Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Broken Chihuahua on Way to Wellness: Love, Antibiotics and Healthy Food #GrainFreeForMe & Lele

This is my foster dog Lele.

I never, in a million years, would have imagined using that hooded (human) baby towel (that my own babies used, years ago) on a chihuahua. 

She has to get bathed twice a week with antiseptic shampoo. And eat food that's allergen-free. I'll elaborate in a bit, but first, a word about my sponsor, who has generously supplied all of foster dog Lele's dry dog food for three months (yay!)...



LELE'S BACK STORY: A RECAP

Lele, a chihuahua mix, wound up at the same municipal animal shelter twice. The first time, because she was picked up as a stray, and the second time, because her first adoptive family returned her (after four months), shut down and with a severe skin illness (thick, greasy, stinky, yeasty, scaly skin, with bald patches and infected ears). The family gave no explanation, but rather accused the shelter of adopting them a sick dog, after which, they relinquished ownership and went on their way.

A week later, after I responded to a shelter plea on Facebook, Lele was at my house, healing, and in much better spirits, but still unwell. Because Lele displayed signs of allergies, in addition to bathing her and treating her ears with myriad antiseptic cleansers, I switched her to a diet free of potential allergens: grains (such as wheat, corn, rice and barley) and common animal proteins (chicken and beef). After trying a few grain free foods, all with potato (a common plant protein alternative to grain), but still battling yeast and scales, I looked for a food that was both potato and grain free (potato and grain readily convert to sugar--yeast's favorite food--during digestion) and still contained novel animal proteins. I found Wellness® Core® Wild Game Formula dry dog food, and that's what I've been feeding Lele since.



TWO WEEKS AND A VETERINARY DERMATOLOGIST LATER

On April 18, the day part one in this three-part series published, Lele (whose shelter name, by the way, is Leona Lilly) and I visited a local veterinary dermatologist. We were referred by the shelter's staff veterinarian. The appointment lasted two hours. Here's what we learned:
  • Lele had a severe bacterial infection of her skin and ears, and it had been cooking for weeks.
  • Bacteria was the only organism present under the microscope (no fungus and no critters, e.g., demodex and/or mites).
  • Some of Lele's lesions (rashes/bumps that hadn't healed) looked suspicious ("C" word alert), but after Lele's exam, the vet was less inclined to believe "C" was involved. 
  • Lele's right ear canal was too inflamed for the vet to examine her eardrum. It might be ruptured. (The left eardrum is intact.)
  • Lele's issues are likely due to allergies, however, to what, no one knows. The vet's hunch is that it's at least something environmental because of the flare-up at the onset of spring.  

What else could she possibly be thinking about?

WE LEFT THE VET'S OFFICE WITH A WELLNESS PLAN

Lele has a follow-up appointment with the dermatologist on June 18. In the meantime, here's what I'm doing to get/keep her well:
  • Bathing 2-3 times a week with a prescribed antiseptic shampoo. After which, I coat her from nose to tail with a prescribed, leave-in, antiseptic conditioner. It smells like potpourri and makes Lele's fur soft. 
  • Cleaning both ears twice a week (at least) with a prescribed, mineral oil based cleaner, after which I flush both ears--using a bulb syringe--with warm water, and dab dry with cotton. This is a messy process, during which, I have to wear an apron. Chihuahuas can spray an uncanny amount of icky ear water; I learned this the hard way.  
  • Administering oral antibiotic and antihistamine tablets daily. Lele doesn't know she's taking pills, though, because I hide them inside little, wet food meatballs. She swallows the meatballs and the pills whole.  
  • FEEDING LELE HER REGULAR, PRE-DERMATOLOGIST VISIT, DIET.
    Yep! The doctor's orders were to keep that unchanged: Wellness CORE Wild Game Formula dry food, soaked and topped with a high-quality wet food (currently, Wellness CORE 95% Turkey with Spinach). And y'all, I'm SO thankful, because this food (still) rocks!

Previously broken and icky, foster dog Lele is on her way to wellness, with lots of love, antibiotics and Wellness CORE food. Read part 2 of her story! #gainfreeforme
The various stages and textures of Lele's dinner. 

