STATE OF THE ONION ADDRESS (MID 2018 EDITION) *PLEASE READ*
BRINDLEBUNCH STATE OF THE ONION ADDRESS: JULY 27, 2018
Hello from MUM and POP, everyone!
We are typically very excited to sit and write to you, as we love preparing our STATE OF THE ONION address each year, but we must admit, this STATE OF THE ONION address is going to be a very different experience and it has us both feeling very... emotional. We’ve been struggling with the need to write you all for a few weeks now, and it’s finally time to share some really important and even difficult information with you.
This STATE OF THE ONION address is happening now, in the middle of the year instead of just after New Year’s like it usually does because a LOT has changed in our lives in the last year and a LOT more is set to change in the near future. We just can’t wait. There’s been some very serious conversations and honestly more than a few tears shed as well. Because...
ARCHIE WILL BE RETIRING SEPTEMBER 23rd
I’m afraid so. It’s been a very, VERY tough decision for us, but a great many factors – not all bad - some actually VERY good - have been playing a role in making this absolutely necessary.
For the next few months we will be supporting Archie like we always have and helping him share his picturestories and adventures as per usual up until Sunday September 23rd, which is the date of this year’s ARCHIEPAWLOOZA. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, ARCHIEPAWLOOZA is a nice, low-key, fun “meet and greet” opportunity for friends of Archie to come and see him and Mirabelle in person. It takes place each year inside the A DAY FOR THE DOGS dog festival at the Fanshawe Pioneer Village here in London, Ontario, Canada.
You can read more about the event at the official website page HERE:
This year’s ARCHIEPAWLOOZA will represent almost exactly FIVE YEARS of social media posting, park reviews, advice, travel, adventures and so much more from our boy and his saucy sister.
We’re going to continue to post Monday through Friday until this year’s ARCHIEPAWLOOZA so that we can feel the closure of completing a nice, tidy five years, and also to provide the Brindlebunch with an opportunity to meet a lot of you in person, so that we can say “Thank You” and express our gratitude and love for you and all you’ve done for us. We wish we could see you all. We know that’s not possible and we apologize for not being able to show so many of you how important this has been for us and how we feel so blessed by your friendship and loyalty for five incredible years. Following that very special day, Archie will sign off for what could be the very last time.
He will continue to work locally as a therapy dog (which was our only real plan when this all started), and he will continue to work with the local London Fire Department whenever they ask him to, but he will stop posting daily stories on his blog and Facebook. Indefinitely.
This may give him the opportunity to write the books many of you have encouraged him to do. Or make movies. Or series of videos, and other fun projects we never quite found the time for. And at some point in the future, he may begin to publish a monthly newsletter. Maybe. That’s something we’d hoped to accomplish even before now, but – and it pains us to admit this - we can’t promise anything. Not yet. Not until we see how life plays out after Archiepawlooza. Which brings us to...
1) FACEBOOK IS NOT THE SAME
Facebook was initially a wonderful tool to connect with people. It was magical in its infancy and during the peak of Archie’s popularity, his page was growing at a rate of ONE THOUSAND LIKES PER WEEK without any special effort - for FREE. That’s crazy to think about now. After getting so close to fifteen thousand likes, the numbers have now started to collapse and are going backwards. We are rapidly losing the ability to stay connected to Archie’s Facebook friends and there is almost NO opportunity to connect with new people to replace those that lose connection with us.
The Facebook platform works very differently now. In the early days, all you had to do was “LIKE” Archie’s page and you’d be pretty much guaranteed that his stories would appear in your newsfeed. Then Facebook adopted a “PAY TO PLAY” philosophy around 2015 and began charging for Likes. Following that change, Archie’s friends would have to comment on or "like" his posts almost daily to keep his stories in their feed.
Because of that, the first group we lost were all the folks that simply liked to read Archie’s posts, but would never leave a comment or even "like" a post. That represented THOUSANDS. And it’s gotten much worse from there. Facebook has tightened up how their platform works now and today it literally does not matter how often you visit, comment or like Archie’s posts. Most likely you are seeing less and less of him in your newsfeed, if at all. We get heartbreaking messages DAILY from people asking where Archie went, or asking if everything is OK, or telling us that they miss Archie’s uplifting stories. Every day. Right now, Archie posts TWICE DAILY, FIVE TIMES A WEEK, and all but the most loyal followers have no idea. It's discouraging to say the least.
Sadly, most of Archie’s efforts are not getting to more than a few hundred people at best, despite having almost fifteen thousand followers. And again, reaching new people is nearly impossible without paying for it. We have even experimented with paying for new followers, but it’s not at all the same. There is little to no loyalty and those new followers fall away very quickly, so it’s a frustrating exercise trying to maintain your “numbers”. And this was never about numbers for Archie. It was never about getting famous for Archie either. It was about having a positive impact by reaching as many people as possible with a message of universal love and acceptance. Again, outside of a few very loyal and lovely people, Archie’s ability to have that affect has been drastically reduced.
