Pawsitively Humane

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Jackson Galaxy- Cat Daddy Guest Speaker at Cat Network Gala

There are cat people, cat owners, cat supporters, crazy cat ladies and then there is cat daddy, Jackson Galaxy,  better known as the cat guy from the popular Animal Planet TV series, "My Cat from Hell".  True cat lovers know this name or have seen his show.  Jackson was the guest speaker to top off a very special event--the 20th anniversary of the Cat Network.

Christine Michaels, Founder and President of Pawsitively Humane, Inc. and Riverfront Cats is a member of the Cat Network and volunteer.  Michaels along with Deborah Barnes, author and award-winning blogger of Zee& Zoey’s Cat Chronicles and Pawsitively Humane board member, attended the 20 year anniversary/fundraising gala for the Cat Network of Miami on Saturday, October 17.

Deb Barnes Christine Michaels sexy cat ladies
Deb Barnes and Christine Michaels

Everyone waited in anticipation for Jackson's presentation. For rescuers in the audience, it was more meaningful.  He spoke their language. We all speak a little known wordly language. We speak "cat"! Whether it's terms like TNRM, mojo, or reading a cat's body language to better communicate with them, it was uplifting that one of our own, had made it to national television.

His overall message was like a thumbs up, an indirect acknowledgment to the mission of Pawsitively Humane and Riverfront Cats  that we need to educate people, dog people, proclaimed non-cat people, that cats are not aloof, distant creatures...but wanting of playtime and attention like dogs..."  That is exactly what we do!  It doesn't matter how many cats or dogs we rescue and find homes for. Until we educate the masses and get them involved, we will never reverse the rate of homeless pets.  Education is key!

Deb Barnes Jackson Galaxy Christine Michaels stray cats Miami TNR
Deb Barnes, Jackson Galaxy, Christine Michaels

 For Michaels and Barnes,  both proponents of TNRM (Trap, Neuter, Return, Manage) as a humane means to successfully reduce cat overpopulation, the event was also an opportunity to interact with like-minded people and to help raise funding and awareness to further the Cat Network’s efforts in unison with other organizations and resident volunteers to educate the public about the need to sterilize their pets and community cats.

The semi-formal event had several hundred guests in attendance and was held at the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center at the University of Miami. There was a silent auction for fundraising, showcasing art, travel, literature, custom designed cat collectibles, and of course best-selling author of Catification and Cat Daddy, Jackson Galaxy.

Prior to Jackson being introduced to the crowd by the event’s Mistress of Ceremonies, Bonnie Berman, Co-Host/Producer of Topical Currents on 91.3 WLRN Public Radio, Cat Network President, Karen Rundquist, gave a moving tribute of the Cat Network’s growth since its inception in 1995 when the organization was initiated by a handful of women to its current status of over 2,500 volunteer and donor members. She also told guests that the Cat Network is working diligently to make South Florida a No-Kill community and that they have trapped and sterilized over 51,000 stray and abandoned cats and have adopted out over 7,000 cats since 1995. Remarkable!

When Jackson made his way to the podium, he gave a rousing and inspirational speech to audience members about what they personally could do to help get more people accepting of cats as good pets so that more of them are adopted and less of them are in shelters. His solution – by providing the best "mojo"  possible for them so they can live in an environment that lets them establish territorial ownership along with their pre-wired disposition  to hunt, catch, kill, and eat (mojo is defined as walking through the world in the minds-eye of a cat and learning what it is that motivates them). If those things aren't in place, especially the ownership aspect, Jackson stated, that “bad things” could happen. He put cats into three categories, and for him, every cat needs to be a Mojito cat.

Famous cats from Zee and Zoey clan

A Mojito cat is defined as the one that has swagger - a cat that walks boldly into a room with her tail held high with a slight question mark hook to it. She is a happy cat who is confident in her surroundings.
The Napoleon or gangster cat is insecure. He needs to prove something and will puff his chest out a bit in an offensive, aggressive posture. He might lie down across the doorway of a house to make sure you have to step over him and he might pee on things because he doesn’t trust his ownership of the territory. 

