Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by BlogPaws. Rescue Dogs 101 only shares information I feel is relevant to our readers. BlogPaws is not responsible for the content of this article.
When my family and I decided to start fostering dogs in 2014, I never imagined how drastically it would change our lives. I first learned about fostering when we adopted our dog JJ in 2010.
Even though we had a family dog, my daughter has wanted a dog of her own since she was 4 years old! We always had lab mixes, but after attending a local Pet Expo, she was drawn to the German Shepherd.
So I thought that fostering would be a great way to teach her about different dog breeds and personalities. It would also be a great opportunity for her to prove she could handle the responsibility of having her “own” dog. Because let’s face it, kids always want a dog and will always say they will take care of it, but in the end, it’s always mom that becomes the caretaker.
Our first foster dog, Silla, was surrendered because the owners got two new herding dogs for their farm and they didn’t get along with Silla. So she got booted out the door. They had her since she was a puppy… she was 10 years old when she came to us.
Other surrender stories range from dogs not being potty trained, dogs being destructive, or dogs with severe separation anxiety. So many behaviors are easily handled with a little knowledge and training.
We fostered several dogs before I saw a cute 6-month-old German Shepherd mutt needing a foster family. I knew right away she was THE dog. So I jumped at the chance to foster her and she stole our hearts immediately.
Fast forward several months and we began to realize that Ginger has a resource guarding behavior problem. Looking back, I’m not even sure how it all started, but I do know it’s been a huge learning experience.
Having a dog with serious behavior “issues” brings a new perspective on dog ownership. Some people choose to give up on the dog, surrendering it to the humane society or even worse putting the dog down.
I will admit, the thought crossed our minds for a few moments when Ginger went after a foster dog for getting too close to her food bowl. It’s scary, very scary.
But we chose to fight for her and learn as much as we can. And she really is a great dog, almost perfect actually… all except the resource guarding. And honestly, it has made us better dog parents.
Sadly in 2015, JJ past away from heart failure. But we’ve since adopted a 90 lbs. yellow Labrador named Bear. We adopted Bear directly from a family that didn’t realize how big he was going to get. You can read more about his story on his Foster Tail Page.
Thank goodness for the resources our rescue, Fetch WI Rescue, offers their foster families. I have been able to attend many dog training seminars, meet different dog trainers, and learn about all the options available to dog owners.
Without all of these resources, we may have given up on Ginger. Only someone that has been through it, knows how stressful it can be to have a resource aggressive dog…. And because we are a foster family, it brings a whole new level of awareness in our home.
This experience combined with the stories I hear about why dogs are surrendered, made me realize I wanted a way to help other people looking to adopt a dog. Let’s face it, no dog is going to be perfect, we all have our faults; it’s just a matter of how we choose to deal with them.
With my background as a freelance graphic designer, a blog seemed like a natural extension to get my message out about the importance of how to adopt the right dog for your family. The blog idea came to me in October 2016, but it took me several months to put all my thoughts together and get the blog to a point I wanted to share it.
Graphics, writing and creating a website come naturally to me, but blogging was a whole new world I knew nothing about.
I wanted to start off on the right paw, so I took an online course to learn all the steps needed to create a successful blog. From that course, I was able to shape my message and goals and learn all the ins and outs of the blogging world.
I learned that being authentic, telling personal stories and truly connecting with my readers were an important part of blogging.
As an introvert and very private person, it’s been a challenge to open up on social media. But I’m getting there, one Instagram story, Facebook post or Tweet at a time!
Pinterest may not be considered social media, but as a graphic designer, it’s been my favorite platform to share my blog posts. As with many other bloggers, Pinterest is a huge traffic driver for Rescue Dogs 101.
The blogging course also taught me that with the ever-changing world of social media, building my email list should always be a priority. I offer several different free resources, including an entire resource library for anyone wanting free treats.
Emailing a weekly newsletter allows me to connect with you on an even more personal level. I share very personal experiences each week that I do not share publicly. Plus, I always welcome you to email me back with any questions or comments. I love having the opportunity to help guide my readers in their dog journey.
Since taking the blogging course, I’ve also taken courses to learn affiliate marketing and how to work with brands on sponsored posts. These allow me earn an income through my blog.
Blogging takes a ton of time and right now I spend at least 20 hours a week researching, writing, taking photos, creating graphics and more. With that amount of time invested, I need to be able to earn money to support my family.
The great thing with affiliate marketing and sponsored posts, I get paid for my work, but it doesn’t cost my readers a penny. And at the same time, I get to share awesome products that I believe in.
In the midst of researching all the technical stuff, I found BlogPaws.
BlogPaws is an inspiring community of pet bloggers and influencers. It has been amazing to connect with other people in the same unique niche and I’ve learned so much about the social media aspect of blogging through the community.
BlogPaws hosts a conference each year, connecting bloggers and influencers with brands, and best of all, a way for everyone to meet in person. I was surprised to be announced as a finalist in the Nose-to-Nose Awards.
The BlogPaws Pet Blogging and Social Media Nose-to-Nose Awards judge pet bloggers and influencers for their expertise, creativity, performance, and achievements in 14 different categories.
Rescue Dogs 101 was a finalist for the Best New Pet Blog and Best Dog Blog. While I didn’t win, it was a huge honor to even be a finalist among some amazing bloggers!
Learning more about dog behavior, training and health will always be my top priority. Every dog and every person is unique, and I will continue to keep an open mind to all possibilities and sharing all that information with the Rescue Dogs 101 community.
I have big plans for the blog in the coming months and years. I hope to reach and educate more and more people wanting to adopt a dog. I’d like to think that the BlogPaws community will play a big role in my journey of blogging.
The awesome part of having a blog is I can reach anyone in the world. Fostering is awesome and very rewarding, and I’ll never stop. But I can only save one dog at a time. With the Rescue Dogs 101 blog, I have the potential to save an unlimited number of dogs and families.
Adopting a dog is not as easy as showing up at your local humane society and picking out the cutest looking puppy available. There are steps to take before even considering adding a dog to your family.
This is where Rescue Dogs 101 comes in; I am here to help guide you in your entire dog journey, from preparing and finding the perfect dog to adopt, to training, to loving and keeping your dog healthy.
Didn’t get enough information about Rescue Dogs 101? Head over to the Welcome page and learn even more about me and the dogs behind Rescue Dogs 101.
Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, two dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... were she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.