2) OUR NEW BUSINESSES NEED US
Some good news: MUM’s video production company is doing very well. In fact, WITH LOVE STUDIOS, is doing more than double the business it did last year. POP has recently left the local university to teach his screenwriting class as an independent instructor and was given a position with the local Film Festival, the Forest City Film Festival. He also has a contract to write 30 articles a month for an automotive publisher, and helps maintain a car dealership website. And of course, he still volunteers quite a bit with Archie. That’s five separate jobs for POP. He also tries to remain available when his filmmaking partner wants to produce another documentary film like their last, MISSING MOM, so although this is all good for us right now, spare time - especially the quiet, reflective time Archie needs to compose his stories - is in short supply.
Fortunately, we both work from home, and that is the ONLY reason we’ve been able to support Archie's adventures for this long. If even one of us had a regular 9-5 job, this wouldn’t have been able to happen the way it did. It takes a MINIMUM OF THREE HOURS every day to help Archie. Minimum. That’s just the time required to post his stories. That’s not accounting for any travel or the time spend creating photos, art, costumes, correspondence or anything outside the norm. Even though Archie has started to take weekends “off”, he still works for several hours on the weekends getting ready for the next week. It’s a lot.
If we have any spare time in future, we’d like to spend it being together as a family. This is not a complaint. We are incredibly lucky to have all of these business opportunities and we have to do all we can to make them as successful as possible right now because...
3) WE WANT TO START A FAMILY!
With a two-legged baby, that is! MUM and POP have been together for almost 15 years, working as starving artists for most of it and we are just now starting to feel the safety and security we feel we need to bring a baby into the world. And we’d like very much for that to happen. We’d also like to make sure everyone knows that our original babies, Archie and Mirabelle are not going to be starved for attention through this next chapter. Not even close. We LOVE Archie and Mirabelle beyond any reasonable explanation and honestly can’t get enough of them. We ADORE them. They will be with us and we will be with them FOREVER. So, this may be the end of one chapter of our lives, but we will all very much continue to spend as much of our days exploring and marvelling at this beautiful world around us –together.
And that’s about it, everybuddy. We’re both rather emotional and upset even writing this now.
Originally we really wanted to make a video of this announcement, but it became obvious very quickly, we'd never make it through without blubbering all over everywhere. We could go on and on, especially about how hard this decision has been on us in the last few weeks, but that would be silly and it would undermine all of the wonderful experiences we’ve shared with you. There was never really any plan. Certainly, no exit strategy. We thought that MAYBE if Archie was still posting at 10 years old, THAT would be a good time to retire him so he could write his memoirs as a senior canine citizen, but... we just couldn’t quite make it that far. But, for Archie, it's been 35 years of community service, charity work and blogging and that's a pretty good run........
This has been a GIFT. From the very first post, to Archie’s coverage in the local papers and radio and TV stations, to completing his quest to see all 461 local parks (and over 100 others in the region for a total of almost 600 park reviews!), to the arrival of Mirabelle (who is biggest and also The Boss With the Sauce) to being the only dog in history to get an invitation to London City Hall’s Council Chambers to be recognized by the Mayor for his community service and charity work, to receiving the very prestigious Ontario Fire Marshal’s Fire Safety Award for his efforts in educating youth on fire safety, to bringing your friendship, love and constant well-wishes into our lives. Receiving your letters, comments, and gifts from all around the world has been WONDERFUL. And we really have no idea how to thank you, but to say...
WE LOVE YOU.
WE WILL MISS YOU. And...
YOU WILL ALWAYS BE IN OUR HEARTS...
❤️❤️❤️ FOREVER PLUS EVEREVER ❤️❤️❤️
So, for those who can, please come see us on Sunday, September 23rd at the Fanshawe Pioneer Village. And if you have any interest in receiving an email newsletter from Archie (if that happens), sign up at his blog right here: http://www.archiebrindleton.com/post-office/
Scroll right down to the bottom on the left side and enter your email. It will never be shared with anyone else. Promiseface. And if Archie does reappear, it will start here, so please sign up if you'd like to see that happen.
Also, know that Archie and Mirabelle will be thrilled to send Christmas Cards back to every single person who sends them one, so please keep that tradition alive for as long as it makes you happy. It makes all of us very happy and we love to receive them. Here's our current address:
Unit #3, 473 Baker Street,
London, Ontario, Canada
Finally, even years from now, if you are ever in our area, we would still be very happy to meet you, get to know you a little bit and give you our thanks for this incredible chapter in our lives. Just reach out on Facebook or through Archie’s blog and we’ll do our best to arrange a chance to meet and share some quiet time together. There’s nothing better than hanging out with inthesameplacefriends.
Archie’s Facebook page and blog will stay live, but inactive indefinitely. Twitter and Instagram will likely be retired. Things will get much quieter around here as far as our public life goes, but fear not. Archie and Mirabelle will continue to send you all HappyHeartHugs daily and will continue to meet you in The Dreamingplace for big piles of cozypile snugglesnorts every nightynightimes.
As this chapter closes, let’s not focus on it being an end, but a new beginning. Remember to love The NatureMama, take good care of yourselves, help others whenever you can, have some fun and most importantly, keep your Hearts full of Happy. Forever plus everever.
SEE YOU MONDAY MORNING AND HOPEFULLY EVERY DAY UNTIL SEPTEMBER 23!