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September 30, 2010

SWF Seeks Dog Lover - Part 3 of 3

This is Part 3 in a 3 part series where our intrepid single girl dog lover braved the wilds of dating sites to bring us her findings. Her reviews continue below!
Dog Lover Dating - This site is #1 on Google search and is one that I had actually heard of before I started the hunt. However, I had to wait almost two weeks to actually try out the service as it was “down for upgrade.” What if I had paid for a membership, or was in the middle of some hot e-romance and the site was down for weeks? It made me seriously doubt the professionalism and commitment of the service to its customers. At any rate, when it was back open for business, I signed up for an account, got the confirmation email, filled out all the profile, submitted my photo and waited for the emails to pour in. They didn’t. I went back and checked a few days later to ensure everything was up and running and found that my profile had been deleted. What the . . .? I tried to do another profile and it wouldn’t let me for that email account. So, in the interest of consumer advocacy, I signed up again, using a different email account. That too was approved, then subsequently deleted. It should be noted that my account had a lovely photo that my mom took, I didn’t reveal anything such as contact information, it was not risqué, and was in fact a very well-written, detailed and (I hoped) interesting profile of a nice woman. I don’t know why they rejected me after the fact as they never bothered to tell me. I do know that any site that is down for a couple of weeks at a shot and deletes profiles without even a heads-up is not one I care to do business with. It also seemed very heavily geared to those who live in Europe, especially the UK. Perhaps that was the problem; it may be that I’m simply not as cool as the Brits and ergo deserve being summarily dismissed by both the site and its subscribers. I’ll guess I’ll never know. COST: Basic membership is free. Premium membership is required to send emails and for online chat, with a cost of $11-25/month, depending on the length of your subscription.

The above sites were all busts, a big waste of time. I had started to think it was just me: I am unspeakably dull, tedious, and long-winded; plus that I must be a hideous troll to boot. Just for giggles, I signed up for an account on a non pet-specific dating site, to cleanse the palate, if nothing else. - Perhaps the biggest online dating site, I created a quickie account and then was able to see the men in my age range within 10 miles. There were 327. I was floored. Some were really cute, all had photos. I was motivated enough to sign up for account and completely fill out my profile, including my sad photo which had engendered so little interest at the sites above. After the monumental failures described earlier, I really wasn’t very hopeful. However, in the first 10 minutes, I got 8 responses. In the first 4 hours, I got 33 responses. In the first 8 hours, I got 57 responses. After 10 hours and almost 100 responses, I hid my profile so I could sift through the delicious man candy. Now, I’m starting to think that maybe I don’t need that plastic bag mask after all. In fact, I’m thinking I probably should go buy that awesome pair of Christian Dior sunglasses that at last I am cool enough to wear.
Now in this ad I had used the same photo and the same text, including talking about my Radar and fawning over him, just a little. I stated it was important that any man I see like dogs in general and mine in particular. And every single guy who responded said they had dogs, loved dogs, or wanted a dog. In order to find a man who was a dog lover (or tolerant of one), first I had to find a man, period. COST: Unlike the other sites, there is no free “basic” membership option. Instead, it’s $19-33/month, depending on length of contract. There are lots of promo codes out there giving you one week for free, so with a little lucky searching you can probably score a free week trial memberhsip. The six-month membership also carries a guarantee: if you don’t find someone special within six months, you’ll get another six months free.

So, after hours of searching, that’s my advice to any dog lover dating hopefuls: don’t go to a dog lover dating site. Instead, go to a site that has lots of people on it, as it is there you will find those who share your interests and passions - a large sea to fish in ensures a better catch.

September 24, 2010

SWF Seeks Dog Lover - Part 2 of 3

This is Part 2 in a 3 part series where our intrepid single girl dog lover braved the wilds of dating sites to bring us her findings. Her reviews continue below!

