What inspired you to apply to become a Skype brand ambassador?
Before I became a pet writer, I was a travel writer and often away from home on guidebook assignments. I really had no way to stay in touch with our pets other than asking our pet sitter to put our dogs or cats on the phone, and that never worked out as hoped. Although my husband and I usually travel with our dogs these days, we still like to stay in touch with our cats, who are home-bodies, or check in with the dogs if we’re on a business trip they’re not able to attend. Whether used alone or used with a pet sitter, Skype can be a great way to stay connected to your pets while on the road, whether it’s for a day away at work or a dream vacation. Just a few moments interacting with your pets can ease your worries and let you go back to the business of having fun on your trip!
What advice would you give someone who wants to use Skype to keep in touch with their pets?
You’ll have more success interacting with your pets via Skype if you do a little training. Like any kind of training you do with your pets, you’ll need to work on it over time and you’ll be most successful with positive reinforcement. Begin the training long before your trip. For example, sometime when you’re not really desperate to see and talk with your pet (not when you’re on a long overseas trip!), call your pet at home with the assistance of a friend to play the role of pet sitter. Have your friend hand out super, super tasty treats (not your dog or cat’s everyday treats but ones that you know they’d do anything for) and reward your pet for glancing at the monitor when you speak!
How are you currently using Skype to stay close with your community of fans and followers?
I use Skype to record my radio show, Dog Travel Experts, with my co-host, Tracie Hotchner. Tracie is based in Vermont, and I’m in Texas. We’ve used Skype to pull in expert guests and dog travelers from the UK and across the US. It’s so much easier than talking on the phone with the guests. Some of the best parts of the interviews are when the guest’s dog decides to speak up! It always brings a fun moment to the interview.
What’s the most memorable Skype Moment you’ve ever had with one of your pets?
I think the most special moment was when we Skyped with our pets from Jamaica. We had a pet sitter at our home; the peace of mind it gave us to chat with the pet sitter and see our dogs and cats was huge. After our chat, we were able to return to our trip, which was both a business and leisure trip, without worrying. We knew our dogs and cats were doing well!
Can you share the cutest pet photo you’ve ever taken?
I’m not sure it’s cutest but this photo of Coco playing in a soft drink box has always been one of my favorites! She absolutely loved 12-pack boxes when she was a kitten and, within minutes, would dive into them. She’s a big girl so she’s moved up to 24-pack boxes now!