LELE IS A SENIOR CHIHUAHUA WITH ONLY A HANDFUL OF TEETH

Finding the right food for a senior, dentally-challenged, allergic foster chihuahua is no easy task. Wellness CORE Wild Game fits every single criteria. It's packed with rich, animal-based protein that Lele's senior metabolism needs, all natural, wholesome, consciously-sourced fresh meats, fruits and vegetables, super nutrients and pre/probiotics. I feel GREAT about all the good stuff going in Lele's 10-lb body (and the not-so-good that isn't). The icing on this pupcake, though? Wellness kibble turns into meaty little, malleable morsels in water, no crunching (or teeth) required!

Check it out!


But mashed up, gourmet dog food doesn't mean a thing unless the dog eats it!




But, y'all, REALLY! Look up close at this kibble after it's soaked in water. Can you see the green veggie bit? This stuff looks like chunks of steak! (Though, it contains no beef whatsoever. Wild Game formula doesn't contain beef. Duck, turkey, wild boar and rabbit, yes.)




It's been two weeks since Lele's vet appointment and there are noticeably fewer icky spots (medical term) on her skin, and her ears (especially the right) have calmed down. Some days she's still incredibly itchy, though. (Not today, thankfully. It's been raining for three days, so MAYBE the pollen washing down the storm drain is just what Lele needs.)

According to Wellness, there are five signs of wellness in pets: Skin & Coat; Energy; Digestive Health; Eyes, Teeth & Gums; and Immunity. Considering her poorly condition back in February, when she was returned to the shelter, I think Lele is well on her way!

See? Even her three teeth look good!


I wish I knew how the only teeth left in her mouth are canines. Or, then again, maybe I don't. It doesn't matter. Besides, her floppy tongue is adorable.

THE RICH PROTEIN IN WELLNESS CORE ISN'T FOR ALL DOGS

Wellness CORE isn't the only grain free Wellness pet food option. There's also the newly introduced Wellness® Complete Health™ Grain Free line, for pet parents who want grain free, but not necessarily the rich animal proteins found in the CORE line.

Does YOUR pet eat a Wellness grain free recipe? Post a photo of you and your pet on social media with the hashtag #GrainFreeForMe!

Previously broken and icky, foster dog Lele is on her way to wellness, with lots of love, antibiotics and Wellness CORE food. Read part 2 of her story! #granfreeforme

Wait!


This post wouldn't be complete without a corgi! (They, after all, are enjoying Wellness CORE Ocean formula kibble in their food rotations.) Dewi's mind was temporarily blown at the sight (and smell) of that Wellness CORE Protein Bar with salmon and whitefish! (hehe)

All of the Wellness products mentioned in this post are available at PetSmart stores, and online.  And if you click below, you'll find a coupon for $3 off your next purchase of any Wellness dry dog food or dry cat food!



Follow Wellness Natural Pet Food on social media for the latest news and deals:



I'll be back next month with the final installment of Lele's way to wellness with Wellness CORE (among other things)! 

Does anyone else have a dog with challenges CHEWING food?
 


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wherein I Fling Adorable Corgi Pics AND a Massive, #SpringFling Pet Blogger Giveaway at You!





Hey, y'all! Ahem. I said, HEY, Y'ALL! (Just need you to look away from those prizes and down here my words, for a bit...)

So, you're here. And that means at least one of two things: you want to...

  1. Look at the adorable animal pictures, and/or
  2. Get yourself entered in the Spring Fling Pet Blogger Giveaway...because there are over $600 in prizes!
Note: Although #2 is not contingent upon #1, if you picked #2, we hope you'll at least enjoy the furry view on your way to the entry form (way below)!  

Hold on a second, though; I still need to tell you more about the giveaway!

First, I'm not in this alone!

I've collaborated with these nine other superstar pet bloggers so that we could make the prizes HUGE!

And, to recap, here are the prizes!
Y'all, I'd LOVE someone to give me an Amazon shopping spree and I know you would, too! And I know your PET(s) would LOVE for you to hook them up with that ball launcher (OMD, my Dewi would be in heaven), or cushy Sleepypod carrier (and all the kitties said, "ahhhh")! 

