REFLECTIONS #AtoZChallenge 2016

51 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2016, Link Ups, Writing/Blogging

#AtoZChallenge 2016: REFLECTIONS

Congratulations to everyone who completed the 2016 April A to Z Challenge! There were so many outstanding themes by talented bloggers worldwide; 1344 in all. This was my third year in a row and I’m going to keep doing it until I get it right. Intentions to have all entries pre-written before April 1 have been stymied for one reason or another, every time. February was supposed to be A to Z prep month, but I got sick instead and couldn’t do it. March is busy season offline, so only A to H were ready at the start. It’s impossible to keep up with blog visits and comments when you’re writing posts every day and that’s my biggest regret. Apologies to those I missed!

Picking a theme is never easy and I stick to the “write what you know” adage. The first year was all about Travel & Culture and the second expounded on Favourite Words. This year, I chose to draw on my life-long experience with dogs. Click on the image to view a complete list of entries:


#AtoZChallenge 2016: DOG BREEDS & ANECDOTES

#AtoZChallenge 2016: REFLECTIONSOne advantage of participating in the A to Z Challenge is more exposure for your blog. Views for The Doglady’s Den increased by a whopping 89% over March and surpassed last year’s increase of 58%. The most popular post was B is for BICHON FRISE, but the largest turnout came on the first day, as there was a related Battle of the Bands  entry as well. 

The biggest benefit, of course, is the social interaction and support, plus the joy of discovering interesting new blogs. Connections made during the A to Z Challenge often lead to enduring online friendships. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who took the time to read and comment, especially these frequent visitors:

My only pet peeve this year is, as usual, about comments. A few people obviously didn’t bother to read the posts and left short generic remarks. along with their link, of course. That pisses me off and is no better than spam! Then there are the bloggers who never reply to any comments at all. I can understand time constraints and overwhelming volume but at least make an effort, otherwise, why bother? Rant over.

Thanks and congratulations to the A to Z Team,
without whom none of us would be here:

Arlee Bird @ Tossing it Out
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh

eremy Hawkins @ Hollywood Nuts
Damyanti Biswas @ Daily (W)rite
Heather M. Gardner @ The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Author AJ Lauer
am Brown Margolis @ An Unconventional Librarian
Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored Diary
Joy Campbell @ The Character Depot
John Holton @ The Sound of One Hand Typing
Co-Hosts and Helpers




Click on survivor badge for the

Have you started thinking about next year already?
Did you enjoy your A to Z Challenge experience?

Looking forward to you comments! 


check footer down arrow

Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as “The Doglady”. Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal “hippie/rockchick”. Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

51 thoughts on “REFLECTIONS #AtoZChallenge 2016

  1. Love your rant:) I’m late in commenting but I loved your posts as I learned about different dog breeds and enjoyed reading about the Lab of course. I agree with your comments especially when I commented on some every day and they never responded in kind…oh well.
    Birgit recently posted…Mock squid soup…film society!My Profile

  2. Wow, an 89% increase in traffic is fantastic! I think leaving generic comments does more damage to the person leaving them. Everything you do online reflects on you and things like that stick in people’s minds. After all, we are all writers – it isn’t that hard to come up with a sentence or two assuming you actually read the post!
    Random Musings recently posted…Free Family Days OutMy Profile

    1. That increase goes back down after April is over, but it was nice to pick up a few more followers, at least. 🙂 Those “fly by” commenters have only one thing in mind, to increase their own traffic. You’re right – their selfish tactics don’t get them anywhere.
      Debbie D. recently posted…THOUGHTS ON DOG BREEDINGMy Profile

  3. I am in shame… I left some robot responses… I did, sadness. As Homer would say “it’s my first day”…

    We made it…Hope you had a great time, thank you for your Reflection!
    Jeremy [Retro]
    AtoZ Challenge Co-Host [2016]


    Come Visit: You know you want to know if me or Hollywood… is Nuts?

    1. Haha! You’re too funny. 🙂 I know how busy you are as a co-host, but robot responses are bad form, don’t you think? Thanks for dropping by, anyway. P.S. I bought a mug to commemorate getting through the challenge. This was a bit of a rough one for me. Cheers!
      Debbie D. recently posted…THOUGHTS ON DOG BREEDINGMy Profile

  4. I love furry creatures of all kinds and wish I had discovered your blog during the challenge. I’ll have to go back and check your posts out on some of my favorite dog breeds, like labs.

