Pet Blogger Challenge 2017

by Mr. Taleteller on

This weekend, Mr. Taleteller and Houndstooth are participating in this year’s Pet Blogger Challenge.  Since we both work on the blog, we’re both answering the questions, and since Houndstooth’s computer is being overly tempermental at the moment, we’re typing it on Mr. Taleteller’s computer.  His answers are in regular text and hers are in italics.  I hope you enjoy reading a little about what happens behind the blogging scenes here.


1.When did you start your blog and, for anyone who is just seeing it for first time, please provide a description of your site.

I started the blog on March of 2009, and I had no idea that anyone besides a couple of my online friends would read it.  I never dreamed that it would take on the life that it has or take me to the places that I’ve been.  The blog is about our daily lives with four dogs, two Greyhounds and two German Shepherds.  One of my goals is to make everyone wish they had a Greyhound of their own, and also to inform people that Greyhounds don’t retire from the track just to lay on the couch for the rest of their lives.  Retirement is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in life for them.  I also try to focus on things you can do with your dog, instead of leaving them at home all the time while you’re out living in the world.  We try to include our dogs as much as possible, and when new opportunities open up in our area, we like to share them.  And I like to take photos of our dogs, a lot.

My first post for Search and Rescue Saturday was February 1, 2014. I am actually recurring series within the blog written by the Chief Editor. Search and Rescue Saturday informs the readers of the numerous aspects of K-9 search and rescue, follows my K-9 partner, “Küster” and I during training, certifications, and a few updates on my team, McLean County, IL Emergency Management Agency.

Computer Geek -- Tales and Tails

Computer Geek

2. Would you say your blog focuses more on sharing stories with your readers, or providing a resource for your audience?

I mainly share stories with our audience.  There are people who write review posts really well, but I don’t think that’s what people come to our blog to read.  It’s the funny stories, I’m pretty sure.

The series is more sharing stories and information about K-9 search and rescue.

Color Outside The Lines -- Tales and Tails

Color Outside The Lines

3. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2016?

When we got an unexpected award at BlogPaws for the Search and Rescue Saturday series, I was incredibly surprised and really proud.  

During the 2016 BlogPaws Conference we received a Recognition Award for Outstanding Blog Series. Wow! I’m still surprised.
people actually read Search and Rescue Saturday. I will be able to retire if I ever receive a Nose to Nose Award.

The Guys -- Tales and Tails

Me and My Handler

4. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

That’s like asking someone to choose a favorite child.  I liked the post Myths About Greyhounds, as well as sharing stories about Flattery’s mischief.  I love to teach people more about Greyhounds and I also love to tell stories that make people laugh.

That’s an incredibly difficult question to answer. The one that I did like was a blog titled rewards. It mainly discussed once we find our dogs reward system or what motivates it. Training become much easier.

Dad Shame -- Tales and Tails

Mr. Taleteller Shame

5. Year after year, one goal that we all seem to share is that we want to reach more people. What one tool did you use or action did you take this year that had the most impact on increasing traffic to your blog?

Keeping up with our Facebook page, is by far the best one for us.  I try to keep it updated, although that’s been tough recently with my computer woes.  I’m looking into alternate plans.  Unless someone wants to mail me a laptop…

The Chief Editor, is always encouraging me to do more with engagement with the readers of Reply with the comments, etc.

Get Your Geek On -- Tales and Tails

Get Your Geek On

6. Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? (Please include a link.) Have you noticed any themes across your most popular posts?

One that continues to surprise me and has taken on a life of its own is What I’ve Learned About Getting Old Dogs To Eat.  People keep coming back to it years later and it still gets comments.  I’m glad that it’s still helping people out there get though something we got through with trial and error.

Another one that is popular for us every year is Bunny’s annual list about why you should adopt a Greyhound.  She writes one every April 1 and they are definitely popular.

It looks like our most popular blog posts are ones where we try to be helpful in some way.

Memoirs of a Greyhound -- Tales and Tails

Memoirs of a Greyhound

7. What blog do you find most inspirational and how has it influenced your blog? (Please include a link.).

I love Romping and Rolling in the Rockies for one.  It’s like a peaceful breeze by a mountain stream to sit down and read it.  KB takes some of the most beautiful pictures you will see anywhere and I love her strength through adversity.  I secretly want to be her when I grow up, but living somewhere warmer and with less snow.

