Pet Blogger Challenge 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!

See full size image

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.


18 Responses to “Pet Blogger Challenge 2012”

  1. You’re late Dr Shawn! What a year you’ve had. Both Very Bad and Very Good. It sounds like you’re in a good place now though and that’s great to hear.

    I hope to be back to following your stories a bit more this year. Having a healthy dog [for a change] means I’m not keeping up with medical issues as much as I used to, though I’ve always enjoyed your other stories as well.

    Happy blogging in 2012. Can’t wait to see your new site!

  2. Shawn Finch, DVM says:

    Thanks Georgia Little Pea! Yup, life is good :) I love your stories too! Hopefully we will both have all boring pet stories this year – in the medical sense, that is! Georgia Little Pea is anything but boring! :D

  3. Pup Fan says:

    2011 was definitely quite a year for you. I’m glad to hear that you came out the other side of it in an awesome place. :) I always enjoy interacting with you via your blog and Twitter, and can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

  4. Vicki Cook says:

    It sounds like you’ve bounced back from a tough year and landed on your feet. Maybe 2012 will be the boring year you hoped for last year! ;-)

  5. I’m glad to hear you so happy after all the loss you’ve experienced this year. Life certainly is unpredictable and I agree with you in that it’s best just to see where things take you. I hope 2012 is as boring and wonderful as can be. Thanks for joining the challenge!

  6. Edie says:

    You are the sunniest, nicest, most positive person and blogger I know. If anyone was ever going to make me turn to religion for comfort it would be you. Okay, not gonna happen. But I do believe in karma and you have so many reserves of the good kind that I don’t doubt only the best will be in store for you for 2012 as a result.

    Thank you for taking part in the Challenge again!

    • Edie-Friend! I was just answering Amy’s kind comment and Frankie’s cute face popped up with your super-sweet words! Whoa. You totally made my day. You see why I blog?? I NEED to have you as my friend. You rock (((hugs)))

  7. Terrific answers, and here’s to this year being a better one. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  8. amyJo says:

    So glad I met you on twitter and have been following your blog for a while now. 2011 sucked for so many people but I am glad to see you found the sparklie in all that dirt.

    Glad you posted your challenge post and hope that 2012 is the best year yet.

  9. Shawn Finch, DVM says:

    Thanks Amy Jo! I have loved getting to know you on twitter! AND I love your blog. And I love learning about ferrets from you. Yeah, 2012 has to be better, doesn’t it?? Give the boys love from me ♥

  10. Pamela says:

    Here’s to a boring 2012!

  11. Tegan says:

    So sorry you’ve had such a crappy year with your pets passing away. :( I hope 2012 holds something better for your animals. Great to hear you are enjoying your new job, though. :)

Leave a Reply for Tegan