The Top 10 Things About BlogPaws 2013

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Every year for the past four years, Say Media's Dogster and Catster have attended BlogPaws, the largest pet social media, blogging and pet enthusiast gathering in the country. It’s a chance for Dogster's editors to connect with pet lovers around the country and increasingly to see what the big pet brands are working on. This year Purina, PetSmart, and Hartz turned out for the fun, among dozens of other brands, to learn about tapping into the power of social media and storytelling to reach avid pet lovers.

Dogster's editor in chief Janine Kahn was also there for the sold-out BlogPaws 2013, which was held this year in Tyson's Corner, Virginia.

Here are her 10 favorite things from this year's show (in no particular order):

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1. For starters, I love the annual opening of the swag bag. Each year, we try to outdo the previous year’s Dogster and Catster contribution. And we take note of the clever items friend sites and competitors include.

Our limited-edition 2013 summer totes designed by artist Roxy B. Montoya and Say Media’s own Mira Kim were a huge hit. We later heard that hotel employees were trying to buy them off the guests!

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2. Another highlight of the event was attending a cooking demonstration by Top Chef winner Kevin Sbraga. The event was sponsored by PetSmart (which later piled a generous amount of toys and clothes from their latest collections – Tommy Bahama Pets and Martha Stewart Pets – on our laps).

3. One of my favorite (and rather dorky) things to do at Blogpaws usually happens on day one of the three-day affair: visiting the parking lot. Attendees drive in from across the country, and the car stickers, decals, and license plates tell me I’m in the company of my favorite people – those who let their pet-obsessed freak flag fly high. (My own license plate reads “D<3GLADY,” but I wasn’t about to drive from SF to DC to show it off.)

4. Meeting furry friends. Like this ridiculous ferret.

5. And this very friendly giant rabbit.

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6. Meeting with our Dogster and Catster writers. Blogpaws has become our yearly gathering spot, since our writers are scattered throughout the country. We make sure to spoil them with a fancy dinner at least once a year!

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7. Taking a private tour of the ASPCA's dog fighting exhibit at the National Museum of Crime and Punishment.

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8. Seeing the generosity of many pet brands. When we visited booths asking if anyone wanted to send food or treats to the House of Puddles, a senior Basset Hound retirement home in Maryland we were set to visit on one of the conference days, Natural Balance surprised us with some large bags of food, which the rescue was thrilled to receive.

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9. Making a detour to visit the House of Puddles, an item on Community Manager Lori Malm’s bucket list.

10. Coming home to my dog, Moxie, with a mountain of toys and treats to share.