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What Every Newbie Needs to Know About BlogPaws

CarenNervous about attending BlogPaws? Not sure what to bring, what to expect, what to wear, and any other number of newbie questions you might have?

If you've been to the BlogPaws Community group, BlogPaws 2013 Newbies, then you know Caren Gittleman: She makes newbies feel welcome, educated, informed, and ready to tackle BlogPaws. For the past three years, Caren has been the driving force of this group. BlogPaws Veterans are welcome to join this group as well to share their experiences with our conference Newbies. So, we're turning the tables on Caren and asking her to dish about her blogging life and more, just in time for BlogPaws. Okay Caren, the spotlight's on you:

BlogPaws: Hey Caren, thanks for joining us! How many times have you been to BlogPaws?

Caren Gittleman: This year will be my second time attending. I was on my way to the
airport last year and had a kidney stone attack!

BlogPaws: We remember that vividly. Well knock on wood, you'll be greeting all of us this year. How did you get started with the Newbies group? The information is incredibly helpful!

Caren: I actually cannot take complete credit for the Newbies Group! The idea
was that of Barbara Strunin who writes the blog (Adopted Mom to Chazz the Dog).
Back in 2011 when BlogPaws was last at Tyson’s Corners she had the original
idea and asked me if I would help her with it. Somehow I inherited it!  The first year I helped
with it, I was a newbie (and so was Barbara) and we wanted to ease our jittery
nerves by connecting with other “Newbies” who may have had the same case of the
jitters that we had! I continue to run the Newbies Group because I want to help
ease the minds/nerves of those attending the conference for the first time. I
want to let them know that they aren’t alone, we ALL get nervous, and I want to
make them feel welcome and cared about.

BlogPaws: What do you hope to  gain/learn by attending BlogPaws?

Caren: This year is a little different for me because when I was at BlogPaws
before I was honored to be a  POP (Paws
on Patrol) and was assisting BlogPaws.

This year I am one of five other
bloggers who will be representing Rachael Ray Nutrish (dog food). This is an
enormous honor because Dakota has been eating their food since 2007 (long
before I ever began blogging!) There are a number of sessions that I am dying
to attend (I will be at yours on Saturday for sure!) but can’t commit to any of
them until I know what my obligations are with Nutrish. I am so looking forward
to re-connecting with many brands/friends I had met at BlogPaws the first time
around, as well as connecting with and meeting new friends!  I won’t lie, I LOVE blogging and all that goes
with it and would love to have this be a full time career as it is for many on
the BlogPaws team.

BlogPaws: What is your favorite aspect of attending BlogPaws/what do you most
anticipate as an attendee?

Caren: Do you have a few hours? 🙂 I am a “people-person” as well as a
“pet-person”. I thrive on the excitement, energy, the camaraderie, the knowing
smiles and nods that you only get from fellow bloggers,  hugs, laughs and a number of sloppy doggy kisses!
I also LOVE LEARNING! When I was at BlogPaws the first time, the amount of
knowledge that I gained (and try to put into practice) was worth more than any
registration fee!

BlogPaws: So with all this talk of blogging and your very plentiful background, where can folks find you online?


CAT CHAT http://opcatchat.blogspot.com

DAKOTA’S DEN www.dakotasden.wordpress.com

TWITTER: @catchatcaren
and @dakotasheltie

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cat-Chat-With-Caren-Cody/208923585790514?ref=ts&fref=ts
and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dakotas-Den-Daily-Doings-of-a-Dog-Named-Dakota-Let-the-Barking-Begin/212764172068608?fref=ts

PINTEREST: Caren Gittleman

Google+ Caren Gittleman

BlogPaws: Busy lady! Inquiring minds want to know about your pets. Do tell.

Caren:  I have a silver gray Tabby cat (Cody) who is 6 yrs old and
a 6 year old Shetland Sheepdog (Dakota).

