June 21, 2016
When you think of dressing for a red carpet event, pup motif pajamas are not the obvious first choice. Except when a) the event is a pet-themed awards ceremony and b) you are watching via Live Stream while tucked up in bed with your dog.
The actual BlogPaws 2016 Nose-to-Nose Awards was taking place in Phoenix but I was 5,000 miles away in England with an 8 hour time difference. When my alarm jangled me awake at 3am I forgot for a moment why I was trying to prise open my eyes in the darkness. Then I remembered, sat ping up in bed and reached for the laptop…
Perhaps because I had attended these ‘pet blogging Oscars’ before I felt like I was beamed into the ballroom of the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass, sitting with hundreds of glammed up bloggers, not to mention a host of impeccably groomed cats and dogs. As super-glam Chloe DiVita, Director of Events & Programs for BlogPaws, kicked off the proceedings, my butterflies began. It had been long-held dream of mine to become a Nose-to-Nose nominee and by the time the BEST NEW PET BLOG 2016 category was announced, those butterflies had the wing span of an eagle.
Shawna Schuh, President of WIPIN (Women In The Pet Industry) network was presenting our award and her opening words startled me:
‘Whenever you start something, it’s a risk. So these pet blogs are risks and these people are risk-takers… they had to believe heavily in themselves and in their talent.’
My heart was pounding. Did I believe in myself? I certainly knew the other nominees were all talented individuals… And then Shawna leaned into the microphone and said, ‘You inspire me!’ Suddenly I found myself sitting up a little straighter, feeling empowered – my blog was now a bold venture and I was a woman on a mission!
And the winner is…
My stomach plummeted down a lift shaft and then bungeed up to the ceiling as Shawna said the words: Bodie On The Road – Belinda Jones!
And that’s when I started shaking. My whole body and all my inner organs seemed to be a-tremble, I tried to tap a message to my American friends and couldn’t get my thumb to connect with the desired letters on my phone. Bodie looked sleepily at me as if to say, ‘Don’t forget to breathe…’
By this point Susan Willett of Life With Dogs & Cats was on the way to the stage to accept the award on my behalf. Frankly she did a far better job delivering my acceptance speech than I ever could. I would have been all flustered with a mouth as dry as the Arizona desert but there she was, a vision of composure and assurance. You can watch the video here (click the image), from 19:25 minutes to the 22:00 time slot.
Even as I was attempting to type a thank you note to Susan, congratulatory messages were coming through from my fellow nominees. In a later post Bryn Nowell even wrote ‘When they announced Bodie On The Road, I squealed with excitement! It was the most exciting “loss” I’ve ever experienced!’ You can read her full post here: How A Loss Can Actually Be A Win!
As for me, I spent the rest of the ceremony in an elated, amazed daze, fascinated to see the typed chatter to the side of the youtube screen, especially from Tracy Stillman of the Pawesome Cats blog in Australia and all the rousing support for the documentary A Voice for Lil Olive about a plucky puppy mill survivor.
CHECK OUT THE FULL LIST OF WINNERS HERE!
By this point going back to sleep seemed a happy impossibility – I just lay there thinking, ‘I can’t believe it! I can’t believe Bodie On The Road won!’ It was such a glorious, giddy, satisfying feeling. And all thanks to my furry muse, Bodie…
There he was, snoring lightly so I decided to wait until the next day to celebrate with him. I thought it would be fun to do a picture with a party hat and streamers but after I pulled the string the first one I realized that Bodie, like most other dogs, is not a fan of sudden pops. I spent the next ten minutes picking out the cardboard bases of the streamers and unravelling the colored paper strands by hand. By this point Bodie was so disenchanted we ended up with more of a ‘morning after’ vibe.
Things perked up a couple of days later when our trophy arrived at our door – ‘It’s so heavy!’ I marveled holding it up to the light and reading the engraving from every angle and with every color backdrop. ‘And do you know what Bodie? Your rescue group Pryor’s Planet gets $500 as part of the prize!’ Now look at that smile…