What is Blogpaws?

If you google Blogpaws online you'll quickly learn that it is a pet community and social media marketing conference. Pet bloggers gather to network, learn blogging tips and tricks, explore new products and information. It's about making new friends and connecting with old — people and pets alike. It's about moments like those featured here: Coco the Couture Cat

Coco dons some shades

Another Coco Moment

Although there were lots of pets in clothing at Blogpaws, Coco the Couture Cat has to have one of the largest and most impressive wardrobes. Last year, I took a shot of Coco that received a lot of publicity. It appeared along with an article by Jo Singer on a site called Pictures of Cats. Many people had strong opinions against dressing cats in clothes, but seeing all the smiles Coco brings and the stately way she stares out from her perch, it becomes a difficult argument to make.


A ferret and its owner walk the red carpet on the final night of Blogpaws. Although I did not get this creature's name, I enjoyed watching the way it interacted with its owner, draping around her neck and shoulders and resting in her arms. I have often heard that ferrets can be mean, but this little one dispels that rumor.

Ms. California and her doggie celebrities pose with Kimberly Gauthier of Keep the Tail Waggin'

I "met" Ms. California, Shanna Olson and her doggie celebrities online a week before Blogpaws when I liked her Doggie Celebrities Facebook page. Kimberly Gauthier is well known in the pet blogging community for her site Keep the Tail Wagging.


Mealtimes were among my favorite moments at Blogpaws because you'd get to see all these wonderful pets sharing the dining room with the people.

One of the kitties from Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats

This little kitty participated in a fashion show in which participants had mere minutes to design a look from materials on hand.

Tillman the skateboarding dog

Tillman is a rock star and youtube sensation. This skateboard riding dog travels in his own tour bus and loves his board, barely waiting for his handlers to hand it over before taking off.


This 60-pound, six-month-old capybara named Mia, had to be one of the most interesting attendees at Blogpaws. Capybaras are related to guinea pigs and are the largest rodents in the world. I loved watching the dogs checking out the capybara, trying to ascertain exactly what this creature is.

What is Blogpaws? It's a chance to dress up, dispel myths, share information, network, eat, skate your way into each other's hearts, sniff each other out and decide to be friends.  Blogging, the pet industry and the human-animal bond are serious subjects, but the animals at the heart of Blogpaws can't help but make you laugh. These are joy magnets and they draw you back again and again.

Animal Love

Ellie and dog Is there anything cuter than a picture of children and animals? Probably not, and that’s just the problem – such pictures tend to be taken as throwaways, too lighthearted, too cliché – I think they hide hidden depths. Both children and animals inhabit worlds we can only guess at, imagine. One we can never visit, another we may have known, but have outgrown and quickly forgotten. We are foreigners to their minds, but we can observe. The cuteness is only the surface layer.

Today, we took my niece Ellie on a fun-filled outing. She encountered several dogs along the way. Each time she greeted them exactly the same – “Ohh, doggie,” she’d exclaim. “I hug!” And, she would proceed to go over pet, nuzzle or kiss the animal. “Goodbye doggie,” she’d then say.

Where does the love of animals come from? What causes it in some and not in others? Why do we find such images so precious, so cute? I see in my niece the ability to step outside of herself and embrace another, the start of lifelong connection, the beginnings of wonder, empathy and love. Animals are so well suited in allowing this connection, in rewarding with soulful expression or wag of the tail, our fledgling efforts.

When Ellie arrived at my house today, my pugs greeted her with lavish kisses. “Tongue,” she said, as Alfie and Waffles licked her, slobbering all over her mouth. “Oh my gosh!” she said! When I witness the angelic calm, the sweet bliss that comes over her face with each embrace, I feel the same way. “Oh my gosh!” And, I hope I never lose my fascination with such exchanges, that I never dismiss what passes between these creatures as mere cuteness. I hope it remains as fresh for me, as curious as it did when I saw it today.

May I always see in such moments the birth of empathy, the promise of acceptance.