When I need a good laugh, I visit My Brown Newfies.  I’ll be honest, I am not sure how the author has maintained her sanity all this time, but I love the stories of the things her dogs do.  She also shares some pretty relevant health information related to things they have been though.   She’s the only person I know honest and funny enough to admit things like how her dogs pantsed her on a walk and got her stopped by a SWAT officer.  

There are plenty of other blogs out there that I love, but time and space limit me.

The correct answer is the blog. I live with the Chief Editor. I try to write up to her standards.

Looking For Inspiration -- Tales and Tails

Looking For Inspiration

8. What is one thing your readers don’t know about you or your pets that would surprise them?

Hmmmm….  Well, Bunny was at the top of her class in obedience years ago, but she doesn’t like anyone in public to know that she’s good at it.  Flattery farts louder than some guys I know when she does her downward dog yoga pose every morning before jumping on the couch.  Morgan makes our Christmas card photo shoot a lot tougher each year because she follows every command my husband gives Küster before he can do it.  She also enjoys poking my husband in a rather sensitive area when they go out on their evening walks.  

After training we love to get our Starbucks. Yes,  Küster gets his puppacino too.

Küster at 5 Year Old --


9. What is something you’ve learned this year that could help other bloggers?

This sounds silly, or like it should be obvious, but I’ve learned that it’s okay to ask for help, and that sometimes you have to focus on real life first and blogging second.  With an aging parent and an aging heart dog, I know that I will not look back and think “I wish I’d spent more time blogging.”  I’ll look back and be happy that I unplugged for a little while and concentrated on what’s really important.  The writing and photography will come when I feel peace with other things in my life.  I regret that I’ve lost track of what’s going on with other blogs, and I want to reconnect with some of my favorites, but I’m not sorry that I’ve taken time for the things that I love the most.

There are apps out there to assist in writing. A favorite of mine is, MindNode. It helps map out visually my blog post before I start writing.  I’ve also learned that sometimes the smallest ideas can make the best blog posts.

Admiring Mother Nature's Handiwork -- Tales and Tails

Admiring Mother Nature’s Handiwork

10. What would you like to accomplish on your blog in 2017?

I want to find things that are  relevant to our readers and share things that can help them, whether it’s just giving them a smile or solving a problem they have with their dog.  I want people to leave our little corner of the internet and feel good for a little while, or think about something or think about something a little differently.

I would like to try to use it to raise training funds for our team a couple times. Still working that through because I do not want to loose any of my readers. Fund raising can sometimes be a turn off.

Research for German Shepherds -- Tales and Tails

Research for German Shepherds

Now it’s your turn! You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?

I’m intrigued by the idea of creating merchandise for the blog, but I’d like to know what people would most want to see.  I’ve thought about doing a calendar, and I need to get things organized to make it happen.  I’d love to know what people’s favorite aspects of the blog are.

I would welcome any feed back. Throughout the years I’ve tried asking the readers for questions about what we do. I try to answer the questions through the series. What would the readers like more of?

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22 Responses to "Pet Blogger Challenge 2017"
  1. Sue Dyer says:

    I love reading about Bunny, Morgan, Kuster and Flattery. My Honey is a mischief maker like Flattery, so I am always smiling at her mischief. I also love your photos. Saturdays Search and Rescue post is always interesting.

    I look forward to many more posts. Sue, Polly & Honey

  2. dawn says:

    With your photography a calendar would be awesome! And 1 of Küster working might be a good fundraiser for the team.

    Thanks for the reminder that it’s okay to take a step back and not have the blog be the central point of your life.

  3. SGilbert says:

    Love Love the blog today! Love the beautiful pictures too! I have learned so much about greyhounds and SAR from the blog. Thank You! I look forward every morning reading and sometimes LMAO!

  4. Mary says:

    I think it’s absolutely wonderful you guys do this together. Great writing from both of you, and of course, always great photos.

  5. Jennifer Costello says:

    Love all your answers! I so agree about the unplugging, I do that a few times a year and it really helps! I’ve always wanted to do something with merchandise too and this year I finally did a calendar after many requests. Your pictures are gorgeous, have you ever thought about doing prints and selling them? Or greeting cards? I’m using RedBubble right now and I like the quality of their prints and it’s super easy.

    Thanks for the mention. Getting pants by Leroy still makes me laugh and I’ll have you know that just the other night he jumped on me on the couch and his paw got stuck in the back of pants. At least we weren’t out in public!

