Assistance Dog Blog Carnival? Your opinion, please!

I love blog carnival and blogswarms. I try to participate in them as much as I’m able (which is a lot less often than I’d like). Lately, it’s been occurring to me, with the blossoming of so many new, thoughtful, lush, sassy assistance-dog blogs that it might be time to start an AD carnival or to do a blogswarm.

However, this would require many interested participants:

- Sites to host the carnivals (if we went the carnival route);

- Bloggers to submit their posts;

- Readers to read the blogs!

What do you think? If you are a blogger, would you be interested in submitting/writing for AD carnivals?

If you are a reader, would you enjoy blog-hopping to learn more about more different types of ADs, blogs, and handlers/trainers?

My thinking on this is still in its embryonic stages, but here are my thoughts so far (feel free to disagree/suggest/tweak):

- All forms of ADs (guide, hearing, service, and all its permutations) most welcome.

- Any blog that is primarily or partly related to ADs could host, including puppy raisers, AD programs partner trainers, private AD trainers, family or individual handlers, SDiT blogs, etc. I think in the beginning, though, I’d like to give preference to partners/handlers as hosts.

- Those submitting/contributing posts for carnivals wouldn’t have to be AD partners/trainers/etc., or have blogs devoted to the topic, but their carnival post would have to be “on topic.” For example, a veterinarian could contribute a post about treating a service dog; a PWD could post about their decision-making process as to whether to partner with a guide, hearing, or service dog — including choosing not to; a friend or family member of an AD partner could write about what it’s like to have an AD “in the family,” etc.

- Based on my own limitations and the assumption that many hosts might also have trouble meeting deadlines, I think perhaps a quarterly carnival would be often enough, and if that goes well, perhaps expand to bimonthly, to keep the pressure low.

- We could also consider opening the carnival up to working dog blogs — not just assistance dogs. This could include SAR, police K9s, herding dogs, dog actors, etc.

Please comment on my questions and ideas, above. Also, please pass this post along to any other bloggers you think might want to weigh in. Thank you!

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34 Responses to “Assistance Dog Blog Carnival? Your opinion, please!”


  1. 1 staticnonsense September 27, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I’d love to be able to read something like this. Service dogs and becoming a SD partner is something I’ve been becoming increasingly interested in, and a blogswarm/carnival would help such people find a plethora of perspectives.

  2. 3 caitmac September 27, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I’d love to participate!

  3. 5 L^2 September 27, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I think this would be fun and interesting. Even though life may continue to be a bit chaotic for me over the next few months with going to guide dog training and getting us settled back in and working together at home, I’d still love to participate. I’ll post about it on my blog tomorrow too. :-)

  4. 7 Cyndy Otty September 28, 2010 at 3:38 am

    Depending on when this is my ability to participate may not be a huge amount. (That hunk of money Hunter College just took out of my savings account does make grad school seem a priority.) But this does sound quite interesting and I’d love to be a part of it.

  5. 8 patti brehler September 28, 2010 at 7:40 am

    L2 let me know about this! I am currently raising my third puppy for Leader Dogs for the Blind–FLD Gus, an 8-week-old black lab. I started blogging last March when my first puppy, Rosie (black lab) was career-changed (made it through the training, but too fast a pace to find a good match) and I was raising Mike, another black lab. Mike went back to LD a few weeks ago to start his formal training.

    I would definitely be interesting in being involved in this!

  6. 9 Ashley aka The CRPS Girl September 28, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I think this is a great idea and would love to participate. I’m always looking to “meet” new people in the assistance dog world and would love to share my own experiences.

  7. 10 Katrin September 28, 2010 at 11:06 am

    depending on when it was, I would be interested.

  8. 11 labradorrodeo September 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Hi! I’m a puppy raiser, and I think this is a great idea…I just got a very active little seven-week-old Lab puppy on Friday, though, so I might also be on the “I’ll try to participate, but things are hectic right now” spectrum!

  9. 12 Ro September 28, 2010 at 11:59 am

    I would love to participate! I’ll post about this on my blog, too. I don’t really know what a blog carnival or swarm is, but I’m eager to discover and help. Sounds fun!

  10. 13 Carin September 28, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I don’t have a flaming clue what a blog swarm or carnival is, but after getting a little more information about it, maybe then I could make a more informed decision about whether I could participate or not. In theory, I’m all over it, baby, but things are heating up in various parts of my life and I don’t want to bite off more than I could chew. Done that before, and everything suffers. I have told others that it’s better sometimes to say no than say yes and then do a crappy job of it. So, in the words of No. Five in the movie Short Circuit, “need…more…input.”

    • 14 Sharon Wachsler September 28, 2010 at 1:19 pm

      Thanks everyone for your comments so far.

