By Monday, January 11, 2016 38 , Permalink

 This is my 2nd year participating in the Pet Bloggers Challenge – The first was in 2014.

Join the Pet Blogger Challenge Jan 9th, 10th and 11th

For the last five years Go Pet Friendly has challenged Pet Bloggers to open up, offer encouragement, advice and share what we’ve learned over the past 12 months.

It’s a wonderful community of supportive people who find a common place to celebrate accomplishments, share dreams for our blogs and ask for help.

It also gives our readers a chance to catch a glimpse of what makes us “tick” and pawhaps have a deeper understanding as to why we do what we do #passion


How long have you been blogging? 

I published my first post on May 30, 2011.  But I was clueless. #likethemovie  I was brand spanking new to the blogging community, and barely knew the definition of the word blog – let alone what to do with it. I started because Harley & Leo generated such a commotion wherever we went – it made sense to write about them.

What is the one thing that you accomplished during 2015, either on your blog or because of it, that made you most proud?

Moving on and letting go. When I finally made the decision to change the look of the website and get on with the business of living, I truly felt reborn. Harley and I had moped around long enough. I was ready for a fresh start and a new puppy. This was a life altering decision for me – because after Leo’s untimely death (6/2014) I struggled to keep going. #nojoke

Which of your blog posts was YOUR favorite this year and why? (Please include a link.)

For me – without question it would have to be my series on Diary of a Middle Aged Puppy Mom – 


The last entry will post this month #theconclusion since he’s finally a year old. #Imadeit

I enjoyed writing these because the four year difference between the last puppy in the house was astounding. I was older. I was exhausted, frustrated, patient-less, but still hopelessly in love with this little guy. Sharing this experience was oh so therapeutic. #withwine

A common theme from last year’s challenge was that many of us wanted to increase the size of our audiences. Whether or not we intend to monetize our blogs, it seems we’d all like to reach more people. It feels good to know that we’re connecting with others, sharing a laugh or supporting a cause, and it’s motivating to see those numbers grow! What is one thing you’ve done in the past year that has brought more traffic to your blog?

Once I

  • Forgot about the money #thedevil 
  • Forgot about the numbers #thedevilsbrother 
  • And started listening to my readers

– the numbers started to grow and the $$ started to slowly show up #gofigure

I also pay close attention and respond to all the comments. Many times I find common interests in the comments (questions, observations, concerns, etc…) which creates new material. I learn so much about who I’m writing to. #sospecialtome 

Which of your blog posts got the most traffic this year? Why do you think it was so popular? (Please include a link.)

A Pet Bloggers Nightmare


This was a story for anyone who ever lost a project due to this ultra sophisticated techy world we now live in. When my blog went AWOL and I couldn’t find it, I thought I would have a heart attack. The big one! #sanfordandson

Dogs and Ice Cubes


Jax is the first dog I ever had who loves eating ice. Not sure if it was safe or not, I searched for answers. When I shared my findings I found many people were also pondering the same question.

Diary of a Middle Aged Puppy Mom “Continues”

GRAYI got such comedic relief laughing at myself as I tried desperately to adjust to new puppy life – it just made sense to share it. Apparently it was a Tyler Perry moment for others as well#truthisfunny

What is one blog that you read religiously – other than your own – and what makes you such a devoted reader? (Please include a link.)

First I need to say that I read many blogs religiously. I may not comment always but trust me – I’m there reading. #promise

Here are just a fraction of those I enjoy – 

My GBGV Life  – Between Emma’s clothes, cooking episodes and life through her voice, I’m always smiling #doodlelarious 

Slim Doggy  – Challenges me regularly to look harder, and learn more about dog nutrition and exercise #doodleerobics

Pawsitively Pets – My menagerie of animals in one location. The “Jack & Gus” posts are some of my favorites #hamsterlove

Keep The Tail Wagging – A place where enthusiasm and conviction are expressed through writing. A treasure trove of information about raw feeding, litter mates and supplements – I’ve learned a great deal here. #furmomrocks

What resources do you rely on to enhance your technical, writing, photography, social media, or other skills that improve your blog?