YOU CAN ENTER TO WIN ON ALL 10 PARTICIPATING BLOGS!

Yep! To increase your odds, simply visit all the blogs (linked above) and enter (but hurry, the entry forms will all close at 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, May 3)!

One "finalist" will be selected from each blog!

All of the finalists' names will go into a drawing, and three winners will be randomly selected to receive the prizes listed above.

This is great news! That's because even if one of the 10 blogs has 438 x more entries than another, EACH BLOG will still get one finalist in the drawing! (FYI: The finalist from MY blog, in my previous big, pet blogger holiday giveaway, won 3rd prize in the drawing!)


So, tell me, if you won the $300-Amazon card GRAND prize, what's the thing your pet would LOVE for you to spend it on the most? (Mine would vote food, paws DOWN!) 

Hold that thought! You'll get to write it in comments (for your one mandatory giveaway entry, using the widget at the bottom of the post), but first...

THESE SPRING BABIES! 

















Bonus CATS!




















Gratuitous butt shot. Yay!


Are we there yet?

TIME TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!


Remember, once you get into the Gleam widget, there will be several ways to get an entry. THE BLOG COMMENT ENTRY IS MANDATORY! Don't forget to leave one! I check!

Spring Fling Pet Blogger Giveaway

Did you enter? Yay! I hope you win! Don't forget you can enter at the other nine blogs (linked at the top of the post) to increase your chances! 

I'll post all three winners' names on the Facebook page and Twitter on May 4!

Good luck!


No purchase necessary. Giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents age 18 and older, except where prohibited by law. Giveaway will run from April 27 through May 3, 2016 at 11:59pm EST. Three (3) winners will be randomly selected and notified via email. Winners will have 48 hours to claim their prizes; failure to do so will result in forfeiture of the prize. Twitter and Pinterest do not sponsor, administer, or endorse this promotion. Participants must read and agree to Gleam's Privacy Policy before entering and participating in this promotion. 

Each participating blogger paid an entry fee which will be used to fund the grand prize. The items in the 2nd and 3rd place prize packages were generously donated by the participating brands. Please be sure to visit their websites to see all the amazing pet products they have to offer.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Broken Down, Scaly, Toothless Chihuahua Gets Spoiling of Her Life #GrainFreeForMe (and Lele)

This is my foster dog Lele.



She has a story to tell. But she only speaks dog. Therefore, I will use my human brain to read her chihuahua-mix mind and tell it for her.

After this word about my sponsor, who has generously supplied all of foster dog Lele's dry dog food for the next three months...



Once upon a time, there was a chihuahua mix running at large in the beautiful city by the river--Richmond, Virginia. One day--thanks to a citizen's tip, or a coincidental drive-by, I can't be sure--Officer Muller, of the award-winning municipal shelter, Richmond Animal Care and Control, rolled up, carefully parked his truck (so not to spook, or drive over the 10-lb wisp), got out, and scooped her up to safety.


(Hint: Officer Muller, and Lele, are third from the left on the top row.)

Upon delivery to the shelter, the kind staff checked the spirited little dog over, and in the process, noticed a strange bulge on her belly. So they sent her to their trusted veterinary professional for a closer look. (Note: This story contains generalizations, assumptions and educated guesses. I was not an eye-witness.)

After a thorough exam (or two, three...), the little dog--who had by then been named Leona Lilly by the shelter staff--was diagnosed with a hernia, and was promptly scheduled for surgery to repair it.

Leona Lilly then spent a delightful six weeks in a loving foster home--recuperating and waiting for a new, forever family. When that family arrived, she went on her merry way, to live out a life befitting a (mostly) toothless (that part of the story remains a mystery), senior girl (she's 10-ish years old, based on educated guesswork), who was once lost and with hernia.

Fast forward three months.

It was a typical day at the shelter, when the door chimed open and in came Leona Lilly and her adoptive family. Except Lilly was nearly unrecognizable--her balding coat covered in greasy patches of crusty scales. Broken, in body and spirit. Lilly's way had not been so merry, after all.