      To Carin and others who have asked what a blog carnival or blogswarm is — I will try to put together a post with an explanation and examples. Two big differences between them:

      Blogswarm happens all on one day and posts are specifically written for the swarm, on the given topic. Blogging Against Disableism Day is a good example of a blogswarm. If we did a swarm, because of the increased pressure (new material, all on same date), I think we’d just do it once a year.

      Carnivals happen on a periodic basis (the disability blog carnival happens monthly and is hosted by a different disability blog each month; the chronic babe blog carnival happens weekly and is hosted by Chronic Babe). There is a different topic each week/month/quarter (I’m proposing quarterly for the assistance dog carnival, to reduce pressure and commitment), and bloggers submit the URLs for their posts on that topic, either posts that they’ve written in the past that fit with that quarter’s theme, or new ones written and posted just for the carnival.

      I’ll give more info in a future post, with links and stuff.

      • 15 Carin September 28, 2010 at 3:06 pm

        If that’s the case, I could probably help out. Doesn’t seem too difficult. If I can’t think of a new post, I’m sure I could find an old one kicking around that would fit.

  11. 16 brilliantmindbrokenbody September 28, 2010 at 9:02 pm

    I think quarterly is a good road to go.

    I’d be happy to both post and host a carnival!

    ~Kali

  12. 18 thetroubleis September 28, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I’d be very interested. This sounds like a great idea.

  13. 19 Whippies September 29, 2010 at 5:58 am

    Hi,

    I was actually hoping it was more a real physical carnival where there were different trainers to go over tasks, ,ect. with you and your dog.

    Maybe vendors for service dogs. Vets. Anything you could think of for service dogs. A chance for socialization, training, shopping ect………

    It is hard to find activities, training opportunities for service dogs.

    • 20 Sharon Wachsler September 29, 2010 at 11:08 am

      Hi Whippies,
      This, of course, would be a wonderful thing, too. However, I am nooooo way capable of organizing, or even attending, something like that. HOwever, every year IAADP (Int’l Assoc of Assistance Dog Partners) holds a conference that sounds a lot like what you described above. If my disabilities didn’t prevent it, I would be there with bells on! I recommend going to the iaadp web page — iaadp.org — and seeing if the conference is of interest to you. They have it in a different location every year. This year it’s in WA state.

  14. 21 caitmac September 29, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I’ve even got a topic in mind- retirement (I’m debating retiring Kaylee for various reasons). :) (I like the idea of a carnival, but I really WOULD like it to be monthly- I think there’s enough SD bloggers who post monthly to make it work, to be honest, and people don’t HAVE to participate in every one.)

    • 22 Sharon Wachsler September 29, 2010 at 11:26 am

      Hi Cait,

      Retirement seems like a good theme! Do you have a blog? (You need a blog to host; hosts choose the theme. If you don’t, you could post a request in the comments of an upcoming carnival host for that theme, though hosts get to choose the theme (and don’t have to decide ahead of time — only when they announce it), but it’s highly topical.

      There definitely seems to be enough interest to do this thang, but it hasn’t been *overwhelming* (yet) — there are a lot of AD blogs I haven’t heard from, for example. Given that, and that I always like to start out smaller, cuz you can always expand. Easier than trying to go the other direction. I’m limited a lot by pain and exhaustion, and a lot of the time it’s quite a struggle just to get out a post every 2 weeks or every month, even tho I’d hoped to do them weekly.

      So, I’ve decided to go with quarterly for now. That will also give us time to get the word out and get more readers and bloggers involved. If we get tons of submissions every time, and there’s demand for more frequent carnivals, we can always transition to monthly. And eventually it should take on a life of its own, and I won’t need to be that involved, and then maybe if people want to switch to monthly, I can take a back seat.

      I’ll try to get up another post as soon as I can giving details about how carnivals work, how this one would work, and proposing a calendar and first hosts. I’d like to host the first one — well, cuz it’s my idea and I already have a theme picked out. Kali at BMBB has said she’ll host, too.

      Anyone else interested in hosting? Please holla. I’m thinking maybe early Oct for 1st one (hosted here at After Gadget), early Jan for next, then early April, early July. So, if you want to host, and you have a preference for a month, speak up.

      THanks, everyone! This is very exciting!!

  15. 23 caitmac September 29, 2010 at 10:54 am

    (Well, retirement, or, omre open-ended, decisions)

  16. 24 L^2 September 29, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Glad to see you’ve gotten a good response on this. I could probably host sometime too.

  17. 25 caitmac September 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I have several blogs but I’m not sure which one I’d put it on (Kaylee/collie blog) or my SD (but not Kaylee-specific) one that is not set up at the moment but will be in the next few days. But I’ll submit that with the topic of decisions for the January carnival. :)

  18. 26 patti brehler September 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    If you wanted to expand a topic to include posts about the working dogs’ life before getting to their person (ie: puppy-raising), I’d be happy to host! (Although I’m looking forward to learning more about what that means!)

