The Petties – Vote for ILRA!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am excited to announce that DogTime Media is holding their very first Pet Blog Awards: The Petties!

Vote for ILRA!

So here’s what DogTime says about the contest: “You can choose as many categories as you like and nominate as many bloggers as you like. You can even nominate yourself! Once nominations are closed DogTime will select the four most popular bloggers in each category. Then you and your readers, friends, family and anyone else can vote for their favorites! The blogs with the most votes will win! Nominations close on July 30th, 2010.”

That’s right, you have until July 30, 2010! We would love if you would vote for I Love Rescue Animals in the Best Cause Related Blog category. We have been working super hard to bring quality content to our readers and to make aware all the great things that we can do for animals. We feel we’ve been doing an awesome job, and we hope that you do too! Show us some love and vote for us!

You can find out more about The Petties at the BlogPaws page, and we hope to see you all at our favorite conference: BlogPaws 2010 West!

And the Winner Is!

The wait has been long and hard, and I know you’re all ready to hear who won our Pet Blog Design Giveaway, but let’s talk about the awesome PawPawty that happened as well.

The BlogPawty and the following PawPawty were focused around the group Pets Without Parents and with the help of a ton of awesome people, we raised a whopping $1700 for this group. The target was a mere $500, which was reached before the first BlogPawty even began. It just goes to show not only how great people are, but how incredibly important social media is to helping shelters and rescues.

On to our Winner!

So here is what you were waiting for. The winner of a brand new pet-centered blog design is…

*drumroll*

#1: Shauna of Fido and Wino!

Congratulations Shauna! Your blog will be given a full design makeover worth up to $500. I’ll be contacting you about it soon, but if you want to get a headstart on the project, you could go fill out the quote request form to give me an idea of what you’d like to see. I’m extremely excited to work with you on this! I would like to point everyone over to Shauna’s awesome blog Fido and Wino and take a look at her new project: The R.O.A.R. Squad (something Ash and I hope to take part in as well – Go Texas!). It’s a great way to really give Rescue Owners props for the lives they have saved.

Congrats again Shauna and I look forward to working with you!

It’s the Dog Days of Design!

blogpawty

Last week may have been the official Be The Change day (click that link to read our post out about it and help out Feline Forever Ranch), but that by no means says that it has to stop there. This week on April 21st, there will be a PawPawty (or BlogPawty as the case may be this time) to help raise money for Pets Without Parents. To help out, I am going to be hosting a giveaway of my own.

The Giveaway

If you didn’t know it already, I am a web designer. I work for a small company here in Austin, but in my spare time, I freelance under the name Design Coyote (and @designcoyote on twitter). So to do my part in this great twitter pawty, I will be giving away one awesome pet design (estimated cost up to $500) for one lucky pet blogging winner!

You can see my work here at ILRA (the current design and the illustrations), over my personal blog Snailbird, or my design site that I linked to above.

The Rules

01. You don’t have to have a blog to win. We can set you up with an awesome blog either on Blogspot or a self-hosted WordPress blog (or another blog platform of your choice). The only catch is, whether you do have a blog or you’re going to be making one, it has to be about animals/pets!
02. WordPress.com blogs are not eligible unfortunately, only because they do not host custom designs. If you have a WordPress.com blog and win, you have two options: either move to a hosted wordpress blog, or move to blogspot.
03. You do not have to make a donation to be eligible to win.

How To Win

Now here’s the fun part! Ash and I tried to think up different ways that would not only be fun to do, but would also get people to promote adoption, shelters, and rescues and here’s what we came up with. To have your name thrown in the hat, we would like for those of you on twitter to pick a twitter account that posts about animals in need (be it urgents needing fosters or adoption, or animals requiring donations for injuries or rescue purposes) and RT it.

Once you’ve done your retweet to help the cause, comment here with a link back to your retweet, and we’ll toss your name into our hat of entries. If, for some reason, you do not have a twitter account, no worries. Just find something you would like to “retweet” and post it on your blog and post that link here! This giveaway is open as of now and will continue on until 1am EST on Monday the 26th of April I will announce the winner sometime later that day.

Be sure to attend the awesome BlogPawty on Wednesday starting at 7pm eastern time. It’s going to be a blast – full of new friends, great music, and awesome connections. See you there!

Contest Closed!

Winner will be announced soon.

