Ever wonder what it’s like behind the scenes at Pet Connection Magazine? Here’s our candid (and often funny) year in review!

Animal behavior and communication

Our North January/February 2016 cover

North Cover: Temple Grandin
South Cover: Valentine’s Day cover contest!

Feature articles: Found in Translation (Dr. Temple Grandin), Connections: Jeff Burnside, Demystifying Animal Behavior with Dr. Jim Ha.

Behind-the-Scenes Commentary

Sarah: This was my first issue officially working with Tracy and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect! I was SO happy with how this issue turned out! She was so full of fun ideas, and wonderful connections, it was like a breath of fresh air! The only hard part was deciding which ideas we didn’t have room to include, those decisions were painful. We consoled ourselves by promising to do ANOTHER Animal Behavior special issue in 2017.


Our South January/February 2016 cover

Tracy: This was my very first issue as co-publisher and I knew that I wanted to start off with an issue about animal behavior and communication. I had a “short list” of people I wanted to include in this issue, including Jeff Burnside and Drs. Temple Grandin and Jim Ha. I was SO excited that they all said “yes” to being in this issue!

I just love how both issues turned out!



North Cover: Fiona the Seven-Pound Super Dog
South Cover: Johnson Insurance & Rick’s Automotive

Our South March/April 2016 cover

Feature articles: Fiona and the Why Not Me Pets campaign, Connections: Anne Bremner, Jordan and Baker Olerud, My Night With Super Dog, Elle King adopts a local dog, Dog Gone Easter Egg Hunt, Hometown Heroes: Johnson Insurance and Rick’s Automotive!

Behind-the-Scenes Commentary

Sarah: These had to be some of my all-time favorite covers! When we decided that we wanted our theme for this issue to be “heroes,” I decided to go with a comic book style, which was so much fun! It was really a break from our normal cover style graphically. I went out on a limb and went for the “WOW” factor. To be honest, those covers gave me so much joy that it was hard to sleep until we held them in our hands! I had an out-of-the-country work trip right as we were finishing this issue, but it all came together beautifully with the help of Tracy and Stephanie!

Our North March/April 2016 cover

Tracy: I was SO impressed with Lara Grauer’s photo session with Fiona, who really didn’t want to wear her super hero costume. Lara knocked it out of the park and Fiona ended up being adopted this year! Many of these stories resonated with me and showed me just how diverse our local heroes are. I loved meeting with Jordan and Baker Olerud and interviewing and writing about Johnson Insurance and Rick’s Automotive. It was wonderful to feel such a connection to the community and know that we were going to be sharing that with the world.

When I was preparing for the ride along with Officer Mark Wong and K9 Ziva, I was so excited. I got to our meeting spot an hour early and then tried to work on other articles to distract myself, but I couldn’t concentrate. What a fun night!

Mind & Body

North Cover: Oskar the Blind Cat & Klaus
South Cover: Marvelous Marvin

Our North May/June 2016 cover

Feature articles: Connections: Penny Eims, National Dog News, The Ballad of Oskar and Klaus, The Curious Case of Marvin Baker, Farm Dog Naturals, Paw and Order.

Behind-the-Scenes Commentary

Sarah: It was definitely challenging to have cats on both the North and South covers, but Julie Austin pulled it off! This was my first time working with Julie for cover shoots, and bless her heart, she was faced with TWO cat shoots!

As a photographer myself, I knew what a tall order that was. I loved how they both came out, from the iconic Oskar and Klaus image on the skateboard to the smoldering “blue steel” drop dead look of Marvin, they were both rock star status!

Our South May/June 2016 cover

Tracy: I was SO excited to have Oskar and Klaus in our first-ever Mind & Body Blockbuster! This was Oskar and Klaus’ first magazine cover (and I’m sure it won’t be their last!) Throwing Oskar a Cinco de Meow party (that was actually a surprise birthday party, complete with donations to local feline rescues!) was SO much fun!



Petaways & Playcations

North Cover: Jack!
South Cover: Maizy!

