Dog trains man

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pet Blogger Challenge: The Blog After Kenzo

As you can see, Tilde isn't pleased she will not be the subject of this post.

Today we join the Pet Blogger Challenge, an event where pet bloggers share experiences and tips about blogging.

For you blogger friends reading this, grab a coffee and your "what-not-to-do" list and let's go!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

We Are Getting Naked With Edie

It's time to get naked. Edie Jarolim is a writer who inspires me. Give me any book, article or blog post. If she wrote it, I want to read it.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Survey Results

Thank you so much for participating in our survey. It was thrilling to touch base with our readers and listen to your likes and dislikes.

We also received great input in the comments for new subjects to write about, which will keep us busy for a while to come.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Kenzo the Hovawart Survey

I would really appreciate your feedback on this one.

I put together a short survey about what you like to read on the Kenzo the Hovawart blog and what possible suggestions you might have for improvement.

It would mean the world to me if you could help me out, moving forward with the blog.
Thank you in advance!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Has It Really Been 5 Years?

Nothing about Kenzo or Tilde today I am afraid. The annual "Pet Blogger Challenge" is on the menu, where pet bloggers exchange experiences and make plans for the coming year.

But please hang around if you would like a look behind the scenes, or want to discover some new pet blogs on the link-list at the bottom of this post.


Monday, December 29, 2014

Our Year In Review

Looking back at 2014 made me realize I took you on a bumpy ride when you have read our blog throughout the year.

There were a lot of highs and lows, and you probably both shed a tear and laughed with me along the way.

It was certainly colored by Tilde, and how the start of her story as the The Last Rescue From The Hovawart Puppy Mill ends, to give birth to hope and a new life through her adoption by us.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Faces Of Love And Growth

For this year's Pet Blogger challenge, I tried to close the door silently behind me in advance, and made a short announcement, to continue to blog about Viva after her passing.

Every effort I did to look back at blogging in 2013, and ahead at 2014, ended in me rambling about Viva in relation to the blog. Who would seriously want to know the ins and outs of that. The PBC is a blogger party, always been, and I wouldn't want to crash it.

Hopefully this scared you off.

Because if I would have joined, it would have looked something like this:


The one thing you know what is coming when you read a dog book, there's a big chance the star will die in the last chapter. There is not a dog book I can pick up and start reading, without bracing me for that end. Will it come, or not. Just as you feel you have gotten to know them, they pass. Don't even get me started about movies, in which it is almost a certainty.

With blogs it is different. A blog is many times a diary of a person behind the pet, and the blog continues after the main character, or one of them, has passed. Rarely will it continue to share more about the beloved pet that has passed, apart from the first stage, where the pain of the loss is so poignant. The beloved pet is not forgotten though, as it still is mentioned with love when we comment on other blogs that will find themselves in the same situation.

Why is it we stop blogging about them, just like a book, I wondered?

The Faces Of Love

Having lost Viva while blogging, I think, I can first now understand why it is difficult, apart from the way how we cope with our own grief. The grief is also vivid and always present with our audience. It is something we all share. Far the most of our readers have actually lost a pet before and are reminded about their own loss again. The comment, "I know how you feel", isn't fake, it is heartfelt.

When you realize that, it gets more difficult to continue writing about your beloved pet that passed. Each post will re-open wounds with your readers, and you might feel guilty about that like me. Even when you write about positive and fun memories, there will still be a tear among the smiles, as they know you wrote it, and wonder if you still grieve, just like them.

I wish we didn't, because we often start blogging for the love we have for our pets. During life it is expressed in being proud, in happiness, joy, but also guilt, embarrassment and worries. After life, it is pain and grief. They are all different faces of the same love.

We all grieve differently, but before we stop blogging about a beloved pet, we should realize we would still express ourselves from our love and not the pain, as we always did. And love is always worth reading in my book.

Really no one needs to go through grief alone. We may feel alone or that we live in our own world, but that doesn't have to be true. Our blog can be exactly that gateway to share with others.

And Growth

We don't cope with loss or get over it. We do learn to live with it and grow. I believe every loss has meaning. My heart is a vessel, housing all the dear ones I have lost, and make me a better person.

When we lost our cat, "Pjevs", four years ago, he taught me as I wrote in The Cat Behind The Dog Blog, how I could grow:
"I always regretted never to have expressed how much Pjevs meant to me. And on Pjevs' first anniversary after his passing, I vowed to him I will do better for Kenzo. I started blogging a month later."
It was around the time Viva joined our family. Naturally the promise extended to her too.

I will probably first let go of grieving publicly about Viva when she makes clear on the first anniversary of her passing, or whatever time she feels fit, what she intends to add to my heart. Then I will know that whatever I will write, Viva wrote it too.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Viva Sunday #1: Reflection

It's that time of the year again where we reflect and give it some thought on what to do with the blog. Usually I would have made a list of "The 10 most ...whatever... posts of 2013" and had a go at staring into the crystal ball, together with other bloggers in the "Pet Blogger Challenge" - which I just heard is going to be organized this year again by Amy and Edie.

Obviously, looking back at the blog, or 2013 for that matter, always ends at that same focal point for me. Viva. What is left, after our road-trip in her footsteps, are the memories about her. She will therefore still be a part of this blog in the time to come, as she still is a part of our life. I couldn't continue the blog otherwise. It would become a stranger to us if we didn't.

During the holidays we went through the hundreds of photo's we have of her, fueling the memories we have. And we thought it would be a good idea to share something about Viva each Sunday to remember her by. Maybe just a photo, or just a short story, I haven't given the format a lot of thought and let it allow to go where it wants to go. I promise it will be positive though.

For our #1 post, this photo which I used as our Twitter badge a long time ago, and I am sure many of you have never seen before. It is Viva, giving me that special look she had a patent on, that always melted me from day 1 - although Kenzo is doing a good job as well:

Happy New Year, may all your wishes come true, and hope to see you in 2014 !

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meet the Bloggers - My Name Is Dog Crazy - Blog Hop

First, all heil and credits to the creative minds behind this "Meet the Bloggers, My Name Is Dog Crazy" blog hop:

Amy from Go Pet Friendly, AJ from I Still Want More Puppies, Jodi from Kol’s Notes, Mel from No Dog About It, Julie from The Daily Dog Blog, Jennifer from My Brown Newfies, Kim from CindyLu’s Muse, Lauren from Life With Desmond, Leslie from Bringing Up Bella, Jodi from Heart Like A Dog, Kristine from Rescued Insanity, Peggy from Peggy’s Pet Place, and Dawn from NEPA Pets.


I took this selfie of Kenzo and me, Leo, for the occasion. And yes, if you have been here before, someone is missing. It would have been Viva's 9th anniversary today, December 18, but she went far too young. But please don't be sad. Give your pet a huge hug instead, and if you like, join this donation campaign in remembrance of Viva, for the good of dogs like her in Denmark, so they may find loving homes too.

Of course for us it is all still very fresh, and the photo looks odd to me without Viva, so I also added this older photo, taken while the three of us were still together.

Now, let's go to the questions!

What’s your favorite non-animal related book?
"Les Misérables", by Victor Hugo.
I read it many times since high school, and first in the original French version, but I couldn't do that anymore today. I never kept my French up to date.

What’s your favorite non-animal related movie?
"The Intouchables", starring François Cluzet and Omar Sy. The trailer on Youtube is here.
Great story of a remarkable friendship of opposites.

What’s your favorite non-animal related food?
By far, Indonesian food. It has so many flavors to discover.

Who’s your favorite actor?
Katherine Heigl.
She forced me though, as she loves Kenzo, and thinks he is a 100% gorgeous.

What’s one thing you have to do every day?
Absolutely nothing. And that is more difficult than it sounds. If I don't, the next thing takes the next, and I end up thinking, where did the week/month/year go?

What makes you feel fabulous?
Being able to help somebody else makes me feel pretty good. And I love solving problems, any kind of problem will do, just not quizzes and puzzles, and repairs.

What do you wish you were more skilled at?
Communication: expressing myself, languages, people skills. It is the finest of arts, so much to learn still.

What’s your favorite holiday?
Hiking in Norway with the dogs. We did it only once last year for a first time, and we are totally hooked.

Favorite meal?
Being an expat, I could die for "stamppot" from home - this mashed substance is best described on the "Stuff Dutch People Like" blog - trust me, you are not missing out on anything.

What do you like to do in your free time?
It will be hard to pick just a few. There are so many things I like to do, dogs, writing, museums, reading, history, traveling (with the dogs). My current vice is off-roading with the Landcruiser, very bad! And I really don't have a concept of free- and work time. I love my work. I love other things than work. I don't keep track of time I spend on either of them.

What one word would people who know you use to describe you?

If your pets could talk, what one word would THEY use to describe you?

What is one thing you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
Being able to learn and change.

How is your pet most like you?
Kenzo and me share even-tempered personalities. But do us unjust, and we will roar. With Viva I share to trust others from the start, even though we sometimes get disappointed along the way.

What can your body do for you that makes you most proud?
Do we need to ask the body? Wouldn't it ask the brain anyway?

If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?
At the moment, it is to change the life of the city for a more rural life. But that's the change ahead, to change continuously is important to me. And I wonder already, what will lay beyond that.

Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy?
Oh, how I miss chasing sunsets with Viva and not being able to feel her soft touch. It might be wrong timing for me, to answer this question.

What’s one thing you could do to be more kind to yourself?
I can do without The Guilt. It is such a useless emotion.

What drives you nuts about your pets? What melts your heart?
Isn't that the same? You mentioned it in one question as well, did you. Ha!

If you didn’t have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have?
Any creature with gills, fur or feathers is welcome to be loved in our home. Aren't they all amazing.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

What Every First-time Hovawart Owner Should Know

Updated October, 20

The complete series as it turned out with the the contributions of Africa, Jan Wolfe, Evelyn B., Peggy S., Yvonne B., Anna N., Katja K., Sascha L., Björn S., Loes K., Flora B., Verena S., Heini A., Dave H., Maria E., Judith L., Lone A., Mary A., Hester O., Ine C., Min I., Silvia I., Karina J., Ellen G.
Thank you so much!

A Hovawart's Guarding Instincts
A Hovawart has a huge guarding instinct. Like all dog breeds that were bred for a purpose, either herding, hunting, or guarding, it is that genetic baggage they take with them in our modern society.With the Hovawart, it is guarding instinct.

Not A Retriever, Still A Family Dog
Being part of a family is as essential for them as breathing air. Only being with you and your family can really make them thrive. You'll have to earn it first. They bond with anybody who will treat them fair and invests time and effort in play, exercise and fun training.

Whether your Hovawart's personality is to be the clown of the house, the placid matriarch, the work-a-holic, or the clever manipulator, they all have something in common when it comes down to Personality.

Traning and Exercise
Dog training and exercise are god's gift to Hovawart owners. Without it, things tend to explode in your face. But when you train and exercise, you are set up for success.

Socialization with Dogs
Puppies have a “critical period” that spans roughly from 8 – 16 weeks of age. This period marks the time when your puppy is most impressionable, and they learn best.

More Socialization
Next to dogs, we also need to socialize our puppy with all the things we do in our daily life, so they can become a full-fledged member of our family.

Before You Buy
You are officially armed to meet some real Hovawarts in real life, although .... be prepared to find out we hardly even scratched the surface!

Original post:

When I was invited by "Dyrenes Beskyttelse" to speak to the families that adopted the Hovawarts rescued from the puppy mill in March this year, I gladly accepted the invitation. The idea was to inform them as good as possible what they could expect, as many of them became first-time Hovawart owners.

It was a great way to meet new people - and Hovawarts of course - and it shouldn't be too difficult, as I could pick most of it from the blog I guessed. Browsing through the blog I realized it was not as easy as it seemed. I missed some very important topics - i.e only one piece on socialization and one, incomplete, on health. Other information was hard to find in the first place in the chronological format of the blog.

The presentation I gave went well nonetheless and was well received, but I promised myself to re-visit the blog at a later time. One of our main goals is exactly to be of help and interest for people familiarizing with the Hovawart, and I was doing a disservice to future Hovawart parents.

I am very aware a lot of you that read this blog, are already quite educated Hovawart parents, and I would really appreciate your help in selecting the subjects that need attention.

So. If it was up to you, what is the most important subject(s) to write and discuss about if you had to chose? What should every first-time Hovawart owner know?


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Yikes, It Is Alive

Finally, the Great New Year's After-Party is here. The Pet Blogger Challenge!

To be absolutely honest though, we are, like Viva on the picture, a little hangover when we look at the results. We didn't reach our goals from last year. We didn't even come close.

The thing is we achieved the opposite of what we set out to do. We wanted engagement and put stats aside, what we got was doubled stats while scoring an all time low on the engage-o-meter. What can I say? I am definitely not complaining.

Can you still remember what sparked the whole Pet Blogger Challenge event? In 2010, Amy and Edie had a feeling of being bullied by their blogs - here and here. That's exactly how I now also feel. The blog seems to follow it's own path, despite of what I intend it to do. Maybe this blog is doing more than bullying. Yikes. It is alive. This is creepy.


Let's give the blog a final chance to start listening, so let's go to this years questions:

1. How long have you been blogging and provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

We have been blogging for 2½ years. As long as there have been Pet Blogger Challenges, last years post is here.

2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?

My secondary goal around travel was a wild-card anyway, as I didn't know how our travels would evolve. And as it turned out, it didn't. But I still had my main goal which was to have fellow Hovawart lovers engaged with the blog. Have them write for the blog, comment and discuss. In short, more engagement.

3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?