#BlogPaws [Part 3]: Andrea Arden’s Keynote

What follows is Part 3 of our BlogPaws adventures. This whole week will be a post a day about the sessions we went to, the people we met, the wonderful and inspiring feelings we took back with us from this conference. If you didn’t know, BlogPaws was a conference held in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend that brought together pet bloggers and animal advocates from all over the world. It was truly a life-changing conference.

Friday night came and went and we were well into the early morning hours of Saturday before we finally shut our eyes (this had become a theme). Ash and I woke up a little later than we wanted to because of this, but we managed to get to breakfast and met up with the rest of the Pedigree-sponsored bloggers for coffee and fruit and muffins.

Our awesome Pedigree stuff!

The morning ceremony started with Tom, Yvonne, and Caroline talking about the night before and all the amazing connections they saw in the making. “It’s all about the bloggers!” Michelle from the American Animal Hospital Association got up and spoke about both educating people and celebrating the pets in our lives. The “AAHA believes in setting ‘The Standard of Veterinary Excellence.’ Throughout the Association’s 75 years, its mission has remained the same: provide veterinary professionals with the resources they need to effectively manage their businesses and deliver the best in companion animal care.” After her talk, she introduced the morning keynote.

If you watch Animal Planet, then you’re already familiar with the talented Andrea Arden, host of Underdog to Wonderdog. Her keynote was my favorite of all the speakers and I found her words the most inspiring. She was very down to earth and easy to relate to. She struck on why blogs are important and how they are great resources for networking. She told us a story of a thirteen year old boy who loved her blog so much he wanted to intern with the show, and another story of a five year old girl who saved up her allowance, a whole $5, to give to her local shelter. “Storytelling develops us as people,” she remarked. She introduced a new thought: the intentional community. Blogging is storytelling made easy and people who read it help spread your message. It’s ongoing. It’s a support system. Online social media can affect people daily and it does.

Andrea Arden

“What do you get back from blogging?” she asked the audience and it got me thinking about what we offer to our readers here and what we expect in return. At the moment, all we want is interaction. We want to hear your voice. That is our reward. Shelters, Andrea pointed out, can become no-kill with the help of a well written blog. “Blogging amplifies your voice. Blogging can have a dramatic impact on saving animals lives.” She goes on to describe the rewards one gets from blogging; Saving animals’ lives, humane education for children, helping increase media opportunities.

Three of my favorite quotes from Andrea were: “Recognize the importance of your history as it relates to blogging.” “The best bloggers are storytellers.” “Think back to a time when things weren’t so obvious to you.” The first is easy enough – we write what we know. The second is also obvious – bloggers are storytellers, there is no doubt. We write. We know words. Simple as that. The third – well, this is one I am constantly telling myself to remember. Not everyone feels the same things as I do. Not every reader is going to think something is so clear and easy to understand. I have to remember that not everyone knows what I know. We’ve all got to start at the beginning.

Andrea gave a phenomenal speech.. She also gave some awesome advice. She talked about how TV shows have what we want: airtime; so whatever we write, whatever we believe, it’s got to be something they want. They want information and “telling your stories can help move people to action.”

The Pedigree-sponsored bloggers!

This keynote was by far the most inspiring, and Andrea’s last few words to us hit home. “You are helping to create a better world for animals and for people that care for and about them.” Isn’t that what this is all about? I don’t know about you, but personally, I know that’s what I hope for every day of my life. To help animals. To help people help animals. It’s why we’re here; it’s why I am writing this blog post. Why are you here?

Happy Birthday To Us!

Spunky Celebrating Our One Year Anniversary!

1…2…3! SING!

Happy birthday to us! Happy birthday to us! Happy birthday dear ILoveRescueAnimals! Happy birthday to us! So I knew our anniversary was coming up and finally decided to check today and guess what? We’re a year old today! Yep, one year ago on this day Nikki finished our design and ILRA went live! Of course, my harebrained scheme began several months before the site was made, first as a small spark of an idea, then as a group on Facebook, and then possibly its most successful move to our twitter account, @RescueAnimals. Finally, finally we got our site! I’ll admit that building our site has been slow-going. Sometimes it’s hard to do all the work you need to when there’s only 2 of us doing it in our spare time but after the BlogPaws conference we are TOTALLY motivated and we know ILRA is about to take off! Thank you so much to those of you who have kept us inspired throughout our journey and we hope you continue to learn and grow with us! I can’t wait to see what comes of the next year!