Lastly is the Wallflower cat. She is the one that politely hopes you won’t notice her as she sneaks by to use the litter box. She stays close to the wall as she walks, and you never see her in the center of the room because she doesn’t think she is the owner of the territory, nor does she want trouble with whoever is.

In order to achieve Mojito status, he shared that a cat needs a variety of key ingredients – toys to mimic hunt and play behaviors, lots of vertical space for them to claim as territory, proper diet, veterinary care, and spay/neuter to help keep the personalities and health in check. When all those boxes are checked off, the cat becomes confident of the territory they live in. These are the kinds of cats that break the misleading stereotypes that cats are too independent and aloof to make good pets and they are also the kind of cats that are NOT brought to shelters for behavioral problems.   

It was a lovely evening with vegeterian hors'doevres,  wine, sparkling flavored water, and classical music. Soothing, contemplative, enjoyable.  For cat supporters, our mission is clear--keep on educating those around you.

Here's to the Cat Network for 20 great years and to 20 more!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Another Battle Lost for Homeless Pets at County Commission- Aug 26, 2015

by Christine Michaels, Founder & President

Christine Michaels speaks to County Commissioners

Today I had the opportunity to attend a County Commission hearing, yet again, to vote on increased funding for Animal Services and to speak for two minutes. We had hope for many reasons. One of which--today is National Dog Day.

To my pleasant surprise, a large group of animal supporters showed up for a start time of 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon at the government center in downtown Miami.  Normally there are only 15 people in the audience for these types of meetings. Our supporters filled the seats. There were over 150. It was a sea of red.  Red shirts.  We were encouraged to wear red to demonstrate our passion, our outrage, and our commitment.  However, our agenda item was pushed back and was the last item to be discussed and voted. It was not until 4pm that we had our turn.

Only four commissioners were present which was disappointing. But it still allowed for a quorum.
The sponsor of the agenda item, Commissioner Xavier Suarez,  made initial comments. I was  impressed and relieved. He had done his homework and recognized that using one metric to measure a situation that was epidemic levels was grossly deficient. He employed various metrics.  

Michael Rosenberg, Founder of Pets Trust, makes his plea
Then the audience was permitted to come to the podium to speak (if they signed up in advance). Chairwoman Bell mandated a time limit of 20 minute collectively for everyone to speak.  After fifteen advocates made their appeal, I was the last to speak.  Given that homeless cats outnumber dogs and our specialty, I will use homeless cats as the main example of this blog post.

 I invited the commissioners to join me after the hearing to see the number of stray cats three blocks away. To see how they live, multiply, survive, suffer...

 "How they suffer and die, and many times legs had to be amputated. It's less costly to spay and neuter than amputate a leg of a stray pet, care for them and find them a home."

Leroy is a downtown Miami cat. He disappeared for several days, a bad sign. When he returned both legs had horrific injuries. Fortunately, we were able to save the one leg. Thankfully he was a friendly stray, not feral, that he could transition to indoor life.  His siblings and mother all died of horrific accidents near construction sites and FPL plant.  For Leroy's complete story, click here.

What is the correlation between spay/neuter and leg amputations?  When a stray cat population burgeons in the absence of TNR or spay/neuter, there are more kittens and cats. The more cats living around busy streets, the more injuries and suffering. I've seen more than my fair share of leg injuries, and leg amputations. Visit our cat website, Riverfront Cats, for Leroy's story.


A representative for the South Florida Veterinarian Association opposed the funding. She offered reasons that their partnership with the county for low cost spay/neuter works.  We, the experts in the trenches, shook our heads in disbelief.  If there are approximately half a million homeless pets in South Florida,  3-5 spay/neuters a day in 30 vet clinics doesn't even begin to make a dent. It's microscopic.  Vets are in the practice for a profit. They can not provide high volume spay/neuter. It's simple math.