    • 27 Sharon Wachsler September 29, 2010 at 5:57 pm

      Patti,
      Yes, puppy raisers are definitely welcome to participate in the carnival. I’ll get a new post up with details about the what, when, where, who, and how as soon as I’m able. Hopefully it will answer all (or most) of the questions. Thanks for joining in!

  19. 28 Kimberly & guide dog Abby September 29, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    I heard about this from L^2. I’d be happy to participate by posting. I can do quarterly for sure.

  20. 29 Astrid September 30, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I’m not a servide dog partner, but I’d love to read an AD carnival or blogswarm, and maybe write some posts, as the fact that I don’t have a service dog, might be subject for some interesting writing, too.

    • 30 Sharon Wachsler September 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      Astrid,
      Great comment! Absolutely, I think non-AD partners can add a lot to the conversation.
      For example, many years ago I had a very brief conversation with a PWD who had applied to a SD program in my area. He had jumped through all the hoops, including considerable fundraising, and then when he went through the training period at the school, he realized having a SD was not at all what he thought it would be. He didn’t like it. It seemed like too much work for not enough help. He left he program without a dog. I was fascinated, because — running in the SD pack — I have not heard many stories like this. I tend to associate with other SD partners who are as obsessed with AD stuff as I am.
      There are a lot of myths about ADs — both positive and negative. I think sometimes it is difficult to live up to the hype. So, this is a topic unto itself: PWDs who choose NOT to partner with an AD and why. In some cases, people who had an AD and chose not to get a successor.
      And yes, tons of other topics — having a friend or family member with an AD, and how it affects your relationship with the PWD; being in a workplace with an AD and how it affects the job; portrayals of ADs in the media, and what impression you get, as a nonpartner, about what life with an AD is like, etc.
      The whole issue of media portrayal of ADs is a huge topic. ADs are rather the darlings of the media, and stories about assistance dog teams are frequently the feel-good human-interest story of the week. All together now: Awwwww. There was a rather scathing blog that was reprinted in an assistance dog newsletter that was a backlash to the rise in coverage of AD teams. The blogger (a PWD w/out an AD) thought the comments of AD partners and programs/trainers quoted in the media supported ableist assumptions, e.g., that PWDs without ADs are helpless, dependent, and miserable. That would make for an excellent discussion, as I thought the author made some good points, but also some problematic leaps.

  21. 31 Curasmom October 1, 2010 at 3:26 am

    I would love to participate in this! Though I am a bit unsure about exactly what it invovles. I have been blogging about my and Cura’s journey for over a year now (despite my recent hiatus due to WAY too much stuff going on right now). Until recently, despite many attempts, I had not managed to find other active Assistance Dog blogs.

    Cura Aebon (Scots Gaelic: Ebony Protector) and I are partners and, with the support and assistance of professional private trainers, I am also Cura’s trainer (I say ‘am’ instead of ‘was’ because I believe that training is a constant activity — not something with a begining and an end). We have been together for seventeen months and she was adopted at the age of about four from a no-kill shelter in the area where she had spent thirteen months. When we first met, she could not even sit on command.

    My story is definitley not the one that everyone is familiar with when it comes to Assistance Dogs. In my area, usually Assistance Dogs equal [guide] Dogs and (maybe) Hearing Dogs — almost always purebred and trained by an organization and given to the blind (or deaf) person fully trained. Cura is a Mobility Dog, trained as an adult, primarily by me.

    Well, that is enough babbling! Please keep me posted! I really would like to participate — no matter how busy I find myself! I may even be able to convince some very special men and women who are also working with ‘my trainers’ to give it a go. No promises, but I can try!

    • 32 Sharon Wachsler October 1, 2010 at 5:56 pm

      Hi Curasmom,
      Thanks for dropping by. I’m sorry you feel alone in your area, but online, you are definitely not a lone. There are a lot of great blogs by all variety of AD teams — partner-trainers, private trainers, program trained, mobility SD, psych SD, etc., mixed and purebred, etc. My first SD was 5 1/2 years old when I got her — a rehome — and my second was a 1-year-old rescue.
      If you check out the other comments in this thread, you fill lots of great AD bloggers. There are also several of my favorites listed on my blogroll. If you hop to those links, you will find more at their links!
      Check back in, and I will have the update on the carnival.

  22. 33 Curasmom October 2, 2010 at 2:30 am

    Thanks Sharon! In the past few months, I have discovered many more AD blogs and my ‘on the ground’ network has always been strong and has also taken a jump in the past few months. I am very fortunate. Like many who have commented on your post, I would not only love to participate in the carnival(s), but would be more than happy to host one. I am thinking a Spring or Summer spot is a better option for me, but if you needed me to and gave me enough notice, I could manage it at any point. I am not following your post (along with a few other new ones I have found thanks to your blog) so I will keep an eye out for further posts on the carnival(s).


  1. 1 Announcing the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival! « After Gadget Trackback on October 5, 2010 at 8:21 pm
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