Traveling Dog Lady: Traveling Dog Lady Reports from BlogPaws 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Traveling Dog Lady Reports from BlogPaws 2017

When I first booked my ticket for BlogPaws 2017 in Myrtle Beach, the plan was to bring both dogs on a road trip to Myrtle Beach. I booked my ticket the day the Myrtle Beach location was announced for two reasons: 1) there's a discount if you book right away after the announcement; and 2) I have family that lives in Myrtle Beach. It just so happens that my human brother lives in the Myrtle Beach area; and my dogs' canine brother (Copper, not to be confused with COOPER), also lives in Myrtle Beach. The original plan was a reunion with both the human bro, and the canine bro. By the way, the canine bro does NOT own my human bro! It's just a funky coincidence that they both happen to live in Myrtle Beach.... but as I all too well know... There are NO coincidences!

My view of the ocean from the Sheraton ha ha.

Since I had made that booking 11 months before the conference, life got in the way. The very day I was supposed to start driving the 14-hour trip, happened to be the exact same day that the new owners were taking possession of a piece of real estate I had been dealing with as part of my late boyfriend's estate (by the way, I use the term boyfriend and husband interchangeably to describe Gil, the man I was with for 30 years -- it's just one guy. We really weren't married, but that's a whole other story.)  Anyhoo! I figured it would not be smart to leave on a trip the very same day that the closing was happening. I could have done it, since the lawyers were in charge, but I didn't feel comfortable. Alas, I changed my plans, convinced my friends to watch the dogs and cats, and booked an airline ticket. Yuck. Even though I have been working in the travel industry for 32 years, I hate flying. Hate it. Did I mention how much I hate flying? Oh. Yeah. I'd choose a road trip any day. This meant I had to leave my dogs at home.

My trusty stuffed travel companion, Stuffy Douglas, who has been on basically every trip with me because my dogs aren't exactly well-behaved, made the journey with me. Along the way, I "adopted" three more stuffed animals!

Stuffy Douglas (center) surrounded by the new stuffed pets

It was lonesome in the hotel without my hounds, but I'll tell ya, after observing everyone else with their pets, I realized that my boys are too rough around the edges to be trusted at such an event. For instance, when I ate dinner with the rat blogger, I kept envisioning Charlie with me. Charles is obsessed with squirrels, chipmunks, mice, moles. He would have attacked that rat, I just know it. Charlie is huge, so... well, just let your imagination figure it out. Not a good idea. Glad I didn't bring him. Another reason they wouldn't have done well is because I made a vow to myself to go to the beach each day. Not realizing that getting to the beach was a three-block walk, and required crossing two humongous boulevards, and it's already HOT in South Carolina in May.  It turns out I wouldn't have been able to bring Charlie to the beach in the afternoons. Bringing Cooper on such a walk would be absolutely out of the question. Finally, I had lunch plans with my family on Friday, and while BlogPaws had built-in pet sitting accommodations, I just didn't feel right about doing that. Again, because my dogs are country bumpkins who don't spend a lot of time in social situations -- never mind the city.

My boys are rescue dogs. Most, but not all, of the other dogs at BlogPaws are purebreds. Not that that matters, but my guys are obnoxious, and I know it.  In the end, while I missed having the experience of traveling with them, I'm glad I left them at home.

What a fabulous time I had meeting everyone I had known online for nearly 10 years! Some I'd met earlier in the year at the Dog Writers Association luncheon in New York during Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

With Carol Bryant of Fidose of Reality!  Say, Carol, we have great taste in jewelry!

The thrill of the weekend, for me, was meeting Kenn Bell and Remi of The Dog Files. I admit I was a little star struck, but somehow managed to introduce myself, congratulate them on winning a BlogPaws award, and say a few nonsensical words. I've been a huge fan ever since forever -- especially because Kenn's dogs, Max and Remi, resembled my dog, the late, great, Hector Huge. I like to think maybe Max and Hector are together, somewhere in doggie heaven.

