Barkworld/Meowworld 2014: Time Spent At Blogging Conferences Is NEVER Wasted

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rachael Ray Nutrish. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  As always, thank you for reading and supporting our sponsors.

barkworld 2014 perfect quote 1

The above quote that I found on Pinterest, to me, the perfect way to begin my recap of Barkworld 2014. Yes,  as many stated on their blogs, it was much smaller, had fewer attendees than last year, (it was my second Barkworld, so I don’t have the years under my belt to compare it to as others had) and less exhibitors, but guess what? I STILL had a great time! 

“It’s not the circumstances that create joy. It’s YOU.”


This was my second Barkworld but my fifth conference experience (I had attended three BlogPaws conferences prior to this conference), so I consider myself to be a veteran. Both years I was blessed to be sponsored  by Rachael Ray Nutrish, I am not only proud to be one of their brand Ambassadors, I am grateful for the many opportunities for travel that they have provided.

My Nutrish T-and the super dog/cat food scooper/bag clips that the Nutrish Ambassadors handed out at Barkworld

My Nutrish T-and the super scoop/bag clips that the Nutrish Ambassadors handed out at Barkworld

I arrived at Barkworld with little to no pre-expectations.  I learned a while back when you arrive at a conference with preexisting expectations, you are bound to be disappointed.

After staying at the Westin (the hotel that hosted Barkworld), last year and being extremely unimpressed, I chose to save money (as well as my sanity),by staying off-site. I stayed approx a mile away at the Hampton Inn Atlanta-Buckhead which turned out to be a decision that bordered on genius!

I had a shuttle that transported me back and forth from my hotel to the Westin, (except for the one day that it was being repaired, and my kind and dear friends Jobi and her partner, Geoff, transported me to and from the hotel) and the privacy and quiet that I needed to re-charge my mental (and actual cell phone!) batteries when needed. It was the perfect oasis from the conference drama, gossip and craziness that exists at ALL conferences. Call me anti-social, for me, this worked!

I arrived in Atlanta on Wednesday, which enabled me to check-in, walk to the grocery store, (a superb Kroger “Super” Store),  that was next to my hotel, (did I mention I had a fridge too? No? Well, I did!), to purchase healthy food for my fridge, and I was even able to attend a Weight Watchers meeting Thursday morning before the conference officially began!

Thursday night I unfortunately missed the opening reception, because I was busy helping the Cat Writers’ Association (of which I am a member), stuff swag bags for their members/conference attendees. (This was the first time that both the Barkworld conference and the Cat Writers’ conference were held together.)

For some reason, at BOTH Barkworlds, the first “people” I run into every time, are Bunny and her adorable poodle,  Carma Poodale! They make me smile whenever I am lucky enough to see them and share some laughs and they always start my conference experience off on the “right paw!”


barkworld 2014 carma and bunny kissing


On my way to my first Friday session I had the pleasure of running into a pack of pups attending the K9 Fit Club Bootcamp led by Diane Silver from To Dog With Love. Please excuse my poor video, the pups were all so adorable and were having a great time, my video does NOT do them justice at all!

Well, except for Carma!! She had me in stitches, because every time she made her way around the circuit, she would look at those of us sitting on the bench watching, with eyes pleading, “May I sit with YOU? PLEEEASE?” We indulged her with petting, which made her turn to  her Mom asking permission to stay with US!

barkworld 2014 carma poodale looking up smiling


My favorite conferences sessions were:

1) From the Paw Up:Cashing In On Your Passions led by Cara Warren.

“Cara Warren is the Founder and CEO of Paw It Forward, LLC – a cause-driven lifestyle brand that values the human-animal bond and celebrates great dogs changing the world!  She is a marketing and business professional with 15+ years of combined experience in Consumer Products with The Coca-Cola Company, Specialty Retail with The Home Depot, and Lifestyle Experiences with Club Corporation of America. “

I learned so much in her session, such as  the importance of getting media liability insurance, and had a great refresher about Journalism and Ethics and tons more!

2) Fearless Photo Editing 101 led by Layla Morgan Wilde of Cat Wisdom 101 who discussed the importance of editing photos, specifically by using the popular photo editing site, Picmonkey,(my personal fave is but I do use Picmonkey as well.

3) Lessons for Influencers: 4 Steps to gaining the attention of top brands led by none other than Julia Cantor, who is from Moxie, and is affiliated with a host of major brands such as Rachael Ray Nutrish and many more.  Julia was the first person I had met from Nutrish, around 4 yrs ago, and it is always a complete joy whenever I am able to see her in person.One of the many important points that Julia mentioned in her session, was, if you seek to have a brand notice you, and you hope to work with the brand, you SHOULD ACTUALLY BE USING THEIR PRODUCT(s). Sounds like a no-brainer right? You would be surprised. That is NOT a joke. Many people will want to align with a brand and aren’t a brand advocate of that product in their day-to-day life. Authenticity is something that cannot be faked, when you truly believe in a brand it will be reflected in your writing about their products. (FYI: I have been feeding Dakota Nutrish since it first came on the market in 2008, his blog began in 2011, ’nuff said). You can find more of Julia’s presentation and her bio in the slide show below:

All in all, I had a great time. I visited and chatted it up with the exhibitors that I wanted to meet with, attended sessions based on my individual needs/interests, and re-connected with some dear friends.

