First-time blogger named finalist for pet award

Kellie Houx/Staff Photo

Jenise Carl and her faithful companion Chloe are more than owner and dog. The two are the duo behind the nominated blog, Happy-Go-Doodle. They are in the running for best new pet blog in a competition run by BlogPaws.

LIBERTY — While Disney might have scored a minor hit with the recent television show “Dog with a Blog,” Jenise Carl and her goldendoodle Chloe may be the next big stars from the Northland. The duo, after all, are in the running for best new pet blog in a competition run by BlogPaws.

Carl will learn whether or not this new dynamic duo wins in mid-May. Whether she wins or loses, there’s still a celebration or two to be had. First, Chloe will mark her fourth birthday on May 5.

“We got Chloe at 8 weeks old, thanks to some persuasion from our daughter, Anna, who actually made a PowerPoint about why we needed a family dog,” Carl said.

For years, the Carl household had Carl’s college pet, a Bichon, and for a time the household was petless.

“Honestly, we’re pretty easy pushovers,” husband Kent said.

So a goldendoodle entered the Carl home after some deliberation about possible allergies for their son.

“It was the beginning of the story,” Jenise said. “We were all over the moon for her. We take her places and older people’s eyes light up. Kids love her. Dogs are connectors. It just sparked something.”

A digital spark ignited two years ago when Jenise was laid off from Hallmark after 27 years. She decided she needed to reinvent herself. She does consulting and freelance communications, but it was a turn into the pet industry that brought her real joy.

“I never had a Facebook until October last year and my son Nate (who is a graduating senior at Northwest Missouri State University) helped me out,” she said. “I taught myself how to build my own website thanks to tutorials on YouTube. It all started coming together. I wanted a way to share Chloe’s joy with others. In the meantime, I was finding my feet again and my future. Dogs provide such joy.”

Joy is another word to describe Jenise’s discovery of BlogPaws, described as the first and original social media network designed by and for pet bloggers and pet social media influencers. The 2017 Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media Awards will be May 18 to 20 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. BlogPaws hosted its first pet-friendly social media and marketing conference in 2010.

Ironically, it was the inability to get on the website that almost sunk Jenise and dashed her hopes. While at Starbuck’s, Jenise tried to check the links to see if www.happygodoodle.com had been chosen as a finalist. However, daughter Anna, a freshman at Truman State University, assured her mother and the rest was “golden.”

“When we found out we were finalists, we played ball,” she said. “Chloe has a huge stash of yellow tennis balls marked with the words ‘Fetch Joy.’ She sure does. It’s an honor to be selected as a finalist. Creating Happy-Go-Doodle is a way to share as much joy with others as Chloe shares with us. It’s humbling to receive recognition for doing something we love.”

According to what Jenise learned, the categories had hundreds of entries each, so to be among the top four in 14 categories is noteworthy. The winners will be selected by judges based on creativity, expertise and performance in their respective categories. Jenise also received a conference pass to attend.

“We are getting her to Myrtle Beach, and either Anna or her sister will go,” Kent said. “She’s definitely going.”

Jenise expects to mingle with 500 or so bloggers and social media influencers and some of their animal companions, as this locale is pet-friendly.

“I really do feel like I’ve already won,” she said. “I love the support of my family and this new community. Being nominated is icing on the cake.”

Kent said he encourages Jenise to keep “plugging along.” The couple has been married for 23 years and has lived in Liberty for 22 of those.

“I enjoy the connections that Chloe has helped me build through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook,” she said. “I love all the ways dogs can help others from therapy to reading programs. I know Chloe and I will be out and about at more pet-friendly activities around Kansas City.”

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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