Then Commissioners Heyman and Diaz asked Animal Services director Alex Munoz for numbers on intake and killings (aka euthanasia) this year compared to three years ago.  Sadly, they had ignored the valuable insight of Commissioner Suarez to employ various metrics.  While intake and euthanasia rates are lower, we as volunteers and partners in working with Animal Services, know those numbers are skewed. But even if the numbers were entirely accurate, the two metrics Commissioner Heyman and Diaz relied on do not even begin to show the gravity of the situation. While the problem may be controlled at Animal Services, the cancer IS still growing and spreading throughout the county.

Christine holding a rescue cat. Feeling deflated but not defeated.

Any rescuer, especially stray cat experts, know the truth. The fact that as we sat there in the commission chambers, the number of stray kittens born and cats dumped, grows EXPONENTIALLY.  This is what the opposing commissioners failed to understand. The increased funding is desperately needed.  To make a dent and REVERSE the trend, funding for a comprehensive plan is needed. The plan proposed by the Pets Trust called for TNR Teams.  Offering low cost and free spay/neuter IS NOT ENOUGH.  The critical need is ALSO people to do the trapping and transporting the cats to the spay/neuter clinics.  We need a dedicated team of professional trappers. With $20 million raised by property taxes from the Pets Trust initiative, we could begin to reverse the trend in the first year!  Yet Commissioners Heyman and Diaz want to put a band aid on the tumor.

Miami Dade County Commissioners' solution to epidemic of homeless pets

As Commissioners Heyman and Diaz continued their questioning to Director Munoz, the hope in our hearts quickly deflated.  They had already made up their minds.  The overwhelming support and facts by animal welfare volunteers/workers meant nothing.

I turned to find tears staining the face of Suely, a longtime volunteer in the community.  She was devastated. All of  us have shed blood, sweat, tears and thousands of our own funds.  Our hearts ache for these harmless stray animals. Her heart was broken, as was ours. Self interests won over greater good.  Politics won over common sense.

After commissioners left the chambers, our group huddled and regrouped.  We may have lost the battle again, but we were more enraged and motivated.

Pets Trust supporters with Commissioner Zapata
This is only the beginning.  The democratic system in Miami Dade county is not a simple process. Clearly county commissioners hold excessive power when they can overrule a majority vote by residents in a county-wide election.


We will continue to educate commissioners, residents, and fight harder. We have to. Pets have no voice. We urge you to join us in keeping the pressure to your county commissioner. Click here to find out who is your county commissioner and please write to them via email and physical U.S. postal mail.


Thank you for taking the time to read this summary. We encourage you to sign up for notifications of this website to keep up with latest news on pet related issues in Miami Dade.  We keep it balanced with serious and humorous postings. Fighting or enlightening politicians is a big battle. A the same time, we know pets are an important fabric of society and our daily lives. See the registration box on the right column to sign up. You will notice we do not post daily or weekly so you are not inundated with emails!

Also, for a history of developments of the Pets Trust, please click here.


The County Commission hearings are streamed live and recorded.
To view the entire proceeding, visit
Select " Metropolitan Services Committee" for August 26, 2015 and download the mp4 file.
Drag the cursor towards the end. The Pets Trust was last item on agenda.

NOTE: The $20 million raised by the property tax increase that voters supported for the Pets Trust initiative, would also include an education program, and better facilities at the local county shelter for the dogs and cats. Homeowners would pay a mere average of $25 a year more in property taxes.

Pets Trust Miami-a Chronological History

As animal advocates, caretakers, volunteers and experts, part of responsibility is to educate our elected officials on the reality, the severity of the homeless pet situation in our county. This PAGE will chronologically list the developments surrounding The Pets Trust and efforts to reduce the number of stray pets/animals in Miami Dade County. (Pawsitively Humane will herein be referred to as PHI for this posting).

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August 26, 2015 (Miami Dade County, Government Center)

Metropolitan Services Committee to vote on resolution for increased budget for Animal Services for the purpose of supporting low-cost spay/neuter programs, Veterinary Care Programs, Education programs regarding Responsible Pet Ownership. 

