Ahhh the end of the year- the time when we reflect on our lives and the goals we have set for ourselves a time ago. For Jack and I, 2013 could not be more joyful than it is now to celebrate and reflect on the past year. The blog Barking Beast alone, has done tremendously well since it’s launch in 2011 and the opportunities that have come from it have been astonishing – I still pinch myself everyday from what has risen, it feels unreal. What was once just meant to be a blog where I documented my adaption to the lifestyle of being a dog parent has invited so many career opportunities for both Jack and me this past year.
For Jack, 2013 was a paw-esome success: Jack became the face and network promoter for DOGTV, the television network for dogs. He successfully accomplished obedience training and today is more the gentlemen than I’ve ever seen him. Jack finished at the top of his class at the Kamp Kanine Academy. He became the face of San Diego Pets Magazine Restaurant Guide (I guess all that eating out was put to good work) and his biggest accomplishment yet was to be the dog I never knew and always wanted ever since I was little girl. He has been such a great pet and friend to me. I truly believe this dog was meant to be mine. I think it’s safe to say Jack deserves a bone, and not just any bone- a nice juicy New York sirloin T-bone steak.
For me personally, 2013 was a huge year as many of my regular followers already know. Over the summer I attended some of the city’s most prestigious animal fundraisers put on by our city’s shelters. The invitations came from the recognition of my work in the pet community with Barking Beast. From black tie Galas, to Pet Expos and festivals, the networking and exposure opportunity combined with the ability to help homeless pets has been a huge success for me.
As you can imagine, Barking Beast had an amazing year in 2013. It’s platform as a San Diego pet publication has not only networked me with other pet brands and organizations in the community, but also established me as a lifestyle pet expert amongst two very large media publications in San Diego: The San Diego Pets Magazine, and FOX Sports San Diego’s new lifestyle show #SDLIVE.
This time last year I set goals to establish myself as a San Diego pet lifestyle contributor, but never did I imagine I would be a lifestyle expert for the SDPM, or that I would be the official on-air pet correspondent for an incredibly popular San Diego sports network. I am so honored to be both the SDPM lifestyle contributor as well Fox Sports San Diego #SDLive Pet Correspondent. Bluntly, I can not think of anyone else better for these two positions than myself, as my love for pets, especially dogs, is unconditionally overwhelming and it brings me joy to showcase my excitement through media platforms.
My success would certainly not have been possible with out the huge support of the dedicated animal lovers and pet parents in the San Diego community. The reason a “dog blog” like Barking Beast can thrive in such a city is because our pet community is so large. So, from the bottom of my heart, I deeply thank every single one of you who choose to be an animal rescue advocate or pet parent yourself. Your lifestyle as a pet parent and enthusiast of animals is what encourages a publication like mine to do so well.
Now, before you begin to think this post is starting to depress you as I ramble on about my personal success with creating this publication, before your click away (LOL) let me share with you the 2014 Dog Parent New Years resolutions I have in store which I hope will help give you ideas for your own Fido friendly resolutions! Here goes:
Get some fresh air
Simply being in nature can have a big effect on an overloaded mind. I know how much Jack enjoys being in the outdoors on a hike or at the beach. I think it’s important I get in the habit of setting my alarm an hour earlier to get that outdoor activity with him before we start our day. The fresh air is mentally, physically, and emotionally beneficial for both Fido and ourselves.
Step away from the screen
A couple of the habits that I want to cut down are my social media and iPhone checking obsessions, especially during inappropriate times such as playtime with Jack at the beach or park. There is nothing that upsets my dog more than us at the park together and me being locked into my phone- likely because I’m on social media or text wars with a friend. I need to learn to put the phone away and give Jack that love and playful attention he deserves for that 30 minutes or hour.
Cut down the table scraps feeding
I am guilty of being one of the most vulnerable pet parents, and feeding my dog Jack scraps from practically every meal I eat around him – and this is something I know I needs to substantially cut down. It’s important to follow consistent feeding guidelines for Jack while he is young before he becomes overweight and I threaten his life expectancy. While I know me feeding him human food might be bring him short term satisfaction, in the long term I’m only hurting him. With over 50 percent of pets in the U.S. classified as overweight, there’s no better time to commit to a new diet and exercise regimen for Jack. I plan on keeping him around for a long time!
Make a date with the Vet
Something that I haven’t been all that good about with Jack is regular checkups at the doctor. They say that yearly examinations by the veterinarian are a key component of good preventative care. Many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity are common in aging pets and much easier to manage when detected in the early stages of the disease process. Veterinary visits are also the perfect time to ask for advice, update your pet’s food, or get an expert opinion on any behavioral issues that may be affecting your bonding with your pet.
With Jack always playing in the sand and swimming in the ocean I must admit he could be a much cleaner dog with a shinier coat if I wan’t too lazy to wash him more than once a week. Washing and brushing your pet serves many purposes. It removes excess germs and fur from the coat while also reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy. Lastly, daily grooming is a bonding activity that demonstrates a physical form of bonding to your pet that shows how much you love them by taking care of them in a very soothing manner.
Teach a new trick
Mental stimulation with Jack has always been one of my strategies to keep him happy and healthy. But as far as communicating with Jack goes, for the most part I stick to the basic commands: sit, stay, come here and of course, NO! But studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. In other words, keeping your senior pet’s brain active can actually make it healthier! Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing those they already know are great ways to keep those neurons firing.
That said, I hope some of these ideas have helped spark some New Year’s resolutions for you and your dog. Thank you everyone for all the support with Barking Beast as we go into our third year. Have a fantastic New Year’s pups and parents- remember to always show your dog love as often you can because at the end of the day, your dog loves you more than you even love yourself! Have a happy and safe New Year’s, see you next year, beasts! WOOF!!!