I've been spending nearly all my work time and a lot of my personal time (the line gets blurry sometimes!) promoting an upcoming event on the website where I work - and haven't even mentioned it here. It starts Sunday evening, February 27, and runs through the following Saturday, March 5. And so here goes some shameless promotion:
For the last two-and-a-half years I've worked for a group of websites at PetHobbyist.com. These sites grew out of kingsnake.com, the largest reptile and amphibian website in the world, and an incredible community for those who own cold-blooded animals. We also have websites for dogs, cats, small and exotic pets, fish, ponds, birds, horses, and even insects, with forums, hosted chats, care sheets, recommended links, free email newsletters, free photo galleries, and all kinds of other great pet resources.
PetHobbyist is mostly staffed by a group of around a hundred incredible, dedicated volunteer hosts, who give their time in order to make the world a better place for companion animals and their owners. I am often in awe of the committment these volunteers demonstrate to their mission, and the lengths they'll go to in order to get people the information and support they need.
Every year, PetHobbyist sponsors an event known as Chat Week, which is basically a week-long online pet symposium. This year marks the Seventh Annual Chat Week, and it's the biggest one yet.
Special guests this year run the gamut from noted pet authors, photographers and researchers to celebrity guests from around the world such as Chad Brown from the Seattle Seahawks, Mark O'Shea from Animal Planet's Mark O'Shea's Big Adventure, and Kerry King from thrash metal band Slayer. Topics include a panel discussion on "Rescue: Why We Do It, How We Cope," with a six-member panel of people who work in shelters and rescue groups; a three-member panel on keeping snakes and lizards out of rescue situations by better educating prospective owners of these pets; and a chat on stopping puppy mills with veterinarian activist Pamela Schott DVM and Libby Williams, President, NJCAPSA.
I'm especially glad to be welcoming Richard Avanzino, president of Maddie’s Fund®, the Pet Rescue Foundation, a family foundation established in 1999 to help fund the creation of a no-kill nation. I worked with Rich on legislative issues when he was president of the San Francisco SPCA and think the world of him. Maddie's Fund is an amazing organization offering real hope and cold hard cash to people who want to save animals who CAN be saved, instead of put them to sleep due to lack of shelter or foster space.
We have Christina Chambreau, DVM,a founder of the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy, discussing homeopathic care for cats and dogs; animal communicator and author of Learning Their Language Marta Williams on intuitive communication with animals and nature (yes, I freely admit I'm a skeptic on this issue, but Marta is a personal friend, a terrific writer, and her book is the most "skeptic-friendly" animal communication book I've ever read - you can read my review of it here); my fellow-DWAA members Darlene Arden, Victor Joris (also a top AKC judge), and Elaine Gewirtz with a delightful panel on Small Dogs; vet Deb Eldredge, DVM, and Maggie Bonham, also fellow DWAA members, doing a presentation on their forthcoming book Cancer and your Pet; and then a Saturday Night Dog Party return visit from Darlene Arden (who is a very popular guest on our site!) to share some secrets on "Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're a Dog." Who can resist THAT?
Below are links for more information specifically on the dog and cat chats (where you can also sign up for free email reminders for some of the chats), as well as the master schedule for all the sites. Any help in spreading the word is much appreciated!