Not as many as I should – I follow a few of the internet guru’s, and enjoy various podcasts. This year I plan to attend the Blog Paws Conference in AZ. Purchase of another camera is on my 2016 list along with a Meet-Up class to study photography. Word Camp Charleston is a must! WordPresstraining 

What is the best piece of advice you can offer other bloggers?

Make sure you’ve got real zest about your subject. If your niche holds that special place in your heart – your sincerity will echo in every word you write. Your readers are looking for your honesty – as well as your experiences and/or expertise. When you find that – you’ve found the key #toitall

What is your vision for your blog in 2016?

We’re gaining a huge following of people whose only dog relationships happen to be a virtual ownership of Harley & Jax. #lovethis They tune in to learn more about their breed, laugh at their antics, and share their adventures. I want to continue to grow that audience along with all the other doodle lovers who’ve become our friends.

Do you have specific goals?

You bet your sweet Doodle I do!I plan to launch “The Doodle Spot” later this month which will take everyone on monthly tours of Charleston – a super dog friendly city. Together we will discover “Groovy Hidden Treasures” that both local friends as well as out of town readers can benefit.

I’ve been dabbling in a little writing (hashtags and all) and will release my first book on the website soon. #lookoutworld Harley plans to get back into his Therapy gig at several locations here in Charleston too!

You have the attention of the pet blogging community – is there one blogging challenge you’d like help with, or one aspect of your blog that you’d like input on?

As painful and as frightening as this could be – I would love to know what other bloggers think I’m missing. 

For that matter I would also like to know what readers want to read more about. I write because I love to, and I’m fortunate to write about a subject matter which I adore. If there’s something specific – please let me know. #takingrequests!

Well there you have it – another year – another challenge. Paws up to Go Pet Friendly for hosting this again. 🐾

To my Pet Blogging family – I look forward to learning, laughing and “commenting” on your sites this year.

To our Doodleville friends – thank you so much for your continued support. Your loyalty is A-mazing – your comments insightful and caring and we truly want to know what you’d love to hear more of #wereallydo

Make this the best week of your year!


This is a blog hop – this is the absoDOODLEtutely the best place to get to know more about some of these incredible blogs.

    January 11, 2016

    As you know. I love this blog. Like you, I may not always comment, but I always read. Harley and Jax have a special place in my heart and it’s fun to meet people locally who have look-alike doodles and I can direct them to this blog.

    The only thing that I think you’re missing is more about Doodles. I’m sure you’ve covered many things about them, but it would be so much fun to see a series that can be turned into a book. Maybe not as ambitious as the A to Z series, but something similar.

    Why are there so many colors?
    Can a Doodle pair produce a litter with multiple colors?
    Who came up with the idea to breed Doodles?
    Why would someone want a Doodle? What homes are best for Doodles?
    Why is there drama surrounding the Doodle or has that died down now?
    Have you met other Doodles in your new town?

    I can go on and on, but you know me, I rarely shut up!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2016

      Don’t stop!!! Keep on going… You’ve reminded me – I need to send you business cards. Email me your address please. I appreciate your input – those are excellent questions that will make doolerrific blog posts. I’m smiling 🙂 Thanks so much for just being you!

  • Mayra Ruiz-McPherson
    January 11, 2016

    Gee, you sound like *such* a professional blogger these days!!! 🙂 lol … #YouveComeALongWayBaby xoxo to you and the Doodle clan!! @ruizmcpherson

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2016

      That was your dream wasn’t it Caesar? LOL Love your hashtag too!

  • All Things Collie
    January 11, 2016

    For what it’s worth, I think you are doing a great job connecting with your readers.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2016

      Thank you so much Katkia – I appreciate your kind words!

  • DZ Dogs
    January 11, 2016

    I love your blog!

    Here is a question…do some doodles shed?

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2016

      Thanks DZ – we’re avid readers of DZ Adventures too. Here’s a link to your question: I wrote a post about the hypoallergenic myth… Take care my friend

  • The Daily Pip
    January 11, 2016

    I agree with so many of your answers. Yep, forget about the money, and the numbers and be authentic and the other stuff will follow.

    I always enjoy posts and usually leave smiling and chuckling to myself. Keep up the great work.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2016

      Once I kicked the money and the numbers to the curb, I felt so free. Writing was a breeze again and a real joy. If there’s money to be had – let it find me, I’m not chasing it right now. Thanks for always reading – looking forward to hanging out with the Daily Pip this year!