Photo taken by Julie from the blog:Sometimes Cats Herd You. Click the photo to visit them!

Photo taken by Julie from the blog:Sometimes Cats Herd You. Click the photo to visit them!

Dakota and Cody had a great time too!

Now, as I attempt to shake an evil cold that I brought home from Atlanta, I am about to leave yet AGAIN! (Shhh…don’t tell the “boys!”) This Thursday I will be flying to Ft.Lauderdale (courtesy once again of Rachael Ray Nutrish), to attend the Miami-Ft.Lauderdale Pet Expo which will take place this Saturday, November 15th. The super cool part is I will be able to see my brother, two sisters-in-law and one of my brothers-in-law on this trip, so it will be a total blast! Stay tuned for updates!




Barking it up in “Hotlanta” at BarkWorld

Hi all! Long time no BARK!  It’s Dakota! Things have been rather chaotic around my den of late, hence my absence from the blog-o-sphere for the past few days. Never fear, I am back and barking!

Last month I was upset and yapping about how my Mom was going to BarkWorld and I was being left at home. I still say that was incredibly unfair since I am the HEAD BARKER in this pack, but I digress. To make up for that transgression Mom came home from BarkWorld with photos and a special treat that I am sure you will enjoy!

Mom left for BarkWorld on a gorgeous day!

BarkWorld 1 sky

She was thrilled that she had a smooth flight!

BarkWorld 2 landing in Atlanta


Mom arrives in “Hotlanta” ATLANTA!!! And oh yes my furiends we “DO give a D—N!!” BOL!

When Mom arrived at The Westin  Buckhead Atlanta, guess who was the first doggie that Mom saw?

BarkWorld 3 Carma Poodale


It was CARMA POODALE!!! Look at her and her pretty poodle-self! (If you click on her name you can visit her blog!) She even brought along her cute doggy sibling:

BarkWorld 4 Scooby


Of course Mom also got to chat and laugh with their beautiful and funny Mom:

BarkWorld 5 Bunny Carmas Mom


After chatting it up with them for a while, Mom checked into her room and unpacked. Here is the gorgeous view from her room:

BarkWorld 6 view from hotel room arriving

When Mom finished unpacking she headed off to one of her most favorite events from BarkWorld:Blogger Speed Dating! This was an event where bloggers got to pre-choose companies that they wanted to meet with from a list of attendees. Once they were at the event they were given 6 minutes to chat with a company before moving on to the next one.

On the way to Speed Dating, who did Mom run into but the GORGEOUS

BarkWorld 7 Sugar


Click on her name above to visit her blog!

caren and sugar the golden retriever taken by her mom

The above photo was taken by Sugar’s Mom

Mom was ecstatic because she had wanted to meet Sugar for quite some time and she FINALLY was able to do so! If it is possible, Sugar is even more “golden” in pawson! She was always happy and smiling and is one of the sweetest doggies in the world! I just wish that I could have met her!

The following morning was a special breakfast for cat people.

BarkWorld 10 Cat Breakfast Michael Christina Brian

In this photo is Michael and his wife Christina of the blog Peace, Love and Whiskers and Terry (the human father of Brian from Brian’s Home!!)   Mom had a meowvelous time chatting with them and even the Flat Pets got in on the act!

BarkWorld 13 Flat Cody and Brian

Here we have my Flat brother, Cody and Brian, from Brian’s Home

Mom attended this breakfast, because of course my brother Cody, had to weasel his way into the event. Since we both have blogs,Mom thought the least she could do was represent HIM as well!

Of course I had to get in on the act!

BarkWorld 12 Flat Cody and Dakota

This photo was taken during the presentation by Alyson Joyce who represented Mom’s sponsor for BarkWorld (Nutrish by Rachael Ray). Alyson’s program was Social Media 101 to 201: Getting Started & Maintaining. Cody and I sure learned A LOT in that session!


I know you want to see more doggies, so here you go! Feast your eyes on these cuties!

BarkWorld 8 Lucy

This is the lovely Lucy who is the baby of Mom’s furiend Jan T.

BarkWorld 9 Sophia Loren

SOPHIA LOREN (no silly, not the REAL ONE!

This is the DOGGY ONE! In her BarkWorld finery)

She also has a blog which you can visit

by clicking here

BarkWorld 17 WindiOne of Mom’s favorite doggies at the conference was this adorable teeny-tiny Sheltie named “Windi”. Windi is a miracle dog, Shelties are not born this small, her owner said that she wasn’t expected to live, but did and thankfully is thriving! Mom was just beaming every time she saw her! Isn’t she just the cutest?

Another highlight of the conference was keynote speaker Victoria Stilwell, speaking about her newest project:Positively Powerful. Mom has been a fan of Victoria’s from her days on the Animal Planet , Mom was just thrilled to be able to attend her session! Mom even got a photo taken with Victoria, who also signed her latest book that Mom bought!

BarkWorld 15 Victorial Stilwell and me

Please excuse how Mom looks, she certainly has seen better days!

