BlogPaws Conference 2013 – Putting it Into Perspective
While I was technically only gone a few days attending the 2013 BlogPaws Conference, when I returned home on Sunday it took me a while to adjust back from being treated like a pampered queen to the jarring reality of dealing with the frustrations of driving to and from work in congested rush hour traffic to a completely non-feline related day job, massive pounds of laundry, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and the unglamorous role of litter scooping servant to my eight cats who seemed overjoyed to bestow me with an endless supply of “gifts.”
After the devastating and overwhelming events in Oklahoma and nearby areas that have been affected by the brutal aftermath of the tornadoes, my annoyances seemed so petty and insignificant, causing me to question if I should even bother posting about BlogPaws at all. In the scheme of things it seems so frivolous and unnecessary, but then I realized nothing could be further from the truth because in actuality, it is the very people who make up the microcosm of BlogPaws that are the very people who are the harbingers to helping others, whether it be two legged, four legged, fur, feathers, or anything in-between. The people who are part of the BlogPaws family are your bloggers, your rescue volunteers, your shelter workers, your veterinarians, your blog readers, your social media giants, your pet related retailers and food manufacturers, and so much more. We inspire our communities to make the world a better place and the people of Oklahoma will need our love, support, prayers, voices, strength, fund raising efforts, ideas, mental and physical power, and tenacity to help them get through this.
I had already known we were a powerful group, but it did not dawn on me until this year when on several occasions myself and some of my blogging friends were likened to “Rock Stars” of the industry which caused me to smile because it seemed such a grandiose title. But then I realized that for me, someone who has attended three conferences, that in many ways, that is what we are. I remember it like it was yesterday when I attended my first BlogPaws Conference and I too felt that euphoric high of awe and admiration getting to meet fellow bloggers that were legends to me. I was completely star struck and could not believe I was finally meeting people in person like Ingrid King of The Conscious Cat, Tamar Arslanian of I Have Cat, Caren Gittleman of Cat Chat, Janis Garza of Sparkle Cat, and radio personality and newspaper columnist, Steve Dale, to name just a few.
But now the torch has been passed on and the fans of years ago such as myself have now become the mentors to the newest BlogPaws members who are up and coming rising stars. It is quite an honor to have moved on to that role, but I now realize that is what BlogPaws represents to me. We are an ever evolving group of dedicated and talented people who collectively have the power to move mountains and that is a special intangible something that is part of the overall BlogPaws experience. And yes, the seminars are great and I always take away a tidbit or two of information that is invaluable, but, more times than not, by now I already know most of what is being said and could probably teach a seminar on my own.
And yes, the food is wonderful, the cat swag is fun (although this year it was sorely lacking to the chagrin of my cats), the cocktail parties are enjoyable, dressing myself in my favorite leopard garb is a hoot, meeting old friends and making new is amazing, and the ability to network with sponsors is incredible. But that’s not what BlogPaws is to me. To me, it is a sister and brotherhood of devoted, passionate, talented, creative, and incredible people who inspire others, whether it be through serious and informative blogging, to a humorous and funny blogging, to organizations devoted to rescue and adoptions, to every niche you can imagine to help the creatures of the world, both great and small, to be the best that we can be. We care and our role is important. In that regard, everyone is a hero and everyone is a rock star.
So, I don’t really have a lot to share with you about my BlogPaws experience because it now has a different meaning to me than it did a couple of days ago. Life again is about perspective. I have a house, electricity, hot water, and a bathroom with a working toilet and shower. I am not searching for my pets or my loved ones and I am not in the hospital being treated for debris wounds. My car has not been crushed like a matchbox toy and I have a whole closet full of clean clothes to wear. I also have a working computer to blog on and a bed to sleep in. And oh well, I did not walk away from BlogPaws with a big sponsorship from a major brand company, nor did I win the “Best Blog Writing Award I was nominated for (congratulations to the winner, Nerissa’s Life). But I did walk away with even more precious friends and a continued passion to help animals, in particular cats, to help educate people about the dire need for responsibly so more cats are adopted and less end up on the streets and in shelters. So in that regard, I am a winner.
I also was privileged to attend one of the most moving seminars I have ever witnessed by Robin Olson of Covered in Cat Hair about her hands on experience dealing with the aftermath of the Newtown Shootings by helping local children heal through the power of kittens. And now here we are again, a brief heartbeat later in the midst of another crisis. The only difference, this one was created by nature. But the need for help and compassion remains universal regardless of the circumstances and that is where the BlogPaws community will rise to the challenge.
The best way I can describe BlogPaws without an endless dissertation is to follow up with a montage of some of my favorite pictures. And yes, you won’t be disappointed, as the last picture will show you, my dream did come true. Take care everyone and God Bless…