Must Love Pets - This website is much better arranged than Dog Lover Match, if a bit cutesy - the logo is a cartoon with a boy and a girl car with pet passengers that are in love. Okay, that’s lame. However, unlike Dog Lover Match, there are no ads. Filling out the profile questionnaire is much more user-friendly - one big page full of stuff to check off, with the usual stuff of height/weight, hair/eyes, smoking, drinking, religion, interests, etc. After you’re done with this page, it gets surprising: the next page introduces you to their “Dating Network” whereby you can use your profile to post personal ads on not just the Must Love Pets site, but also Smoke Free Singles, Dating for Smokers, for teetotalers, for those seeking interracial liaisons, and BBW and their admirers, among others. If you’re significantly overweight, religious, smoking, non-drinker who loves pets in the U.S., hoo boy, this is the place for you! All told, it took me about 10 minutes to put together an account on both the Must Love Pets and the Dating in the USA sites, another 5-10 minutes to get my profile approved, and about 1 minute to discover that despite all these pluses, there is virtually no one using this site. At 10:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, prime time for seeking singles, there was 11 people online at one time. However, they were actual people, not shills - I got to see my own smiling face among those online. After one month of being listed, I have not had ONE response. Not ONE. Talk about a blow to the ego. COST: Basic membership is free, but in order to do instant messaging or enter chat rooms, you have to be a premium member. A premium account is $27 for a 3 month, $34 for a 6 month, and $43 for a lifetime membership.

Date My Pet - Billing itself as the leading online dating website exclusively for pet lovers, this site is replete with Google Ads, mostly for much more successful dating sites. For the “leading online dating website exclusively for pet lovers,” they sure don’t make it easy. I signed up and filled out the long profile including a great deal of detail about both myself and my dog; after clicking “submit,” I was warned that there would be a delay of up to 48 hours for my profile/photo to be approved. Two days later, still no approval. I went back to the site and found that although I had filled out all the forms and added the personal ad text, it was all empty. I redid it, saved it again. I went and checked two more times, and each time it still said my approval was pending, and everything that had my information was deleted so I had to re-enter it. After five days, I received an email stating my profile had been rejected due to lack of information. I wanted to pull out my hair. I went back in a week after that and redid my profile from scratch and had the same problem; the profile would be “saved,” yet I would go back in and nothing would be there. Just now I went and checked it and the information on my pet is still absent. However, the second time I set it up, the powers-that-be approved my profile. I needn’t have bothered: I haven’t received one cotton-pickin’ response, though I did receive two “friend requests.” Too bad they were FOR MY DOG. Besides being all but impossible to set up a profile, that’s another weird thing: you can set up an account strictly for your dog to have dates, including “grooming dates,” “romance,” and “a roll in the hay.” Wow. I mean, like, wow. At 9:30 on a Thursday night, there are 57 guests and 1 member on: me. COST: Basic membership is free; premium membership is from $6-$15 a month. I don’t know what premium membership benefits include because the table that was supposed to be “following” in their FAQs is absent.

PetsFriends - This site is absent of ads, and looks to be more professional than most of those above. However, they had these flashing profile photos of very hot, bikini-clad women at the bottom which I found cheesy and off-putting; I guess attracting a guy with a dog is not as lucrative as attracting just a guy who IS a dog. At any rate, the sign-up process was quick and painless, with the usual questions and entries - about me, appearance, job, education, etc. My profile was quickly approved and everything was good to go. Except, once again, NOT ONE RESPONSE. Nada. Seriously, I’m starting to think I maybe shouldn’t go outside without a bag on my head. Make that a plastic bag. There’s something more personal about rejection when you have your face shown; this silence and indifference to my sweet self I found hard to take. Unlike most of the sites listed above, you cannot see who is online, so there is no true way to gauge the popularity of the site. The profiles of those I’ve seen are overwhelmingly “just looking” and without photos - gawkers who come to see what there is to see (namely, the token really gorgeous women), and having seen that, move on to greener pastures. I did the same, minus gawking at the hotties. COST: Basic membership is free, and premium membership is $16-30/month, depending on how long you want to be on the hook. You need the upgrade in order to send emails, chat online, or use advance search options.

September 21, 2010

SWF seeks Dog Lover!

Written by an Anonymous Single Guest Blogger

I’ve been single for a long while. A really, really long while. For example, while I get invited to stand up in weddings often, I was informed for the last one that I was a great bridesmaid because I “never bring a date.” My invitation to the company Christmas party came last year without the “& guest” notation. My mom started crying when she was talking about my 6-years-younger cousin’s new baby boy.

These things passed me by without my taking any particular notice of them until I had something wonderful happen: I got a promotion. It came out of the blue, one of those things where the heavens part and a blaze of sunlight illuminates you as the chosen one. It was breathtaking, amazing. I picked up my cell to share the good news, and the thought, unbidden, came of my dog, Radar. I wish I could see him. The notion stopped my elation dead in its tracks. I had wonderful news to share, and the one I wanted most to share my good fortune with was . . . a golden retriever. It was then I had the unwelcome realization that yeah, maybe I did need to get out more, meet some people, maybe even try again with the un-fairer sex.

