Archive for January, 2012

Petland is Closing in Omaha

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Here is the January 23, 2012 Life with Dogs Post:

Petland in Omaha is Closing

Normally I am a huge fan of Omaha business and anything dog.

Petland, at least here in Omaha, and in many other areas of the country, received its puppies from puppy mills.  Their semi trucks came to deliver the puppies to 120th and Center during the night, I assume so as not to disturb the puppy lovers.  Maybe just because it fit their schedule best though.

I am SO happy they are leaving.


I wrote about pet stores and puppy mills on Life with Dogs on August 22, 1011.

Have you Ever Accidentally Supported A Puppy Mill?

(Puppy Mill button from a bake sale at What Cheer in Omaha.  Thank you What Cheer!)

One of my “New Year’s Resolutions” last year was to shut down puppy mills everywhere.  That, of course, is silly and overreaching and NOT a one person goal-not even something one person can decide or maybe even influence.  So please join me in re-resolving this year…Silly, overreaching and group goals are three of my favorite things.

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This was confirmed by Petland of Omaha.  Thank you to Jessica Kamish of Pug Partners of Nebraska and Green Spot Omaha for the great news this morning!

Pet Blogger Challenge 2012

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

That was this day??

Yes, I have been looking forward to the Pet Blogger Challenge since last year in a way, but consciously, since in was announced December 20, 2011.  Still, it snuck up on me.  So instead of folding laundry, I am doing this super fun project.  Because I love you.

A huge THANK YOU to Will My Dog Hate Me and Go Pet Friendly for hosting this second annual Pet Blogger Challenge!  The beautiful button is from This One Wild Life.

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10

1. Provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

Pet Blogger Challenge 2011

(I reposted my answers from 2011 at the end of this post too in case it is easier to read that way!)

2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?

I still like my Purpose Statement:

To Promote Preventative Care of Pets in Order to Enrich the Lives of Pets and Their People

3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?

Yes, I am still trying to promote preventative care of pets in order to enrich the lives of pets and their people in everything I write.  The methods and places I write have changed, but my goals are the same.

4. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the Spirit moves you changed? Which are you doing now? Do you still worry about lost traffic, momentum, etc?

I probably should not say this to a bunch of bloggers, but I lost the link to my stats :)

Since then I have found myself posting for fun or when I had something I wanted to say (which I did before, but I also became overly concerned with numbers, I thought.)  So though it would take one phone call or email to my super awesome webmaster, I have not looked at stats for several months, and do not plan to soon.  I have met incredible people through Riley and James, and though it is so fun to reach a large audience and track that, I love the individuals I have met even more.

5. Are you generating income from your blog? Has this changed since last year?

No, but what has changed is I have been invited to write a weekly article for Life with Dogs and invited to be on the Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board and do a few other very fun, rewarding projects.

6. Have your likes and dislikes about blogging changed since last year?

I had planned to have a very “boring” 2011.  Our Piggy the Guinea Pig then Ebony Dog then Princess Gerbil all passed away early in the year while we were still reeling from losing Fuzzy and Wuzzy Rats in the fall of 2010.  So much of 2011 was spent processing my grief in the blog.  To ALL of you  I say loudly and sincerely, “THANK YOU!” for seeing me through this past year.

As I was writing about Ebony over and over and reconsidering my commitment not to use “colorful” language on this site and life was getting back to “normal” a bit, I decided I needed to quit my job – the second best decision I made all year – and I started working at Gentle Doctor – the BEST decision I made all year.  Also, Goodwill Youth Build was not able to maintain funding to keep my husband Russ on full time and so he left Goodwill and started working at Paul Davis Restoration about the same time I switched veterinary hospitals.

F* boring!  (*Forget boring!)  2011 laughed at my resolution to have a boring year.  Who’s laughing now 2011?  Our life is awesome!  I am happy.

7. Overall, are you pleased with the progress you made in 2011?

What?  Yes :)

8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?

Who knows??  I am hoping for a wonderful, full, rich year.  I do believe that can all be accomplished with no major life changes, and just steady, day-to-day contentment, you know, boring.


Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life?  You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:13-14

Oh yeah.  I had forgotten.  But also…

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34

I do believe 2012 is in good hands, and we will see where the year takes us, huh?  So glad I have all of you to do that with!

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Thank you for your wise words Stan Parker!

Pet Blogger Challenge 2011

1. When did you begin your blog?

September 1, 2006

2. What was your original purpose for starting a blog?

My original purpose was to get pet preventative care information to pet lovers in a broader way than just one-on-one in the exam room, veterinarian to client (which I still think is super important!)

My brother Dave suggested that I publish a newsletter for our family and mutual friends.  I loved the idea!  I tried to talk him into helping me print, staple and deliver newsletters to our friends, and he talked me into putting all of the newsletters onto a website that he offered to design for me.  (Dave, you were right, this is much more fun!)

He and his wife Sara had a gorgeous Great Dane at the time, so we named the site after her, The Official Riley Fan Club.  He even made buttons and fan club cards – so cute!  They still have Riley and later adopted James, the wonderful English Mastiff, and the website became Riley and James.  I went from publishing kind of long, formal entries every other month, to my current practice of publishing about twice a week.