Feature articles: Connections: Seattle DogSpot, Three Must-See Seattle Area Hikes, Camping Safety

Our North July/August 2016 cover

Behind-the-Scenes Commentary

Sarah: What Tracy fails to mention below, is the fact that it took TWO shoots to get the perfect photo of Jack for the cover of the North Edition! The first one, I drove all the way to Kirkland, and as I arrived the sky opened up and a HUGE DELUGE of water rained down!

Not wanting to give up, (not my style) we loaded Jack in the car and drove around looking for the perfect spot for the shoot if the rain stopped. It didn’t, but Jack didn’t mind. I felt so guilty dragging him around that he got to eat most of a package of cheese, one bit at a time. The bright side was that now Jack thought I was pretty cool, so when we met again for photos, he gave me his best model poses.

What a good dog!

Our South July/August 2016 cover

Tracy: It was SO hard to get a cover photo of Jack! He’s a black, one-eyed, three-legged dog, and not only did he not want to cooperate, but the weather didn’t, either!

The photo Sarah got for the North issue ended up being perfect, and so was Julie Austin’s Maizy photo for our South issue!


Animal Welfare

North Cover: Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest
South Cover: The Horse Whisperer, Buck Brannaman

Our North September/October 2016 Animal Welfare cover

Feature articles: Connections: Julie Forbes, Eight Ways You Can Help An Animal’s Welfare Today, Haunted Hikes, The Black Cat Phenomenon, The Black Cat Ball, Seahawks Linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis Helps Leroy the Dog, Seal Sitters

Behind-the-Scenes Commentary

Sarah: Arriving at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest felt more like arriving in Middle Earth than it did Central Washington. This truly is a magical, magical place. I was totally thrown off by the random elk who was on the grounds, too! And Buck Brannaman…We only had a few minutes to get that cover shot after we interviewed Buck. The clouds were angry and black and coming at us like we’d been dropped right into “The Wizard of Oz.” I had time to take three shots and was SO glad that one of them was perfect for the cover!

Our South September/October 2016 Animal Welfare cover

Tracy: I was SO excited to interview Buck, but we had to wait to talk to him because a long line of fans each had questions for him. By the time the interview started, the wind had picked up and it was raining hard just to the west of us.

As Tim Gunn would say, it was a “make it work” moment.


Our South September/October 2016 Spooktacular cover

North Cover: Purrfect Pals’ Black Cat Ball
South Cover: Kevin Pierre-Louis & Leroy

Behind-the-Scenes Commentary

Sarah: It’s so hard to narrow down my memories of this issue. It’s funny how the things that freak you out the most at the time, come together to make the best memories! I got to take a lot of the photos for this issue, and that always makes me happy, photography is my first true love! This issue I got to photograph Kevin Pierre-Louis, a linebacker for the Seahawks! I was very nervous about getting the perfect shot, while not taking too long and having the poor guy dissolve into a puddle of sweat during the hottest day of the summer.

Turns out that the guy is THE sweetest, and the shoot went great!

The other part of this issue that freaked me out was that it was a flipbook. This was Tracy’s idea, and as soon as I heard it, I knew we had to do it! I thought the idea was so cutting edge and FUN. However, going from a fantastic idea to the execution can be a difficult and anxiety-ridden process. Every time I thought I was ready to upload the files to our printer, I would freak out and look at them again! Was I flipping the right pages upside down? Were the page numbers done correctly?


Four covers, four cover features, and half going one way and half the other! I finally had to trust myself and pull the trigger. I hope you got to see both of them, because they were amazing!!

Thanks Tracy, for believing we could pull that off!

Our North September/October 2016 Spooktacular cover

Tracy: I love Purrfect Pals’ Black Cat Ball, so I was SO happy to include this event on our Spooktacular cover! Zero was a Purrfect cover model and Brooke Mallory’s photo was so stunning.

I was so thankful that Kevin Pierre-Louis was able to do this photo shoot. It was 90+ degrees out and he only had a Seahawks hoodie – what a good sport!

Thank you to all of our readers and contributors! Here’s to an amazing 2017 filled with information-packed issues of Pet Connection Magazine!