I was worried that my long sojourn from the dating scene and my subsequent immersion in all things canine would render me unfit for romantic companionship. The whole thing made me nervous. I thought maybe hooking up with other dog fanatics (maybe fanatic is too strong a word. Aficionado? That sounds better!) would be the way to go. But after unsuccessfully spending a couple of evenings a week sitting on a bench at the dog park trying to look both alluring and available, I decided to venture into the world of online dating.

There were many different online dating websites to choose from, so many that I was quickly discouraged. The lack of reviews about the different sites inspired me to try them all on for size, and let others know of my findings, perhaps saving them the sifting I had to do.

Below are my reviews of the dog/pet lover dating websites. I used the exact same personal ad content and photo to ensure the results would be meaningful. Hope they are helpful!

Dog Lover Match - I tried this site first. It is pretty bare bones in appearance, and the half dozen or so Google Ads on the side and top weren’t encouraging. The process for setting up my profile was frustrating and time-consuming - for example, it had many different categories, such as “Best Feature,” “Music,” “Attracted to Body Builds,” etc. You had to click on each category title, then a pop-up menu would appear for you to check or uncheck the different choices (for the Body Builds, you could choose whether you were attracted to Few Extra Pounds, Muscular, Average, Lean/Slim, Heavy, Plus Size, Swimmer’s Build, and Thin). Not having the choices on one screen made what should have been one step dozens of steps. The choices for its categories are odd too: isn’t lean/slim the same as thin? And swimmer’s body? Wouldn’t that be athletic? There’s a place up above which lists who’s online now, and it shows that there are 200-300 people online. Then why doesn’t anyone write to me, or respond to my “smiles”? (the site’s cyber-version of having your friend tell a guy you think he’s cute). I suspect that the site is rather elastic with its definition of people being “online,” and simply list everyone that has an account. Furthering this supposition is the fact that after a month of my account being listed, I’ve received only 8 responses, 3 from 800+ miles away and 4 from Europe. This site seems to have an unusual number of men who look very fierce, are posing against unadorned concrete walls, and have a lot of tattoos and huge muscles. Add with the fact that many of these same men list “lives with more than one roommate” or, my favorite, “has a special living arrangement,” and I think you’ll forgive me if I conclude that at least some of these guys are wards of the state. COST: Basic membership is free. However in order to write emails to others, you must get a premium account, which is between $36-51 for 3 months (the shortest time you can subscribe).

Tune in Friday for more Dog Lover Dating Site Reviews!

September 13, 2010

Fussie Foodies & Those that Love Them

To celebrate the special relationship between people and their canine companions, Cesar invited bloggers to share a story of how you “love them back™”

I interviewed three supporters of Amazon CARES, including one super loyal Cesar fan, to find out their stories. Please add your own comments about how you "love them back."

Guest Blogger Manuela on "How I Love My Dog Back."
I love my three dogs in such a way that I am not sure if I would be able to explain. I treat my dogs like they're kids, and spoil them as much as I can. Every time I go to any store I think about what I can get for them, and since they all have three different personalities, I have to choose something different for each one.

Sometimes they do something I am not proud of, such as chewing the carpet, but it is no different from children seeking attention. Each one of them have different habits and needs.
That is one reason Cesar Canine Cuisine has worked out so well for my three dogs. The love their entrees which they gobble up, licking their bowls clean!

Our puppy was a very fussy eater and we tried so many different foods until SHE chose the Cesar Puppy with chicken and beef in meaty juices.

Our very picky senior dog only wants the chicken and rice flavored Cesar Canine Cuisine for seniors.

Our female dog will eat anything, but if she could type this herself, she would place the Cesar Bistro meals are her favorites. As I said, I spoil my dogs, so I fix up her bistro dinner and make a big deal out of stirring it and pretending I am slaving over the meal, preparing it from scratch!

I am not sure if I return ALL the unconditional love they have for me, but I always do my best!

Guest Blogger Bonnie Lord on "How I Love My Dog Back."
By making sure he is caressed and spoken to gently and fed, and watered. He loves to do long distance walks with me sometimes. It is so fun to watch him "skip" down the road when he realizes that is what we're doing.

Editorial comment: I bet your dog would love Cesar Treats after a long walk! The grilled chicken softies treats are loved by all my dogs!

Guest Blogger Michelle Marie DeFelice on "How I Love My Dog Back."
Two words come to mind--unconditional love. My dogs are my best friends and such wonderful companions. They are both rescue dogs, which I nurtured back to health and then gave them a loving home.