Today, Founder & President of Pawsitively Humane, Christine Michaels, attended the committee hearing.  Shockingly, Commissioner Sally Heyman voted against the increased funding as did Commissioner Diaz. Both were original supporters of the Pets Trust. Commissioner Zapata, at least voted to allow it to discuss at next week's budget meeting.  Whether he would vote in favor or not is not known.

For further details please click here for dedicated PHI blog post on the hearing and the outcome.

Miami Herald, Editorial Opinon: "The Pets' (dis)Trust? 

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July 22, 2013 (Miami Herald Article) 

Dreams of a Dade Pets’ Trust dashed at meeting

Summary: Last year in a straw vote almost 500,000 citizens agreed to tax themselves to provide almost $20 million dollars for funding high-volume sterilization clinics responsible pet-ownership education; grants to non-profit rescues; increased adoption and fostering. However, in a stunning turn of events, the Miami Dade County Commissioners decided not to follow the voter’s choice and denied the tax implementation. Is this legal? Actually yes. How?

The ballot issue was a "non binding straw ballot" which conveys the majority interest of the voters but the county commissioners have the final vote to implement the initiative

Please click here for complete article.

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June 4, 2013 (NBC 6 News Report)

Miami Dade County Commission Delays Pets Trust Vote for 2 Weeks

Summary: While the majority of residents voted for a property tax increase in the 2012 election, according to the governing laws in Miami Dade County, it is County Commissioners who have the final vote. Commissioners claim certain groups wanted to be heard before the vote and Commissioners delayed the vote to allow the public to air their concerns.  

Please click here for further details.

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April 4, 2013 (Tallahassee, Florida Legislation)

Miami-Dade backed 'Pet Trust' bill stalls in committee after cat fight with NRA

 A bill that would allow local taxpayers to create special taxing districts for the purpose of spaying and neutering animals stalled in a House Committee on Thursday, after the National Rifle Association and others voiced opposition.

PHI concern: For the NRA (a heavyweight with deep pockets) to bring in a lobbyist on this issue raises red flags.   Why would NRA get involved and oppose homeowners to pay a $20 tax increase to prevent suffering and dying of unwanted or stray pets? The reason offered is quite flimsy with no proven history elsewhere in the country.

For further details, please click here for Miami Herald article.

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 Nov 6, 2012 (Miami Herald article)

Miami-Dade Voters Back the Creation of Pets' Trust 

After years of increasing rates of  abandoned animals and high euthanasia at the local Animal Services, a VICTORY!!! In a local county election, the initiative to create a Pets' Trust  was passed by 65% of voters. This would raise property taxes by an average of $20 to fund programs to reduce the number of homeless pets. 

Please click here for further details.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A List of Resources to Find Your Lost Pet FAST!

Your heart is racing, you get anxious, nervous once your beloved pet goes missing. This uneasy feeling of not knowing how they are doing out there without your care and love increases each day of their absence.  However, there is a lot you can do to find your pet! We have a list of suggestions that will help reunite you with your furry friend. Most important, ensure your pet is microchipped or tattooed, act fast and be sure you already have recent photos of your pet.
  1. Create a Lost Pet Poster

You can easily create a poster with Microsoft Word (they already have templates for this) or find templates online. Make sure you include as much information as you can about your pet (any remarkable characteristics) and also your contact information. Print and distribute this flyer around your neighborhood or local businesses. Extra Helpful Tip: Use clear plastic sheet covers and tape the opening seal so they last longer outdoors with sun and rain!

       2. Visit Local Shelters

Your pet might have been rescued by a kind Samaritan and taken to a local shelter. Make sure you visit local shelters in your area and file a lost pet report so if they rescue him/her they can easily return him/her to you. Be sure to bring a photo of your pet! Print several copies and flyers.

