How to start and grow a top pet health site...with love
Tripawds is all about Jerry, an osteosarcoma patient who lived well after amputation. But it’s also about all the other pets who may lose limbs, live with cancer and survive their diseases comfortably with the assistance of their humans.
It’s a site I’ve been championing since I discovered it a couple of years ago. Since then, at least four of my patients have received amputations after their owners discovered Tripawds and adopted the position advanced by Jerry’s family, Jim and Rene: “It’s better to run on three legs than to limp on four.”
Maverick’s is much newer site. It’s dedicated to Maverick the Weimeraner, the first canine patient with acute lymphoblastic leukemia to receive a bone marrow transplant cure. His site is dedicated to canine leukemia and lymphoma patients whose owners seek some of the same kind of hope Maverick’s family received.
It never fails to impress me, this kind of dedication to the lives of our pets expressed through the power of new media. But building and maintaining these sites is not for everyone. After all, it’s expensive to bring a story to the masses. And if you’re like Jim and Rene at Tripawds, you’ll soon find that your popularity can have serious consequences.
Now that Tripawds has outgrown its hosting plan, it’s looking to its readership to help pay for more server space. And it’s not cheap. That’s why they’re raising about $4,250 for Tripawd’s continued life beyond Jerry’s demise.
Because it’s no longer about Jerry––not really. Now it’s more about all the lives Jerry can still influence beyond his death through his family's dedication...and the support pet people like us can provide them with our donation
Maverick’s site still has a way to go before it hits Tripawds level, but I’ve been in contact with Marna and Howie about how much good their site can do should they take their own dedication to the next level and grow Maverick’s fan base...by following the Tripawds model.
Though Dolittler’s still a small blog by world-class standards, I too understand the travails of growth and the ups and downs of running a site on a shoestring and sweat. My server gets 80,000 hits a day. And though that sometimes seems like it’s getting close to breaking the bank, I make it happen knowing that 1-I couldn’t NOT do Dolittler every day and 2-one day Dolittler might receive a sponsorship I can live with.
When all else fails, I think of it this way: Other people sink their earnings into boats (a hole in the water into which to dump your cash) and I get by begging for rides while sinking MY money into a labor of love that grants me more than a simple guilty pleasure.
I think that’s what drives these other pet site-runners, too. Like Gina over at PetConnection. Like Heather Houlahan and Megan and Barbara and Stefani and all the rest of you who keep your pet sites up and running in spite of a down economy and the nagging feeling that your dollars might be better spent elsewhere. But in the end, it’s all about love (OK, and maybe a little obsessiveness), right?
PS: Help us help others by donating to Tripawds and Maverick’s causes. These sites can’t continue to do their excellent work without YOUR help. Please give as generously as you can.