True Confession? I was very nervous my first day of Bark World. I'm slightly new to the world of Social Media, but what I don't have in experience I've made up for in many nights of research and study, and lots of professional and personal practice. Still, at some of the social media conferences that I've been to, it's all been about who has the biggest...stick. They've always been more competitive than collaborative, and I wasn't sure what to expect of Bark World.
Enter social media heaven.
Though some of the discussions may have been at the beginner level, many of the talks I found to be extremely informative, whether they were in sessions or just discussing with peers. The Bark World crowd wasn't stuffy or overly self involved. The staff, the attendees, and the presenters were all very down to Earth and helpful, and everyone seem to come to conference with a collaborative spirit.
There was so much to do at this conference that I'm going to try to streamline this with the top 10 things I LOVED about it. Here are your first 5:
!. The people. Amazing, caring, genuine people. Some of the people I met here I expect to be in touch with for the future of Life with Arie, and as friends. Special hellos to Stephanie, Ryan, Kelly, Neely, Lauren, Lauren again, Bryan, Michelle...
2. The sessions. Most of the sessions I found to be informative and helpful. The speakers were all very enthusiastic, and it's great to be around people with passion.
3. SWAG. I've never focused on this as an element of a conference, but at BarkWorld, they put the wag in swag. Literally. Arie, Shady, and the cats are having a BLAST slowly getting to know all of the wonders mommy brought them.
4. Meeting Victoria Stilwell. I used to love "It's Me or the Dog" and I love her approach to training. Did you know that she's pictured with a White Shepherd on her website's home page? Love it!
5.The dogs. There's nothing like attending a conference with an adorable French Bulldog (Bello!) or seeing two amazingly well trained pups, like Paige the Border Collie and Jasmine the Havanese; there were so many amazing pups,I can't even name them all here.
Come back tomorrow to see the rest of my top ten list, but what did you think about the first five? What was your take on each of the things I discussed? Share your thoughts in a comment!
Greenies, one of best known names in pet treats, focuses on helping pets have a healthy mouth by giving them treats that help keep their teeth clean and shining (They have not paid me or given me any incentive to write this other than the love and devotion my pups have to their product). I've always appreciated the goal behind the Greenies brand and what they do; now they're giving back with the Greenies Healthy Smile award!
I have entered Arie in the contest and would love it if you would vote for her. Here are 10 reasons why voting for her photo is an excellent idea:
This weekend was jam packed with all kinds of fun as the 2011 Bark World Expo kicked off with a blast and was then quickly followed by Chattapoochie, a pet festival in Duluth, GA, on Sunday. We're going to divide our reports on these events night by night, starting with the Tweet Up to open Bark World.
So, what exactly is a tweet up? A tweet up is...
"...a gathering of users brought together via Twitter. For example, at conferences, Twitter is used by attendees to arrange to meet after the show for discussion, cocktails and parties." - PC Mag
In Bark World's case, everyone met at Hotel Indigo, a gorgeous venue on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, GA and mixed and mingled while enjoying Van Gogh martini's themed to the conference--They were called Heelers or Blue Greyhounds. With light refreshments, beverages, and a little bit of jet lag for many, the night went onward as people introduced themselves with a smile and their Twitter handle. The event was sponsored by Engauge, a media firm in Hotlanta.
The photos I have taken may look a tad blurry here, but click each photo for an un-blurred version:
After the tweet up I knew that this group of pet bloggers, feel social media enthusiasts, and just fun loving people was the perfect setting for me. It was a great start to an amazing conference.
What was your favorite moment at the tweet up if you were able to attend? If not, have you attended a conference that began with a tweet up? Tell me about it in a comment.
I love bringing you daily tips on living with pets, product reviews, tales of the tails in my home, and more. This week, as you can tell, that has not happened. I do not like to fail my readers, and I hate leaving you without updates; here is our exciting update:
While we haven't been writing blogs, Life With Arie writer, Katherine, and the pooch herself, Arie, have been beyond busy working to make Life With Arie an even better online experience for you. I, Katherine, have been busy establishing a domain and reassigning Life with Arie to a server, which inadvertently destroyed our blog design, which, as you can see, I'm slowly working to regain. This weekend I am also spending time at the Bark World 2011 conference, and I must say, this event is AMAZING. In other news, I also had my first day of volunteer work with the Atlanta Pet Rescue, and Sunday, after the conference, I'm headed to Chattapoochie, a pet fest in Duluth.
Arie has been busy being the subject of many a photo, testing out products like new toys, and getting lots of beauty rest after long hours of play and long walks in the cooling fall weather. It's not exactly a tough job, but some dog has to do it.
