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The Dogs’ Homes Calendar is a Christmas highlight for many of us, a gift for friends and loved ones which is often sent with an extra note – “look who is in August this year!”
But work starts long before the calendar goes on sale in November each year. Denise Bower and Carol Barry are two hard working volunteers who have led our calendar team for nearly 20 years. They’ve been kind enough to give us the inside story on what’s involved in producing the calendar each year, and some hints on what the committee look for when selecting the calendar cover dog.
What is it that makes the Dogs’ Homes Calendar special?
The calendar shows the joy of dogs being themselves and living happy lives doing what they do day to day – playing, snuggled up sleeping, out walking, swimming. Things they love to do at home or outdoors on an adventure walk or activity.
There’s a joy too involved as the families enter photos of their loved family members, some including stories of life with their dog or dogs. The endearing qualities, funny happenings and the sad too. It’s a lovely connection when you see images of beautiful dogs who have been in our care and know they now have a loving home.
How do you decide which dogs to include and which dog goes on which page?
Our aim is to include all dogs’ photos. We select a theme, layout and colour scheme for each page and we spend a lot of time positioning photos to get the best overall layout for every page of the calendar.
Who selects the cover dog each year, and how do you decide?
The Calendar Committee Team choose the cover photo. We look for a happy photo of a dog being a dog, doing what comes naturally. For the cover photo we also have to consider the quality of the photo for printing, and an image that will work for a full cover layout, including space for the cover text.
Have you got any tips for people who are submitting photos?
1. Only Dogs’ Homes dogs in photos.
2. Pick a photo of your dog being themselves. No need to pose them as sometimes this can stress dogs, and stressed dogs don’t make happy photos.
3. You can enter a photo of your dog every year, not just the year they were adopted.
4. Don’t edit or Photoshop photos. If any adjustment is needed, we will do that.
5. Send your photos well before deadline if you can – The competition is open all year, and entries for 2023 close on Friday 10 June at 5 pm.
6. No humans in photos please
How long has the Dogs’ Homes been producing a calendar ?
We produced the first calendar in 2000 as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations. The basics haven’t changed very much in that it’s a calendar photo competition open to adopted Dogs’ Homes dogs and our friend and artist David Bishop donating a watercolour pawtrait of the winning entrant as the prize.
When do you start working on the calendar each year and what is involved?
Work starts in May with draft themes and designs as we eagerly await photos of the beautiful dogs. Work in earnest starts as soon as the competition closes (5 pm on Friday 20 June 2022). Photos are grouped and a winning cover photo is chosen. There is usually a short list of finalists for the winning entry as choosing one out of so many can be delightfully difficult and page layouts are worked on and finalised over following weeks. All the dogs are winners!
How does the Calendar help the Dogs’ Homes?
The calendar is an important fund-raiser for the four Dogs’ Homes around the state. We very are lucky to have the support of some wonderful businesses who pay to advertise in the calendar. The advertising helps us to cover the costs of printing which means that we can keep the price of the calendar affordable, and it also means that every dollar people spend buying a copy of the calendar goes directly to help our dogs.