Admittedly, it’s one of our favorite editions of the year: encore’s Pet Cover Contest. It brings sheer joy to the staff to do nothing but look at pictures of dogs, cats, parrots, ferrets, and whatever other animals people cuddle and love in their households. This year proved no exception. If anything it was more necessary to bring joy and smiles to everyone during these weird times of living in isolation.
Last week we asked readers to comment on our Facebook post announcing the contest with their two favorite pics of their pets. We also requested they donate at least $5 to Canines for Service, which helps train service dogs for veterans, first responders and others in need. We had more than 20 participants help us raise over $200 for the local charity.
During ranked-choice voting, our staff crowned Ms. Nova Campagna as Miss Encore 2020. A David Bowie-eyed shepsky, Nova’s birthday also happened to be Saturday, April 4. The newly minted 3-year-old took some time away from her party to answer a few questions about her win in our annual Pet Cover Model Contest.
encore (e): Is this your first modeling gig—winning encore’s pet cover contest?
Nova Campagna (NC): Yes, I’ve had a few small features, like being featured on the digital display at Pet Paradise, but I’ve never been a full-blown cover girl.
e: How does it feel to win?
NC: I’ve known this day was coming since I was a pup, but I’m honored my first big break was with encore.
e: I understand you just had a birthday. How did you celebrate?
NC: We usually have a big dog party, but due to quarantine we couldn’t invite anyone over, so Mom baked me a birthday cake, and Suki and I had a great time.
e: Is Suki your sibling?
NC: I was an only child until February when I got a little sister named Suki. She’s a husky, like me, and it took me some time to get used to her. She had a hard childhood, and I didn’t understand why she was shy at first. I wasn’t so sure about sharing cuddles and couch space, but in quarantine, we’ve grown closer since I have someone to play with.
e: Who are your human parents? What do you love most about them? Is there anything they do that drives you crazy?
NC: Martha and Mitchell are my mom and dad, and they both work in the beer industry. Dad works at Fermental, and I’ve been a regular there since the day I was adopted. Mom works at Untappd, so, naturally, we were always going to local breweries and seeing our friends. Man, I miss that!
They’re the best parents, except for when they tell me I can’t have any more cookies or get mad when I chase the cats around. (I can’t help it!)
e: Are you social distancing appropriately? How are you handling be cooped up with your parents all day?
NC: Social distancing is hard! Whenever we go on walks, we (begrudgingly) make sure to cross the street if we see other dogs in order to maintain the 6-foot distance. I definitely miss doggie daycare and the dog park, but having Mom working from home means I never have to be alone. I love the extra snuggles and playtime lunch breaks.
e: What does a day in your life look like?
NC: I like to wake up early and greet the day tail wagging, usually spending a few minutes in the backyard, taking in the fresh morning air and staring off into the distance. My parents call this my “reflection time.” I’m a firm believer in eating a hearty breakfast and tend to spend the rest of my day taking long walks, chasing tennis balls and bumblebees in the backyard, and lounging on the sofa.
e: What are your favorite hobbies?
NC: My absolute favorite thing to do is swim. I might be half-husky, but I’m a definite beach babe. Sunbathing, sand digging, seagull chasing, wave jumping … I love it all. But if I can’t get to the beach, I love a long hike at Carolina Beach State Park or Abbey Nature Preserve, lounging in the kiddie pool at home, or sitting on the front porch with Mom and Dad while they play a record.
e: Do you have a boyfriend?
NC: I’m too focused on my career and personal ambitions to be concerned with boys. Maybe one day.
e: What are your career goals?
NC: Modeling! I want to show the world that you don’t have to be purebred to be beautiful, and to be a role model for other dogs like me. It doesn’t matter what your doggie DNA kit says, what matters is how comfortable you feel in your own fur.
e: Wet food or dry food?
NC: Um, all food.
e: Favorite snacks?
NC: Chicken. And bacon. Or … any food.
e: Favorite toy?
NC: My big red jolly ball!
e: Fave TV show? Movie? Book? Game?
NC: Every time Mom and Dad leave the house, they leave the TV on for me. I’ve watched all of “Golden Girls,” “Sex and the City,” “King of the Hill,” and the entire “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Currently, I’m really into “Love Island UK.” Now that I’m 3, I think I’m old enough.
e: Do you do tricks?
NC: Tricks? Pssh. I like to make my parents do tricks. I’ve got them completely trained.
e: On a scale of one to 10 bones, how smart are you?
NC: Probably a 15. The first day I went to daycare, I opened all the gates and ran through all the play yards like I owned it all. Mom and Dad had no idea what they were getting into.
e: So you must get told a lot you have Bowie eyes; you a fan of his work? Other fave music?
NC: While I appreciate his artistry, I relate more to Taylor Swift.
e: The biggest misconception about dogs is…
NC: That we’re man’s best friend. Mom is definitely mine.
e: If you could have any wish in the world granted, what would it be?
NC: That we could hurry up and beat this virus so we can play with our friends again.
e: Anything else we should know?
NC: This past year I was diagnosed with an immune disorder that has kept me from playing as hard as I used to, but I’ve learned to not let it hold me back or define who I am. I couldn’t have gotten through this year without Dr. Amy White and the entire staff at Porter’s Neck Vet! I know I can live the rest of my life to the fullest with their support.