Cocker Spaniel

Ten Years of Blogging

On October 12th, 2010 I started this blog. My first post was a recap of my weekend and also embarrassing, haha. I was 18-years-old and just having fun sharing my days as a freshman in college, what I ate, what Jimmy and I did, and things that were on my mind. 

I was swimming competitively, working at Penn State’s athletic center, Jimmy was my boyfriend, and Lola was a young dog.

While in college, I got into running and did everything from 5ks to marathon training, struggled with an h.pylori infection, and Jimmy and I were engaged. I graduated from Penn State in 2014 with a degree in journalism. 

Jimmy and I got married, bought a house, I worked as a household manager and pet sat, began working for my family’s real estate brokerage, and were blessed with our daughter, Sadie!

We’ve gardened our little hearts out and served alongside our church family.

Throughout the years we’ve had quite a few pets: Lola, Ford and Scout, Malcolm, Mavis, and Niva. We did a lot of therapy dog training with Mavis, which was an experience I really enjoyed.

Animals have been such a huge part of my life and blog and I’m continually trying to convince Jimmy to allow me to have a bunch more cats and dogs 🙂

Husky and toddler laying on bed

I have shared about my faith in God, my favorite recipes, books I’ve read, my journey as a new mom, and my everyday life here in Pittsburgh.

The landscape of blogging has changed so much over the past ten years. A lot of people may say blogging is old-school and defunct in the age of Instagram and Facebook, but I don’t care. I love this space.

I have made some incredible friends from around the world over the past ten years and I owe that to this little corner of the internet. The little blogging community here is so special to me. There have been fun posts, happy posts, hard posts, and everything in-between.

Family picture of mom and dad and toddler taking a selfie

Whether you’ve been connecting with me for the past ten years or this is your first time visiting my blog, thank you for reading! I’m looking forward to the future here at Living My Full Life!


Mavis at 12 Months

Our little Mavis is now a year old!

Girl and cocker spaniel in car with therapy dog vest on

Jimmy and I think her personality has fully developed by this point and agree that she is spunky, sassy, playful, energetic, and intelligent. She would play with other dogs all day if she could, and she adores a long walk or game of fetch. She will also do anything for food and loves Lola and Malcolm. Car rides and pet sitting with me are her other favorite things.

She’s acquired the nickname “bandaid puppy” and “velcro puppy” because she always wants to be with Jimmy and I. Being in the same room as us isn’t enough, she has to be touching us at all times.

Guy reading book with cocker spaniel in lap

She is much better about being held since she was attacked by our neighbor’s dog, but pretty much only by me. She still doesn’t like having her paws touched, so we’re not sure if we will continue to pursue therapy dog work.

The not liking to be held or have her paws touched may be something she grows out of as she matures and we work with her, or it may be a sign she isn’t meant for therapy work. We’ll see as time passes! She’s still a youngster and has a lot of life ahead of her 🙂

Girl hugging brown and white cocker spaniel puppy

She has been through Puppy Level I and II, Adult Level I and II training classes, and took her AKC STAR Puppy and Canine Good Citizen Test. The only thing she didn’t pass was her Canine Good Citizen test (due to the paw touching–she passed all the other aspects of it!).

She did all of that before she turned nine months old, which is crazy to think about. I’m proud of our intelligent little gal! She knows sit, stay, come, down, chill, leave it, and paw. I’d like to work on heel with her a bit more.

Puppy training classes at Petco with cocker spaniel and AKC Star Puppy Test

Mavis went into heat right around her birthday and it has been quite the experience for the Zottola household. Let’s just say I’m glad we have hardwood floors!

We will probably have her spayed in the near future, because we aren’t interested in breeding and I don’t foresee myself having the time to show her in competitions. We’re more interested in agility or therapy work, and being spayed doesn’t impact eligibility for those hobbies.

Girl with dogs by water

We’ve had our good days and our bad days with Mavis. She’s definitely not perfect, but neither am I and she accepts me just as I am. I try to do the same with her and remember that she’s growing and learning the rules of this world day by day. Puppies take a lot of patience, but are so worth it in the end!

Mavis’ Favorite Treats/Food/Toys

Past Updates

The first time I met Mavis, when she was five-weeks-old.

I first met Mavis when she was five weeks old, and she’s been pet sitting with me pretty much her whole life. We spend a lot of time together, and our bond is strong. She has quickly become part of our family and I can’t imagine life without her. I’m excited to see what the coming years bring for little May May!