      3. Post Online

The first option is still plausible but in these days, the internet is easier and the faster way to get the word out there about your missing pet. There are many websites dedicated to find lost pets. Here are some we recommend:
  • Craiglist: You can post your ad for free in the Craigslist website for your city.
  • Local Facebook Groups: This one is one of the most recommended options. People spend a lot of time on Facebook and they are many local Facebook Groups that help find missing pets. We can recommend
  • Fido Finder: Here you can create a profile and post your missing dog or if you found a dog post the information there to help find the owner. They are available in USA, Canada and UK.
Other Resources:

Find Toto
Lost My Doggie
Lost My Kittie
Missing Pet Network
Pet Harbor
Pets 911
Tabby Tracker

MOST IMPORTANT: If you haven't already, take lots of photos of your pet! 

Lost pet
Ecstatic dog owner united with lost dog, Casey the Schnauzer

We hope these suggestions help you find your pet. Please let us know other recommendations you might have by leaving a comment below. Click on "comment".

The video below shows the importance of getting your pet microchipped or tattooed for identification. Even if you have indoor only pet like cats, you never know when they might escape.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Miami Dade Budget Hearing--Support Pets Trust

If you live in Miami Dade County...

At commission meeting the budget millage will be discussed and set.   When we voted on the Pets’ Trust, almost 500,000 people said yes to a millage of 0.1079 mills for our animals, which translates to an average of $15 a year for each homeowner.   Because of rising home values and so many new properties being built, the coffers are overflowing with money this year.   

If you recall, 65% of voters said yes to paying a little more in taxes for a great benefit. Shockingly and tragically, the vote was never honored by the mayor and local officials. Democracy failed. Yes in Miami, Florida, United States democracy failed in clear transparency.

Citizens, voters, and taxpayers will be attending the commission meeting to show our concern and continued support for the initiatives of the Pet's Trust.  We will be asking that the commissioner set aside a dedicated fund of 0.1079 mills for animal programs as the people voted. We will be asking the commissioner to honor our votes.  In our country, we the people tell officials what we want, via our votes, something we have been doing for over 200 years.   Elected officials work for us and it is their job, their duty to listen to the people. 

WHAT:        County Commission Meeting to set the budget
WHERE:      Downtown Government Center, 101 NW 1st St. Miami, FL  33128
WHEN:        Tuesday, July 14, 9:30am

WEAR:        Please wear Red shirt to show support!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Verdict for Vet Kristen Lindsey who Killed Cat with Bow and Arrow

In April of this year, veterinarian Kristen Lindsey (age 31) boasted about killing a local tomcat with a bow and arrow.  She didn't just brag to friends, she blasted her triumph on Facebook (an image we do not feel comfortable in posting but you can easily find online). Even more disturbing was an accolade she received. Her caption on Facebook read,
 “My first bow kill (cat smiley face) lol. The only good feral tomcat is one with an arrow through it’s head! Vet of the year award…gladly accepted.”

The news spread virally nationwide.   In reading the Facebook post, despite if the photo was doctored or not, it would appear that practicing archery for fun was the real purpose and the tomcat was the intended target. Later we learned Lindsey claimed to have used the bow and arrow to defend her pet from a potentially rabid stray cat.

Pet lovers and animal welfare caregivers were shocked and disgusted. But it gets worse.  The arrogance of Lindsey went further.  Before the deluge of comments and her deleting her Facebook page, Lindsey posted:

It turns out the orange and white cat was not a stray but a pet cat named Tiger who went missing at the same time frame Lindsey killed the tomcat!! He belonged to an elderly couple.

Charges were filed and the investigation began.  Unfortunately we learned today that a grand jury failed to indict Lindsey because there was insufficient proof she committed the crime. In the animal welfare/rescue world, we face this regularly, the lack of proof of the intent of animal cruelty.

