooked back up with you last year. We don’t understand SEO or GA, even though Pop works with analytics every day. Great advice.

  29. I recently discovered your blog & love it! You write about my passion as well, special needs. I'm really enjoying your new series "The Specials"!

  30. Jessica @ YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner.comJanuary 11, 2016 at 11:20 PM

    Ruby IS quite cute. I am glad you were able to regroup and get your blog going again. My blog is not named after my dogs but Chester and Gretel have always been the stars. I am not sure how I am going to feel about it when my now 13 year old man passes away :(

  31. I love your pics! Congratulations on all your accomplishments in the past year and with you all the best in the coming year. Thanks for all you do! Peace.

  32. I love your pics! Congratulations on all your accomplishments in the past year and with you all the best in the coming year. Thanks for all you do! Peace.

  33. I love learning more about other bloggers through this challenge, especially other bloggers with dogs named Ruby!

  34. Kristen–well mindedJanuary 14, 2016 at 6:56 PM

    Love your post, and it's great to learn more about you. I admire your mission. It's my goal to get to the financial position where I can adopt senior and special dogs and have the money to pay for their care.

    Your photography is beautiful, and I love to hear that you've recently upgraded and that made a difference. Improving my photography and equipment this year is my main goal.


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