Alfie’s Diary is written by Rosemary Kind on behalf of three of her dogs, all diarists and founding members of the Pet Dogs Democratic Party. Sharing their view of the world, the blog has also led to a range of merchandise, four books and been ranked in the Top 10 Pet Blogs. We caught up with Rosemary to find out how the blog has grown into an international phenomenon, writing for different personalities and working with brands and PRs.
How has your blog changed from when you first started?
When we started the blog thirteen years ago, we were living in Belgium and had just got the puppy of my dreams. We only intended to write it for a short time for family and friends to know about all the funny things going on, living abroad and trying to work out what was going on around us.
We never thought then that it would be used to teach English in schools and would start being read by people all over the world! Complete strangers would meet us and know all about our life. Alfie became a celebrity and we just had to keep going. Now we review products, provide advice as well as continuing all the fun things that a life of international travel with a dog entails. Now our commute is between England and Switzerland, but still includes as many amusing situations.
What’s the best thing about being a pet blogger?
We love it when one or other of the dogs receive emails and notes from other dogs around the world. It is great hearing about our readers from the dogs themselves.
How conscious are you of the animal’s personality as opposed to your own when writing?
Very – I write from the point of view of three of my different dogs. I’ve even been asked if different people write it as they can tell the different characters. Funnily enough if you analyse the language it shows up differently too. I’m very in tune with my dogs so if I’m thinking about how one of them would see things, their voice comes quite naturally.
What’s better (and WHY) cats or dogs?
For me it’s dogs. Cats are way too independent, whereas the lives of the dogs and mine are totally intertwined. Where I go, they go… even to the bathroom!
Do you dress up your pets for Halloween?
We’ve struggled to find costumes that fit. As a breed, an Entlebucher is not a standard shape. They are much broader chested than many dogs of their size and longer in the back. Whatever costumes we’ve tried in the past end up looking ridiculous… for all the wrong reasons! Maybe Wilma needs to learn to sew.
Did you have a pet growing up?
It is my only childhood regret that I was not allowed to have a pet. I’m still working on making up for it now. My teddy bears were my substitute, that and every other dog in the neighbourhood that I could get up close to.
What’s the best top tip you have for pet owners?
Do your research to find the right pet that fits your lifestyle. Don’t base your decision just on how the animal looks. Getting the right fit will bring years of happiness and it’s worth the effort it takes to do that.
How do you work with PRs and brands?
It has to be a relationship of mutual respect. Both we and they need to achieve our goals out of it. When it’s a good fit then everyone wins. I always try to reply where I am sent things that are relevant to us, but I don’t always say yes. If I’m going to partner with a brand, even for a short time, I need to make sure we can do them justice and that we can give an honest opinion.
What are the best collaborations you’ve worked on?
Recently the best has to have been First Impressions with their bronze resin casting of Alfie’s paw. The end result is amazing, and they were a real pleasure to work with.
Do bloggers need their own industry association?
That’s an interesting question. Yes, it would probably be useful. While some people set out to do this as their profession, many come to it by accidental success and probably are the ones most in need of a support network and advice.
What other blogs do you read?
We dip into all sorts. Whenever we have research to do, both for writing and life in general, blogs can be the perfect place to find information. The internet age is great for finding that whatever you are facing for the first time, someone has been there before you. I do look through the Vuelio lists too as in every category there are some really interesting blogs to read.