Chances are pretty good that if you are reading this, you are familiar with the organization Pinups for Pitbulls. What you might not be familiar with is the breadth and depth of their work and dedication to our beloved dogs. This book is a tribute to pit bulls, a factual exploration of their history, a testimony to why we love them so much and last, but certainly not least, a gorgeous coffee table book. Full of glossy photos and personal stories, this book is destined to if not make an advocate out of a person, at least, open their eyes and give them the chance to see pit bulls in a new light.
Deirdre Franklin is a smart woman. She holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy, with her specialty being Breed Specific Legislation. By combining her education, her love for the dog that started it all, Carla Lou and her career in modeling and Burlesque, she has carved out a niche whose reach is unparalleled in animal advocacy. When asked “Why pinups?”, she has this to say in the book:
“The ladies in these images are not professional models. Rather, they are animal advocates in their communities and for our organization. We transform them into pin-up girls in a professional studio so that we can grab people’s attention and then provide them with the facts about laws affecting our family members- all with a smile!”
For me, the vintage feel of the photographs in their yearly calendar has always been appealing, and as time has gone on, their themes and fun nature have just gotten better. And as more and more people aspire to appear in the calendar, the circle of pit bull advocacy grows. I admit to some pin-up fantasies myself. It’s glamorous, fun and kitschy-cool. Plus, pit bulls.
I digress. Back to the book. Franklin does a masterful job at making her points in a way that is pithy and yet full of information. She breaks important information down to it’s essential parts and makes it accessible to the average reader. For someone who wrote a dissertation about a subject so complex and dear to her heart, her ability to write brief and to the point pieces of information is incredible. She gets to the essence of advocacy without mincing words and running the risk of losing people along the way. In another passage, she has this to say about Pinups for Pitbulls and animal advocacy:
“A common misconception propagated by the media is that animal advocates are not on the side of public safety. That is simply not true.”
As an organization, Pinups for Pitbulls makes regular appearances at comic book and tattoo conventions, they have appeared on TV and been heard on the radio talking about BSL and advocacy and have achieved a level of exposure that most of us can only aspire to. It’s inspiring and one thing that is certainly not lost on us here at Your Pit Bull and You, is their advocacy for reward-based training. It’s a rare organization that is able to bridge the gap between advocating for pit bulls in general and all of the things surrounding them; things like media sensationalism, bias and BSL and training and behavior. For whatever reason (and I think this pertains to all dogs, not just pit bulls) training and behavior are often left out of the equation when it comes to advocacy. Though it’s not a main focus for Pinups for Pitbulls, the fact that education about training and behavior is part of their mission puts them way ahead of the curve. Franklin has this to say about training:
“We recommend using positive reinforcement training for your companion dog….Training is not breed specific.”
Needless to say, that’s one of our favorite passages. And that Mojo, who was lucky enough to share his life with our good friends Vyolet and Drayton Michaels of Urban Dawgs, is featured in the stories section of the book makes the whole thing even sweeter.
Little Darling’s (that’s Deirdre’s stage name) Pinups for Pitbulls: A Celebration of America’s Most Lovable Dogs is one of those books that you are able to read in one sitting and will likely go back through more times than you can count. From the passages about advocacy, to the stories about dogs, to the amazing photography, this book is special. You may find yourself wanting to get more involved. You may wish you could be a pin-up (there is an application process, it’s no small feat to achieve pin-up status!). You will be inspired. You’ll be inspired by a woman who created an organization with a clearly defined mission, a woman who works tirelessly on behalf of our beloved dogs and a woman whose heart is as big as her drive to do more.
I ordered a signed copy of the book. I did not expect a personal message and was deeply touched by it. Deidre is thoughtful in everything she does from what I have learned as I’ve gotten to know her. It is thrilling to me that the mission of Pinups for Pitbulls aligns with our own here at Your Pit Bull and You. It’s thrilling to see an organization dedicated to our dogs have close to a half a million likes on their Facebook page and it’s thrilling to see someone you admire create something so fantastic: a beautiful hardcover book that manages to be both gorgeous and informative.
To learn more about Pinups for Pitbulls, visit their website. You can learn more about their mission, their yearly calendar, the book and other merchandise, as well as upcoming events.
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t encourage you to buy this book. We get nothing out of it, other than knowing that we’ve helped encourage people to learn more and spread the advocacy.