This past week Doug posted "Don't blog the cat and other virtues." Unfortunately I was preparing for NLLD in DC and was unable to immediately disagree. This worked out because Doug followed up with "Don't blog the cat unless" I went to Technorati and searched for the terms library cats and found hundreds of references to librarians' cats, teachers' cats, etc. I understand there are many allergies out there, but those libraries that do have cats are passionate about them.
When I agreed to write for SLJ's blogs, I talked with Brian and Dan about content and referred to my other life blogging where I had commented in January about my poor German Shepherd Marshall who had been attacked by the neighbor's pitbull. I assured them I wouldn't blog about my dog, but they insisted that I not limit myself to only professional topics because the personal stuff is what makes blogs unique (my words, theirs were eloquent).
In fact, I received more comments from people in person and via email about my dog than I had on any other topic. People are passionate about their pets. I recently discovered that you could have pictures put on your bank checks and immediately thought about my pets. Some people thought about their children. Perhaps you have a personal passion that creeps into your professional life. Blogging gives you the freedom to indulge yourself while connecting your various interests to others.
Much of school librarianship involves helping students discover their interests and passions while connecting them to resources. Remember the child who dances to your desk to tell you about their new pet parakeet and you are able to send them home with a book about parakeets? They will spend the rest of the day showing the book to their friends and talking about their pet to everyone they meet.
So let me ramble about my pets. I am happy to report that Marshall and his companion Lucy are doing very well now. We made our weekly run to PetSmart during pet adoption days and showed off – I mean shopped. It's lovely to take two well-behaved dogs into the hugely popular store and check social interactions with the dogs waiting to be adopted. When other customers see my massive 110 pound mini-horse, all the adoptable pets look tiny and very attractive. We hope this helps others see how adopting a pet can bring joy to their lives.
Tiny children rush up and throw their arms around Marshall's neck and smother him with kisses. He tolerates everyone from infants to seniors. I do make sure I instruct children and parents that most dogs would react and be startled, maybe even bite, if a screaming-with-glee child threw her arms around them. Hopefully they will train them about this.
Lucy hangs back under Marshall's legs until someone says the magic words, "She's so pretty" then she shyly creeps over to accept their praise of her beautiful hair and black freckles on her nose. Lucy prefers the quiet gentle people.
We have given up on taking our cat Whisper out in public. The car ride is far too stressful as our beautiful dainty cat who nevers meows above a whisper, transforms into snarling hysterical lion. Instead Whisper takes care of mousing needs for three houses in our neighborhood. Each time we have a new neighbor across the street, Whisper and I walk over so I can introduce him. His prowess as "mouser" results in the neighbors requesting him to come visit.
Whisper sits in the front yard when we are out and guard things. The dogs jealously watch from inside. The last one home for the evening must convince Whisper to enter because the cat counts children and doesn't understand why any of the 4 would choose to stay overnight anywhere but home. My youngest son then scoops up "his" cat like a baby and heads to bed with the cat. He even stores extra pillows so the cat has choices.
There, you survived reading about someone's personal interests in a professional blog. I think it helps make us more human. Perhaps it will inspire you to post about your passions – whatever they may be. Use the tools of 2.0 and interact.