By Elke Thoms
Tracy Baetz, 43, did not know what she was getting into when she began her blog, the Intrepid Pup, in 2012. After moving from southern Maine to Alexandria in 2011 for her husband’s job, her blog, Baetz says, “kind of started as an encouragement by friends, and also just a way to keep my skills up. As parts of other jobs, I’d done a lot of web design, social media, writing, sort of all the components, but never for my own brand. I kind of never thought about it as ‘I’m going to go out and do this award-winning blog!’”
The secret to Baetz’s successful blog, though, was found prancing around on four legs in her home, and responds to the name Tavish.
“I have a great dog that I was able to have that storytelling aspect about, and it just kind of came together, with very low expectations.”
On May 10, Intrepid Pup was awarded “Best Dog Blog” at the BlogPaws Social Media and Marketing Awards at their conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The blog is centered on Baetz’s now nationally recognized Hungarian Vizsla, who she and her husband bring along on trips to national parks, historical sites, beaches, and trails. The blog details Tavish’s adventures and promotes enjoying the outdoors, staying active, and appreciating history. We spoke with Baetz to discuss everything Intrepid Pup.
How did you feel when you found out you won the “Best Dog Blog” in the BlogPaws 2014 Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards?
I was really stunned! I wasn’t able to go out to the conference, but they were live streaming it. You’re hearing it through the computer screen and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, they just called our name!” It’s a huge honor, BlogPaws is a premier [networking group] for social media and pet blogging. For this particular kind of award, it’s nominations and then it’s this panel of industry experts—as opposed to the number of likes on Facebook or the number of people you can push to a contest— it’s actually peer-reviewed, and to have that kind of thoughtful review process is really validating and gratifying.
When you got Tavish, were you looking for a dog that you could involve in a blog?
He was about six and a half years old when I started the blog. So, no, we didn’t have him in mind for the blog when we got him. What we did have in mind when researching breeds was we had an active lifestyle, and we liked being outside and hiking, and so we were looking for the kind of dog that could join in on those activities with us—but never with the intent that it was going to become this.
Do you have any favorite places in Northern Virginia to go to with Tavish?
Great Falls, any of the trails along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, like Turkey Run. Mount Vernon is always neat. It’s very cool that it’s dog friendly, and it’s a historic place with great views of the Potomac.
What’s the most rewarding part of having Tavish as a member of the family?
The one thing that people sort of universally comment on about him is that he’s always really happy, and that kind of rubs off, you can’t help but smile. A really easy gift to share with others is how personable he is, and that is something that you can feel all the way down the leash and back up again.
What’s your funniest Tavish story—either from traveling with him, or just in everyday life?
On a Mount Vernon trail, one of the rangers asked what kind of dog he was, and you know we get that a lot. I said “Oh, he’s a Vizsla,” and she said, “Oh my gosh, a Vizsla! Wow that’s really cool, do you know there’s this blog called the Intrepid Pup and it’s about a Vizsla, and he goes around to all these different parks?!” And I was like “Oh, he is the Intrepid Pup. That is him!” She just squealed and went running off and gathered up all the other rangers, and got her iPhone and they were taking pictures, and they gave him an Honorary Junior Ranger patch.