September 3, 2010

15 Versatile Bloggers / Tweeters to #followfriday.

Written and researched by Molly Mednikow and Linda Schwefel.
Most Versatile Blogger Award

The CARES blog earned this award on August 16, 2010 from Wilma the Pug. I was just back in the US, and was bleary-eyed from overwork, hovering in that netherworld between super tired and “falling asleep standing in line at the grocery store” tired. In the flurry of activity that followed my return home, I’m embarrassed to admit that I forgot about the award. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank WtP for the recognition of my hard work; it means a lot, especially coming from a fellow writer whose blogs I greatly admire, as well as a dog breed I adore.

This last week I received the award AGAIN from the GrouchyPuppy. Wow, seriously, I'm blushing! What recognition! We all feel lucky whenever anyone visits our blog. I am addicted to my blog (and Twitter) and my ego is closely tied to anything related to Amazon CARES. So this award tells me that somebody out there noticed and likes me. Not just likes me, but really, really likes me! Now that I've crowed a little, I really need to get out of the habit of referring to me and Amazon CARES as the same entity. We have a cadre of volunteers in the USA as well as six paid employees in Peru… including a hunky French Director…but I digress. This blog is a time-consuming group effort with several great writers, and I am grateful for the contributions from volunteers both from Peru and stateside (you know who you are!).

But now, having received the award twice, I am doubly obligated to perform the duties prescribed thereby, including naming 15 fantastic bloggers. As tribute to Wilma the Pug, I'll be naming pug bloggers as well as versatile bloggers (and some versatile pug bloggers!).
So without further ado, I bring you my responses.
If you receive this award, you have several responsibilities:
1) Thank the person who gave you the award: THANK YOU! Gracias! Salamat! Grazie! Danke! ありがとうございます!
2) Share 7 things about yourself:

1. CARES stands for Community Animal Rescue, Education and Safety. The acronym is the same in Spanish. I researched key words that foundations use when developing this name.

2. Following a children’s education volunteer trip in Peru, I stayed behind to take care of a motley crew of street dogs that adopted ME! I never got on the plane to return to the US and Amazon CARES was born.

3. We are trying to grow our communications in Spanish, and also have a (not too active) Twitter profile @CaresinSpanish and a blog in Spanish.

4. I realized TODAY that the HSUS Animal Sheltering magazine sitting in my mail pile had a feature article about Peru's animal shelters and featured Amazon CARES heavily. Right the front of my magazine!!

5. I recently returned from two months in Peru. I took all the business cards I collected at BlogPaws in Columbus and purchased postcards to send out. Sadly, most of the cards lacked a snail mail address!

6. Most of our success is due to great volunteers. As regards this particular award, special kudos goes out to Linda Schwefel, my collaborator and sometimes “ghost writer.”

7. We have started give-aways on our blog with limited success (in terms of entries and interest). I just went on eBay and Etsy and discovered many of my give-away items being sold for $50-$300! Things that make you go hmmmm.

Now the most awesome part of this award:
3) Pass this award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and you think are fantastic (in no particular order):

Below I present pug bloggers and versatile bloggers that I admire, and where the twain meet as well, and emphasizing some pugs I'm getting acquainted with!

1. Cleo4mayor - Cleo is a comely pug who lives in Ottawa. In this era of profound malcontent with all things government, she has decided to throw her hat into the ring and run for Mayor of her fair city. Noting that "Pugs are all about shaking paws and licking babies," Cleo shows finely honed political instincts that will surely stand her in good stead in the upcoming election. Twitter: @Cleo4Mayor. I couldn't locate a FB page. If you know of it, please add it to the comments section.

2. Saved By Pugs - The blog of Pug Rescue of Austin, it is a blog that calls to CARES sensibilities - a mix of advice, calls to action, sentimental stories, with a heapin' helpin' of cute puppy dog photos. Really, what's not to like? They are on Facebook and Twitter.

3. @PookyPuggin - Have you ever wondered what your dog could say if it could speak? How about if it could type . . . While not a blog but a pug that tweets, we find it hard to pass on the chance to gain insights into one pampered pooch's daily activities, as well as the opportunity to marvel at his improbably wide and contagious grin.

4. @2pugsinapod - This entry is for a pair of tweeting pugs who not only offer their agenda for your envious consideration (Schedule for today-breakfast, nap, swim, nap in sun, nap on couch, afternoon swim, naps, dinner. May try to work a nap in if possible), but also titter at their snarky comments about pop culture. Truly some pugs worth following.