But Victoria sure is pretty!

After Victoria’s presentation, Mom went to her room to relax for a bit before the highlight of the evening,  Block Parties that were sponsored by various brands!

Mom’s sponsor:


Had the COOLEST pawty of them all!!! The first 50 people who came to the pawty got to paint their own ceramic dog bowls!!!

BarkWorld 15 Sugars Mom painting bowl

Here is Sugar the Golden Retriever’s Mom painting a special bowl for Sugar!

BarkWorld 16 bowls ready for kiln

Once the bowls were painted

they were ready for the kiln!

When Mom receives hers 

she will photograph it 

BarkWorld 14 Nutrish food block pawty

Nutrish provided delish goodies for the pawty attendees

to share with their pooches!

Speaking of GOODIES!

Remember I promised you a coupon in my last post?




Mom even walked around and made a new furiend at another Block Pawty, unfortunately she doesn’t remember his name but he was as smitten with Mom as Mom was with him!

BarkWorld 18 St.Bernard pal

Now, when you go to Atlanta what is something that you MUST HAVE? You got it!

BarkWorld 20 peach cobbler



It was simply AMAZING

(or so my Mom said!)


Now how fitting is it that on Mom’s plane ride back to Detroit, look at

 WHO was sitting in front of her…

BarkWorld 19 Ace on plane

The most adorable dog named “Ace” was sitting in front of Mom on the plane ride back to Detroit!  The funny part was he had NOTHING to do with the conference. He and his “Mom” were flying to Detroit to visit family and he just happened to be on the plane. Mom thought that was one fitting way to end a weekend that was as HOT as “Hotlanta!!!”

BarkWorld 20 ace looking out window





Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rachael Ray Nutrish. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  As always, thank you for reading and supporting our sponsors.

Dakota barks about #BarkWorld and Nutrish!

If I’M a #Nutrish Advocate, then why is MOM headed to #BarkWorld 2013!?

dakota nutrish is sending

Hi  my woofie furiends!!!  You can see by the photo above that I am BARKING out the most wonderful news!




Did you read that? I am hoping I made myself clear! Why? Because if I am the “Nutrish Advocate”  then why is my MOM the one who is going to BarkWorld?

Make that, MOM is going! I sure wish that I was! Click on the badge to learn more about BarkWorld!

Make that, MOM is going! I sure wish that I was! Click on the badge to learn more about BarkWorld!


That doesn’t make a bit of sense to me and being the intelligent Sheltie that I am, I say that THAT is NOT fair! 


I am the one who eats an array of products made by Nutrish

nutrish family of products photo

My faves are (in no pawticular order):  just6 (treats and kibble), Naturally Delish,  Soup Bones,  Savory Bites,   and Regular Nutrish! Did ya notice I eat just about EVERYTHING that is featured in the photo above? You are pretty observant because I DO!

I haven’ tried Nutrish’s latest formula which is Zero Grain. Dad was talking to Mom about that tonight wondering if we should try it. Mom told him that it’s rated 4 stars by Dog Food Advisor (why they didn’t use a 4 PAW rating I’ll never know, but I digress), so there is a chance that might be in my future!

Why do I eat Nutrish?

Because it is SUPER PREMIUM DOG FOOD made with simple, natural ingredients!  I have been eating Nutrish since 2008! LONG BEFORE I ever started blogging!! It is the ONLY DOG FOOD THAT I EAT! I told ya I  am an intelligent Sheltie! You can  be as intelligent as I am  and learn more about Nutrish  by clicking here

Also, proceeds from the sale of Rachael’s Nutrish go to Rachael’s Rescue. I like that Rachael Ray is dedicated to helping doggies less fortunate than myself!

Want another reason why I should be going to BarkWorld and NOT Mom?


Is the name of the event NOT




Dakota March 16 Wordless Wed

I’m not standing by a microphone for nothing you know!

If I were going I could help Mom with the updates she will be posting throughout the weekend LIVE from BarkWorld!
I can convey messages MUCH LOUDER and much faster than she can! Be sure you are following Mom on Twitter @dakotasheltie and be sure to follow  @Nutrish too!

Also, why should MOM be attending a PAWTY that Nutrish will be throwing at BarkWorld and I CAN’T???  I hear that the FIRST 50 HUMANS TO ATTEND THE PAWTY GET TO PAINT A CERAMIC DOG BOWL FOR THEIR PUP. (SOME humans are actually FAIR to their pups! BOL!)

WAIT! THERE’S MORE!!! There will be human food and delicious dog treats too!!! 

dakota nutrish 2

There had BETTER be some treats for me, that’s all I have to say about it! 

SPEAKING OF TREATS!! STAY TUNED MY FURIENDS! I’ll be sharing a BarkWorld recap in SEPTEMBER and there will be a special Nutrish coupon offer following BarkWorld!! LOOK FOR MY RECAP ON MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 9th!

In the meantime, be sure to visit NUTRISH RIGHT HERE!!


“She’ll see ya, when she sees ya!!”

Barks and licks and love,



Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rachael Ray Nutrish. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  As always, thank you for reading and supporting our sponsors.