    I tried checking out five blogs each day but also found that some people hadn’t done any A to Z posts or, if they did, never returned to say hi on my blog. By the end of the challenge, I ended up sticking with a regular set of blogs who commented on mine and vice versa.
    Ellen recently posted…Boat Cat Adventures | Tales From The Crazy Cat LadyMy Profile

  5. Debbie! Congratulations on the completion of the challenge. I was not able to follow all the posts but still loved each one that I read. I hope you get the book done soon now.

    I am still writing my reflections post since I fell off the commenting wagon midway through the challenge and just completed my posts. I hope I can do better next year. Will keep trying. Now I plan to visit through the year to the blogs on the list. 😀
    Inderpreet Kaur Uppal recently posted…#ATUW Bookreview A Thousand Unspoken Words by Paulami DuttaguptaMy Profile

  6. Hi Debbie: I enjoyed reading your comprehensive critique of the event. I am toying with the idea of entering next year. I tried my hand at blogging years ago but didn’t have the time nor the commitment required to do the Art, Justice. Thank you for taking the time to write reflections of your experiences. I have learned much by reading your posts. Take care. Mary

  7. You did a terrific job, Debbie! I enjoyed every single post (though I came in way too late a couple of times). You are so right about writing what you know. And it showed most delightfully as you shared your adventures with your dogs with us, one could feel the patience, love and wisdom with which you cared for each and every pup that ever crossed your threshold:-) You too, are an outstanding breed and I can’t wait to see what you write about next!
    diedre recently posted…Blogging A -Z Challenge 2016 – ReflectionsMy Profile

    1. Yes, I think the commenting issue will always be with us, unfortunately. 😛 I was pleasantly surprised by the stats, but once April is over, they fall way back down again. Still, it was nice to get a few more followers. 🙂

      Thanks, Lee. I’m glad I managed to pull it off after that major setback in February.
      Debbie D. recently posted…THOUGHTS ON DOG BREEDINGMy Profile

  8. Debbie, again congratulations for finishing another year of A2Z! Your theme was a good fit for you and I learned something new with each visit. My only regret is I didn’t get back over to read your informative post more often, but you compiled a list of your A2Z posts and I bookmarked it to make life easier to play catch up. This is a huge help, so thanks! I’m with you on the fly by comments or those who don’t comment at all. I remember on the first day, I did the 5 people following me on the list. A few didn’t have posts up, but at each site I left a comment and you know what? Not one of those people, if my memory serves me correctly, did a return visit. Okay, they didn’t leave a comment on my site. That’s about the only way I know, if someone has visited. Anywho, I found those who faithfully visited/commented was plenty of activity for me to handle. I’m in awe of our hosts/co-hosts, including you, with did oodles more than me. You guys rock! I like how you rolled your stats into your refection post. I need to try to do this next year. Have a good week, Debbie and thanks for giving this kitty some new tips on doggies! 😀

    2016 #AprilA2Z Reflections
    Cathy Kennedy recently posted…70s Retro #music with Billy PrestonMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Cathy. I was struggling this year so your comments are especially appreciated. I enjoyed your theme as well and wish there had been more time to visit. The A to Z really gives our blog stats a great boost. Too bad it doesn’t last much beyond April, but it’s nice to have a few more followers, at least.
      Debbie D. recently posted…THOUGHTS ON DOG BREEDINGMy Profile

  9. Totally agree with you about the “fly by” comments I call them when you know they haven’t read what you wrote but do say something generic like “really good theme” and “come visit me” with their link. I always tried to read what someone wrote and left what I thought was a meaningful comment. I didn’t make it to your blog during the challenge; sorry, so many blogs so little time, but it sounded like you had a good theme. I will have to check out what you did for C as I once had a corgi.

    I didn’t do a reflections post this year, but wanted to check out some that had to see their thoughts, especially those I didn’t have a chance to visit in April


  10. Someone once asked me why I like dogs so much. The question did not deserve an answer. I can think of dozens of snide remarks but suffice it to say I am drawn to dogs and dog people like fish to water. And that is how you and I met during the A – Z challenge in 2014. I enjoyed all your posts and certainly learned a few things. I was surprised your most popular one was the Bichon.

    I hope you will continue to blog about dogs throughout the year. I am sure you have many more stories to share.
    Carol Graham recently posted…A Tribute to my Daughter – Happy Mother’s DayMy Profile

    1. “Dogs are better than most people”, would have been my answer to that question, Carol. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the theme. No immediate plans for more dog blog posts, but I was inspired to resume writing my “Adventures in Dog Sitting” book. Thanks for following along.
      Debbie D. recently posted…THOUGHTS ON DOG BREEDINGMy Profile

  11. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

    You are to be congratulated for battling back from a serious illness in time to participate in this year’s grueling A to Z Challenge. Those who plan to do it again next year would be wise to get started now (or yesterday) 🙂 The topic you chose, dog breeds, couldn’t have suited me better. As you can tell, I love dogs, and I enjoyed learning about 26 different breeds and the close relationships you had with individual dogs over the years including ones you boarded and ones you owned. Nearly all of your posts put me through the emotional wringer, but that’s part of the deal for those of us who genuinely love these wonderful animals.