So, to reward you and thank you for your amazing patience, which has been tried with my own, and for your excitement for things to come, I want to tell you some of what we have planned for you:
When I first got Arie, I had a lot of people who said at first "Wow, I never knew they came in white!" The novelty of her breed made her get a lot of attention, with people often mistaking her a husky, or asking if she was albino. When I really got into understanding Arie's breed and what it meant for her to be a White German Shepherd Dog, I discovered something. We've been staring at White German Shepherds EVERYWHERE. We just never took notice.
White German Shepherds have been in the media for years, but have gotten a great amount of press in recent decades. Did any of you see the movie Getting Away With Murder with Dan Aykroyd? Well, a WGSD named Nikki was a character alongside of him.
Perhaps the most iconic White Shepherd to hit the media of late would be Bolt, who's lovable Disney character has actually been credited with a boom in the breed, that both hurts and helps our cause. While the breed is getting positive attention rather than the "you're a genetic failure" or "Shepherd? RUN!" that are more typical, it also saw a population rise that landed more WGSD in shelters due to breeders going overboard with puppies.
WGSD haven't just made it into the hearts of millions through their feats in Hollywood: They're in the homes of Hollywood as well. Maggie Q, the well-known action-ready star of CW's Nikita has a beloved White Shepherd, as well as an affection for dog breeds that usually get a bad rap for being "aggressive" breeds (speaking of which, have you checked out Adopt A Less Adoptable Pet Week?). In her interview with Modern Dog, Maggie even said that if she were a dog, she would probably be "a cross between my two favourites; a Pitt and a German Shepherd".
Even people with a less than tough reputation can love a stereotyped aggressive breed. Miley Cyrus, the young pop singer and star of the movie The Last Song, recently got a White German Shepherd puppy, named Mate.
Finally, America's sweetheart, Jennifer Anniston, also has a WGSD pup in her brood. Anniston is well-known for her lovable dog Norman, who just recently and very sadly passed away. Anniston also had and still has another dog, Dolly, a White Shepherd. The actress's love of canines is well-known, and is definitely apparent in photos of her walking her pooches:
What other Hollywood White Shepherds can you name? Tell me your star sightings in a comment.
46CBJK64GBWA I love to read. Arie likes to chew on things while I read, so I assume she likes reading, too. Banned Books Week is one of my favorite celebrations all year, as it is a week for the public to defiantly read a book (or several) that was placed on a ban for some reason or other. Banned Books Week celebrates freedom of expression and the right to knowledge for everyone, as well as flies in the face of censorship. Banned Books Week will kick off on September 24th, so be sure you're ready with these animal-involving titles:
I love my dog. I do. I really really do. I have a blog about her for goodness sake. I do not, however, love the messes she makes sometimes. I don't. I really really don't.
Arie doesn't have many accidents of the potty variety anymore...we out grew those a long time ago. What she does have, however, is a giant tail that can clear a coffee table in less than three seconds. That, combined with a height that allows her to reach up on counters to find even more liquids and stain worthy items, and we have a problem.
We also now have a solution.
Let me introduce you to my new bestest friend ever: The Bissell Pro-Heat Upright Deep Cleaner. Plus, for the first time, let me introduce you to my home, and why I love the amazing nature of the Bissell Pro-Heat Upright Deep Cleaner.
It's football season. And fall. Unfortunately, in my house, the former seems to dominate the latter, as my significant other spends ample time glued to the TV, screaming like a Neanderthal. Fall is my favorite season, and the special time of year where I catch the entertainment bug and start planning parties and dinners and what not and want to have people over, bake cookies, and have my place smell like pumpkin everything.
Needless to say, on Sunday, game day was here, and we were ready to have friends come and watch his team, The Atlanta Falcons, go after the Philadelphia Eagles (What more appropriate forum than a dog blog to discuss Mike Vick and epic failure? Go Falcons!) The place was looking a little Martha Stuart-esque (enter mums, fall decor items, and a pumpkin) when I took a look at the carpets. No bueno. Little spots from cat litter (If you use the clay and have carpet, you know of what I speak) and human stains (we're clumsy humans and spill things) could be seen in various areas of the house. Our newest purchase, the Bissell, was about to come to the test.
This power machine was easy to assemble and easy to use. I'm very sensitive to bringing chemicals in la casa--We usually use only 100% natural cleaners--but for the carpet, I made an exception (and just went over each area with plain water afterwards to help clean out the cleaner). After putting the vac together and adding in the cleaner and hot water (SO easy) I went through our entire place and scrubbed that carpet like crazy, and even took the time to do the bathroom rugs and the kitchen mat. The dogs were in their crates (to protect their paws from chemicals) and the cats took a wonderful fall vacation in the garage (with toys, food, water, and litter of course). We ran to the store to grab food, and let the carpet dry.
