A Blast At BarkWorld: Barks And Meows Abound At Pet Blogger Conference

Amy Tokic
by Amy Tokic
I’m back from BarkWorld (and MeowWorld)! Even though I could use a cat nap, I want to tell you all about my adventures in Atlanta.

As the Editor of PetGuide, I have an enviable job. I write about pets for a living; I travel to insider trade shows to scoop the latest pet products and trends; and I am lucky enough to take part in Pet Blogger conferences, such as BarkWorld.

What Is BarkWorld?

BarkWorld, a pet-friendly conference set up for pet bloggers of all shapes and sizes, is a fantastic place to learn and network. Not only do you have the official seminars put on by the conference, it’s also the perfect opportunity to talk and listen to what others in the industry are doing. And these are some wonderful open and helpful people – in fact, I’ve never been part of such a warm community as these pet bloggers. If you need any help, all you have to do is ask.

Working it out at the K9 Fit Bootcamp

This year, the conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia. This was my first time in Atlanta, and I was not disappointed… well, except for the weather. It figures – the one week I’m down there and the city experiences an unseasonable cold front. I don’t think I brought it with me.

BarkWorld cupcakes from Sprinkles: Noms for humans

Southern Hospitality

And that’s another thing – those southerners are genteel and obliging! I had thought it was a stereotype, but these are some of the most friendly, polite and accommodating people I have had the pleasure of meeting… and that’s coming from a Canadian! Plus, they have that languishing accent that makes every word that comes out of their mouth sound like it’s coated in honey and maple syrup. I could have listened to them read from the phone book all day.

And speaking of hospitality, those southerners will give you the shirt of their backs if you even mention that you like it. When one of my new friends, Flea, found out that I’d never had a pecan praline (the horror!), she went to her hotel room and presented me with one she’d been saving for a friend back home (as well as a shaker of a mouth-burning Southern spice blend. She wants the bland Canadian to expand her spicy repertoire).

What’s So Great About BarkWorld?

Attending the BarkWorld conference gave me the opportunity to meet with top dog and cat writers – many of which were interested in contributing to PetGuide.com. This was amazing news, both for the site and for our readers. These passionate pet parents and writers know what they’re talking about, and I’m so happy that we’ll be able to share their words of wisdom with you. Watch for their articles in the following weeks and please let us know what you think.

Halloween Dog Costume Parade

I had the chance to sample and learn about some cool new pet products and companies, and I’ll also be sharing their stories on the site. If it weren’t for conferences like these, I may not have ever learned about them. Some of them are non-profit or help pets in need; others are specialized products you wouldn’t necessarily find at PetSmart or larger pet store. But what they all have in common is a love for animals and a desire to make life healthier and happier for animals around the world.

The Honest Kitchen serves up a Pumpkin Spice Latte for the pooches

Every time I attend a conference like Barkworld, I’m always impressed by the bloggers I meet. One was Patty from The MAAAAA of Pricilla. She helps her goat, Pricilla, write a blog. Yep, you heard me – a blog written by a goat! Well, expect on Fridays… that’s Farm Cat Fridays, when the kitties take over. Another was Rachel, the young lady who writes His Muddy Paw Prints Blog. It’s wonderful to see, first hand, the next generation of pet bloggers and how their love of animals inspires them to write. I’ll be following her progress and I look forward to many more awesome things from her.

The Awesome Pawties

There was no shortage of times to share a drink (or two), catch up with friends and pet adorable dogs. I crashed (well, I was going to, but then I got an official invite) to the Mad Kitty Cocktail Party for Waffles, the new furry face of mike’s HARDER and kitty extraordinaire to Debbie (I’m a big fan of her site, Glogirly… and she gave me a cat bell I like to ring when the office gets really quiet). Waffles was named the spokescat for the limited edited Apple Firebomb flavor and he was a gracious host… although he did spend some of his time under the desk, trying to escape the relentless hounding of the pawparazzi who were clamoring to take a picture of this famous kitty.

It’s my pawty and I’ll hide if I want to!

But The Best Part Of All…

My favorite part of the whole trip was the super cool friends I made and old ones I got to catch up with. These were my Barkworld buddies, my pet peeps, the group of girls I hung out with for most of the conference. We ate, talked, laughed and came up with a million inside jokes that we’ll be referring to on social media and every time we meet up. They welcomed me into their group – I became their token Canadian. These hilarious ladies love their pets, Besides, I have to stay on their good side – they took a lot of incriminating photos of me (many of which are circulating on Twitter and Facebook right now!). Just a few of my blogging buddies included Susie for Talent Hounds, DeAnna from K9 Carry All, Emmy from Emmy The Pet Sitter, Flea from Jones Natural Chews, Bunny (and daughter Sarah) from Carma Poodale, Jann (and pooch Ricky) and Katherine from PepperPom. I can’t wait until I get to see them all again at our next Pet Bloggers conference. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be the one huddled under the table, getting kisses from all of dogs.

I’m pooped – see you next year!

Amy Tokic
Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic, Editor of PetGuide.com, is a passionate animal lover and proud pet parent of Oscar, a Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, and Zed, a Japanese Chin. Her love of animals began in kindergarten, when she brought her stuffed dog Snoopy into class with her every day. Now, she writes about her adventures in pet ownership and tirelessly researches products, news and health related issues she can share with other animal enthusiasts. In her free time, Amy loves perusing used book and record stores, obsessing over the latest pet products available and chasing squirrels with wild abandon (a habit attributed to spending too much time with her pooches).

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