Pet Blogging 2018 Challenge

9th Jan 2018

Happy New Year everyone! I’m participating, for my 2nd year (it’s their 8th), in’s pet blogger challenge. I am tagging in here at the very end as it was a difficult decision to make, recapping 2017. Specifically related to Pet Blogging. If you are new, I promise to explain more. If you are already part of our pack, I want to say thank you. You have all helped me through a rough pet blogging year and also help remind me why I want to keep blogging about our precious furry family members! You are all very important to me! I promise this will also be a fun recap so on that note… I really love this year’s Instagram top 9 so I’m using those photos to start my challenge.

Instagram's Top 9 from Denise's Dog Dish

To set the scene, this is a chance to step back and evaluate our site and goals. Connecting with other pet bloggers we can learn from, support and share our experiences. If you are not a blogger, you can learn more about us here since we will be answering some great questions about why we are here, how we started and where we are heading. On that note, we would love to hear from you. What do you think about our plans? Are there topics you would like to hear more about? Please comment and let us know!

1. For those who may be visiting your blog for the first time, how long have you been blogging and what is your main topic?

November 26, 2013, was an exciting day, my 1st self-published book Not Like the Others: Harley’s Story-Having a Pet with Special Needs was published. After the publication (better late than never…right?) I was reading two books: Katie Davis’ “How to Promote your Children’s Book” (I can no longer find it on Amazon) and Midge Raymond’s “Everyday Book Marketing: Promotion ideas to fit your regularly scheduled life”.  Both suggested starting a blog so in April 2014 with a post “A “Happy Mother’s Day” was born. Looking back, I had no idea what I was doing. We have come a long way and finally have our focus.

Denise’s Dog Dish is a health and wellness resource for dog lovers.

Shasta’s Yorkie Yap is a fun place for all things dog.

2. What was your proudest blogging moment of 2017?

No question, our Best Friends 2 Blog Friends (#BF2BF) road trip in May was our proudest blogging moment. If you follow us on Instagram you saw loads of fun photos and videos. I’ve been a little slow on the blogging content from the trip but alas have a lot of content to share and plan to do so in 2018. Visiting Best Friends animal sanctuary was on my bucket list and now I want to go EVERY year!

3. Which of your blog posts was your favorite this year and why?

My favorite post was “5 Joys of Adopting a Senior Rescue Dog“. I am tearing up even as I copy the link to the post. I love it because it took such a painful event, having Shasta cross the Rainbow Bridge, and moved the pain into something positive. It also let me know I could continue to be a pet blogger and how much love and support this community brings.

4. In terms of your blog, how do you measure success?

This year I have a VERY different answer for how I am measuring Denise’s Dog Dish’s success. The support of my pet blogging friends and blog followers. Losing a furry family member leaves a terrible hole. The grief is, at times, unbearable. When Harley crossed the Rainbow Bridge I was not part of the pet blogging community and many people did not understand the depth of my grief. Here, I found love, support and understanding. That is unmeasurable and PAWsitively priceless!

5. In what ways has your blog changed during 2017?

Denise’s Dog Dish’s biggest change in 2017 was joining affiliate marketing. I always want to be authentic and worried advertising might change how my readers felt. I realized as I read other blogs, I often wished there was a link to purchase something they were talking about so I decided to take the plunge.

6. What was the biggest blogging challenge you overcame in 2017, and what did you learn that could help other bloggers?

The biggest blogging challenge was losing Shasta. He was the star and my muse. After the initial grief, I realized he still has a lot more to say. Though it is bittersweet and tears often flow when I look at the videos and photos I ultimately love that he still has a voice. In 2018 we will be adopting children (a sibling group) and within the 1st few months share the love we have for Harley & Shasta by rescuing another of their kind as a family. Shasta’s Yorkie Yap will remain the same name in his honor.

Translating that into advice. Hmmm… Just because you are looking at a new chapter doesn’t necessarily mean your whole book changes. Give yourself time-allowing it without beating yourself up. Regroup and keep your mind open to the possibilities.

7. When things get hard, what keeps you blogging?

First, my passion for our furry family members especially their health and wellness. Rescuing a dog with Diabetes and then a senior with Arthritis and Cushing’s grew my desire to ensure they have the best lives possible, even with special needs.

Second, my accountability group. Not only do they help keep me on track but are also so supportive through good and bad times. I now consider them some of my closest friends though we are far apart geographically.

Finally, I’ll mention again, this entire pet blogging community and Denise’s Dog Dish followers. Your love and support are PAWsitively amazing and keeps me going!

