TAMPA (FOX 13) - It's a magazine for dog lovers, all about dogs. "The New Barker" is the only publication of its kind in Florida and is celebrating its tenth year. On the cover of the 30th issue is a dog near-and-dear to FOX 13 - my rescue greyhound, Karma.
It all started with Tuxes and Tails, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay's annual fundraiser where local celebrities and "adorable adoptables" strut their stuff on the catwalk. "The New Barker" donated a cover for the live auction.
My husband bid, and bid, and bid - and we won! We made a donation to the Humane Society and our recently-adopted, ex-racing greyhound got the cover, plus an accompanying story to let people know why rescued greyhounds make fabulous pets. It was a win-win!
The cover begins with a photo, and watching professional photographer Laura Allen in action was quite a treat. Let's just say it requires patience, creativity and sometimes a squeaky rubber chicken!
Says Allen, "Basically we're trying to get her personality instead of just a traditional greyhound. I want her quirkiness, her goofiness."
Co-founder and editor of "The New Barker," Anna Cooke, works with Laura Allen and other photographers to get just the right look for her magazine.
Says Cooke, "We're looking for style in the magazine. I'm looking for Laura to get a different angle."
Cooke and her husband started "The New Barker" ten years ago, tapping into the early days of the exploding pet market. Cooke says they felt the time was right.
Says Cooke, "How can you go wrong on the subject of a dog? It's always going to be a great story."
If the magazine cover looks familiar, it's supposed to. She's a longtime fan of "The New Yorker."
She remembers vividly the moment she decided on the name.
"It really was one of those sat up in bed one night and said 'Oh my God, I've got the name of the magazine. The New Barker!"
29 issues later, the magazine has grown and spread from Tampa Bay to all of Florida. The Cookes hire a few "rover reporters," but write most of the stories themselves.
Cooke says they never lack for ideas.
"I was concerned when we started the magazine that we would have a shortage of content, and after the very first issue, it snowballed!"
The next step for Karma's cover is choosing from Laura Allen's photos. It was tough! So many good ones! But deciding on the artist to paint her portrait was easy.
Carrie Jadus of St. Petersburg has been painting since she was twelve years old. She's known for her own style of impressionism, painting landscapes, people...and their pets.
Says Jadus, "I know that I have it right when I start to paint the eyes and it makes me smile, because it's like all of a sudden there's life."
There's no peeking while Jadus paints. That's magazine policy. My husband and I will get to see Karma's portrait when the issue is published: not a minute before.
Says Cooke, "Everything has to be kept under wraps...then it's unveiled, formally."
The 30th edition of "The New Barker" featuring Karma was unveiled live Friday morning on Good Day Tampa Bay. The magazine will hit newsstands next week!