Riley and James and…Riley and James!

3. Is your current purpose the same?

Yes!  The methods have changed over the years, but the purpose of Riley and James is the same, to provide pet preventative care information to pet lovers.  I also want it to be a fun site, and to be able to share some of my own pets’ stories.  I recently came up with a Purpose Statement, at the recommendation of , and buried it in a .  I will repost it here, and then at the Website Update, maybe somewhere more prominent!

The Purpose of the Riley and James Website:

To Promote Preventative Care of Pets in Order to Enrich the Lives of Pets and Their People

4. Do you blog on a schedule or as the Spirit moves you?

At first, posts were every other month.  In 2010, I posted about twice a week.  Now I am trying to do that (way more fun, and I can post shorter, more random stuff) and I am trying to post on Mondays and Fridays, to give myself a schedule to follow.

5. Are you generating income from your blog?

No, but I hope I am making pet lovers think about important things, and providing good medical information, and that I am playing a part in pets living longer, healthier lives.

I do work for Carefresh, and have written for Veterinary Economicsand Firstline.  I do not think I would have met any of the wonderful people involved with those groups if I had not been writing online.

6. What do you like most about blogging in general and your blog in particular?

I know those of you who do not know me in person do not believe me (because you have told me so!) but I am an extreme introvert.  Unless I am completely comfortable in a group, I will always choose listening over talking.

With the blog, I am able to formulate my thoughts and get them out there, without worrying I will not be heard because my voice is too soft or I am not articulate enough.  I think I have valid things to say, especially when it comes to veterinary medicine and related topics, but I will not necessarily say them outloud in Real Life.  It is great to have this outlet.

7. What do you like least?

I really, really love everything about doing the Riley and James website and all of the writing and online interaction opportunities that have come from it.

8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2011?

I hope to become a better writer, take cuter pictures (That will be hard to do without Fuzzy and Wuzzy), make a dent in the puppy mill and cat overpopulation problems, connect in more ways with the pet community at large…I just think it is going to be a really great year, and I am excited to see it unfold.

Oh!  Also, Dave is updating the website this year! If you know Dave Nelson, or his company, Secret Penguin, you know he does incredible work!  Check back soon for the great updates!  I will keep you posted.


Reassociating Super Cute Green Hats with Only Happy Things

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

My weekly article on Life with Dogs this week is about some of the weaknesses of the “A Dissatisfied Client Tells Ten People” mantra, often held up as set in stone, a warning to be feared and remembered.

A Dissatisfied Client Tells Ten People


Life With Dogs

I posted it at dvm360 also…

A Client Tells Ten People

The stories in the article are several years old (thank goodness!) but I know people in every career and industry with any connection to other people are concerned with excellence and good relations.  And that is good.  I do not think bad reviews are to be feared though.  So I said that.  And included this super awesome Oscar the Grouch hat:

which my Aunt Jeannine now needs, so I will find it for her.  She would look super cute in it, though she is not in the least bit grouchy.  Also, she lives in Florida.

Lorie Huston, DVM wrote a wonderful article, also published yesterday, expanding on some of my ideas and also discussing how the internet affects word of mouth marketing.

Word of Mouth Advertising, Social Media and Dissatisfied Clients


Social Media Savvy Pets

Someday I will tell you why I love this hat so, and chose it for my article, besides the obvious – it is a super awesome Oscar the Grouch hat!  And we are discussing grouchy clients.  For now I will say, hats like this look super cute on little girls and women.  A fun, friendly guy could also rock this look.  A horrible, threatening bully stomping around spewing hate, lies and venom wearing a super cute bright green hat (not an Oscar hat, that would have been even better…) just looks ridiculous.  If you see him, tell him to take the hat off, sit down and shut up.  Hmm…sounds like someday is today.  That was my whole story.

Read New Books But Keep The Old…

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

…one is silver and the other gold.

Or something.

I LOVE books.  Remember when Veterinary Economics published that article by Tom McFerson, 25 Books for your Summer Reading?  And someone said something like, “Of course you can’t read ALL the books…”

That was fun.

Where is that guy?  I heard he was publishing a list of 25 more books.  I have been kind of lost waiting.  You do NOT want me to come up with a list!  You think THAT list got random?  Mine would be crazy random.  You would be whispering, “This is SO not focused on veterinary medicine…”  So in the meantime, while we wait for THE list, here are books I plan to re-read this year.  They are some of my very favorites.

The New Testament


Some years I try to read the whole Bible.  Having the NIV One Year Bible version has made that very fun and easy the past few years.  This year, I am going to take a break from the Old Testament, and I will tell you why.  There are two  details of minor stories of the Old Testament, that if you read them when you are already sad will sucker punch you.  Not that they should not be in there or that God condones evil by any stretch, but I just don’t want to read those two stories this year.  But I will read Esther.  I love her.  And the Psalms and Proverbs.  And…the New Testament.  See?  I told you, random.  Maybe in my crazy tangents, sometimes there are big important things.  These next ones get randomer though…

The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn


I found this collection of newsletters years ago and I just love it.  I don’t know if it is the Kristin Fuhs-size family of the author or her fun, chit-chatty tone, or the fact that when I found it we were broke new parents looking for fun, free stuff to do, but I still love flipping through this book.  It’s pretty worn.  I don’t think I’ve read it cover to cover since I got it.  Fun.

Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley – The FlyLady


Great tips for the domestically challenged (that is, me) with some really profound wisdom when you read through it a second time.  Here’s hoping that is true the third time as well!

Bread Machine Magic and More Bread Machine Magic by Linda Rehberg and Lois Conway


Fun books, great comments and awesome bread.  Not a cover-to-cover stay up past bedtime with a flashlight sort of read, but definitely two of my very favorite books.  Thanks Mom!!

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew


We got this when we started gardening about eight years ago, so we didn’t realize it wasn’t a normal way to garden.  I LOVE Square Foot Gardening and am anxious to start again this spring.  We took 2011 off because we missed Ebony Dog and how she would run around (never through!) the boxes while we worked in the garden.  See?  Back to pets!  I CAN focus!


Blackwell’s Five Minute Veterinary Consult:  Canine and Feline, Fifth Edition, edited by Lary P. Tilley and Francis W.K. Smith, Jr.

So I haven’t read this cover-to-cover, but I have wanted to do so since the first edition came out.   And now I have my own copy!  Woo!  (Thank you Veterinary Practice News!)

Skills for Communicating with Patients, Second Edition by Jonathan Silverman, Suzanne Kurtz and Juliet Draper

This was one of the “25 Books” and the one I found most helpful.  I plan on reading through it again this year, and tracking down and reading the companion book, Teaching and Learning Communication Skills in Medicine.


This is going to be fun!  I also still have that whole spin-off list you helped me make last year, and two books I read and loved last year to review – The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk (Thank you Dave!) and The Happiness Project by Gretchin Rubin.  (Thank you Cara!)

And I will read some fiction…and your blog posts…and of course, newspaper, journal and magazine articles.

Oh, and Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, which Mike Falconer recommended.  (Thank you Mike!  And thank you for helping me with the Twitter and Facebook buttons!  I almost have them figured out!)

Tom McFerson, I LOVED your list!  Thank you so much.  I  can’t wait to read your next list.  But until then, I think I will be able to keep myself out of trouble.

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Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Happy New Year!

2011 was not the boring year I wished for at this time last year, but other than losing Ebony Dog, it was a very, very good year filled with family, pets, friends, new jobs, new challenges and new projects.  I would not trade this past year for anything, but I would like my dog back.

Goodbye 2011.  Thank you for all of the new amazing things you brought to our lives.

New friends

Since this is a pet blog, I will say..I really like my new friend Maya the Boston Terrier.  And her Dad.  He is great.  Also, I love Lucy Dog, who is Russ’ parents’ new puppy.

I have new friends at work who are wonderful.  I kept all of my preexisting friends too.  They are also awesome.

I have met many wonderful people through blogging and twitter.  Hi internet friends!  I love you as much as I love my Real Life friends.  It is so good to know you.

New memories

I have loved all the time I have gotten to spend with family and friends this past year.

The Nelsons went to Colorado as a family, and I got to spend a lot of time with the very small Nelsons.

We got to go to our friends’ wedding in New York, where I had never been before.

New jobs

Both Russ and I started new jobs this fall!  We both love our new jobs and the people there very much.  OK, I don’t think Russ would say he “loves” his coworkers, because he is a guy.  But he does like them very much.  And I, of course, would not hesitate to say…I LOVE everyone at Gentle Doctor!!  And all of you who have come with me.

New projects

I started writing a weekly post with Life with Dogs this past summer.  It has been such a fun project.

I met Kristi and Jessica.  I got to eat lunch with them in Kansas City.  So fun!  They asked me to serve on the Editorial Advisory Board of Veterinary Economics.  I am SO excited about that!

This year, I did Blogathon 2011 again with Dr. V and other Awesomes, and was also joined by a bunch of Omaha Greats (including my two daughters) to raise money for Nebraska Humane Society.  That is a whole new level of Blogathon fun.  What a great group of people.

Hello 2012.  It is nice to meet you :)

Lemme work on articulating my thoughts and I will post a series of “New Year” posts this next week or so.  I am one of the few nerds who LOVES New Year’s Resolutions.  I make them and break them every year!  I reach higher than I can possibly attain, and set goals that I have absolutely no control over.

Remember last year when I resolved to end puppy mills?  And to have a boring year?  And to lose no pets?  I have similar goals in mind this year!  As a kid, one year I wrote a list that was longer than I was!  So do not feel bad if you do not like New Year’s Resolutions.  Most people don’t.  I am just a little off.  In a good way.

I hope 2012 is the best year yet for you and your pets!  I wish you every possible blessing of the New Year and will look forward to sharing it with you!

The Saturday Pet Blogger Hop