5. Dog Eared Tales (told by Shady) - Shady is not only a gifted writer, she is one looker of a black lab. Shady brings her doggie sensibilities to reporting poignant true stories of dogs that aren't as lucky as she (homeless, in shelters, etc.) as well as a journal of sorts, reporting on her life with its triumphs and heartbreaks. Is it wrong to feel envious of a canine's writing abilities? Probably. Follow on Twitter @ThisGoodThatBad

6. The Lip-Sticking Blog - This is a blog by Yvonne Divita that many anipals may not have yet discovered . It is extremely versatile with different bloggers. However I like the posts by Yvonne and her recommendations tailor-made for women professionals, with a special emphasis innovation and entrepreneurship. She is also known for her blog Scratchings and Sniffings; her musings and advice are always both intriguing and inspiring. Follow her on Twitter at and on Facebook.

7. I Love Rescue Animals- A blog that supports rescued animals, shelters, rescues and animal rights groups, this entry is well written and informative, insightful and thought-provoking. For example, who hasn't been saddened by the nameless, countless hundreds and thousands of animals on Petfinder, animals who lived and (many who will die) without ever having been named? Its "Last Chance Pets" include listings of animals whose time is up at shelters across the country; it makes this animal lover wish she could save every single one. Follow them on Twitter and on Facebook.

8. The Social Animal - With the goal of aiding non-profits through the often confusing world of social media, this is a wonderful resource for charities looking at a inexpensive and effective means to inform, involve and rally people to causes using blogs, Facebook and Twitter. Truly a "must follow" for anyone doing charity fundraising, volunteer recruitment or awareness raising campaigns. Follow her on Twitter too at @thesocialanimal. Connect with her on Facebook too!

9. Life with Dogs - A compilation of hilarious photos and videos, dog and animal welfare-related articles, and a truly wonderful ensemble cast of writers, Life With Dogs is a shining example of all that's good in cyberspace. Follow them on Twitter and on Facebook!

10. Nonprofit Tech 2.0 - This blog is exceptionally useful for CARES as it is geared especially for nonprofit organizations. With over 254,000 visits to its blog over the past year, Nonprofit Tech 2.0 is my go-to site for all things related to social media. Heather McCallister is an inspiration and full of great information. Follow her on Twitter @nonprofitorgs and on Facebook.

11. World Wide Vet - Peru - This is the blog written by Veterinarian Luke Gamble about his trip with Worldwide Veterinary Service to the CARES facility last October. It is an amazing journal of Dr. Gamble's travels and the work he did in Iquitos and environs, with equal doses of wonder (swimming in the Amazon with pirahnas) and sadness (loss of a dog with mammary cancer they'd operated on). It's always exciting to read about another person's experience working with CARES - sometimes we get so insular, it's enlightening to see things anew from a fresh viewpoint. The photos are incredible, too. Find them on Facebook too!

12. Not the Mama - After rescuing a pregnant cat not much more than a kitten herself from the streets, Martina Clements started this blog as a means of promoting spay/neuter of feral cats, helping with "overflow" from shelters in order that no healthy animal is put to sleep for lack of a home, Ms. Clements is a dedicated champion of animal rights. With excellent writing and a thorough list of resources from animal friendly companies to training guides to charities, Not the Mama is truly a treasure trove of both useful information and inspiration for those of us who love animals and wish to help them. Follow her on Twitter too @MartiSunshine. Connect with her on Facebook too!

13. - At first I thought this entry could seem self serving. After all, the kind writers recently highlighted Amazon CARES in a blog entry. However now I am hooked on their blog and am amazed at their capacity for good, consistent, frequent output. While I tend to write blogs that can be too long, produces daily blog entry (sometimes more than one blog a day!) that are succinct and hold the readers attention. Congratulations! Follwo them on Twitter and on their Facebook Page.

14. - this is the blog by Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, and it is FULL of EVERYTHING a person could want to know about veterinary medicine. Recently when my mother needed answers to some dog dermatology issues, I contacted Janet on Twitter. She was so kind and helpful. It really made an impression. Follow her on Twitter too @AboutVetMed and on Facebook!

15. - Oscar is a special dog who spent nearly a year traveling the world with his caretaker Joanne Lefson. Their goal, to promote pet adoption! His experiences in Peru are briefly chronicled here. More is in the works for this soon to be celebrity pet. I can't wait to see what's in store! Join the Facebook Group too!

4) Contact the bloggers and let them know they were picked!