8. Looking forward to 2018, what are you hoping to accomplish on your blog?

I think this is an every year goal for my pet blogging. Be more consistent with my posting schedule. Also, I have an amazing health binder I started with Harley and then it continued to evolve and improve with Shasta. It was a lifesaver when we needed to go to the Emergency Vet at BlogPaws in Myrtle Beach and I’d like to have it available to share.

9. Is here one specific skill you’d like to improve or master this year?

I have several skills I would like to improve. Photoshop, becoming better at affiliate marketing and making videos. Udemy had a huge sale during December and I purchased a bunch of courses for only $10. Now I have a lot of studying to do!

10.  Is there a question you’d like answered, or an aspect of your blog that you’d like input on? Share it here, and we’ll answer you in the comments!

I’ve finally got my categories down: Bookworm Book Review, Dishing Dog Health, Fetching Dog Fun, Dog DIY, Dog Travel, and Gruzensky Pack Product Reviews. What would you like to see more of?

Wow, you made it to the end… Now grab a cup of coffee and enjoy hearing from some of my favorite fellow pet bloggers.

Special thanks to Go Pet-Friendly for hosting the yearly blog hop and being our go-to place for all things pet travel!

Denise's Dog Dish-Smiles, Barks and Wagging Tails


10 comments on “Pet Blogging 2018 Challenge

  1. I know how hard 2017 was for you and I am so glad that I got a chance to meet Shasta before the end. You know how important adopting a senior rescue is as far too often our shelters are filled with older dogs that are overlooked. Your “5 Joys of Adopting a Senior Pet” was poignant and lovely!

    2018 looks to be a pretty exciting year for you and I can’t wait to read all about your travel and other adventures! 🙂 For the travel blog name how about “The Gruzenskys on the Go!” ? Just throwing it out there 🙂

  2. Happy New Year. I’m a new visitor. I have always wanted to adopt a senior dog and I hope that when I reach a point of being a full-time blogger and author, I can make that happen. My biggest worry is that I have four dogs and I wonder if a senior dog will be okay in a big family. I’m working with a local rescue group who knows me and my home and I trust them to match us up with the perfect dog when we’re ready.

  3. Your senior dog adoption post makes ME cry, so I’m not even sure how you think about it without sobbing. Even through such a challenging year, you’ve been a real pillar of strength and still full of love and encouragement to everyone around you. I can’t imagine the void Shasta has left, but as a senior dog owner myself, your outlook and choice to keep this space, honour him and eventually bring home another pooch fills me with hope and love.
    Jodi Chick recently posted…Pet Blogger Challenge 2018My Profile

  4. Thanks so much for participating in the Challenge again this year, Denise. I’m so sorry to hear about Shasta’s passing – it’s so very hard when their time comes. But I think it’s wonderful that that experience has caused you to re-evaluate the way you measure your success. It’s often the most difficult of times that remind us what’s truly important.

    It sounds like 2018 is going to be a very exciting year for you! Congratulations on the impending adoptions, and all the best to you all. Being a travel blogger, I always love seeing pets and their people out having fun, so I vote for more pet travel posts in the coming year. Waggin’ trails!

  5. mu heart is with you. I can relate to your feelings. I just started blogging – My boy, Ryder as my inspiration. One of the first things I thought of was what happens when I get readers and his time comes. I will not be able to face it in public. … And he is only 4. It is encouraging to me that the community has shown you so much love!! I want to give you a hug. Is that weird?! We just met.

    I am glad I found this challenge and am getting to know other bloggers. I really look forward to reading more of your content.
    Best wishes for 2018!

  6. Hi Denise! Both my dogs are now considered seniors and despite doing all we can to keep them healthy, it seems age is creeping up on them, so I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve also decided that my next dogs will more than likely be seniors who have either been in shelter too long, lost their family, have special needs or all of the above.

    It sounds like you’ve got some great ideas for your blog. I’m off to check out that Udemy you mentioned.

  7. I think your health posts are really informative and so important, but you know I love your travel posts and all the great photos of CA (so I can live vicariously through you out here in the boring midwest). I still remember one of my early visits to your blog and the photo of Shasta on Denton’s shoulders. I think you guys were camping in Arizona??? How amazing that Shasta joined you on so many adventures! He definitely lived life to the fullest in his years with you!

  8. I can certainly relate to the joys and sorrows of adopting a senior rescue. I started blogging about my puppy Honey. But it was senior Shadow (who had recently passed) who graced my header for years.

    As for what to see more of? I live on a boat with my dog. So I’m always interested in travel posts. I have a serious case of wanderlust.

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