I was also honored to be a part of the surprise baby shower for Maggie Marton of BlogPaws and the Oh My Dog! blog. We connected at Dog Writers Association in February as well, and of course our mutual love of dogs named Cooper, made us fast friends. I was so pleased to be included in the planning and execution of such a fun late-night bash. Congrats to Maggie and John on the expansion of their family!

Squeeeeeee! Diaper cake!!

It was not possible for me to attend all of the workshops I wanted to -- I had hoped to partake in all of them! I managed to weed out the ones that were most important. Had to squeeze in time with the fam besides; and I didn't get to meet Charlie and Cooper's brother, Copper, either. The workshops I did attend were informative, educational, fun, and it was great getting to know all the other folks in the workshop. Except for stepping on that poor beagle when he was asleep -- Kathy the Klutz strikes again! I STILL feel bad about it, weeks later! Poor little guy. :(  I felt badly that I had to duck out of the Friday afternoon festivities, and am grateful that most of it was either videotaped, or people took excellent notes, and I was able to catch up.

My workshop set-up! Stuffy Douglas in full residence. Charlie on the screensaver. Hobie on the pen!

I am not an artsy-craftsy person, but I attended Red Roof Inn's sip 'n' paint (I didn't paint, I just used a coloring book off to the side!); and I made an honor flag in memory of Hobie and Hector.

I did make it to the beach every day, and realized it is the same beach as the one I went to for many years on Cape Cod, just hundreds of miles south LOL! Myrtle Beach is "on my list" of potential places to relocate to (read = retire) in a few years, so it was good for me to explore and get to know my way around. I really liked it a lot. We had one great pack walk with several "newbies" (first-time attendees of BlogPaws); and I took another great beach walk with Susan Nation of Talent Hounds. Unbeknownst to me until later that night, she was up for an award!! And of course, she won!!

During the Cat Writers Association awards dinner and banquet, I won third runner up for a free ticket to CWA's 2018 conference (location, dates, etc. to be announced). I was so shocked to hear that I had actually won something, sort of!

A fortuitous meeting was that of Ellen Zucker, astrologer extraordinaire. We were at the same table during the first night's dinner, and really struck up a great conversation. As luck would have it, on the return trip, we were on the same flight out of Myrtle Beach! We had breakfast together and a lovely long chat at the airport while waiting for boarding time. I hope to remain in contact with Ellen, she is a delightful human being!

After I got back home from Myrtle Beach, I rearranged some duties in my day job, so I can manage my company's blog and social media in addition to my regular duties as treasurer and secretary of the business. It's great that I can apply some of what I learned at BlogPaws to my 9-5er as well! I also got my certificate of completion for module two of my dog behaviorist education -- if I ever finish it'll be a miracle. And, I am also about to start working on a book (or series) about a military dog named Silver who served in Japan during WWII.

One of the coolest things that happened was that we all got to see a sneak preview of the movie, "Megan Leavey". Of course, I started crying about 10 seconds in to the trailer, and each time I see the trailer on TV now, I start crying again. Powerful stuff! I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

All of us made sure to sign the petition for the #PAWSAct, and boy was I ever proud to put that little pin in the middle of Massachusetts on Bayer's map. After I signed the petition, I got a personal email from Senator Elizabeth Warren. Like, for real, she even told me about her dog! As a victim of teenage dating violence  a lifetime ago, when I was a teenager) this legislation is particularly important to me. Want to know more about the PAWSAct? Check it out, here. 

My #PAWSact pin right smack in the middle of Massachusetts! 

Next year, BlogPaws is going to be in Kansas City. I'm not sure if I'll be able to go, although it is during my birthday week.  It's an interesting thought to do something different for my b-day. So, perhaps I'll see you at BlogPaws in 2018!

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  1. Sounds like a great trip! So cool you could apply what you learned to your day job. (I agree - would much rather drive than fly if possible! And Rita is a bumpkin-ish rescue too; if I ever went to BP, she'd definitely stay home!)

    1. I'd love to meet you at BP some day. That would be awesome, but yeah, Rita and the boys would have to spend bumpkin-time someplace else. lol!

  2. Shame you had to leave the boys behind - but glad you had a good time :)


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