We came back home to clean carpet that was dry, fresh smelling, stainless, and soft. We couldn't have asked for better results. We bought the carpet cleaner for around $130 at Target (It was on a big sale). That, together with the Pet Stain & Odor Advanced Formula Cleaner for the machine for $20 left us at a total of about $150 plus tax. The last time we got our carpet cleaned professionally it was $99 for three rooms and a hall, which would leave us one small room leftover. In just two cleanings, the new carpet cleaning machine will have paid for itself, and will continue to do so afterwards.
So, in my first pet product review, I give you a strong recommendation for the Bissell Proheat Upright Deep Cleaner. Feel free to ask questions in the comment section on my experience with it.
We have quite the pet family. So far, you've met Arie, my White German Shepherd, and Shady, our lab mix. We also have two cats and a tank filled with fish, but you'll have to meet them later. The point of this post isn't how many animals we have, but how devastating it would be if we ever lost one of them.
When I was little, I grew up next door to my grandparent's land, and in a rural area with lots of wildlife, it's not a rare occurrence for a pet to wander off and not return. I was heartbroken when my cat disappeared, and positively devastated when one met a nasty end thanks to another animal. The wildlife wasn't the only threat to my pet's safe return; people also posed a danger. My family would give the dog a bath, and then let him/her run outside without their collar on while they dried. I was always terrified that someone would find them in that brief time, think they were homeless, and take them in or take them to a shelter.
With the amazing progress of modern technology, we now have an amazing invention that helps relieve that worry: The microchip. Microchips are now readily affordable and available, so you can get one easily for your pet at a shelter or your vet. While they may not seem so important if you have a collar and tag for your dog, remember: Tags and collars can break off, get snagged, or wear so that your information isn't clear. Microchips go beyond that to ensure that your pet is always marked with the address for their home, and have helped some animals find it home in extreme cases, like when one dog made the amazing 750 MILE trip home after being separated from his owner, all because someone checked his microchip.
Still, there are some things you need to have in place in addition to getting your pet a microchip to ensure they'll make it home:
Many people love animals. Many of those people love dogs. A good number of those people love White German Shepherds. A few people love MY White German Shepherd. However, only I get to love the bond between Arie and me.
The bond between a pet parent and their pet is something unbreakable and beyond special. You get to know them in a way others don't, and you grow to love little things about them. Like a human best friend, their oddities and quirks become endearing and some of the things you love about them most. For a few examples, here's my top 5 list for Arie:
1. I love the fact that my dog is GINORMOUS. There is nothing more hilarious than walking a giant dog. Why? people. I love people watching, and seeing how people react to her cracks. me. up. "OH. That's a BIG dog." is a common statement. Some people will switch sidewalks to avoid her. Others, like a five-year-old in my neighborhood, want to get up close and personal. "Can I ride your puppy? She looks like a pony!" (I kid you not. It was said).
2. I love the fact that my dog honks. Yes, honks. Arie is a very vocal pup for a dog that doesn't bark often. She sighs. She grumbles. She "honks", or at least that's what I call the noise she makes when she's over tired or exasperated. It's reminiscent of a moose, which is fitting--If she had been male, her name would have been Moose.
3. When she was a pup, she looked like a bat. If you've ever seen a German Shepherd puppy, their ears look like they could take flight at any minute. Hilarious.
4. Shake in Arie language means a lot. Arie has come to associate "Shake" with making sure that things are okay. When we taught her to shake, she thought it was the best thing ever. Now, when she's in trouble, or if I'm ill about something, she comes over to shake, as if to say "It's okay mom, right?"
5. I love the fact that she's a White German Shepherd. Having a WGSD is like having a hipster hair cut and a classic home. On one hand, you have something that's trendy and cool, a little controversial, and a little rare so that it gets appreciated. It's ever-changing, and constantly evolving. On the other, you have an amazing, classic and comfortable companion that makes you feel at ease, that you know will be with you for life, and that is all your own. WGSD are something that took time to create--Arie is from a breed that was built on decades of work and effort to make an amazing dog.
Arie is a big girl, though we would never use that terrible three letter "f" word when talking about her; she's really just big-boned, or, actually, a big breed (she's also larger than the traditional White German Shepherd). Weighing in at 95 pounds, you can imagine how much my Shetland pony sized companion can eat. Being a protective pet parent, I really watch what goes into Arie's stomach. There are many things to consider when selecting your pet's kibble, and it's essential to make a selection that gives your pet everything that they did, and nothing that they shouldn't have. Here are a few things to consider while choosing your kibble: