The Dogs of Instagram

The Dogs of Instagram 1When I was in college, I had to go to a presentation with my sorority. To be honest, I don’t remember what the lecture was about. Attending the speech was a requirement so most of us were there because we had to be there. The speaker was introduced and she walked onto the stage. She received a slightly unenthusiastic applause from the audience of college kids. She spoke for about 30 seconds when everyone started cheering and oohing and aahing. Everyone tried to get a closer look at the stage to see a very small dog walking across it. The dog was ADORABLE.

The speaker scooped up her dog and said, “Look at that! Wouldn’t it be great if humans greeted each other and reacted to each other the way we react when we see a cute dog? Wouldn’t doing that make other people feel good?” That concept has stayed with me ever since that night. It’s very true. We react to dogs differently from how we react to other humans.

A few weeks ago, I was using my dog’s Instagram account when I started thinking about what the speaker said. I have a “human” Instagram account and Raegan has a separate one. Raegan’s account only followsThe Dogs of Instagram 2 other dog accounts and her followers mostly consist of dogs. It’s not too often that a “human” account follows her and, when one does, I get suspicious. :) Anyway, I was posting a photo to her account when I started thinking about the differences between her account and mine.

  • Consistent photography: The photography in Raegan’s account is mostly of her, other dogs in our family, or of her canine friends. When people follow her, they know what to expect. My account features many different kinds of photos. I have pet photos, flower photos, city photos, hockey photos, etc. What I post in “my” account can vary from day to day. 
  • Consistent hashtags: Since Raegan’s photos are all of the same subject, I can always use the same hashtags, drawing a consistent audience. The same isn’t true for my account so my hashtags vary, attracting a random audience.
  • New friendships: Raegan has actually made friends. Most of her buddies post for themselves and speak in the first person (Yes, I know that dogs don’t The Dogs of Instagram 3actually take photos and type but let’s just pretend that they do for the purpose of this blog post.) so it is truly doggy-centric. Raegan gets a lot of “likes” and comments. The dogs share stories and know each other’s personalities. They ask each other questions to follow-up on past photos. They make fun of their parents, talk about their day, share about adventures, and ask for advice. Most important of all, they all have hearts of gold. The interaction on my account is very different. I haven’t met new people. I haven’t become FB friends, connected further, and planned to meet up with people from my Instagram account.
  • Emojis: It’s somewhat rare for a comment not to end with hearts or winks or some kind of other adorable emoji in Raegan’s account. People do not speak to me in hearts and flowers on my account. Raegan’s account is overflowing with them, though. They might sound silly but, c’mon, can you really look at an emoji of a monkey covering his eyes and not smile??
  • Positive reinforcement: The Dogs of Instagram 4If Raegan posts a photo after a trip to the groomer, her followers ooh and aah and…make her feel good. If I posted a photo after a trip to the salon, I might get accused of being narcissistic for posting a selfie of my new haircut.
  • Sense of community: The dogs on Instagram form communities. Yes, I know it’s actually the humans that are forming the communities but something makes it easier or different by using a pet account. The sense of community is SO strong that we know of each other’s illnesses and check up on each other regularly. We know about vet appointments and ask how they went. When a pet’s Mom or Dad is ill, the pet account “managers” reach out to offer help. Again, I haven’t seen this on my own Instagram account.
  • All-inclusive: Raegan’s friends are always expanding their network to MORE friends. It’s very inclusive and introductions to new dogs are being made all the time. The pups promote each other’s accounts and are really sweet about helping each other make new pals. That has never, not even once, happened on my account. 
  • The Dogs of Instagram 5Consistent engagement: I actually feel bad if I miss news on Raegan’s account. If one of her friends puts up something important, I feel terrible if we miss it. I don’t think “human” accounts are using Instagram in the same way as dog accounts are yet. I’m pretty sure that I could leave my own Instagram account for a few weeks and not miss much. I don’t leave my account, though, because I’d miss photos from the New York Rangers too much. :) When a dog “goes missing” from Instagram for a few days or longer, when he returns, he is welcomed back by accounts that are happy to see more photos. Why don’t human accounts act like this towards each other?

The canine Instagram community sticks together like glue. We celebrate dogs’ birthdays together. We help each other through tough times. We support each other when illness or injury strikes. I want to write about a very recent example of this.

Raegan has a dear Instagram friend named Koa. A few weeks ago, Koa was injured. He broke his left femur by itsThe Dogs of Instagram 6 growth plate and the chances of it healing were slim to none. As such, Koa had his left hind leg amputated. Accounts all around the world rallied around Koa. A hashtag was started called #runforkoa because Koa wants all of his dog friends to enjoy their runs for him until he’s up and running again. Since Koa asked for the exercise from others, Raegan has been doing a #runforkoa every day.

A fundraiser was also started for Koa as his veterinary bills are extremely costly. As of right now, $1,968.00 of a goal of $3,000 have been raised. There are still 12 days left on the campaign and I expect that all funds will be raised to help with Koa’s care. I encourage you all to visit the Care for Koa page (http://youcaring.com/careforkoa) and make any donation that you can. Every little bit helps!

As far as Instagram activity goes, most of us check in at least daily to see how Koa is doing and I am VERY happy to say that a video was posted on Instagram today The Dogs of Instagram 7that showed Koa running on the sofa to get a treat from his Dad. It’s unbelievable that he had his leg removed just a few days ago and this little guy is so resilient and perky! Gosh, we have so much to learn from dogs!

As I finish this post, I’d like to thank all of Raegan’s friends who gave consent for their image and username to be used in this article. You guys are wonderful and we’re so lucky to have connected with you all! I’d also like to suggest, one more time, that you look at this cute little face and check out Koa’s campaign.

This post wouldn’t be possible without my darling Raegan, my Rae of Sunshine, so I’m signing this one…

-LH & RH

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Going To Work With Dad

Going To Work With Dad 1Thursday was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. When I found out mid-afternoon, I was briefly bummed. My Dad is still a workaholic and doesn’t leave his office until really late so I knew if I went to visit him, I’d be able to “work” with him for several hours. I considered showing up at my Dad’s office until I realized that my small presence would completely throw off the rest of his month. You know it would have, Dad! ;)

I started to reflect on going to work with him a few times when I was younger. One time really stood out to me. I got very dressed up, took the bus (train?) to the city with him, was given plenty of note paper, drew and colored while my Dad attempted to make some phone calls, and hung out with his secretary as I set up a work space on the floor around her desk when my Dad went into a meeting.

It was a very long day but I have a suspicion that maybe Dad took a half day on those days. Maybe? I can’t imagine that I went to the office with him for his usual 12 or 13 hours. There have to be child labor laws that apply to this take your kid to work thing even if your kid is given hot chocolate, right?

I remember that as soon as we got into my father’s office, I was brought a cup of hot chocolate. Work was AWESOME! I never got to have chocolate in the mornings! I don’t think anyone has brought me a cup of hot chocolate since that day when I was five or six. I’m guessing that my Dad drank coffee and they just brought me something to drink so I didn’t feel left out.

I sat in a big chair on the other side of my father’s desk and colored from there. We were facing each other but I don’t remember what his phone calls were about because I was VERY busy with my own work. I can’t say that I learned a lot (or anything?) about what my Dad did day in and day out but I knew that he was very important and that he worked very hard. I also knew that he had an awful lot of paper clips all somehow magnetically stuck together into a long chain that I, of course, got all tangled. Why did he have so many paper clips stuck together with magnets?! Well, whatever…the crazy paper clip situation isn’t what I remember the most.

Going To Work With Dad 2

NOTE: The following bit is a sweet, respectful, and loving gesture taught to me by my father. It isn’t a question of feminism or women’s rights. It’s a matter of a man teaching his little girl exactly what he wanted her to learn.

What I remember most about that day is walking to lunch with my Dad. I kept walking towards the curbside of the sidewalk. My Dad kept telling me to walk closer to the stores and that he would walk closer to the curb. I asked him why he got to be on that side and he said that men stand closer to the curb because if any vehicle veered off the road, the man was supposed to protect the woman.

A moment after that, a REALLY loud ambulance drove by us. It didn’t come THAT close to us but, for those of you who’ve been right next to an ambulance in NYC, you know how loud they are. They’re pretty darn loud! I was young and the siren startled me. It kind of scared me a little and, in that instant, I understood why my Dad wanted me to grow up thinking that men should walk closer to the street.