I loved the contributions we got from Hovawart lovers for the Hovawart School of Witchcraft & Wizardy. I can't thank Kelsey, Nolan, Astrid, Deanne, Marc and Cheryl enough for participating. They are some of the most popular reads on the blog, Kelsey's post even made it to the top 10 of most read posts. Their contributions are so important for people to get to know the Hovawart, based on real-life stories and experiences, and not by the usual fairy tales you hear.

I'd hoped for a lot more though, probably my expectations were too high.

And on the bright side, the engagement was there, it just didn't take place on the blog. I had some controversial posts, like "Why The Hovawart Must Never Become Popular" and "The Forgotten Hovawarts", that were discussed a lot on Facebook, in forums, and got me the highest numbers of private Facebook messages and mails ever

4. How often do you post?

Ah, my weak spot. On average I only post once a week. We really have to remedy that.

5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed?

I still blog as the spirits moves me. I try to find a good balance between keeping my readers interested and to continue to enjoy what I do. Although I write as the spirit moves me, I "publish" in what appears to be a more scheduled rhythm. I think some type of schedule is important if you want to keep your readers interested.

I have one - very selfish - measure to determine if a topic is "post-worthy". Would I like to write about it? Have an urge to say something about it? Need to express my opinions? And, would my readers possibly think it is interesting? Other than that, it should be about dogs.

6. How much time do you spend writing your blog per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your tips for staying on top of it all.

It usually takes me an hour to write a post, and another hour to edit it. Even for the Hovawart TV series, which in itself is just a video and a caption, I spend an hour just to search, watch and select the video. Some posts are tougher though, and need more research. In which case I write them finished in the weekends. A couple of posts even took me the whole weekend to finish.

I have a number of blogs from which I always read every post. They are on my blog roll, so a couple of times a week, I go through them and read what they posted. I have a wider selection in my reader of other blogs I stumbled upon that I skim through once a week. I try to keep the number of blogs below 50 at all times, as that really is my limit.
In all, I think the reading also takes around two hours a week. So in total, I spend at least 4 hours blogging and reading every week.

7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in general (comments, shares, traffic)?

Something I always struggle with. The measure of success for us is how much searches on Hovawarts send people to the blog and how long they stay. Or even better, return. And best, if they would contact us with a question, or leave a note they appreciated the blog.
Of course in the end, it all leads to more traffic, and although it is a number you can't draw many conclusions from, it is the strongest indicator of how the blog is doing.

8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

What a great opportunity. What always is nagging me is there tend not to be a lot of focus here. We post in a wide range, like cute pics and video's, write about BSL, puppy mills and of course Hovawarts. And everything in between. Do you think that is positive thing? Or does the lack of focus actually works counter-productive?

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?

Definitely BSL. July 2013, the BSL laws in Denmark are taken under the loop and there is a danger 13 more breeds are added to the banned breed list. But it also gives an opportunity to have the whole BSL madness repealed. Our goal is to play our part in getting BSL repealed.

The other goal is already decided by you, my readers. I received requests for more frequent and regular Kenzo and Viva updates. You really want me to blog more about them, the actual stars of the blog. And true, I blogged only 31 times about Kenzo, and 29 times about Viva. A very thin harvest for 2½ years of blogging.

And finally, I really have to get my act together and post multiple times a week. Maybe when I start blogging more about Kenzo and Viva, that shouldn't be so difficult after all. They shower me with daily tidbits already.
That should be feasible, even for a creepy blog that is alive. I hope it is listening this time.

Monday, December 31, 2012

What You Liked Best About Kenzo In 2012

On this last day of the year we want to celebrate some of the posts you liked best on this blog during the year.

Thank you for stopping by Kenzo and Viva's blog in 2012 and making us laugh, think and feel supported by all the encouraging comments you left behind.

We hope you keep coming back in the new year.

The posts you selected as the best by reading, sharing, and commenting the most, are - ordered by popularity:

1. Pet Friendly Travel Outcasts. Based on our encounter with a fellow outcast, and why us outcasts should enjoy traveling with our fearful dog too.

2. Victims of a Hovawart Puppy Mill. This horrible Hovawart puppy mill is still in business. Some of the victims tell about their experiences. 

3. Why the Hovawart Must Never Become Popular. Popularity comes with a high prize, and I wonder if it is not best for our Hovies, to remain hidden in obscurity.

4. Open letter to Mette Gjerskov. The letter I wrote to the Danish Minister of Agriculture and Animal Welfare. I got a response the discriminatory breed laws will be looked upon, but nothing like that has happened yet.

5. The Forgotten Hovawarts. A dive into the breed history of the Hovawart. I particularly like this one to be among the ones you liked the best, it is a subject I find fascinating.

