Fix At Four Advertising Campaign Targeting Dog and Cat Owners.

Best Friends Animal Society is co-hosting Pet Super Adoptions across the country. The New Barker dog magazine will be attending one this weekend at the pop-up adoption center for First Coast No More Homeless Pets, 10503 San Jose Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida. The goal is to find forever homes for 200 dogs, puppies, kittens and cats.

One of the first tenets of the No Kill movement is the need to try and control over pet population through spaying and neutering. The fact of the matter is, though, 80 percent of pet owners actually do spay and/or neuter their pets. So, why do we continue to have an over abundance of kittens and puppies in shelters? Best Friends says there is still a lot of confusion as to when animals should be spayed or neutered. Female cats and dogs can actually start having litters as young as four months old.

Thanks to the help of TM Advertising and MRM in Salt Lake City, Best Friends has a series of cool, creative television spots, appropriately titled, Fix at Four. The campaign was created on a bare-bones budget, and the PSAs will be available for use online, posters, screensavers and TV.

The funny spots feature dogs and cats as they face the daunting task of parenting much too soon – but with a quirky twist. For example, one of the Fix at Four spots, Afternoon Stroll has a plot that makes it appear as if a harried father is trying to keep a bunch of “interested” local boys from being too interested in his young daughter.

TM’s chief creative officer, Bill Oakely said, “Given the fact there was very little money in the budget, there was a tremendous number of resources, artists, editors, musicians and actors helping with this. Lots of expensive talent gave up their time and effort for these spots.”

Among the stars of the PSAs are Modern Family’s Eric Stonestreet, Oscar-winning actress Linda Hunt and musician Paula Cole.

While all of the spots are lighthearted, like “Afraid of That,” the statistics are all too real and still anything but. Half of all pets born in the United States are accidents, leading to so many being killed in shelters each year. Thanks to counties like Manatee, Broward, and Duval, their communities are embracing the No Kill movement. Other communities, like Hillsborough, Citrus and Palm Beach counties are assessing how to proceed. Wouldn’t it be amazing if Florida became the first No Kill state in America?

What’s Your Name? Is It Bronco or Bronx?

My dog’s name is Tebow. No, it’s Bronco. No, wait a minute, it’s Bronx.
New York Jets quarterback and former Florida Gator QB, Tim Tebow is hard at work with his new teammates. But the real news, making headlines right now, is the fact that he changed the name of his dog from Bronco to Bronx. Some dog and football fans are concerned the Rhodesian Ridgeback could become confused, even sighting concerns on Twitter that Tebow is a bad dog owner. Some are weighing in, saying it’s cruel to change a dog’s name.

But, re-naming a dog is not an unusual occurrence. How many families have changed the name of their newly adopted dog after bringing him or her home from a shelter? Heck, dogs adapt to new names, just like football players adapt to new teams. For dogs, it’s love+food = adaptation. For football players it’s adulation+money = adaptation.

At least Tebow isn’t adding tattoos to his dog’s body a la LaDainian Tomlinson.

Confused dog? Let us know what you think. And while you ponder the question, we’ll leave you with this little ditty by Don and Juan. By the way, you haven’t lived until you’ve been serenaded by the love of your life with this beautiful classic, a cappella, no less. You had me at “shooby doo wap wa da.”

Art for the Sake of Dogs.

Grant, by artist Mark Barone. Spring, 2012 issue of The New Barker.
Over the last week, there have been two articles regarding the covers of national magazines. One appeared in last Sunday’s New York Times about celebrities and their babies. The article stated that the actor Matthew McConaughey received somewhere between $500,000 to $1 million to pose with his baby on the cover of OK! magazine. The magazine’s founder, Sarah Ivens Moffett had a clear idea what she wanted to see on the cover: a shirtless McConaughey, holding the baby, without the mother. McConaughey had quite another idea: Matthew, fully clothed, appeared along side Camila Alves, the baby’s mother and Levi, their two-year-old son.

The other article appeared in a recent ImPrint post about the rejected covers of The New Yorker magazine. The “uninhibited outtakes” have been collected for a new book, Blown Covers: New Yorker Covers You Were Never Meant To See” from Abrams Books. Francoise Mouly, The New Yorker’s art editor since 1993 says of the cover selection process, “Sometimes something is too provocative or too sexist or too racist, but it will inspire a line of thinking that will help develop an image that is publishable.” The full ImPrint article can be read here, but be forewarned – some of the images may be offensive.

Before Oprah started her magazine, research revealed that every other magazine title with Oprah’s image on the cover would sell out. That is one of the main reasons Oprah’s image always appears on the cover of O.

The first issue of The New Barker, 2006. Cover artwork by Florida artist, Sonja Quillen.
Every cover of The New Barker dog magazine has always featured an original piece of artwork by a Florida artist since its first issue printed in 2006. Selecting the artist for each cover is as much exhilarating as it is nerve-wracking, for the same reason: There is a wonderful pool of talent from which to choose. The New Barker dog magazine celebrates the art of dog® with each cover’s artwork. A simple philosophy, but not a simple process, by any means.

We deviated from this Florida pool of talent for the Spring, 2012 issue because we were particularly moved by one artist’s message. And, isn’t that what art is supposed to do? It can provoke a smile, a cry, or a laugh. Art can motivate one to take action, or at the very least, to take notice. That is not to say we have not been moved by every single artist whose work has graced the cover of The New Barker. Each piece of art has meant something to us in its own special way.

The second issue of The New Barker, Spring, 2007. Cover artwork by Florida artist, Michelle Mardis.
Art is subjective, and we’re reminded of that by our readers with every cover. In fact, the artwork on the second issue of The New Barker elicited this response from a letter writer, “Why on earth did you put a boring black Lab on the cover of The New Barker?” Opinions. They’re like belly buttons. Every body has one.
Boo, a Corgi, appeared on the Summer, 2007 issue of The New Barker. The artwork was created by Pat Weaver.
Border Collie by June Allard/Berte. Summer 2008 cover of The New Barker.

The three covers that have generated the most response from readers so far, have featured a Pembroke Welsh Corgi by Pat Weaver, a Border Collie by June Allard/Berte, and a German Shepherd by Linda Chapman. Ms. Weaver is an internationally recognized watercolor artist. Ms. Allard/Berte is one of the country's foremost portraitists. Ms.Chapman's work has been widely collected and purchased by numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. How fortunate to have them all as Florida artists.

The portrait of the Beagle on the Spring, 2012 issue is that of Grant. He was a Florida dog, who was euthanized in a Florida shelter. In our selection process, we reviewed several portraits by the artist Mark Barone, all Florida dogs who suffered the same fate as Grant. None of the portraits we reviewed in our selection process included Pit Bulls. While many Pit Bulls end up in animal shelters across Florida, we wanted to remind readers that other breeds are also available for adoption at shelters. Chihuahuas. Yorkies. Border Collies. German Shepherds. Corgis, Scotties, Poodles. And Beagles. Over the course of two years, Mark will be completing the portraits of 5500 dogs whose lives ended at a shelter. The project is called An Act of Dog. The number represents the approximate number of dogs euthanized in shelters across the United States – every single day.

The author, Alice Hoffman is quoted as saying, "Once you know some things, you can't unknow them. It's a burden that can never be given away." The New Barker has always been a lifestyle magazine, celebrating the beauty of all dogs, and our love for each of them. It is our editorial intent to leave the readers feeling good after reading each issue, and perhaps a little more informed. Two things I've learned for sure over the last six years: 1) publishing is not for the faint of heart; 2) trying to please everyone will please no one.

View more covers of The New Barker dog magazine.