"The dog you adopted to us is sick*," said Lilly's person, unwilling to provide any further explanation.

"We're here to return her; she's not the pet we were looking for." 

They'd not stick around to second-guess their decision.

So, little Lilly was once again scooped up to safety. Not with a hernia, but with a whole host of other mysterious issues that would prove less easy to fix.

* Lilly had never shown any sign of a skin disease (nor any physical ailment, besides the hernia) in her initial shelter stay and foster home.

Image credit: Richmond Animal Care and Control

Fast forward a week or so.

"I'd be happy to foster Lilly, as long as she's OK with my corgis and cats," I typed in the email to the shelter foster care coordinator, after seeing her plea and Lilly's soulful eyes on Facebook. I'd never dealt with a dog who had significant skin issues before, but after just fostering a little dog with epilepsy without issue, I was eager to try. I mean, the bathing was only once a week, and I had loads of experience squirting stuff in cat** ears, I reassured myself. How hard could this be?

** Cats have "switchblades" in their paws, and I have only once in my life needed stitches. In my chin, after I face-planted on a concrete floor when I was five. (A "floor goblin" tripped me.)

TUNE IN NEXT MONTH FOR PART TWO OF THE STORY.

BUT DON'T GO YET. I'M HERE TO GIVE YOU HOPE.


What does one do with a geriatric, toothless, itchy, scaly and stinky foster dog? SPOIL HER, including with Wellness Natural Pet Food! Follow Lele's journey back to complete health! #GrainFreeForMe (and Lele)


So, Lele (shortened version of Leona Lilly) is in foster care in my home, now. She's been here for over two months. And although she still has lingering physical issues: yeasty, crusty skin (between baths), an icky right ear, and itchiness, which we combat with medicated baths and other topicals, there's great news: her spirit is fixed!

We "super-glued" it back together with love, affection, several soft, chi chi-sized beds, furry companionship, outdoor supervision, playtime--not with toys, but Lele LOVES to play keep-away with me, zooming around in bursts of energy, especially after coming in from outside, car rides, and healthy, flavor-packed food.

I'll cut straight to the chase:

Lele loves to eat. I mean, she can hold her own against my perpetually starving corgis in that department. But it's not easy to find proper food for a scaly, yeasty, crusty, stinky, itchy little dog...with three and a half teeth!

We're still trying to get to the root of Lele's physical issues (she and I have an appointment with a veterinary dermatologist--for allergy tests, among other things--the very day this post is set to publish), but in the meantime...



THANK DOG for Wellness and their natural, grain-free (and in our case, also potato-free), high-quality-protein-rich Wellness® CORE® line of dry dog food! I love it so much, I could squeal! Check it out!

Why Foster Dog Lele and I could Squeal for Wellness CORE Grain Free Wild Game (recipe) Dry Dog Food:
  1. The small, pie slice-shaped kibble is porous, softens quickly in water, and packs well in a measuring cup.

    I hated feeding Lele kibble that was not only too big for her little mouth, but even after being steeped in water for several minutes, was too hard for her few remaining teeth to chew. She ended up swallowing a lot of her previous brand kibble whole, which was no good for her digestion or quality of life. I like how it packs so tightly into her 1/4-cup sized meal servings, too!


  2. It's rich in high-quality animal protein.

    Lele is a senior dog, and current research supports feeding senior dogs a high protein diet, to ensure their bodies process enough of it to support healthy bones, joints and immune systems. Speaking of healthy, the food is packed with nutrients, added antioxidants, omega fatty acids, glucosamine and probiotics. And of course, never any meat by-products, fillers, corn, soy, wheat-gluten, or artificial preservatives, colors or flavors.

  3. It's grain and potato free.

    Lele has signs of ALLERGIES. The first thing I could think of to try--in case the allergen(s) are in her food--was to eliminate the most common sources of dog allergies from her diet: popular animal proteins (such as beef and/or chicken) and grains. Not as common a dietary issue, but could be problematic for dogs who suffer from frequent yeast infections, are potatoes, which readily convert to sugar (yeast food) in the body. So I got rid of those, too. (Potatoes are replaced with chickpeas and lentils.)


