Many years ago I was giving serious thought to becoming a trainer for one of the guide dog organizations. I had read about an internship program they offered, but for a few reasons I never applied. Since then I always wanted to be a puppy raiser. It will have to wait a while since I have a quite a bit of a zoo here, but at least until then I can live vicariously through puppy raiser and blogger Donna.
Meet the Pet Blogger- Donna from Raising a Super Dog
Please share a little bit about yourself and your pets.
My husband and I are volunteer puppy raisers for Canine Companions for Independence (www.cci.org). CCI provides highly skilled assistance dogs to people with disabilities (other than blindness) at no cost to the recipient. We’ve raised three puppies for this amazing organization and are now preparing our home to welcome in Puppy #4.
Meanwhile, we do have some other furries around to keep the vacuum cleaner gainfully employed. The mighty Micron is a golden/lab cross and was the second puppy we raised for CCI. Micron was released from the program due to high distractibility (we call it the “Squirrel Factor”) and is now enjoying life as our beloved pet. Micron and I were certified this spring as a pet therapy team. We make regular visits to our local Hospice facility to share his golden personality with others.
Also, sleeping by my feet is Jager, our mixed breed rescue. He’s been here from the beginning with our pups in training and has been a pretty good sport about the whole thing. All he really wants, he says, is a water bowl without the Labrador backwash.
Two adopted cats to keep things rounded out, Domino and Bodine.
As a by-the-way, every one of these critters has shown up already sporting their own name. I haven’t named a pet in years. Well, except the fish, Bob the Second.
How did your love of animals start?
It seems to be hard-wired, I think. I’ve always appreciated being in the company of dogs and the adventures that come with them. Being a volunteer puppy raiser, it seems I always have a leash in my hand or a dog in the back seat of the car. I can’t imagine life any other way. And really, I wouldn’t want to.
What made you decide to start a pet blog?
When we brought Micron home as an eight week old cotton ball, we wanted to keep in touch with the other puppy raisers of his litter. I opted for the blogging format to make it easier to publish stories of puppy misadventures. Soon the blog was being shared outside our circle and I found that this could be a wonderful venue to help raise awareness of CCI and the incredible work they do. And if we can get someone thinking about joining our ranks as a volunteer puppy raiser, then that’s pretty cool, too.
How long have you been blogging?
I’m surprised to be saying this, but it’s been three years now. Wow, it surely doesn’t feel like it.
How would you describe your blog to a first time visitor?
Here’s my elevator speech . . . “As a volunteer puppy raiser for Canine Companions for Independence I encounter extraordinary people and their canine partners. These are my stories about sharing life, family and home with incredible dogs. “ That’s my “About this blog” summary.
But there’s more. The cat has sociopathic tendencies and Jager is a one-of-a-kind terrier mutt with his own misadventures, so these guys get included as well. And I love letting photos tell the story sometimes. I did a vacation post once, but was told that I need to stay on task and not lose focus that this is a dog blog, after all.
So yeah, mostly it’s about dogs. And photos of dogs.
If a reader could only read 1 post on your blog which post would you recommend?
I’ve always liked the post on Rambam’s Ladder for sharing the philosophy of being a volunteer puppy raiser.
What has been the best part and what has been the hardest part about blogging?
I love (!) feedback. I would write the stuff anyway, even if just for the joy of doing it and laughing out loud at my own jokes. But that glorious feeling that comes when a reader drops a positive comment? Bonus score!
However, I do not yet have a troll. They say that’s how you know you made it big in the blogosphere.
What have you learned from blogging?
Blogging took a positive turn when I discovered that there’s a community of pet bloggers out there to offer support and guidance. We’re not out to compete with one another, instead we promote each other on our own sites. And in other social media opportunities, like Facebook and Twitter. If you reach out for help and advice, you’ll get a response. Guaranteed.
What is 1 piece of advice you would give to a new pet blogger?
Share your passion; write about what you love and know the best. And use your own voice to keep things true. Yeah, two pieces of advice, but they go together so nicely.
Raising a Super Dog is at www.donnasword.com . If you stop by, do drop me a comment. It would absolutely make my day, I promise.
Thank you Donna for doing the interview and sharing your blog!