    No one twisted my arm and I didn’t have to do it, but I made an unexpressed commitment to you and a small handful of other friends to demonstrate my support by showing up for all 26 of your A to Z posts. I took time to read your posts from start to finish including linked articles. I took more time to think about what I had read, to comb through my mental files for anecdotes relating to the topic and to write a decent comment worthy of our friendship. I appreciate your rant and share your pet peeve, Debbie. Hit and run bloggers who consistently leave generic Twitter tweet comments are no better than spambots. What’s the point?

    Thank you, dear friend Debbie, for sharing a wealth of new information about the various breeds of dogs along with your touching stories about the special animals that were part of your life.
    Shady Del Knight recently posted…Helen Ettline – Mother of All Dell RatsMy Profile

    1. My illness definitely threw me off track. I was not well organized for this challenge but determined to complete it, nonetheless. (Already working on next year. 😉 ) I’m honoured to know that you chose me as one of a handful of people to follow during the month. Thank you so much for your support, Tom! I could tell from your comments that you are a dog lover and read everything presented here. The sad stories are emotionally draining and just as hard to write as they are to read, but as you say, that’s how it is for animal lovers.

      If there’s a Hall of Fame for writing good comments, you’d be first on the list, my friend. Those “hit and run” people could learn a lot from you!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed my theme and also glad that April is over! Struggling to get back to some semblance of normalcy now. Cheers!

  12. Great idea mentioning other blogs in your recap post. A few others are doing this as well. Very generous of you and I will take better notes next year and add this to my challenge repertoire.

    I feel you regarding some of the lack of effort both in comments as well as some of the daily posts. Since this is my first experience getting any level of interaction on my blog, I can’t afford to be too choosy. At this stage of my blog game, any interaction is better than nothing. Small steps LOL 🙂

  13. Great round-up on the A-Z Debbie. And thanks for the shout-out! That was really sweet.
    I did have a great time with the challenge this year and met some amazing new friends, which is what this challenge is all about, I think. I’ll definitely do it again next year but at this point have absolutely no idea what I’ll do my theme on. I have one idea percolating but I’m thinking it might be too boring. 🙂 It’s hard coming up with good themes year after year!

    You had a great traffic increase! April is probably the most productive month and it’s such a great way to grow our blogs.

    I absolutely loved your series! Loved reading about all the dogs who have come to be a great part of your life, all the joys and sadly, the heartbreaks. The pictures always made me smile. I’ll be waiting for the book! 🙂

    Thanks for being such a great blog friend! We have the A-Z to thank for that…
    And now, back to our regularly scheduled programs…

    Happy Monday and have a great week!

    Michele at Angels Bark
    Michele Truhlik recently posted…A-Z Reflections PostMy Profile

    1. You’ve always been one of my biggest supporters, Michele; much appreciated! 🙂 Making good friends is the best part of the A to Z challenge. The traffic increase was amazing but always falls off again after April. Still, I did pick up some more followers, so that’s cool. I’m glad you enjoyed the series. I do plan on continuing with the book, but am too tired to think about it just now. 😛

  14. What a sweet roundup Debbie! Ah, now we can expect your book, eh? I love how you’ve been brief yet perfectly included everything one might need to be convinced that they MUST do the A to Z! Hugs! Looking forward to next year, yes. Happy to be connected with you! This year was quite low key for me, as I had too much going on offline along with travel. Nevertheless, April is always exciting!
    Vidya Sury recently posted…Dear Mom #MothersDayMy Profile

    1. Thanks, Vidya! 🙂 Yes, I was inspired to resume writing the book of dog stories. Sorry I didn’t get the chance to visit much. The A to Z Challenge is a great experience but also incredibly time consuming. Hard to manage when writing the posts day by day. I’m not a “pantser” so that part was more stressful than fun. Next year will be better (I hope). Cheers!
      Debbie D. recently posted…THOUGHTS ON DOG BREEDINGMy Profile

  15. I loved your A to Z series, but I didn’t get here as often as I would have liked (my lack of prep as I was still writing a lot of the time!)

    I really enjoyed the stories about your “charges” and their different personalities, the photos were great, and it brought back memories of some of the random dogs I’ve known – also learnt a few facts along the way!

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People