  4. It's for sale locally in lots of places.

    Not in the grocery store, but at at places like PetSmart and the local, family-owned pet store. I need to be able to run down the road and get this, and not worry about the brand being exclusive to certain geographical regions or stores, as many premium pet foods are. I've also purchased the CORE brand online, at in-store prices.

  5. Lele BEGS for the stuff.

    I mean, she sits under the counter at meal time and trembles (a chihuahua thing) with excitement, while I mash and blend it up (I add a high quality dollop of wet food, such as Wellness® Simple Limited Ingredient Diet, to her kibble). And she plunges her foot-long tongue into her bowl with gusto, licking up every morsel. (It makes my heart sing, y'all. I can't imagine how she relishes TASTING her food for a change. And she spends a good five minutes each meal, which is a loooong time for a hungry dog.) 
What does one do with a geriatric, toothless, itchy, scaly and stinky foster dog? SPOIL HER, including with Wellness Natural Pet Food! Follow Lele's journey back to complete health!


PROTEIN-RICH DIETS ARE NOT FOR EVERY DOG; there's also Wellness® Complete Health Grain Free.

In case you've gotten as excited about Wellness CORE as I am, know that the high protein levels might be too rich for some dogs. And as always, pet food switches should be done gradually, over time. If you're interested in switching your dog to grain free, but not sure about the rich protein in CORE, consider the Wellness Complete Health new, GRAIN FREE line. Each of the three recipes provides a balanced blend of quality proteins, grain free carbohydrates, select fats and nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. 

Bonus: the kibble in Complete Health Grain Free is the same packable, porous, little "pie slice" as with CORE!


I'll be back in a month with the outcome of Lele's visit with the veterinary dermatologist, more information and updates about her Wellness CORE diet, as well as other things we're doing to get Lele 100% healthy again!


Jon Farleigh barks at picks out dogs on TV, too.
And, in case you wondered, he and Dewi are getting some CORE (Ocean Formula) in their meal rotations. They're thrilled. 

Follow Wellness Natural Pet Food on social media for the latest news and deals:


How do you spoil your pet?


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

#BlogPaws - the Introvert-Friendly Conference (Insider Tips Galore, Inside!)

cardigan welsh corgi Dewi sitting pretty with text overlay


All images contained herein are from past BlogPaws conferences and are of my own extroverted dogs, Jon Farleigh and Dewi.

I'm an introvert and often, socially awkward. Well, until you get to know me, then I'm perfectly fine with saying out loud, what I wanted to say out loud the first time we met, but couldn't. Because I was worried I'd sound like a blathering booby (who should've worn a different, less distracting shirt, because I imagined you were judging it. Along with my hairdo--or lack of--and possibly my overbite).

I'll say whatever comes into my head from the safety of my computer, though. (Like, do you think I'd say the word "booby," which I just wrote, out loud to a stranger? Ha! Never*!) Good thing you'll never know my true personality...

* One should be careful about saying "never."

Wait. You will! Because I GET TO MEET ALL OF YOU AT BLOGPAWS! And, besides not saying "booby" out loud, Chronicles of Cardigan-me is exactly who you'll get! All pet people come as they are at BlogPaws (not a "blathering booby" in sight)!

INTROVERTS OF A FEATHER (OR FUR, SCALES...) FLOCK TOGETHER AT BLOGPAWS

I had this blog up for several months before I realized I wasn't the only introvert (note: I prefer the more appropriate description, "socially inhibited person," to "introvert," although, both are true) in all of blogland. It seemed counter intuitive to me: blogs were invented for extroverts; how else could someone put herself OUT THERE for everyone to see? But I was wrong. At least in pet blogging: the longer I wrote, the more I realized pet blogger folk are just like me. (My "tribe," I'd later call them.) Creative, outspoken animal people. And we're some of the best people to bring together in person, of all the people I can imagine!

This June, I'll attend my fifth BlogPaws conference. Trust me; if I can find a way to rock my introverted ways in a conference setting that many times? So the fur can YOU!


