Founder of Pinups for Pit Bulls
Sasha Levine reports
Deirdre Franklin's love for Pit Bulls began while volunteering at a shelter. She attempted to adopt a Pit Bull-type dog, but was declined because of the dog's appearance. That shelter, like many others, had a kill-Pit-Bull policy, regardless of the dog's demeanor, history, or temperament.
"She was never even tested for behavior," says Deirdre. "She was killed purely because she looked like a Pit Bull."
During her struggle to free that dog, Deirdre reached out to Chako Pit Bull Rescue for help. Though the organization was unable to save the dog, they did introduce her to who would become an important member of her family: Deirdre's first dog, Carla Lou, an American Staffordshire Terrier mix. Carla had been left for dead in someone's basement. "When Carla came out of the crate and into my arms, it was love at first sight," Deirdre recalls. Next, she adopted Baxter, an abused Pit Bull-type dog and parvo survivor who was covered in chemical burns. He became a part of Deirdre's family, and has been loved ever since.
Deirdre came up the idea for creating a calendar of women posing with their Pit Bulls for charity. The inspiration for Pinups for Pit Bulls came not only from her own bully babies, but also from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. After Katrina struck, she was able to raise funds through her Myspace fan base (for Burlesque and modeling) to help with searchand- rescue efforts through the HSUS.
"It was so organic and natural to seek out support for my animal activism through my own network of likeminded people - which is why Pinups for Pitbulls has always remained a grassroots organization. Our fans are our friends, and they keep my vision and passion for dogs going."
Pinups for Pitbulls has quickly gained popular support. They were featured as one of Discovery.com's Top 10 Videos. They also starred on episode one of Animal Planet's Pit Boss, and they've been asked back for Season 2 (to air in 2011). Recently, the non-profit has sold out of the 2011 calendar and has already had to reprint more!
Her determination has grown along with her family. When Deirdre isn't attending conventions or hosting fundraisers, she may be found grilling some veggie dogs with her human love, Jefferson, their friends, and (of course) the fur kids: Carla, Baxter, Lexi, and Zoe. "We can help people understand [that Pit Bull-type dogs] have the same needs as any other companion animal." Such as someone who will provide an excellent quality of life for them.
Deirdre feels fortunate for the opportunities that the calendar has provided. "It's been amazing to have met so many incredible and inspiring women through Pinups for Pitbulls"¦ and to work alongside my best friend, Carrie "Berretta Fleur" Hunter, who I've known since I was fourteen." She is also proud to work with other organizations, like the Animal Farm Foundation, so that they may provide the best facts to readers and seminar attendees. But Deidre looks forward to taking her work to the next level. "A fun pin-up calendar is great exposure, but our ultimate goal is to educate society about the past, present, and future of Pit Bull-type dogs." A future, Deirdre hopes, that will result in Pit Bulls being seen as exactly what they are - just dogs.
For more information or to make a donation: www.pinupsforpitbulls.com