THAT’S what my Dad taught me that day. He taught me that a man who believes in good old-fashioned chivalry will walk closer to the curb, a lesson that will last my lifetime. If I ever have a little boy, it’s certainly a practice that I want passed down to him. Thank you, Dad! I love you!

XO- LH

Note: Although I went to work with my father on that particular day, I watched my mother work as a full-time Mom, a classroom mother, a softball coach, a Brownie leader, a member of an investment club, a participant in her college’s alumni organization, and many other roles. This post is not to overshadow anything that I learned from my Mom as she taught me life lessons constantly. BOTH of my parents have work ethics that are unparalleled and what they can teach me, to this day, is endless.

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Aunt Launie’s Time-Out

Time-Out 1On Saturday night, I reached my first achievement for LH Event Group. I started, enjoyed, and finished my first event. From what I have heard, everybody who attended had a great time. Since I put a huge effort into it, I was very happy to over-deliver. My two biggest priorities for the event were 1) that Glenn Anderson, the featured hockey star, was comfortable and 2) that my guests had a wonderful time. I’m happy to say that my mission was accomplished and I was able to enter Sunday with a feeling of contentedness. I’ll be writing more about the event later on the LH Event Group blog.

When I woke up on Sunday, my event was over. That particular project was complete so I didn’t do any work yesterday. I haven’t read an email or Facebook message since late Saturday night. That might sound like a standard Sunday for some people but that’s not the way my Sundays are. I do believe in “lazy Sundays” because I truly think that everyone needs one day per week to refresh, regroup, and recharge. Our world is so fast and full of pressure that, for the past few years, I’ve made a commitment to relaxing on Sundays. I tend to stay home but I don’t totally disconnect. I sometimes read emails and, once in a while, I reply. That’s the only work I usually do on Sundays.

I’ve broken my Sunday commitment over the past few months, though. In my last post, I wrote about starting LH Event Group and it’s been consuming a lot of my time. It’s been rare that I’ve gone to sleep before 4:30am over the past few weeks. I know that the sleep I’ve gotten hasn’t been restful because even when I’ve been asleep, my mind was still working on some level. Sundays have been a work day, just like any other day of the week.

Yesterday, I put myself in time-out, to benefit myself as well as my sweet niece. I checked Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. but I didn’t really read or reply to anything that had to do with work. I didn’t even think about work. I spent several hours at my sister and brother-in-law’s house celebrating my niece’s second birthday. The celebration actually started on Saturday with her party but I didn’t feel like I was 100% present at her party because my mind was, partially, on Saturday night’s event. Yesterday, though, was totally focused on my niece. I played with her, laughed with her, took some silly selfies with her, and had fun. She took my hand and we walked around their property, she showed me her birthday presents, and she made funny faces at my camera.

Time-Out 2

I’m a blogger. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m an event planner. I’m a social media consultant. I’m an Internet marketer. I’m an Aunt. I often wear many hats but yesterday I was just Aunt Launie. At one point during the evening, I told my niece to look at the sky and I said it was so pretty and calming. She looked at me like I was crazy. What two-year-old admires the sky when there is a remote control car to race? Of course, our attention quickly shifted back to the car! That was my state of mind, though. I was relaxed.

I’m so happy that I was able to attend my niece’s birthday party AND spend her actual birthday with her. Her birthday was made even sweeter (for me) knowing that making her laugh was the only thought on my mind. Happy 2nd birthday to my big girl!

It’s well into Monday afternoon and my time-out is over. Back to work I go!

-LH

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Introducing LH Event Group

Introducing LH Event Group 1New ideas swirl around my mind all the time. A little over a year ago, I had an idea that is now called LH Event Group. The idea for LH Event Group stemmed from my love for hockey, event planning and organizing, and social media. I wanted to hold sophisticated events where people could meet their favorite athletes, musicians, actors, etc. at enjoyable, chic, and intimate venues.

I’ve met a lot of hockey players in a variety of situations. There are some events where you stand on line for hours, get to the front of the line, and then have 30 seconds talking to the athlete. Other events offer more one-on-one time between the athlete and his fans. Usually held while watching a hockey game, the latter events offer sports and fun in social settings.

I have ideas for events that are very different from the ideas of the businesses that already exist. I saw this as an excellent opportunity! I seized the opportunity and called Glenn Anderson, six-time Stanley Cup Winner, former New York Rangers player, and Hockey Hall of Famer. I asked him if wanted to do an event with me and he did! LH Event Group was officially born.