BlogPaws: Just for fun, what is something about you people would be surprised to

Caren: When I was young I swam freestyle on our Swim Team. I spent my summers
lifeguarding and teaching swimming throughout college. I can do one heck of a
fabulous imitation of a Dolphin, replete with the sounds and shooting water
through the gap in my teeth. My nickname was “Flipper” 😉

BlogPaws: What advice do you feel is most important for any new person coming to
the BlogPaws Conference?

Caren: Sleep before you come! Relax, SMILE!!! 
(Especially if you are shy!) NO ONE can resist a smile! You are among
kindred spirits! Some of the BEST PEOPLE in the world, all gathered in one
place. Revel in and relish the moments. They go by so fast! The BlogPaws
Conference is probably one of the only events you will attend where you will
meet so many people gathered in one place who share your love of animals! Be

BlogPaws: Anything else you’d like to add?

Caren: Yes. Thank you for the honor of interviewing me! I began my first blog
(Cat Chat) in October of 2009. I literally stumbled upon BlogPaws not long
after. BlogPaws was the answer to my prayers. As a “newbie” blogger I had no
clue as to what I was doing. BlogPaws had (and HAS) a plethora
of information on topics to blog about, how to be a better blogger, how to help
animals, etc etc, when I found BlogPaws I felt as if I had found the pot of
gold!! As time went on, I got to know many wonderful people on the BlogPaws
team (such as yourself, Yvonne Divita, Tom Collins, the list goes on and on)
When I met these amazing people it made complete sense to me as to why BlogPaws
is as wonderful as it is.  The people of
BlogPaws HAVE HEART, they have ENERGY, PASSION, DEDICATION, most importantly,
they LOVE ANIMALS!  They don’t just “talk
the talk, they walk the walk!”  You all make my heart smile!!

Thanks for all you do, Caren!!!



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  1. I am SO excited to meet Caren in-the-fur! The Newbies group has been incredibly helpful for me. Last year was my first BlogPaws, this year my second and I still feel the Newbie Jitters!
    Caren – thank you so much for all of the passion, enthusiasm and dedication you’ve put into the Newbies group. You’ve make a HUGE difference for SO many of us!
    : ) Glogirly

  2. Wonderful interview!
    Caren’s advice to sleep before you go is probably the best advice you can get (we had a 12 hour car journey to get back home last year and I barely woke up for my potty breaks I was so exhausted!) 🙂
    I’d also advise to leave some space in your bag for freebies you’ll pick up!
    Have a wonderful time,
    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  3. Great interview Caren! It will be an honor for any who meet you at BlogPaws as you are truly an amazing, inspiring, wonderful person! And lets not forget Cody and Dakota. 🙂

  4. Caren, all I can say is, you better not get sick this year! I am dying to meet you in person! I managed to survive my newbie experience without you there, but I am sure it would have been a lot more fun if you had been.

  5. What a great interview! Caren is the perfect person to make newbies welcome, since she is one of the friendliest, supportive and just plain fun people I know!

  6. Glogirly I cannot WAIT to meet you “in the fur” as well!!!! The fact that we are meeting at the airport when we arrive is one of the parts of the conference that I am MOST looking forward to! I cannot wait! Thank you soooo much for your kind words!
    @Snoopy (Annette) I sooooo wish you were going to be there this year. I am dying to meet you.

  7. What a fantastic interview. Caren has been such a calming influence for all of us “introverts” as we prepare for Blogpaws. There aren’t enough words to thank her for all of the advice she has given over the last several weeks. I, like so many others, can’t wait to meet her in person and say “Thank You!” for being such a great role model and pet advocate.

  8. I cannot wait to see you again Caren! I had such a great time meeting you in 2011 – that was my first conference too, so your newbies group was a big help!

  9. WOW…..Blogpaws is amazing, I wish I could meet Caren, but I live so far away. I love anyone that loves animals with a passion, dedication and enthusiasm. Hence, you and many aspiring animal lovers are on my thank you list. I especially like the comment of sleep, relax and smile, this couldn’t be more true when it comes to enjoying the conferences you do and life itself. All of us have so much to learn, keep up the good work.

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