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August 15, 2007

Dog is Their Co-Pilot

Bark
My first issue of a magazine called The Bark arrived at my home yesterday, along with a stack of others. Seeing a mop-haired doggie face staring back at me from inside my mailbox made me smile, so I plucked it from the pile and got comfortable on the couch. Each of my dogs waited for me to settle, then curled up on either side of me, the yellow one leaning on me a little too much.

I decided to subscribe to a dog magazine because I’m a first time dog owner. I grew up with cats, but about a year and a half ago my boyfriend and I decided we wanted to adopt a puppy from the pound. There were no puppies available that day, but we did carry home a 9-month-old sandy-haired mixed breed with a pink nose. I was hooked from the start, and I became, in an instant, an unabashed dog lover.

Which is why The Bark is the perfect magazine for me. I chose this magazine because I thought the name was great, and because the cover was nicely designed. I didn’t read any reviews of the publication, just picked it because it didn’t have the word "Fancy" in the title. I hoped for a magazine about dogs for people who loved them, without any pretensions regarding breed or behavior training. Well, I lucked out. Bark is definitely for people who are really into their fur friends, but it is not obsessive in tone. The writing is breezy and pertinent, without being too heavy. In fact, The Bark is a light read that would be great for children to flip through, as well. The articles are about dogs and their relationship with humans, and run the gamut from how dogs were used historically in advertising to swimming safety tips for Spot. The August issue included such pieces as:

  • Canine Behaviorists’ Top 10 Issues
  • a summer lit section full of fur-centric fiction
  • diabetes service dogs that detect low blood sugar levels
  • a pointed editorial on the rolling pet food recalls
  • Dog Law: ask an expert
  • reviews of books about dogs

There was also a grin-inducing collage of smiling dogs. I’d argue that dogs cannot smile, since many of them looked to be screaming or yawning, but it was hilarious nonetheless. There was also the awesome idea for a cover dog contest. Just inside the cover was a segment entitled, "Is Our Cover Dog Living with You?", which goes a little something like this:

Get your dog on the cover of Bark magazine and win an exclusivephoto session with top dog photographer Amanda Jones. To celebrate Bark’s 10th anniversary, we are looking for a cover dog who embodies all the qualities we love—happiness, spirit, charm and personality.

    We invite everyone to send us a photo of their dog and a few words why their pooch is the perfect Bark Cover Dog. The winning entry  will be selected by Bark’s editorial and creative staff, and we’ll fly Amanda Jones out to your home for a special photo shoot. [visit Bark.com for more rules and deadline]

In-home photo shoot for one of my dogs? This may be a contest I have to skip, since I do not think my dog would make a very good model. Getting her to sit for a treat takes an act of Congress.

Anyway, I’m no certified magazine critic, but I’d recommend The Bark to anyone who is crazy about their canines. The design is pleasing, with plenty of white space, and the pages are a nice, thick paper stock. Articles do not jump back several dozen pages, each finishing instead in the allotted, sequenced space. The bright colors and plethora of pup pics should keep younger readers just as entertained. Break out your The Bark at the dog park or as you’re waiting for Rover during his check-up at the vet. It’s simply delightful. The New York Times dubbed The Bark "the New Yorker of dog
magazines.”
High praise, indeed.



About the Author

Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan
Michelle Ryan is obsessed with good food, great shoes and Alabama football way down South in Savannah, Georgia. She hasn’t met a kitchen gadget she hasn’t at least thought about buying (trying them is another story) and devotes her time to Bikram Yoga, baking and trying to overcome long-held finicky eating habits.