  6. Thanks so much for taking the Challenge – both of you! Mr. Taleteller, I was terrified to ask people for help with our legal fees, and the response was amazing! I’d encourage you to have faith in your readers … many people truly appreciate the opportunity to help. And Houndstooth, Minnie and Max Pugs do an annual calendar and seem to be really successful with it. I’d be happy to introduce you, if you don’t already know them. They might have some tips for you that would help! All the best to all of you in 2017!

  7. Jen Gabbard says:

    Your acceptance speech at Blog Paws was so memorable, I just couldn’t stop laughing afterwards…Well, why don’t you do it then…I know that feeling all too well, and it’s something I’ve said to my boyfriend many times (though he hasn’t come up with any awesome ideas yet)

    I wish I had some advice on merchandise, but that’s a subject I’m completely clueless on. But a calendar with your quality of images would be perfect. Basically anything in print with your skills would look really amazing.

  8. I would definitely say calendar! Even before I got to the end I was thinking that your photos would look great framed in someone’s house! They look like paintings. I make a caldenar every year for my family and friends, and I get the odd thing made on RedBubble: It’s a really nice, easy to use site for merchandise.

    Have a wonderful 2017. 🙂

  9. Beth says:

    I loved seeing responses from both of you! Your stories always draw me in–I don’t know why I wasn’t a follower until now. I just always clicked through on Twitter when other people tweeted links, but I’ve fixed that now that I’ve actually gone to a post from my computer instead of my phone, so now I won’t miss any posts! Both blogs you mentioned are favorites of mine, too.

  10. Jodi says:

    You always say it much more eloquently then I do, but you voice many of the reasons I started my blog and wrote it for so long. And yes, I totally understand the aging heart dog too. One of the great things about having my hours cut at work this past year, is I got to spend more time with Sampson.

    So glad you took the challenge, loved both of your answers!

  11. Richelle Kithcart Hull says:

    My Brown Newfies is a favorite of mine. Love Leroy and Sherman! I will definitely be checking out Romping and Rolling. 🙂 I love your pics and the stories of the dogs. SAR Saturday is something I look forward to because it’s an area that I’m not too familiar with. It’s great to be learning about it. I definitely like the ideas of doing prints and calendars. And yes, Mr. Taleteller, let us help a little! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your lives with us out here in the world.

  12. Pip says:

    First of all that picture of Morgan reading retired racing greyhounds for dummies made me laugh out loud. Second, you definitely succeed in making everyone want to adopt a greyhound!

  13. jana rade says:

    Calendars are always useful; very good idea.

  14. I love your comment about keeping real life first and blogging second. I love calendars – especially the ones that are more book like instead of wall calendars. That way I can use it for planning AND have cool pictures to look at as I go from month to month.

    If you plan a calendar, be sure to let me know. There is a local community of Greyhound lovers who would be customers.

  15. MyDogLikes says:

    Congratulations again on your Nose-to-Nose award at BlogPaws – well deserved! It was really great to meet you there as well!

    Facebook is a tough one. I got really discouraged by the constantly dropping reach and did almost nothing with it for the past year. Over the last couple of weeks I have been putting in some effort again and have seen some success with sharing more content from other accounts.

    I think a calendar would be a great option for you! We always look forward to seeing your adorable photo-shoots. You take some of the best pictures in this whole pet blogging world!

  16. KolchakPuggle says:

    I would totally want one of your calendars. Even though I’m an internet lurker 99% of the time, you’re on my “must see” list every week to see what lovely photos you have come up with now. I need like a full week with you to watch you take photos – yours are always so lovely!

    You perfectly echo my thoughts for the year on time: I’m sad I’ve lost touch with so many blogs, but I also don’t think I’ll ever regret taking the time to enjoy my life with dogs as well. We only have so much time and I want to make it count <3

  17. Jessica Rhae says:

    Sounds like you’re coming up on your 7 year anniversary. Congrats. I always appreciate how real and intimate your blog posts are. As for merchandise, you take such beautiful pictures I’m sure a calendar would be popular.

  18. Your answers to #8 cracked me up! I totally agree with you that sometimes the smallest things can make the best posts. I overthink a lot. I have to get better about that this year. Good luck to you in 2017 and I hope you achieve all of your goals!

  19. Denise Gruzensky says:

    Real life first, blogging second really resonates with me. Congratulations on your award at BlogPaws! I’m sorry we missed meeting. I really love everything search and rescue though our small elderly guy makes a better therapy dog than search and rescue. You photos truly are stunning and I’d buy a calendar!

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