I was going to write a BlogHer post mortem about my personal reactions to the conference. From the highs like my wonderful hair makeover at Sparrow Hair courtesy of Danielle, Susan and Heather, and seeing or meeting for the first time so many marvelous women bloggers and colleagues, to the lows, including my dismay at the rush to judgment of party sponsor Nikon with the ridiculous #Nikonhatesbabies tweetstorm and absolute disgust at some of the swag-grab behavior.
I will still write something over on Marketing Roadmaps from my professional perspective, but today my feelings about the blogging community have absolutely nothing to do with BlogHer and everything to do with the tremendous support people showed over the past two days as I faced the rapidly failing health of my 12.5 year old dog, Nick.
Nick died in his sleep sometime after 2am when my husband last checked on him. I had already made the decision that he was not going to rally and planned to do the right thing for him this morning. God took that decision out of my hands, for which I am grateful. I’ve had to do it before, and it is one of the hardest things we do as pet owners.
I first tweeted about it yesterday morning and then updated everyone this morning with the news. The kind, loving, supportive messages from friends, acquaintances and even people I only “know” virtually through Twitter and Facebook helped me through a very tough 24 hours as I girded myself for the loss of this wonderful dog.
That is what community is all about. It’s why I blog, tweet and attend face to face conferences like BlogHer and New Comm Forum. It’s why we have been working so hard on blogwithintegrity.com
Our online communities matter, and it is worth working hard to protect, preserve and defend what makes them special places. Your place may be very different from my place, but take care of it, and count on it, it will take care of you.
Now let me tell you a little bit about Nick, as the tears stream down my face.
Nick was my very first show dog. In late 1996, I had realized that my first Scottie, Sabrina Fair (who died 1.5 years ago) was a quintessential alpha bitch. When our then old dog, a 10 year old Norwegian Elkhound died, as he would about a year and a half later, if we didn’t have another dog in place — if she was ever an only dog – we would never be able to add another. She’d be too alpha.
So I set out to find a Scottie. By this time, I had learned enough to know that you don’t buy dogs in pet stores. I also knew I wanted another Scottish Terrier.
I was lucky enough to connect with Kathi Brown, one of the country’s top Scottie breeders and eventually convince her to sell me Nick.
He was show quality, and Kathi put the bug in my ear to consider showing him. When he was about a year old, we brought him to a handler for evaluation and she agreed to take me, and Nick, on as a client. I remember crying when I had to let him go stay with her to prep for going out on the show circuit. I’m a little tougher than that now; I don’t weep when I sell puppies or a dog goes off to a handler, even if my eyes do get a little damp.
We then had a completely totally atypical dog showing experience. The handler took him down to a southern circuit, and finished his championship in about two weeks — two show weekends plus one day. Ask anyone in dogs, it is VERY rare to see an animal finish that quickly. For two reasons. First, breeders tend to save really top specimens for breed specialty shows where the competition is tougher but the audience is larger. Second, it’s hard. You have to beat a lot of other dogs to get the championship points.
I knew it was atypical, but still, I was hooked. When Kathi asked me that summer, shortly after the Elkhound died, if I would be willing to co-own a show bitch with her, I said yes, and the rest is history. We eventually bred Nick and Music (Ch. Blueberry’s We Are Not Amused), and in 2001, were blessed with Carly, Ch.Blueberry’s Attitude Dancing, number one Scottie in the country in 2004 and 2005 and three-time national specialty winner.
That’s Nick’s legacy as a show dog.
As a family pet, he was so much more. He had the kindest, sweetest, calmest nature. He adored Sabrina Fair; when she lived, they were nearly inseparable.
Every morning for as long as I can remember, he would walk partway down the drive to get the paper with my husband. He slept under my chair, or behind it, up until the very end, even when the younger dogs tried to edge him out. He loved his cookies.
He loved us.
I am certain that he waited until I got back from BlogHer to finally let go.
RIP dear sweet Nick. Champion Blueberry’s In The Nick Of Time. January 1, 1997 – July 31, 2009
You will always be my little boy.