  • Elaine
    January 11, 2016

    Yay, you made the challenge! 🙂

    I absolutely love your “The Doodle Spot” idea and I’m really looking forward to that. To be honest, I really wouldn’t change anything about your blog. It’s always fun, interesting and so well written. It’s truly a pleasure to read and the highlight in my long list of blogs that I follow. Keep on keepin’ on!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2016

      Awwhhh – thanks so much Elaine – I’m getting a little misty here. I love this blogging community so much, it’s a wonderful place. Looking forward to sharing and chasing dog tales #punintended with you this year! Take care.

  • Denise Gruzensky
    January 11, 2016

    We really love your blog & refer people to it frequently. I enjoyed your “Diary” series and will look fwd to your new series “The Doodle Spot”. Looking forward to meeting you IRL (In Real Life) @ BlogPaws!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2016

      I can’t wait to meet you too Denise! BP 2016 is going to be a blast #Icanfeelit

  • Emma
    January 11, 2016

    Great answers to the questions, and a huge thank you for your kind words about our blog. We love your blog, it always looks amazing and it is also always so upbeat and fun to read. Blog issues are the pits. We have one all of the sudden, no one can comment. Trying to work that one out. Grrr…Keep pawing forward and hug the boys!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2016

      Looks like we’re of the mutual admiration society Ms. Emma! Hope you’re going to BP 2016 – I can’t wait to meet you. Doodle Kisses to you and your sisters!

  • Jan K
    January 11, 2016

    I am so glad you made it through those tough times and kept going! I can’t wait for the “Doodle Spot”. Since I don’t travel a lot, seeing different places through other blogs is something I just love. And seeing those special places that only locals know is always awesome even if you are someone that travels a lot.
    I missed the Pet Blogger Gift Exchange this Christmas…since that is how I met some wonderful bloggers like you. Keep up the good work!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2016

      You know what Jan – I missed the gift exchange too #cometothinkaboutit But I try not to carry guilt so let’s just wait until Dec 16 shall we? Happy to hear your excitement about the Doodle Spot – I’m almost ready to launch #soon Take care my friend!

  • Dachshund Nola
    January 11, 2016

    I love your advice to other bloggers! Great answers!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 11, 2016

      Thanks Nola!

  • Pamela
    January 11, 2016

    I am so excited to see your doodle tour of Charleston. Especially since we’re doubting our ability to get too far south into Florida and were thinking of interesting places we might enjoy spending some time. Charleston is one and a city we’ve never been to.

    Hearing that it’s dog friendly is a plus in my book. I suspect my husband is just excited about being able to eat grits every day. I have no idea how a Jersey boy fell in love with the things.

    I’m with Kimberly that I’d enjoy learning more about doodles. I think there is a lot of misinformation out there about these dogs.

    Oh, and I just love the hashtags. They crack me up.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 12, 2016

      Pamela, I am over the Doodle Moon with all the interests in the “Doodle Spot” One of my many goals for 2016 is to build relationships with the local community along with showing my Doodle family beautiful historic “dog loving” Charleston. I am thrilled to hear you,Kimberly and others would like to continue learning more about the Goldendoodle. I am also joining forces with IDOG a doodle rescue group (more to come on that too!) so this is all coming together well #greatminds And YES – more #hashtags #mything Take care – hope to meet you soon!

  • Monika
    January 11, 2016

    Terrific post! I share some of the same things you identified. No one ever told me how to run a pet blog and obviously it shows. You pro guys are a real inspiration! Keep up the good work in 2016. 😉

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 12, 2016

      Nothing “pro” going on around here Monika – everyday is a struggle – believe me..I’m happy to hear you enjoyed the post. I do get a great deal of help from a few FB blogging group. This pet blogging community is such a friendly place. Come and join us! There are some really talented people that love to assist – trust me, I know 🙂

  • Colby
    January 11, 2016

    Ugh! I lost my blog to hackers this year too and almost didn’t recover. In fact it took several months before my blog returned to normal. It took the wind out of my sail, but I’m hoping to get back to it in 2016. I’m glad you were to get your blog back to normal. All the best to you in 2016!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 12, 2016

      Did you say several months? OMDoodle!!! I would have definitely pulled all my hair out #nolie So sorry to hear about this. Are you up and running now? Is there anything I can do to help?? Let me know. Paws crossed here in Doodleville that 2016 is a better year for you!