6. Wizards Kelsey and Nolan, and their Hovawart, Ethanah. Written by Hovawart newbies Kelsey & Nolan, and an awesome kick-off for the Hovawart School of Witchcraft & Wizardry series.

7. There Is a Time to Think and a Time to Act. Sharing Kenzo's temperament test and trying to understand him a little better, is probably also what I like to do best.

8. The Cat Behind The Dog Blog. How the legacy of a cat sparked the birth of Kenzo's, and now also Viva's, blog about dogs.

9. The Fearful Dog Therapist Strikes Again. One of those zen moments with Kenzo and how he interacts with other dogs.

10. A Week Under The Wings of a Guardian Angel. This is my personal favorite. Getting to learn Kenzo better - even after 5 years - and a milestone for how our bond has grown.

That's it, are some of your favorites among the ones on the list? Have a Happy New Hovie Year!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The King is dead. Long live the King

Today is a day of mixed feelings. One of my favorite dog blogs, Will My Dog Hate Me, with Wonderdog Frankie and his muse Edie Jarolim, is closing shop.

I am horrible at saying good-byes, so I am glad I don't have to, as Edie is starting up a new blog. Freud's Butcher, where Edie will take us on a journey through her family roots, going back to the days in Vienna where her great-granduncle was Freud's Butcher.

And I am sure we will not miss out on hearing how Frankie is doing. There is still Facebook. But I am going to miss being challenged, questioned and enriched by Edie's and Frankie's regular contributions to the pet community. Always providing a different angle, another view, and more than I care to admit, changing my opinions.

Whatever the subject, it was always brought with a smile. I never left without a laugh. And what I learned on Will My Dog Hate Me, got me off my butt too. Like traveling more safe, and applying BAT to get Viva more social with other dogs.

Wishing Edie the best of luck on her new voyage. May it bring all that you expect and more. We are looking forward to your new blog and book, and already know it is going to be just as exciting, if not more, to follow you along this new road. The King is dead. Long live the King.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pet Blogger Challenge: Round Two

Edie Jarolim of Will My Dog Hate Me and Amy Burket of Go Pet Friendly are again hosting the Pet Blogger Challenge this year.

The time has arrived to show how far we have come after last year's challenge. I will not give up my blog as safe haven for the world of deadlines and numbers without a fight though. Like last year, maybe I can spin myself out of this again?

I gave it a lot of thought:

It sounds like I am cornered. It is time to come clean and give some honest answers, so here we go:

1. Provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

Last year's post was Bad, bad blog, I cheated with the format. And worse, cheated even more by writing another one the next day: The Day After. I'll be a good boy this year though.

2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in last year’s post?

I hadn't made any specific goals. On the other hand the overall goal of the blog is still the same. To provide real-life experiences living together with Hovawarts.

3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals changed over the past year?

Last year's Pet Blogger Challenge and the discussions that followed, helped in finding more focus on the mission of this blog. After all this is a blog about Hovawarts and I do tend to get carried away in other subjects as well. So I made sure to add more regularity to the Hovawart as the main subject.

During the year we took on the additional goal to help getting the Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) repealed in Denmark. Again an unrelated subject, but in the eye of so much suffering and injustice, I can't do anything else than to speak out against it. Whatever the breed, Hovawart or not. We will continue to help the Danes in getting the word out and support Danish organizations like Fair Dog in the fight against BSL. I willl take this opportunity and once more ask you shamelessly if you already signed the petition?

4. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule or as the spirit moves you changed? Which are you doing now? Do you still worry about lost traffic, momentum, etc?

I still blog as the spirits moves me. But without last year's guilt of not being on a schedule: thanks to last year's Pet Blogger Challenge I came to terms with this. I try to find a good balance between keeping my readers interested and to continue to enjoy what I do. There is nothing more rewarding than that. You will find no schedules here, although I do resist the "publish" button more. Meaning I write as the spirit moves me, but try to "publish" in what appears to be a more scheduled rhythm.

Of course I admit having to swallow an additional time when I see visits plunge after a longer period of silence, like when Viva was diagnosed with Cushings disease and during the latest busy at work episode. Nobody wants to write for an ever declining audience. On the other hand it is encouraging to see search engines continue to send queries about Hovawarts to the blog during periods of silence. I especially like the "Hovawart puppy" searches that go to our post about the Hovawart puppy mill. In the end that it is what matters, that people find the blog when looking for information about Hovawarts.

