As the Cat Writer’s Association gathers for its annual conference later this week, it will be bitter-sweet as we celebrate the life of veterinarian and CWA President Lorie A. Huston, DMV, who passed over the Rainbow Bridge on Sept. 30 while visiting family in Omaha, Neb.
Serving in her first year as president of CWA, the blogger, author, freelance writer, and social media strategist died at age 54 from complications from liver disease. Many of us who knew her were shocked, as we had no idea that she was battling with these demons. Paws’ mom later learned she had been battling with liver disease almost all her life.
As Paws reflects upon this, we recall my Dad’s final days almost 20 years ago, and his incessant chattering about where he wanted to be buried, and how Mom would live at least another 10 years. He kept telling her, ‘time marches on’. He’s right. This past December, my Mom, my best friend passed on. My sister said, ‘Make her proud’.
That’s what all the cat writers should do for Dr. Lorie as we attend a CWA conference, one that will be a milestone. This year, CWA is sponsoring MeowWorld in conjunction with BarkWorld in Atlanta, Ga, from Oct. 30 – Nov. 1. The conference dynamics will be very different, yet very much the same. There will be a whole new level of excitement and interaction. It will be bigger with vendors and more people, even if they are ‘doggie’ folks. Mainstays – the awards banquet, the meet and greet party, the agent editor appointments, and the dedication to bettering the lives of cats, will march on, with renewed vigor and enthusiasm, as we celebrate Dr. Lorie, and her die heart devotion to both cats and dogs.
BarkWorld started in 2009 to help pet writers better navigate the online world. Now the Meows will join in. You gotta admit the idea of a whole new MeowWorld is stellar, if not darned right out of this world.
According to BarkWorld’s Facebook page, BarkWorld Expo was created by Denise Quashie, Social Media Strategist for Socially Planned .After putting her dog, Frankie Beans, on Twitter she realized there was a large pet loving community using social media; however there was little education being provided at other pet expositions and conferences for this community. Thus, BarkWorld was born.
It’s a good thing as that world is constantly changing. There are new social media platforms, and the existing one are morphing into a whole new realm Many traditional print publications struggle with re-identification in a changing world. The demands placed to market oneself keeps getting raised higher and higher. To become or remain successful, we need keep our names out there and stay connected. We need to challenge ourselves to know more and be more.
MeowWorld, Cat Writers, and the BarkWorld Expo are all ways to do this.
Paws’ will not profess to know Lorie well, but was looking forward to learning from one of the best, while serving as CWA’s vice president in 2015.
We had many email conversations about how we could work together to navigate the changing world of print, online writing, and social media. We had discussed various ways to increase traffic and interaction at the CWA website. She was instrumental in giving a tremendous amount of feedback in selecting the CWA Council members. She was also a wealth of information.
Her blog, Pet Health Care Gazette, covered cats, dogs, exotic pets, fish and horses. As Paws was researching information for blog posts, I came across some excellent posts, including one of how smart cats are. She was an excellent writer and cared deeply about her subjects. That showed by the fact that she had 6 cats, all of whom were rescued while doing the work that she loved.
As Paws learned more about Dr. Lorie’s accomplishments, the possibilities became even more exciting. While we knew she was accomplished, we didn’t realize just how much so. She was the first veterinarian to receive Winn Feline Foundation’s Media Appreciation Award, an honor celebrated at the BlogPaws conference in Nevada just this past May. Additionally, she was a finalist for the 2014 Pet Industry Woman of the Year Award. Those accomplishments speak wonders to her talents and her contributions to the pet world.
We knew she was a fellow New Englander, practicing at the Hoffman Animal Hospital in Rhode Island. She earned her veterinary degree in 1986 from Iowa State University, after receiving her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Nebraska. We knew she was dedicated to helping cats and dogs, and helping others when in need of information.
As the cat writers gather for MeowWold, we need to march on in celebration of Dr Lorie Huston’s life, her commitment to bettering the lives of all pets. she was committed to bridging the connectors between traditional and online media. She was doing a great job of it. She reached out to new CWA alliances and partnerships. She had a vision. Now it is up to all cat writers to march on in her honor, and navigate this unknown new world. In that, we all should stand up and salute Lorie, and embrace our whole new MeowWorld.
As Paws has learned over the years, we should celebrate people’s lives. While we will always miss them, as my Dad said, time marches on. Our beloved friends and family move on. Our cats and other pets pass over the Rainbow Bridge. They may no longer be with us, but they are not gone because their legacy lives on through us forever. Paws’ challenges cat writers to make Dr. Lorie proud, and make this MeowWorld an event that will be out of this world!
Whether a cat writer, or not, share your thoughts about celebrating the legacy of the humans and the pets that we love and have shared a special place in our lives. Please weigh in and join the discussion.