This news was devastating to us as Pawsitively Humane specializes in stray and feral cats through our effort at Riverfront Cats.  Clearly the District Attorney's office failed to conduct a proper investigation. Foremost the DA never once consulted the AVMA (American Veterinarian Medical Association) for a clear understanding of its Guidelines for Euthanasia of Animal 2013 Edition. The AVMA states this in their statement of June 27, 2015. A bow and arrow are not equivalent methods to other standards used by AVMA.

While Lindsey may not serve jail time or pay any fines,
 she could still lose her veterinarian license--with your help!


1- Let's first acknowledge, pay our respects, and follow the Facebook pages dedicated to Tiger.
One is  Justice For " Tiger " The Cat Murdered By Kristen Lindsey (24k followers)
Another is Remembering Tiger (9k followers as of June 29, 2015)

2- Use #JusticeforTiger in all your social media postings.  We urge you to remain polite.  Passionate but polite. Feel free to use the image above!

3- Please write to the Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners and share your support and logic to revoke the veterinarian license of Kristen Lindsey. Or if you can spare the time, please send them a written letter and send certified mail. This may motivate them to reply and it adds urgency and legally becomes a record, unlike posting a comment on their page that is one way medium with no proof that you ever wrote your comments.  As of July 2, 2015, Kristen Erin Lindsey's license was ACTIVE and in good standing. See below.


Physical & Mailing Address:        333 Guadalupe Street
        Suite 3- 810
        Austin, Texas 78701
Main Phone 512-305-7555
Main Fax 512-305-7556
Enforcement Fax 512-936-0870
HR/Legal Fax 512-305-7574
Agency Email

Department Contact Information:
Nicole Oria
        Executive Director

        Loris Jones
        Executive Assistant/Public Information Officer
        (512) 305-7563


If you are a long-time follower of ours, then you'll recall the incident with the Loews hotel chain. (See below for all related links). After years of having a MODEL TNRM program at NO COST to the Orlando hotel, one new Operations Director decided he did not want harmless, colony cats on the expansive grounds.  Riverfront Cats exposed the story that even USA Today Online retweeted the alarming news. It made national news.  Therefore, the executive office and the Tisch family were well aware of the headline news.  Yet the company repeatedly refused to sit down with experts to have a rational, civil discussion.  The decision was made for Loews Hotel to trap all 20+ cats and send them to the Orange County Animal Shelter where normally they are euthanized.

Despite a  PEACEFUL protest organized by Alley Cat Allies and hundreds of protesters outside the Loews Portofino Bay hotel in Orlando, the media failed to do any homework on the evolving science and SUCCESS of TNRM programs and therefore no balanced reporting came from their broadcast of the escalating situation. Animal welfare advocates may have lost the battle but the Facebook page exists, receiving daily hits and new followers.  Residents, travelers and potential clients of Loews Hotel are learning of this ugly truth.  This is only the beginning in improving the welfare of community cats.

After the tragic death of Tiger by Dr. Kristin Lindsey, the silver lining in the face of darkness is that the issue of inhumanely killing stray or feral cats is propelled to national attention again.  It is now considered a top-tier felony by the FBI.

It is our hope that education about humane welfare of stray, feral, community cats is gained through positive mediums and not through senseless killings making national news.  Please continue to follow this blog and our nonprofit organization and learn of simple ways to share facts and enlighten those around you. You are the voice for voiceless pets.

Loews Hotel Loathes Cats (the story breaks)
Loews Hotel Hates their own Cats (the story develops)
Mainstreaming of a Feral Cat (Deb Barnes interviews Christine Michaels about the Loews Hotel Cats, Video One)

Loews Orlando Hotel Sets Traps to Euthanize Cats
Loews Hotel Begins Inhumane Trapping of Loews Cats
Steve Dale Reports on Loews Loathes Cats (reputable pet educators nationwide report on the escalating issue).

The Protest Against Loews Hotel
Earth Day a Harsh Reminder, the Irony in Loews Hotel Artwork
Why Won't Loews Hotel Tell the Truth
The Death of Common Sense and Cats

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Monday, June 8, 2015

BlogPaws Nashville, 2015

by Christine Michaels

How would you like to participate in a conference where you can bring your pet, stay in a hotel with your pet, attend a seminar with your pet, and bring your pet to all meals INSIDE a carpeted dining room. Is it possible? It is at BlogPaws!