Blogger statistics, very rudimentary, tell me that I have on average 2,000 monthly readers when I don't blog, and up to 6,000 when I blog. The year before ended with only one third of those numbers, although that was also the year we started with blogging. Two months ago I installed Feedburner and Google Analitics, so I can see better where people are coming from and what they are (not) reading in the future. I am not sure what to use those numbers for, but I love to fiddle around with the techy side of the blog and procrastinate with that. I'll hope to get some clues reading the challenge posts from other bloggers to learn more about how it could help.

5. Are you generating income from your blog? Has this changed since last year?
If you are generating income, how (e.g. sponsor ads, affiliate relationships, spokesperson opportunities)?
If not currently, do you hope to in the future — and how?

We have no desire to sell anything through this blog. And that will probably not change. But we all know what they say about the offer you can't refuse. I am listening.

6. Have your likes and dislikes about blogging changed since last year?

My likes are still the same. To connect with readers and other bloggers. I am still a sucker for comments that make me see things differently or add to the story. It is that interactivity that makes blogging so much more rewarding than other forms of writing.

What stands out for me in 2011 was how other bloggers rallied behind the BSL campaign on this blog and to what lengths they went to support and help me. Not only writing about it on their own blogs, but also coming with ideas what to do and how to move this forward. I never asked, they just did it. It was inspiring and invigorating.

7. Overall, are you pleased with the progress you made in 2011?

Progress is best measured in real-life results. One of the best reinforcers was when I got some real proof visitors were actively using the blog to form their opinion on the Hovawart. One of them, Kelsey M., was so kind to get back in touch and mention the blog as an "indispensable source of real-life information". Kelsey found a responsible Hovawart breeder and is now living with "Ethana". It gives all the motivation needed to keep on blogging for another year - or more.

8. How do you see your blog changing/growing in 2012?

I would really like to do more with all the contacts established through time with other Hovawart people. It would be great to be able to write, or let them write, about their experiences with Hovawarts as well. I have a plan for this year to try getting them more involved. I have not come around it yet, because I am not looking for breed superlatives and overly optimistic views, but real-life information, and mistakes made which we can all learn from.

There is a huge wild-card though. As we are traveling more and more for our work - if you read this blog before you remember the dogs always join us on those trips - it is not unlikely we start to blog about that a lot more if it all materializes the way I expect it to. A Hovawart Pet Travel Blog, how is that for a niche? I will have a dozen readers at least. But in essence that is what it is about for us. The blog should follow us, Kenzo & Viva. Not the other way around.

It was good coming clean. Now I am off reading all about you other bloggers. I am sure you will be as inspiring to me as last year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Twitter Giveaway - Support Your Animal Charity of Choice With Cash

A group of bloggers are giving away 325$ in a social media holiday event:
  • 213$ to your animal charity of choice and 
  • 112$ all to yourself.
Last week you could use your Facebook account to participate and this week the event has come to Twitter.

Tell in the comment section which animal charity you would like to support and raffle with your Twitter account in the "Rafflecopter" below. Remember to return next week when you can raffle with your Google+ account too. In order to win you do not have to participate in all three parts of this event. We know that not all of you have accounts on all three platforms which is why they have been separated so everyone has the same opportunity. Good luck !


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Facebook Giveaway - Support Your Animal Charity of Choice With Cash

A group of bloggers are giving away 325$ in a social media holiday event:
  • 213$ to your animal charity of choice and 
  • 112$ all to yourself.

Tell in the comment section which animal charity you would like to support and raffle with your Facebook account in the "Rafflecopter" below. Remember to return next week when you can raffle with your Twitter and your Google+ account too. Good luck !


Sunday, August 14, 2011

My 7 Best Posts

Many thanks to Roxanne Hawn from Champion of My Heart for passing on the “my 7 best posts” to us. Here are the links to our 7 best blog posts:

1. Most Beautiful Post: The Small Fearful Dog Therapist

What is more beautiful than a dog acting out of kindness? Inspired by Kenzo’s special relationship with small fearful dogs we ask the question if dogs are capable of empathy, and if that behavior is nurture or nature.

2. Most Popular Post: Danish Breed Ban Rests on Historically Thin Basis

We can’t take credit for the most popular post as we didn’t write it ourselves, only translated it from Danish with the consent from the original author. It tells the scandalous conditions under which the breed ban in Denmark came about. And how politicians above all want to appear decisive and disregard the facts.

3. Most Controversial Post: Welcome to the Wall of Shame Irene Jarnved

Not many controversial things happened on this blog. Although some opinions we voiced did cost us some “virtual” friendships. Closest we can come to writing something controversial, is the “Wall of Shame Breed Ban” series. They moved around on Danish forums and FB groups, once more sparking the debate, and making Danes aware of the bad publicity their breed ban is receiving abroad.

