Be The Change Challenge

A few months ago, Caroline (aka Romeo the Cat’s staff, aka co-founder of BlogPaws) asked me if I would consider being a speaker at BlogPaws on the “Be The Change You Want to See” panel. I immediately said, “Heck yes!” followed up with, “But, uh, why? I’m not entirely sure I qualify.”

Caroline assured me that yes, they did want me to be a part of the talk specifically because I had zero experience and no clue what I was doing when I started out with the blogathon and Hounds for Haiti. Of course, she said it much more nicely than that, but the gist of the talk was to motivate others in the audience to feel that they can jump in blindly, throw something out there, and see what sticks. (Lesson One: if you put a video of yourself eating dog food out there on the web, that gives you instant “commitment to the cause” street cred.).

I then learned I was to be paired with Dorian Wagner over at Your Daily Cute, who raised thousands of dollars and oodles of toys for shelter pets with her Santa Paws drive, and Lynn Haigh. You may know her better as typist for @frugaldougal, i.e., the co-founder of the pawpawties on Twitter that has raised over $25 GRAND this past year for charities. Designated speaker wrangler was the lovely Jane Harrell from Petfinder.

I admit I felt a bit underaccomplished in the presence of such greatness, but at the same time I realized there was no way I could let this opportunity to work with these amazing women pass me by.

“So,” I shouted into my Garmin as I was driving to work on the conference call discussing the upcoming panel, “I kind of had this idea.” And because they didn’t know my reputation as hatcher of hare-brained schemes, they actually let me tell them what it was (as opposed to say, my husband, who kind of sighs when I tell him I have an idea because he knows what’s to come and that it usually involves money or another animal.)

Much to my sheer and utter delight, my co-panelists liked my idea, and then they added their own ideas, and in the way these kind of synergistic things happen, our panel morphed from three people talking to a group into: Let’s set something in motion.

So here’s what we did: After talking about our individual experiences  and answering questions from the audience, we played a video that Lynn had specially made for the panel. I’m putting it here in the post, because it is incredible and made me cry a little. Anyway, while that video was playing, we collected everyone’s names and threw them into a basket.

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Then, when the video was over and everyone was sniffling a little and basking in the prime moment of “I can do this too” fuzzies, BAM! We decided to throw down a challenge- nay, an opportunity, for everyone in the room to make something happen.

For the bloggers: Friday the 16th is designated as the official Be the Change Blog Post Day.

For tweeters/anipals, there will be a “Be the Change” pawpawty next week- the date will be announced shortly. All are welcome.

We asked each and every person present to think of how they, as individuals, can contribute in their own unique way and mused, if three people can do a bit, what can 45 people do? Or 60? Or 600?

Then we pulled a name from the basket and told that person to choose the lucky recipient of the funds raised. With that, we are going to be coming together for Pets Without Parents, a no-kill in Columbus, Ohio.

The coolest thing about this conference, and I’d love to hear from others who were there as well on the topic, was the whole idea that not only is this grassroots individual type action considered acceptable, it is the optimal way to do things on this network built of individals. We are building this sparkly little Charlotte’s Web of connections one strand at a time in order to create something beautiful. What it’s going to end up looking like is as much a mystery to me as it is to you, but life’s about sink or swim sometimes, so I’m jumping.

I want to dedicate this week to talking about individuals out there in the blogosphere who have figured out a way to utilize their own unique talents to make the world better for our animal friends.

For those of you who have taken on the Be The Change Challenge- which I hope is just the beginning!- send me your links, tell me what you are doing, and let’s all commit here and now to helping one another in this goal of unifying our voices and our keyboards in order to enact change.

Dorian, Lynn, and I are all coordinating this together. As we figure out logistics such as donation widgets for your site, we’ll keep you updated. The idea here, above and beyond the benefit to this one rescue, is to solidify our network and get a dialogue going that will become permanent. No blog is an island and all that.

Lynn suggested a goal of $500 raised for Pets Without Parents. I say that is an excellent idea.