One of the many dogs at Blog Paws.
Hey, that shirt and hat color look familiar!

Board member Deb Barnes and I returned from the annual BlogPaws*, a social media conference for pet bloggers where it's all about pets- dogs, cats, ferrets, pigs and you can bring your pets.

Cool cat ladies
Cool Cat Ladies descend at BlogPaws
Deb Barnes & Christine Michaels

The theme was obvious--cowboy hats and boots to honor the country music history in Nashville, TN. Or the usual blue and purple hair. Why not?!

Pet blogging conference

While we didn't bring our pets, Deb and I took full advantage of the other highlights--attending sessions, networking with brands, catching up with fellow bloggers/friends and learning about the host city. We work hard on our blogs, a part-time hobby or paying job for some.  So this is a time to continue learning, mingle, let loose and have fun!

Miami city folks go country in Nashville
Bernard Lima-Shaw and Christine Michaels get into the spirit with their Cowboy hats a la Miami style

From the moment I step into the lobby, each year I'm consistently greeted by a dog.  This year it was Rocco. Given the growing popularity of BlogPaws, it seems more dogs were in attendance this year and so we were surrounded by dogs everywhere all the time--lobby, hotel corridor, in seminars, at mealtime and awards ceremony!  I sure hope this is what heaven looks like.  As most of us rescuers say, "we would rather be with pets than people, so send us to pet heaven"!

Dogs meet and greet each other at BlogPaws

But I found myself sitting on the ground half the time. For a getaway trip I realized, this is what I do back home--sitting on gravel lots or brick pavers feeding and caring for the Riverfront Cats! At least this time I'm sitting on carpet inside air conditioned room.  So I created this cute short video to prove it. [In the spirit of the Nashville setting, the music is by country singers, Florida Georgia Line "This is How We Roll"]

Other Pets in Attendance
While a majority of pets were dogs, attendees were also treated to the presence of cats, ferrets, micropigs and a rat. 

The famous Coco, the Couture Cat

Summer, the designer cat

My fascination with micro pigs started last summer when I discovered via social media a place in Bahamas where you can swim with the pigs!  If I can combine my passion of pool and pigs --I'm in water heaven! So when Priscilla and Poppleton (aka Prissy and Pop) rolled in, heads turned.  I shrieked when I saw Prissy was wearing a hot pink cowboy hat!  Great fashionistas dress alike...I swear this was not planned.
I should have known Prissy was a Florida gal --from Jacksonville!

At last year's conference the capybara stole the show. But  just when I thought what could top these adorable piggies, I met Everett--the pet rat! Looks like a gerbil or hamster but when Aby turned him around--the tail tells all! Eek. 

Meet Everett, a pet rat

And after many attendees drove two days with their pets or traveled by plane and faced delays, awaiting us that evening was the Good Humor Ice Cream man and truck.  Way to go BlogPaws!

A great "pick me up" after preparing for trip, packing and traveling all day!

Dusty Rainbolt and Good Humor Ice Cream
Dusty Rainbolt shows it's a Happy Hour with wine and ice cream!

Got down with the dogs, cats, pigs and rats, ate ice cream, drank wine...
Well now it's time to get down to business...


To set the tone and ignite the conference, BlogPaws soared to new heights in presenting the electrifying and comical Peter Shankman, founder of HARO (Help A Reporter Out) as the keynote speaker.  The idea behind HARO is brilliant--a service that connects writers/journalists to news sources for their expertise.  It was evident, given his success, that Peter understands the converging trends of technology, marketing and news and offered tips in preparing for it to stay ahead of the curve.  More importantly, he is also a cat man. Any man confident enough to wear cat ears for photo opps is a hero, Super Cat Man!