4. Most Helpful Post: Are You Prepared For a Dog Fight

When my dad was severely bitten trying to break up a dog fight we wrote this post on how to prevent a dog fight and what you can do when you are in the middle of one. We still use the post when we are attending a dog fight discussion in social media, and hopefully made a contribution to dog bite prevention. Having a plan never hurts.

5. Post Whose Success Surprised Me: Embarrassment Is Not an Option

Meant to be a simple rant on why embarrassment is a useless human emotion that poisons the relationship we have with our dogs, it surprised me to find so many kindred spirits.

6. Post That Didn’t Get the Attention it Deserved: Meet Shiloh, Hovawart in Need of Help

More than one year ago I first wrote about Shiloh the Hovawart and it leaves me with mixed feelings. Enough money was raised to get Shiloh through her needed hip operations. But Shiloh never found her forever home and is still at the rescue. She is still awaiting adoption.

7. Post I’m Most Proud Of: Open Letter to Merete Eldrup

After seeing the appalling video with the collapsing vet euthanizing 19 puppies, this post was the first of a series in protest of the Danish breed ban. Among others it led to an international petition in protest of the Danish breed ban – you did sign the petition right? -  and other bloggers decided to speak out against BSL in Denmark as well.

Passing it on

We are passing the “my 7 best posts” on to these bloggers, looking forward to see what they will pick:

Julie Danbolt -Moody Mudi

Julie Nutter – Dogs and Tails

Jana Rade – DawgBusiness

Karen Friesecke – DoggyStylish

Jen – My Brown Newfies

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pet Blogger Challenge: The Day After

Yesterday's Pet Blogger Challenge turned out to be an awesome party. I made it to reading 55 blogs only to return to my own blog and finding 30+ comments of the same bloggers I was reading about. It was like you were all sitting in the room with me. What an energy. Could you feel it too? I am still shaking. And there is more, entries are still coming in!

I don't want to dwell, but I cannot help myself wanting to have a "the day after" chat. It is that passion thing again. If I would have had a schedule my next blog post would already have been shining out there. But now you know me, so why hide?

Thanks to all that participated. I found so much inspiration, advice and kind words. It has helped me tremendously to sort my own thoughts on how to "un-bully" this blog and how to move it forward. Key in it all was the schedule, suffocating the passion from which I write. I cannot point to one particular post, but all of you together convinced me to forget the schedule and continue to write from passion. And, important lesson learned 2, not mistake writing with the "publish" button. So the publishing is getting a schedule treatment. Not the writing, that will still come when it comes.

Now we are talking schedule or not-scheduled, did you read the entries from two of the most professional bloggers around, Roxanne Hawn's Pet Blogger Challenge Q&A, and Kim Clune's Pet Blogger Challenge. Both successful and established writers, yet a total different approach. A perfect example that personality and background define how you write. There is no right or wrong. The right style is the one that fits you best.

I am looking forward to next years Pet Blogger Challenge. Whats wrong with a yearly virtual group hug? Maybe we should call it mini-Blogpaws. Talking about Blogpaws, I would love to visit and meet all of you in real life. But as you know I take Viva and Kenzo with me everywhere, and having them on an intercontinental plain-trip is a nut I haven't cracked yet. Blogpaws Europe maybe? Does that exist? Nah, we would get lost in translation.

A huge thank you to Edie from Will my dog hate me and Amy from for hosting and organizing this challenge. You guys just rock.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bad, bad blog!

Wake me up when it is about me again
This post is answering to the call of The Pet Blogger Challenge by Will my dog hate me Edie Jarolim and Go pet friendly Amy Burket. The challenge is to look back at what we've done with our blogs and forward to where we want to go with them, guided by 8 questions. A great opportunity to reflect and to have a peek in what other bloggers thoughts are.

The challenge was born from a feeling Edie and Amy had their blogs where bullying them. Not my problem? On second thought, this blog was bullying me too! Kenzo and Viva agreed to allow me for this one time, not to write about them, and to show the blog it's place. Bullying me is their privilege.

I am also going to brag a little, as Edie said that bragging is good. Just so you are warned in advance.

Blog: "Get a plan, stupid"

A blog born out of passion for dogs. And in particular a passion for the Hovawart breed, nose work and tracking. It just had to come out. They say passion cannot be planned. A convenient dream for me as I am just not the "plan" type of person. But sure it can.

I only needed a little push to actually start blogging. That push came in May of last year when my twitter pal Kim Garisson, @kimhalligan1, urged me to write a How To about tracking. The joy of my newly won plan-free blogging freedom soon faded. I realized that with my handicap of not being a trainer, behaviorist, vet, rescue volunteer, foster parent, author, or a native English speaker for that sake, left me with only one thing to do. Get a plan asap!

