Revealing My Journey Into the Exciting World of Pet Blogging
I Became a Pet Blogger to Help Animals and Realized a Life Long Dream
As a child you want to be so many things, and often it changes many times. Here is my journey as to how I became a pet blogger and animal massage therapist.
My Childhood Dream
When I was a child growing up in the wilds of suburban New Jersey, I was passionate about two things: horses and writing. I wrote short stories, usually involving animals and magic. I always had a vivid imagination and a love of mythology. As an avid reader I would get lost in books and wanted to create the same for others. The thing is, I never showed anyone my writing. I never thought it was good enough. A theme that led to me cease horseback riding, a tale I detail in My Middle-Aged Equestrian Reinvention.
When it was time to go to college at the University of Delaware I decided to aim toward publishing rather than equine studies. I did not want to become a veterinarian and did not know any other options. I did not feel comfortable showing anyone my writing so chose to study literature and become a copyeditor or managing editor. Something behind the scenes. While I lacked confidence in riding and horseback riding, I never doubted that I was an overachiever. I am incredibly hard on myself and always seek to do better.
The “Typical” Career
I got my first post-grad job working as an Editorial Assistant for The Rockefeller University Press in New York City. We published medical journals, good ones, and although it wasn’t my area of interest (cell biology) I learned an immense amount in my five years. My Managing Editor was tough, smart, and taught me to be ambitious and trust my instincts. I really enjoyed my coworkers, my Editorial Board, and learned how to push myself and deal with stress.
When it became clear there was little room to move up in that small non-profit, I applied for a position at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., this time focusing on a previously mis-managed journal called The Journal of Surgical Oncology. This was my baby for 7 years and I still miss it today. I became an Assistant Managing Editor and Associate Production Manager during my tenure, expanding to other journals and working on both editorial, production, and even a leading team member of the peer review management system. But sadly, no writing other than board meeting reports and the occasional presentation.
During my time in publishing I supplemented the typical 9-5 office job with volunteer work at the Central Park Zoo as a day captain for almost 5 years. Weekdays were spent surrounded by computers, and the weekends were for animals.
The Life Changer
Everything changed when I became a mother. A no brainer, right? I had three wonderful daughters in two years and the demands on my time became too much to retain even a work from home position. It was hard to let go, as I really did enjoy my job. But medical publishing wasn’t my dream.
Quitting publishing was the right decision to make. As much as I am so thankful to all I learned in medical publishing, taking some time away allowed me to reset. I looked back and realized I had veered off course from what I love, and the two things I was most passionate about (besides my family, obviously) were still missing.
As mothers do, you take a back seat when your children are small. About a year before the youngest went to school for the first time I sat down and really asked myself what I was passionate about. Through all my different school jobs, careers, and volunteer work there remained always a constant- animals and writing. I always came back to them.
Choosing A New Path
So I decided enough was enough. I was going to make my dreams a reality in my late 30’s. I became a certified equine and canine massage therapist. Working with my business partner, we built Bridle & Bone Wellness LLC and spend every day helping horses and dogs to maintain healthy, pain-free lives. I really love my work. How could I not? As an animal lover the best thing I can imagine is improving the lives of animals.
But here’s the rub. Client’s owners were asking us a lot of the same questions. Now, I’m not a veterinarian and would never presume to give medical advice. Clients would ask about best practices to prevent injury, how to naturally help their digestion, or give advice on the best tick prevention. So in December 2016 I decided that I wanted to answer these questions on a wider scale. After all, if my clients all have similar the questions- what about the rest of the world?
A Pet Blogger is Born
And so Bridle & Bone was born. I’m so thankful that just a few weeks after starting the blog I found BlogPaws. BlogPaws is a network of pet bloggers around the world dedicated to making us better bloggers and helping animals. The community has been, quite simply, amazing. It is truly a community. Now, after attending my first BlogPaws conference last week in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina I went in to this conference a new blogger, new writer, and new community member. I was so humbled by the community and sheer support from people with whom I’d either met online only or never interacted with until the conference.
There are so many amazing pet bloggers out there, and I feel privileged to be among this amazing network, even if equestrians are vastly outnumbered (I was one of 2 attending). Still, I don’t mind standing out a bit while I walked around with my daughter’s Breyer horse instead of a flat pet or animal on leash. It was a great conversation starter!
