My dogs only subscribe to one magazine, and that’s The Bark. And yes, it comes in their names.
I tolerate their subscription, despite the magazine being published by the dirty bears in Berkley … sssssssssss … and the rather granola overtones of some of the articles. And I have to admit that since I first discovered the magazine in the bathroom at the after-party of my first Frisbee dog tournament, I’ve always wanted my mutts to grace the centerfold with their smiling faces.
What a great concept, two full pages of loved and spoiled dogs captured in those moments that stay with us long after the dogs themselves are gone; the moments we miss when we can’t have them anymore.
So at dusk the night Celeste was due to give birth I snapped some photos of her outside on the hill in the backyard. It was fortuitous that she was in pre-labor and panting, as my previous attempts to catch her with her mouth open and smiling were unsuccessful. Neither of us slept that night and twenty four hours and a snow storm later we were back at home with six new puppies. Two of them have never left.
Exactly five weeks later, I mocked up an impromptu photo studio in the corner of the den: made from repurposed desk lamps, a bed sheet, and some high gloss (but not pee proof) card stock. Hold the shutter down long enough and even squirrely little puppies who think they’re getting abducted by aliens will give you a great shot.
In a quiet moment I dashed off a quick e-mail to The Bark with the above photos attached and when each new magazine came, I immediately flipped to the centerfold and scanned every line for my little cuties to be smiling back. I even checked the smiling dogs gallery on the website. It never happened.
Then, months later I got a letter from Claudia Kawczynska saying that my photos were finalists for publication in an upcoming Smiling Dog book, pending editor approval. Well, approval came and Mercury and Celeste are both featured in DogJoy: The Happiest Dogs in the Universe.
Don’t worry, if you missed out on having your pooch in the book, you can buy one customized with your dog on the cover. How great is that? Here’s a preview that includes Mercury’s full page portrait. Buy one! or twenty.
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