Quickly scrambling a plan together I decided to - next to writing about Hovawarts and tracking - focus on stories based on Kenzo and Viva's experiences that touched some "higher" subject of importance. Stories like Are you prepared for a dog fight, Kenzo stopped visiting the dog park or Viva into BAT. I also made a schedule to blog regularly, resulting in a couple of book reviews to fill up spaces. Which turned out to be not one of my best sides, so I dropped the schedule. More about the schedule later. But at least I had a plan of what to write about, the core of any blog.

Blog 1 - 0 Kenzo

Blog: "Stay focused, stupid"

Some events that enfolded in Denmark during the year, like the new Breed Specific Legislation (BSL), Cesar Milan's visit, the Danish puppy mill exporting to US, etc. were obviously out of scope for the blog. But I just had to speak out about them.

As it turned out it was also interesting enough for my audience overseas to read what was going on in a different part of the world. That made me glad, as we can all learn from each other's solutions, as well as our mistakes. When Mary Haight from Dancing Dog Blog listed the puppy mill story in her top 10 for 2010, I was swept of my feet. I have Mary and her blog on a pedestal, and having her sign it off as "news worthy" is for me a tremendous compliment. They don't come better than that.

Blog 1 - 1 Kenzo

Blog: "Speak English, stupid"

Deborah Flick from Boulder Dog blog was the first to mention us. She featured this blog in one of her Follow Friday recommendations as "versatile" and "international". What a terrific incentive was that! It also helped me to focus on what this blog was about and to stick with the plan. But most of all that recognition helped me to come over the block that my English is ... well, you probably already noticed.

Blog 1 - 2 Kenzo

Blog: "Listen to your audience, stupid"

Some of the feedback I received during the year was from people that either started tracking, or expressed their thanks for the inside information about Hovawarts. Information they felt they couldn't find anywhere else. That was pretty awesome too.

Some of the stories I wrote about Kenzo also touched a wider audience. I was so honored that the Small fearful dog therapist made it to the top 10 of 2010 from other bloggers like Little dogs on long leashes, Rescued insanity, Bark'n About and Dashing dachshund. How cool is that !?

What I like best about blogging is the rush when you find out people are actually reading what you are writing. It is just so exciting to get a comment and find out what that person has got out of the story. It is different for everybody and enriching the story itself. It makes me see things differently. What worries me is when I stay empty handed for a couple of weeks and the blog remains silent. I know the right story can be around the corner. I rather wait instead of squeezing something in that not originates from the passion that started the blog. It would just be fake. Seeing most people return after such a silence, makes it worthwhile I like to think.

Blog 1 - 3 Kenzo

Blog: "I told you so, stupid"

So actually this blog turned out not so Hovawart and tracking specific after all. But it is still the main mission.

Coming to the plan part for this year ... makes it awfully quiet once more. I must admit I don't have one yet. Neither did I find a solution to the schedule problem. I you find me blogging regularly next year, then you will know I have untied that knot. Any suggestions are welcome. Actually I hope to find some inspiration with the other participants of the Pet Blogger Challenge.

Blog 2 - 3 Kenzo

I am afraid the bullying blog is not joining for the ride. Kenzo and Viva will be proud. For me, I enjoyed bullying back. This can keep me going for the whole year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What you liked best with Kenzo the Hovawart in 2010

With only one day left in the year, what did you liked best on this blog in 2010? Here is a Top 5 with the most shared, viewed and commented posts from 2010:

Two posts on Shiloh the Hovawart needing help to get adopted. The attention makes me very happy but this gives us all mixed feelings. The turn-off of course is that Shiloh still has not get adopted.

Next to the BSL stories probably one of the most important news items I could bring to you from little Denmark. A puppy mill that exports to the U.S., among others. Thank you for helping spreading the word getting this puppy mill exposed.

Inspired by the real story of my dad getting severely bitten while intervening in a dog fight. What we can do to prevent, and also how to act in a dog fight. Today, my dad has fully recovered from his injuries.

One colored, truly biased and overly positive look on the Hovawart breed. But hey, this would not be a Hovawart blog without a muse on this beautiful breed we have come to love so much?
With all the training and socialization we do with Kenzo, he can still awe me with what he can do when acting from within his own natural being. This is what makes me the most proud of him.

Loved your choices, my own top 5 would not have been much different. Looking back is great but what lies ahead?

You will have to be patient until January 10, when we come with a post as part of the Pet Blogger Challenge, organized by Edie and Amy, from the Will My Dog Hate Me and blogs respectively.

Stay tuned and best wishes for the New Year!
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