      • Colby
        January 14, 2016

        Thanks for the offer, but I think everything is running smoothly now. The crazy part about the attack was it very much hidden from me since I could only really see the damage by going directly into the mySQL database. Hopefully something you never have to experience.

        • Cathy Bennett
          January 15, 2016

          No problem! Happy to hear it’s all resolved. I just had an incredible experience #veryhelpful from a WP support person. He was patient and helped me fix a problem on my homepage. I’d never used them before but I would go back to them in a doodle second if I needed to #justsharing Have a great weekend. I look forward to more puppy training posts 🙂

  • Dashlilly
    January 11, 2016

    Rock on Doodlemom! We love everything you write! Everything. Doodles Rule!!

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 12, 2016

      OMDoodle – Deirdre I was thinking about you last week. I remembered running into the pet resort for a hot minute because my mom was so ill. Under different circumstances we could have spent much more time together. Thank you so much for understanding. Who knew she would pass away a few days later. Thanks so much for being such a devoted reader – commenter – and friend. Take care ❤️

  • Sand Spring Chesapeakes
    January 11, 2016

    Just love your answers and your writing style. You have some great goals ahead, good luck to you and I’ll be following along.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 12, 2016

      Awwhhh, thanks JoAnna – My mom used to tell me that I write in conversation (I never knew if that was good or bad LOL) – I’m learning so much from Sand Spring, so please know we’ll be following you too!

  • Callie, Shadow, and Ducky's Mom
    January 11, 2016

    Love your answers and your advice to other bloggers! I never had any real desire to monetize my blog. I didn’t – and still don’t – want that kind of pressure on myself. Heck, I don’t even want to do any reviews. I started the blog simply to have an outlet for my thoughts. When I decided to write mostly about Callie and Shadow, it was my online journal. And that’s the way I intend to keep it.

    Now, I see you’re in Charleston. It’s been a LONG time since hubby and I last spent a long weekend down there. I miss that historic town! I am looking forward to your “The Doodle Spot” series so I can visit again, even if only virtually. Being retired has really put a dent in our vacation budget. Greenville is only a few hours away, but neither one of us really likes driving that much any more so we’ve pretty much become homebodies.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 12, 2016

      PAWhaps the “Doodle Spot” will entice you to get in the car this summer and check a few of the places we highlight out 🙂 We’d love to meet you!! I did get caught up in the $$ thing for a while, but then I realized what my ultimate goal was and it wasn’t from product reviews as such. Don’t get me wrong, if you offer me a check to write about something I love – I’m your Doodle Mom!! But I’m not chasing the dollar these days. I really love writing and I would dance in the middle of a busy street (dodging traffic) if I could get Harley and Jaxson into print modeling. Paws crossed now that we’re in Chas this might just happen. Thanks so much for reading and if you’re ever in Chas – let us know…

  • Lara Elizabeth
    January 13, 2016

    I love reading these, they remind me of exactly why I blog and inspire me to improve! Your original hashtags crack me up.

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 13, 2016

      Hi Lara – I too enjoy a sneak peek into the minds of the blogs I adore reading. We learn so much about and from one another. Happy to hear you’re fond of the hashtags #myinnerme

  • Jessica @ YouDidWhatWithYourWeiner
    January 21, 2016

    Yes. I’m STILL catching up with folks in the pet blogger challenge 🙂

    I really love the new look of your blog. I love the clean and simple design. Ironically, my blog design is NOT clean and simple. People must like it because I won an award last year but looking at it makes my fingers twitch wanting to change it. So far, I haven’t found the perfect solution so it stays for now. This year I will be on the lookout for what I want in my next design and focus on content and posting consistently.

    I plan on reading blogs more regularly in 2016 so I am looking forward to seeing more of you 🙂

    • Cathy Bennett
      January 21, 2016

      Hi Jessica! Thanks so much for your kind words. I struggled with the decision – but I have no regrets. Now I have to learn codes (no more custom site) and hold my breath praying I don’t break something, but I’m enjoying the journey. YES – I want you to write more regularly. WE love finding out what you did with your weiner! Have a great weekend –

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