I know that I have a lot to work on to improve my blog and expand my reach in order to help animals. But I have priorities and a clear path toward my goal. In just 6 months my readers extend to the United Kingdom, throughout Europe, Australia, and South America. In the next year I dream of the possibilities armed with the knowledge and support I’m receiving from BlogPaws.
Congratulations on your new phase in life! Like you, I’m a returning horse-girl (two years now) and also like you, I’ve left my job (I was a high school English teacher for 15 years) to pursue writing. Good luck with this journey! I"m subscribing because I really want to keep up with your adventures with dogs and horses, and whatever else may come your way!
Yay! Thanks Amy. It was great to meet you in Myrtle Beach and we definitely have a lot in common. I’d love to hear more of your story sometime.
Good for you for pursuing your dream and finding a way to celebrate both your love of animals and your love of writing. I hope your blog is a great success. I’m sure your clients, as well as many other dog and horse lovers, will benefit greatly from your experience and knowledge.
I certainly hope so. If I can help even a small number of people and animals than that makes me happy.
Welcome to pet blogging! You will find it to be very rewarding.
So far I absolutely agree with you. Thank you!
Amy Shojai, CABC
Wish I could have met you while at the BlogPaws conference! Your background is impressive, and I have no doubt you’ll make a success of blogging, as you have your other endeavors. Welcome to the blog-osphere!
Amy, thank you so much! I would have loved to have met you on your whirlwind trip. There are so many bloggers that I can and want to learn from and BlogPaws has been a wonderful source of community and education. I appreciate your faith!
First I just have to mention – LOVE the Bryer horse! I had a collection when I was a kid. I wish I still had them all.
I love how when one path ends it opens up a whole new journey for us! When something is meant to be we find our way there even if it takes awhile.
When I was young, I had no idea the vast number of occupations out there. For me, it was all the typical stuff. Nurse, Secretary, etc … I had no idea I could become ANYTHING I wanted. It sounds like you were in the same boat.
I am so happy you found your way to blogging about what you LOVE.
You learned so much along the way to compliment your passion through your previous career path.
Perhaps we will meet at BlowPaws in 2018!
Joely you are so right. I am grateful for the circular way I came to be here because of all I learned and experienced on the journey. I hope that I can inspire my daughters to think outside of the box and follow their passions. I do miss my huge Breyer horse collection, though- I went to college and fear my mother "cleaned out" my room.
Tenacious Little Terrier
Yes, dogs and cats tend to dominate at the conference! Looks like you had fun though and the Breyer horse was a nice touch.
Ha ha, thanks! I couldn’t bring the thoroughbred horse so I brought a replica. My daughter has no idea that I "borrowed" him. He’s back safe and sound in his stable.
Kitty Cat Chronicles
Thank you for sharing your story! It’s inspirational to hear how you pursued your dreams after so many years away. It’s never too late! Glad to have you in the blogging community. And I hate that I missed you at BlogPaws!!! Next time!
Thanks so much! And we will definitely have to meet up at the next BlogPaws. I’m sure I will still be going through my to-do list from this year. So much amazing information. Thank you for your kind words- you’re right, it’s never too late!
Hi fellow Jersey girl. Thanks for sharing your journey Heather. Your story definitely resonates with me as a newbie blogger with a 9-5 job. You followed your heart and took that leap of faith. Love! Best wishes on continued success for the future.
Thanks Kamira! I’m so glad you can identify with my story. It’s not easy to post personal information, but if I find that people can relate it makes me happy.
It is great you are able to combine your passions so well. I love reading your blog, even though my horse days are far behind me.
Dear Beth, thank you very much. I am so thankful to be able to combine my passions into something relatable and hopefully, helpful, to my readers. This goal has helped me to step outside of my comfort zone and take a chance.
What a good story! It’s very inspiring. I’m glad that you were able to follow your dreams. You’re an awesome pet blogger already and I look forward to seeing you grow. I wish you much success! It was very nice meeting you at the conference! You’re awesome 🙂 PS I love that photo of us!
Ahhh, love you girl! Feel free to use the photo of us, and I was so happy to meet you in person at the BlogPaws conference. I know I have a lot to learn but feel that with a community like BlogPaws I can’t help but improve.
We absolutely loved meeting you! You are such a sweetheart and we look forward to chatting with you more over the year. KC here we come! 🙂
I loved meeting you both! Definitely stay in touch and next year we’ll get to take over Kansas City. 🙂
wishing you best of luck as you take blogging venture, you will find it interesting