Friday, April 16, 2010

Be The Change Challenge

By now, most of you have heard me sing the praises of the Blog Paws conference I attended last weekend in Ohio. As great as it is to be part of a thriving online community, there is no substitute for personal interaction. The energy of this committed group of animal lovers is infectious, and one of the most eye opening sessions I attended was called Be The Change You Want To See.  You may have seen the video  from that session earlier this week.

Dorian Wagner and Jessica Vogelsang challenged those of in the room to find a way to make a difference independently, and collectively by discussing the challenge with our readers, Twitter followers and Facebook fans today in order to meet a fundraising goal of $500 for Pets Without Parents.  The fundraiser is one day only, and I urge you to see the widget at the top of this post (now removed) and donate whatever you are comfortable with. I won't give you the hard sell.

Fortunately, that is not even remotely necessary since the five hundred dollar mark was was reached by noon, the time I had originally planned to schedule this post. When I noticed that the goal had been met I decided it was time to wipe out the planned one post mention, and think a little bigger. While I'm sure many of you would have enjoyed watching me plunge into the arctic waters of Lake Champlain in the name of charity, I believe that a little something more is called for.

To that end, you will notice some big changes here. A stroll through the archives will reveal a lazy approach to blogging that has suited my busy lifestyle. It's easy to fire off a silly post every day, have a giggle and move on. And while I firmly believe that laughter is the best medicine for most any ailment, there is much work to be done. After the recent downturn in our economy, it's no secret that shelters are buried in needy animals and increasing debt. Help is needed from every angle.

At the same time, I have watched many of my favorite blogs evolve as writers struggle to find a niche. Many go so far as to poll readers and ask what they would like to see more of. I have considered doing the same in the past, but feared on some level that I may not be pleased with the results. Honestly, I wanted to just do my own thing and have a little bit of fun. For a year, I have done just that - I've had one hell of a time, and have met great people along the way. Yet for the last few months, something has been nagging at me, and until last weekend I was not able to put my finger on it.

The Be The Change session fleshed it out. What this relatively small group of passionate animal lovers has been able to accomplish with combined resources is truly inspiring, and has renewed my commitment to blogging. Now that Life With Dogs has grown a little, it's time to use the added reach for the greater good, and the days of one silly cartoon a day are behind me...sort of.

Rest assured, I have never taken myself seriously, and that is not likely to change. Will there still be silly stories, crazed Photoshop adventures and wisecracking dogs here daily? Of course! Will you have to scroll past a story about animal neglect or a shelter in need to find it? Probably. There are causes that are dear to me, and I hope you'll bear with me as I transition from fool to well meaning fool. After a year spent convincing myself that nobody would take me seriously if I got serious about anything, it's time to make a little room here for topics that matter.

It's after five on a payday, and I'm liking my timing. Ignore the fact that the fund raising goal was already met and help the anipals to knock this ball as far out of the park as possible. You'll help support a great cause, I'll be in your debt, and together we'll make a bigger difference than either of us may have previously thought possible. In my book, that's a big step in the right direction.

Life With Dogs will be here to greet each new day with a celebration of all things dog, and I'm very excited at the prospect. It's the least I can do to make a difference, and it's about time.


*  Join the special online Be the Change BlogPawty on Twitter, April 21-22, 7 pm-1 am EST


  1. You just made my day. :D

  2. You would dare to go into Lake Champlain??? Have you never heard of CHAMP...????? Now if Nigel suggested throwing a cat in there that would not surprise me... BUTT This one does.

  3. What a terrific way to ply your massive audience with good will. Love it!

    Have you seen the whole list of good deeds accomplished during #BeTheChange today? I just posted everything I could track through Twitter and other blog posts. What an ambitious bunch of talented people with huge, huge hearts!

  4. There's nothing you need to change about your blog cos we love it just as it is.. some seriousness now and then, and heaps of humour. :)

    Congrats on your achievement!

  5. Awesome. We are looking forward to each new post!

    Emma Rose

  6. I just Followed you via a blog of a blog of a blog... you get the picture ;-P

    I love the blog!

    Please consider following me too at:

    Have a nice weekend!

  7. I see Nigel's paw in this. No doubt Truffles and sola are backing him up! Well done, Dogs!

  8. thumbs up!!

    the booker man's mama

  9. Woohooooo!!!

    Teddy Bear

  10. Anonymous12:30 AM

    I still wanna see the plunge into the lake... ;)

    but Nigel would chicken out. his bar is already so small...

    so what do you have in mind for seriousness? pet rescue/adoption?

  11. You know, none of what you said surprises me in the least. I've always sort of known that this was near and dear to your heart. I think you have a larger platform here to share things with people than you realize and I'm thrilled to see you go for what's important to you and be able to make a difference!

    And yeah, I'd still pay to see that video of you jumping in the lake! Hey, couldn't that be some sort of fundraiser? I'm just sayin'!

  12. G-dog sez you are the man!!!! TY for using your blog to bring so much attention to the need!

  13. I wish I could donate and would do it if I could but I can't even pay my mortgage. Not having a job in this economy sucks!

    I do hope you keep the little widget there though so if someday I do find a job, I still have the option!

  14. I'm so far behind on blog visiting but of course, I always try to stop by LWD if I get to no one other's. I only took a quick glance at the video the other day but it struck a nerve with me too. I want to do more than just make people laugh or fall in love with my Big Brown. I want to make a difference. What an inspiring and educational conference that must have been! Thanks for sharing and if you can give me any pointers on how to become a well=meaning fool also, please do!

    Chester's Mom ;0=)

  15. Very honorable! Since we started blogging, we have become so much more aware of all the need out there. Although we can only do a little tiny bit to help out the bigger picture, we have tried to do some donating regularly to different causes. The best part is the warm and fuzzy feeling it gives after doing so.

    Woos - Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  16. I don't think that Nigel, Sola and Truffles could have found a better owner than you... kudos to you for finding your niche and putting your wondrous blog to such good use. :-) We're all (me, the hubs, the pups, the hosses, and yes, even our kittehs) giving you a paws (or hoof) up, and a donation too! *hugs* to all!

    (Ringo sez he'll hop into that lake with ya!)

  17. Our Mommy says we as furbabies and hoomans are always growing and evolving. That's what life is. Thus the name of your wonderful bloggy. We will still love and follow your brilliant bloggy. Everyone is aways struggling to find their shtick...we still are too. Find something that makes you happy and feeds your soul.

    big hugs from these pugs,
    Josie, Izzy, and Anakin

  18. This is our first visit to this blog and like everything we see. I know we look like a cat blog and please don't attack us, but we do have two very nice doggies that live here too. This Be the Change campaign has opened our assistant's eyes too. I would like to see more done for the spay and neuter clinics and so have less homeless animals.
    Can't wait to come back. Our assistant does love to laugh.
    Have a good one.

  19. It's good to have a cause. Mine is keeping my sanity right now - or insanity. School is burning off a few brain cells - not much to work with. Computer hardware is not funny stuff. It's good to have a good influence with many people and animals to help. Keep up the cause for paws! Or pause for the cause for paws.