Are you gonna take us over there where all that delicious food is, or are we just gonna stare at it from way over here?

THAT'S A SWEET STORY, ELIZABETH, BUT I REALLY JUST NEED SOMEONE TO SAVE ME A SEAT IN THE CAFETERIA

Well, it's not a cafeteria, it's a buffet, and you'll get to serve yourself...but OK, I get it! No really. When I arrived at my first BlogPaws (of whose attendees I had never met anyone, in person), I walked right into lunch, already in progress. There was NO WAY I was wandering from table to table--with my dogs in tow--asking for permission to have a seat. NO WAY! Thankfully, there was another way...

(And you have another way, too.)

HOW TO BE AN INTROVERT AND ROCK BLOGPAWS

BEFORE THE CONFERENCE

  1. Connect with (at least) one person and agree to be each other's buddy.

    This tip is the reason I didn't eat a bag of almonds for lunch--alone, in my hotel room--when I walked into my first BlogPaws. I had exchanged numbers with one other blogger, before I left home. Laurie Eno (The Daily Corgi) was my lifeline. As soon as I texted her, she was on her way to rescue me (from myself) and invited me to have lunch at her table (which was occupied by the nicest bunch of cocker spaniel rescue people I had ever met). The meal set the tone for the rest of my conference experience. Have a lifeline! This is the #1 most important tip I can share!

  2. Go to #BlogPawsChats.

    Other conference attendees will be there, and one might end up being your lifeline (refer to #1). In addition, you'll get conference scoop, directly from the BlogPaws team. You'll get practice interacting with brands that are special guests, and that might also be conference sponsors. Did I mention you'll meet other conference attendees? Be there, most Tuesdays, from 8-10 ET on Twitter! I'm @ChroniclesCardi; hope to see you!

  3. Get involved in the BlogPaws Community, and Facebook page, boost/support group.

    Did you know there's a conference Newbies group in the community? I'm a co-moderator. Come join us! Subscribe to updates at the 2016 BlogPaws Conference event page on Facebook! The more you know, the less you'll need to find out on your own at the conference.

  4. While you're being active in #BlogPawsChats and Facebook, mention that you're an introvert.

    Yes, go ahead and get that off your chest. Trust me, IT HELPS! Remember how I mentioned I thought I was the only introverted blogger on Earth? How do you think I found out otherwise? Yep! Another blogger confessed she was, too, in a blog comment. We instantly bonded. A conference newbie confessed she was nervous about not knowing anyone in a #BlogPawsChat last year, and I bonded with her, too (we went to dinner at the conference and are friends to this day). Say it out loud (online)! Pet bloggers understand!

    Hey, my mom wants y'all to know she's an introvert and socially awkward. Can you point me toward the snacks? 

  5. Make a list of people you want to meet at the conference.

    Carve out some time, sit down, and write out a list of the people you simply MUST get in front of, even if it's just to say, "Hi, I love your blog." There will be SO many people at the conference, you won't know where to begin, without a list. Make it a goal to check off each person. It will add "purpose" to your verbal interactions. And I have a trick for finding people: Look at the agenda on sched.org! As people sign up for sessions/events, they'll show up on the corresponding attendee list. If you're in the same session as someone on your list, then there you go! Wait by the door at the end, or get there early and look for that person. I've met several people on my lists this way.

DURING THE CONFERENCE

  1. Bring your pet(s). 

    Nothing gets the conversation rolling like a fur ball on a leash. A guaranteed icebreaker. You know this already. Keep reading...

  2. Go to breakfast on Friday and Saturday, but especially Friday!

    There will be NEWBIES TABLES! Right up front, easily identifiable, and occupied by people who will make you feel instantly welcome. One of those people might be wearing a distracting shirt (but that's OK; she meant for it to be distracting). Fine, I'll be the one in the distracting shirt! I hope you'll come over and judge join me!