Peter Shankman
Teri and Coco on left, Deb Barnes top right, Chloe and Yvonne DiVita on bottom right

Peter Shankman
Peter Shankman and Christine Michaels


Yes despite all the socializing, networking and other fun, we do learn a lot. The attendees learn techniques to improve the design, presentation, flow, content, reach and exposure of their blog.  Even though I've been blogging for six years now, I took a basic session as a refresher and now have graduated to the advanced sessions. Both were very helpful.  Social media is constantly changing, evolving, especially Google. It's important to keep up to date.

Most presenters were not only very knowledgeable but witty too. Never a dull moment at BlogPaws. An advantage of this conference is that presenter's share their contact information so you can followup with those burning questions.  I'll be putting that to the test soon.

No hiding in a crowd with this hat. 

At the seminar (pictured above), for basic SEO, the presenter challenged us to ask questions, difficult questions.  He hadn't receive a question he couldn't answer.  Was there anyone who could stump him? If so, there was a prize.  Well sure enough, I did ask THE question and he admitted he couldn't answer with certainty! Aaah Bill Shroeder, I'm still waiting for that prize!!!

While attendees were awake, alert and focused on the presenter (lots of wonderful espresso and coffee breaks help too), of course all the pets used the seminars as nap time. Can you imagine bringing your pet to work everyday?  What a benefit.  Thankfully I work from home when not in meetings or visiting with clients that I am blessed to have them surround me, and chew up my paperwork, and walk across my keyboard and delete what's on my having kids. But easier.


Next, the Exhibit hall with pet brands and vendors.  I felt like a kid at a new toy store, strolling down the aisles, scanning the new pet products, toys, food, treats. One has to be careful. Some dog treats look like human food, good enough to eat!

Steve Dale representing Vita Bone
Pet radio syndicate and columnist Steve Dale promoting Vita Bone

Deb Barnes talking with rep from Lucy Pet Foundation

A benefit is the opportunity to ask questions directly to the company reps.
Bloggers then turn around and share this information with their readers.


The final night is a chance to dress up, walk the red carpet, and enjoy a fine dinner before the Award Ceremony. Remember no restrictions for pets at this conference so they also walked the red carpet and drank doggie cocktails at the Yappy Hour.  Thank you Seresto for your sponsorship!

Christina demonstrates cattitude!
Poppleton allows one-on-one time with a fan

A black cat on red carpet--now I'm feeling lucky!
(Shawn Simons and Kissy the cat)
Christine Michaels and Deb Barnes walk the red carpet. Both are nominees for Awards


This year's ceremony was hosted by Dr. Tiffany and Nashville resident and pet radio host Harrison Forbes. This year there were 12 categories from best blog post to most humorous blog to best nonprofit.

Fans cheered us on in the forms of applause, barks, meows, and whatever noises ferrets and rats make.  Below is a German Shepherd sitting on the dining room chair. All pets were extremely well behaved.  It's obvious these pets are used to traveling, and socializing with humans in human settings.  At my table sat Everett the pet rat!

Deb Barnes and I were each nominated for an award.  Deb is fortunate to have won prior awards. While I was nominated for two awards last year, I had yet to win.  Until tonight.  Kissy the black cat did bring me luck!!! To read the complete review click here.

Award: Best use of Social Media by a 501(c)3

I am extremely honored to join the ranks of these talented bloggers that brilliantly use the stroke of a keyboard, words and social media to raise awareness about all pet related issues. From health to toys/products to humor.
Congrats to all the winners!
Thank you to all the Sponsors.
Thank you to all pet bloggers for your dedication, cooperation and love.
Thank you BlogPaws for another great conference.
Thank you ALL for making this the best online pet blogging community.

"See you all at next year's BlogPaws in Phoenix"

Coming soon,  my review of BlogPaws (with more photos and stories) at Riverfront Cats and my personal blog.

Photos by Christine Michaels and Permission required to use.

*Pawsitively Humane, Inc. (and Riverfront Cats) is a 501c(3). This trip was financed with personal funding.


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