Interview with Roxanne Hawn

Roxanne Hawn is an animal advocate and prolific pet blogger. We interview her to learn more about how blogging can help make the world a better place for our furry friends:

Roxanne Hawn and Lily

UFP: Roxanne, tell us about your two blogs and what you hope to accomplish with them regarding humane education

RH: Champion of My Heart is a real-time memoir about life with my fearful border collie, Lilly. Through our dog training and other adventures, we try to raise awareness of modern, humane dog training. All too often people subject dogs – especially fearful ones – to punishment-based dog management and training methods. So, we work hard to talk about and provide resources for better ways to help fearful dogs cope in our world.

Dog Food Dish is my best attempt to bring accurate, helpful information to families with pets. It’s less a crusade than it is a way to write short, useful posts about a variety of pet food topics, including not only commercial diets but also raw diets and homemade ones. Nutrition is such a big part of pet health. I hope to contribute, at least a little, to that conversation.

UFP: You participate regularly with Blog the Change. What is that and why do you participate?

RH: Blog the Change is a weekly venue through which pet bloggers can support various “Be the Change” efforts, where individual bloggers and groups of bloggers take on humane issues and causes. Often this involves not only blogging on key topics – like dog training, breed specific legislation, puppy mills – but also raising money for pet charities that are doing the hard work to improve pets’ lives.

Through blogging we attract attention, Blog the Change/Be the Change is a way to DO something important in the process.

We just wrapped up our first Be the Change campaign, called Never Shock a Puppy. Our coalition of bloggers took on several humane dog training topics over eight weeks in fall 2010. We raised more than $2,600 for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley (where we adopted Lilly) for their upcoming No-Choke Challenge, where they will give people new collars/harnesses, if they’ll give up their choke collars. We also gave away some terrific prizes, including private dog training lessons to a handful of dogs in the U.S. and Canada.

Last week, I delivered the final $500 from the campaign to the humane society, and that day alone … they had just taken in more than 30 puppies rescued from a puppy mill. We’re proud to support all their hard work.
UFP: Tell us about what inspired you to start blogging about pets.

RH: Well, I’m pretty sure I was born a pet lover. I sometimes wonder if it’s in my DNA. And, I’ve always been a writer, even as a child. I’m lucky enough to have always made my living as a professional writer, so blogging simply provides a new arena, a new narrative method, a new place to write about the things I love … and to write about important topics in the field. The bonus is the sense of community that comes with all the work.

Personally, I’ve experimented with Champion of My Heart, with an eye toward pitching and selling a book about Lilly. So, stay tuned about that.
UFP: Since one of your blogs is about dog food, let’s focus on that. What are the top three things you would recommend that people be aware of regarding selecting dog food?

RH: Food can be such a controversial topic. Several of my friends laughed when I took on this challenge. Let’s see … three things:

  1. Know what’s in your dog’s food. I mean really look at the ingredient panel and see if there is anything that gives you pause. We have a dog food rating tool that is quite enlightening.
  2. Pay attention to the very specific, unique nutritional needs of puppies –especially large- and giant-breed pups and tiny pups.
  3. Keep and open mind and talk to your friends (and your veterinarian) about pet food choices. You’ll learn a lot.

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