Every year, Dogster (and Catster) HQ represents at BlogPaws, a pet-blogger conference many of our writers and partner sites show up for. It’s a chance to listen to some inspiring talks, meet animal welfare heroes, and catch up in person with personalities we see in our e-mail in-boxes most of the year. We just got back from the three-day afair in Salt Lake City, and now we share some highlights for those who couldn’t make it out (or those who scoff at the idea of a pet blogger conference to begin with — hey, it’s a thing).
Here, in no particular order, are my 10 favorite things about this year’s event:
1. Cuteness, Cuteness Everywhere
You know BlogPaws is in town when the airport is crawling with cute creatures, and when you enter the hotel lobby and see dogs and cats on leashes. Here are some of the sweet faces we ran into over the course of our time in Utah:
2. Petfinder Founder Betsy Saul’s Keynote Presentation
Petfinder started in 1996 in Betsy Saul’s living room — where she dutifully typed up faxed adoption notices for nearby rescues when she got home from her day job. Fast-forward to 2012 and more than 13,000 rescues and shelters have a presence on the site, and around 2.5 million pets find a home annually thanks to Petfinder’s reach.
Saul started her presentation with a joke — “So, two identical-twin nuns walk into a shelter…” and ended it with a tearjerker of a story, where an unadoptable dog who couldn’t be around men or children found the perfect happy ending at the last possible moment in a convent with said nuns. Not an eye in the house was dry.
3. The Pet Blogger Flash Mob That Went Down in the Middle of It
Halfway through Saul’s presentation, a mob of pet writers crashed the stage to the tune of Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” tune. Most of them were holding cut-out copies of their pets. Only at BlogPaws? Yep!
4. Matching Faces to Names of People Met via E-mail
Shout-out to Dog-Milk’s Capree Kimball, Catsparella’s Stephanie Harwin, and Catster’s very own Sarah Donner! It was great to meet everybody in person for the first time.
5. Playing Hooky and Checking Out Temple Square
BlogPaws has taken us to Denver and Washington, D.C., as well as Salt Lake City, and each time we took a lunch break to check out the scenery. We visited Temple Square in downtown SLC and were amazed as married couples poured out of the temple as though on an assembly line. The architecture was jaw-droppingly gorgeous.
6. Watching Catster’s Singing Cat Lady, Sarah Donner, Take the Stage at our Sponsored “Pawty”
This was the first BlogPaws conference where we sponsored an event, and the turnout was pretty awesome. Catster’s Sarah Donner sang some of her “Ask a Cat Lady” songs and original tunes from her new album, Fossil of Girl.
7. The Awkward, then Awesome, Blogger Bingo that Ensued
The event we sponsored had a surprise networking component — and what better way to get to know the people next to you than with a blogger BINGO card? Sadly, I never did meet anyone with a married pet (which was one of the boxes to check). But there’s always next year.
8. Cheating on my Dog, Mr. Moxie, with this Gorgeous Italian Greyhound
Duff, an AKC champ, might be the most social Italian Greyhound I’ve ever met. I missed my own IG, Mr. Moxie, terribly, and it was nice to sit down and cuddle this beautiful blue boy. One day, I want a house full of these little guys.
9. Endless Swag
PetSmart had an all-you-can-grab pet toy table, and grab we did!
10. Taking Some of our Hardworking Dogster/Catster Writers out for Dinner.
Salt Lake City is full of cheerful, chatty types, including the hotel shuttle driver who told us we had to try Takashi, SLC’s top sushi joint for eight years running. It was less than two blocks from the hotel, and everything was delicious, as evidenced by the photos below.
11. Coming Home to my Dog
It’s fun to go away and cheat on your dog with lots of adorable creatures, but it’s even better to come home to him, have him sniff you and give you that knowing look (“A blue Italian Greyhound, three Chi-mixes, a Basset AND a cat?! Oh, mom, you DOG!”) and then go bananas with his “mom’s home!” dance anyway. Have I told you lately that I love him?