This is not limited to those who attended the talk, by the way. Anyone can participate, come to Saturday’s pawpawty, offer suggestions, offer contributions, and offer your enthusiasm. I am like an enthusiasm vampire. It fuels me. I know it fuels you all too, I saw it in your faces and I see it every day in your presence here.

On Friday, I’m turning you loose to do your worst. Post. Pester sponsors for prizes. Go nuts at the pawpawty. Do something I never would have thought of. I have no idea what I’m going to do yet, save one thing:

No more eating dog food.

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  • Just contact me if anybody needs my herbal Calming Collars for a give-away or auction. I’d love to help you all out! Sounds like BlogPaws was quite the event. I am enjoying reading all about it from the attendees! And what a great cause — Pets Without Parents. My gang of seven are a combination of shelter, rescue and formerly feral!

  • Jamie

    Pets without Parents is a great place!!! My friend has gotten all of his kitties from there and they are a great organization. So happy to hear that they will be receiving some funds!

    Sounds like BlogPaws was a fantastic event. I can’t wait to hear more stories!

  • Pikachu

    I am going to have to go next year 🙂

  • Many thanks for updates regarding BlogPaws event for those of us who could not attend. There is a very large community of animal lovers and pet owners out there who can and want to help.

  • That video was a monster hit. I’m seeing it pop up everywhere! If I can pull my head back together by Friday I’ll find a way to participate properly.

    You know, I hear that dog food is getting better every day. 😉

  • I just launched a new squeaky toy in my etsy shop and I would love to donate one for a giveaway or something. Let me know if I could be of help 😀

    Apparently I started my and Pru’s twitter accounts at just the right time! Pawpawty here we come (check us out @lostinsomniac and @cowtailchewtoys).

  • Hee hee I, too, am often accused by my dear husband of hatching “hare brained schemes.” In fact, I think BlogPaws fell in that category at one time…. 😀

    This is a WONDERFUL plan! And you guys did a great job at the event. Mwah!

  • That sounds like a wonderful thing to do. I have a couple of books for giveaway or auction. I am a big rescuer in that I have taken in 18 feral cats. So I will be glad to post anything you need or help in any way that I can. I will have to figure out how to do Twitter in order to come to the Paw Pawty.

  • My big idea (aka hare-brained scheme) is underway. It’ll take some collaboration and time to figure out logistics, but I think it’s a good one, and I cannot wait to get started.

    It so nice to meet you in person. I had NO idea about the eating the dog food thing. Um … wow!

  • Thanks for an inspirational presentation at Blogpaws. Drs. Foster & Smith accepts your challenge! We have something special planned on our blog ( this Friday. Everyone who wants to have fun AND help pets should stop by on Friday!

  • Tabitha W

    Hmm I dont know what I can contribute. Maybe some cat photography….
    I dont think I understand this paw party thing. can some explain it or send me info, Im slightly lost.

  • I’m in. Will figure out in what way, but I’m in! xo You all rock!

  • Oops, hit send too soon. I can post, donate, etc., etc. Will e-mail you.

  • I saw you mentioned over at Romeo’s blog and had to stop by and see what was up. It sounds like BlogPaws was awesome and had a lot more and different things then I expected. It did interest me but I expected it to be more about making money from the blogs, or getting sponsors, and then just a meet and greet – I guess I didn’t realize how much there would be about helping animals too (I mean, I expeced some but it sounds like there was a lot more then I thought). It is funny you are doing this on the 16th – on the 15th we are doing a commentathon at our blog to help a local no-kill shelter. I try to donate on my own as well, but I like to do commentathons because it is a way to kind of get others involved, and maybe they will try to do something too.

  • Hey Dr. V! Like I said, the “Be the Change” session was my absolute favorite and Nikki & I are dedicated to helping out with this pawty (and future ones) in any way we can. I’m not quite sure what I can offer yet but Nikki already talked to Frugal Dougal’s typist about donating a web design! I can’t wait to get involved and Be the Change myself!

  • It was great to meet you and the whole “Be the Change” team at Blogpaws! I can’t wait to participate in the challenge and the pawpawty on Saturday!