I’m happy to say that the event is scheduled for Saturday, April 12 at The HAT Tavern in Summit, NJ. We’ll be watching the Rangers’ last game of the regular season as they play the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal. Tickets are available online or at the door (Note: There is an increase in price for tickets purchased at the door and they are CASH ONLY.). Please join us for an evening of watching hockey, socializing, networking, and laughing with GlennIntroducing LH Event Group 2 Anderson.

If you’d like more information about this event, here are links:

If you’d like to connect with me at my LH Event Group social media accounts, here are links:

Of course, you’ll still be able to find me here, as always! I hope to see many of you on the 12th and I’ll DEFINITELY see all of you here soon!

-LH

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Gatorade Magic

Gatorade Magic 1It’s either been three or four weeks since I first got sick. I don’t even remember how long it’s been since I’ve had this sinus/ear/throat/gland/head issue. I usually run to the doctor pretty quickly so I decided to wait a bit this time. Of course, I made the wrong decision. Within about a week, my cough and sinus pressure were out of control. I finally got antibiotics from my doctor to treat the sinus infection.

I took the medication as prescribed. I also took NyQuil, DayQuil, cough drops, and a variety of other cold, sinus, and flu medications. I also took some suggestions from friends: tea, honey, vinegar mixes, etc. They did nothing for me but the antibiotics definitely helped. By the end of the seven day prescription, I was able to breathe a bit better through my nose and I was no longer going through a box of tissues a day. The clogged ears and cough were still terrible, though. About a week after I stopped the antibiotics, I had a pretty thorough exam. I got a few different medications and started them the day after they were prescribed.

On the day they were prescribed, I didn’t have time to get them filled at the pharmacy because Henrik Lundqvist (New York Rangers goalie) was being honored at Madison Square Garden before a home game. I really didn’t want to miss it but I didn’t feel well. I wound up going to the game and promised myself that I wouldn’t leave the house again until I was better. I had fun at the game but I felt awful the whole night. I usually get up and socialize in between periods but on Monday night, I stayed in my seat the entire evening. I couldn’t even get up to get a bottle of water. I felt like every bit of energy had been sucked out of me and on the train ride home, I had to hold my head in my hands because it was throbbing in pain.

The next morning, I started the prescriptions from my doctor and, over the next few days, I tried everything possible to get rid of the headache. If it was on the shelf at CVS or Walgreens, I tried it. I tried drinking extra water. I tried extra caffeine. Nothing was helping. I still had my cough and coughing made my brain feel like it was rattling in my skull. The pain was pretty bad and I didn’t know what else to do.

Then I remembered something that was said during a CPR class I took as a teenager. During the class, someone went off topic and asked the EMT what to do in case of a hangover. The EMT said that, as long as it’s not alcohol poisoning, the only thing that truly helps is time. However, he also added that drinking alcohol is dehydrating. When you are dehydrated, your electrolytes become unbalanced. When your electrolytes are off balance, your headaches intensify. He said that, aside from time, Gatorade helps, too.

I tend to crave Gatorade when I’m sick so I asked my father to get me a few bottles and he brought me three or four 64oz. flavors. I didn’t cut back on the water I was drinking (probably about 40oz. per day) but I added 64oz. of Gatorade per day. My headache pretty much vanished! As long as I’m drinking Gatorade, I can keep the headache under control. As I begin to feel it creep back, I drink another 10oz. or so.

It all makes so much sense to me so I wanted to share this with you. I’m NOT a doctor, though, so don’t take this as medicalGatorade Magic 2 advice! Even though I drink five or six glasses of water per day, my body got dehydrated from my cold/virus. It’s pulling the water that it needs to adequately give my brain and heart enough fluid. Other parts of my body, though, are not getting enough fluid so my pH levels are abnormal. Therefore, the electrolytes in Gatorade are the “magic potion” for restoring my pH levels and facilitating fluid absorption. The electrolytes in Gatorade help my body absorb the fluid SEVEN times faster than if I were drinking just water. Do you think I’m crazy? Read this for more of an explanation.

At this point, I’m taking the medications prescribed by my doctor and drinking as much Gatorade as I can. I’m not forgetting about the water, though! I know water is very important but I’m grateful that Gatorade is working its magic!

-LH

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