  3. Wear a distracting shirt**.

    To be clear: NOT obscene (this is a pet conference, with a chance of young people). Distracting, in a way that makes people stop and notice. (Last year, I wore a t-shirt that screamed, "ASK ME ABOUT MY CAT." Do you think anyone asked me about my cat? Yes [and I have six cats, so imagine that conversation]!) Rest assured, too, that you won't need to look hard to find pet-themed clothing/accessories for sale; there are endless possibilities.

    ** Your distracting shirt doesn't have to be a shirt: it can be a flat pet, or a pin (just make sure it's easy to read from a polite distance), or a sign, a bag, pants, a hat, cat ears, glasses, purse, scarf, entire costume...basically anything!

    A few pins to get you started.

    Follow Chronicles of Cardigan's board Way Cool Pet-Related People Clothes on Pinterest.

  4. Get to your learning session a little early and ask the person(s) seated next to you about their blog/pet/reason for being at the conference.

    BlogPaws is no place for elevator silence; take a deep breath and say hi to the person next door. (Chances are, that person is feeling anxious just like you!) Exchange business cards (if you have enough) and chat a little about what you do outside of a pet blogging conference. You might even make a solid friend, with whom you can sit during lunch (or talk to on break, or stand with at Yappy Hour/Happy Meow-ur). You will not regret this!

    She gave me her name, but I got distracted by the ball and forgot to ask about her blog. 

  5. Make arrangements to sit with someone at lunch.

    Whether it's your one pre-arranged lifeline, or the person you bonded with at a session, don't be shy about this. Text or tweet or send a Facebook message, if you need to, but get on someone else's radar for lunch! (The table might be full when you get there, but at least someone is looking for you, and you won't be alone looking for a seat.)

  6. Don't be afraid to be alone, when you need some alone time.

    No one is going to spot you alone in a lobby chair, for example, and label you a wallflower (they will be too busy trying to get through their own hectic day). This goes for any place you go to be alone in public. My favorite BlogPaws (alone) place has historically been the pool (I do this at home, too). Just be sure and make some alone time, so you can recharge your introvert batteries!

  7. (Optional) Join the Friday evening Newbie gathering (details TBD).

    After you've joined the 2016 Newbies group in the BlogPaws community, head over to this discussion and make known your interest! I can't think of a better way--if you've not already got Friday plans (refer to conference agenda)--to get to know other, kindred bloggers at the conference.

OPTIONAL (BEFORE AND/OR DURING THE CONFERENCE)

  1. Get a (human) roommate.

    Not sure how to go about this? There's a roommate interest board in the Newbies group. I didn't have the nerve to get a roommate until my third conference. It turned out SO well, that we roomed together again for my fourth (last year). She (Jessica of You Did What With Your Wiener? fame) self-describes as an extrovert, by the way, but turns out, that was exactly what I needed. Besides just having someone to talk to in the room, and stand next to in a crowd, she kept me accountable to get out of the room and participate. She even shared her session notes when I needed to take some "me" time at the pool. Think a roommate might be for you? Start working on that now. (Reminder: Hotel restrictions permit only two pets per room. I did not have pets with me either year I had a roommate; however, she did. And they were perfect!)

    You realize you're not sleeping alone, right?

  2. If you're road-tripping, share the driving with another attendee.

    And, wouldn't you know, there's a Newbies group interest board for ride sharing, too! I've never shared a ride, personally, but many folks do. Is there a better way to get one's pre-conference jitters out than to speak them into the ear of another person? I don't know!

  3. Eat pickles.

    Not kidding. There's scientific evidence that pickled (fermented) food consumption helps curb social anxiety. I haven't paid close enough attention to corroborate! 

So, how are you feeling? Ready to rock BlogPaws? (Yes, you are and will!)

What are your questions? Got any other tips to share? (Conference veterans, speak up!)

Haven't purchased your BlogPaws conference pass yet? REGISTER HERE and use my 10% off discount code: BP16-Amb-Elizabeth10


P.S. I'm not the only one who's ever written tips for introverts attending BlogPaws and networking events, in general. Here are two other great resources:

Networking for Introverts, by former BlogPaws blog manager, Robbi Hess (an introvert)
The Introvert's Guide to Having an Awesome Time at BlogPaws, by Dr. Jessica Vogelsang (an introvert)


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