Exclusive Interview with Pinups for Pitbulls Founder - Win Copy of Her New Book and Donation to PFPB

Have you ever had those moments when you spend time with a person that you’ve just met, and immediately feel a connection with them? That’s how I felt with Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin from Pinups for Pitbulls. Let me tell you how our paths crossed.

I was a BarkTank book pitch finalist last October at BarkWorld. That was a strange sentence to type, but we’ll pretend it’s totally normal. A part of the event’s activities included a tour of the CNN headquarters. Our group was split and I happened to be on the tour with Deirdre and Shorty Rossi (from the Pit Boss) and his pup, Francis.

I didn’t know Deirdre, but I was drawn to her colorful tattoos. They truly are pieces of art and I started to chat with her about them. She helped to share what each piece represented and I was mesmerized. She was so genuinely excited to tell each story, I could have listened to her for hours. We couldn’t though, considering we were on a tour and all, but that’s besides the point.

Books purchased on my own, they were not provided by the author. I will also be financially contributing for the donation to Pinups for Pitbulls. This post does include an amazon affiliate link. If you click on it and make a purchase, I'll receive a small commission.

This is Piper, who belongs to Alison from Sarcastic Dog. Piper is one of the loves of my life and I could spend all day kissing her worry wrinkles on her forehead.

Fast forward to a few days later when I was at a presentation about social media influencers, and I saw Deirdre on the stage along with other panelists who had made their mark on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. When Deirdre’s bio was read, and I realized I had spent time with her just “shootin’ the poo,” not long earlier, I thought to myself I was kind of glad I didn’t know who she was initially because I’d probably wind up being star struck and not mustering the strength to chat with her.

Pinups for Pitbulls is a huge deal, that has positively changed the lives of thousands of dogs since its inception. The non-profit organization has raised thousands of dollars and has helped raise awareness about Pit Bull type dogs and Breed Specific Legislation since it began in 2005.

photo from pinups for pitbulls calendar

Pinups for Pitbulls Calendar photo used with permission from Deirdre Franklin & Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc.

I had a chance to interview Deirdre to learn more about Pinups for Pitbulls, the pinup calendar that helps raise the most money for the organization, her books, and BSL. After you have a chance to read through our interview, be sure to enter our GIVEAWAY for a chance to win a copy of her most recent book The Pitbull Life and a $50 dollar donation in your name to the organization. Two winners will be chosen!

Please note, I have an auditory processing disorder and did not have a way to record a telephone call. As a result, these replies are not necessarily direct quotes of Deirdre's but, rather, capture the essence of the conversation to the best of my ability.

Tell me a little about your decision to use Pinup Imagery and a calendar as your platform for your organization:

Deirdre: Back in the days of Myspace, I had a large burlesque following. I also had my first dog at the time, Carla Lou who is the four-legged founder of Pinups for Pitbulls.

I wanted to find a creative way to get people to pay attention but also bring some lightness and fun to the forefront too. I had a friend who happened to be a pinup photographer so I asked that my friend help take photos for a lighthearted calendar in 2007. We shot twelve different girls and dogs and thought that it would be a one-time thing.

This is Zora from Sarcastic Dog snuggling with her copy of The Pit Bull Life by Deirdre Franklin.

This occurred around the time Michael Vick was heavily featured in the news, which resulted in the media starting to call us and asking for thoughts and input.

What do you find most resonated with people who were introduced to Pinups for Pitbulls?

Deirdre: Well, I was with a fifty five pound dog standing at 5 foot, two inches and personally weighing just over one hundred pounds. When people had a chance to meet Carla Lou, they were surprised to learn that, she’s just a dog, with all the goods and bad of any other dog.

How did you and Carla Lou find each other?

Deirdre: I had been volunteering at an animal rescue in 1996, which had a kill policy for pit bulls due to “insurance purposes.” At the time, I didn’t think much of it because I hadn’t seen any pit bulls at the facility up to that point. One day, a woman brought a dog to the rescue that she had found on the street and the staff said, “if you bring her in, she’ll be killed.”

In an attempt to help the dog and the woman, I rushed home and got on the computer to try to find a rescue to take her in Texas. Chako Rescue, located in Texas was the organization that I contacted. While they attempted to help, the dog that had been brought in was unfortunately euthanized.

Carla Lou, four legged founder of pinups for pitbulls

Carla Lou, four-legged founder of Pinups for Pitbulls. Photo used with permission from the Carla Lou Facebook page.

Chako, also helped match me with Carla Lou. After helping to pay her adoption fee and transportation fee, I picked her up without having met her before. I picked her up, and prayed, I didn’t know what I was doing at all. I’m so thankful we were matched.

The organization that I volunteered with has since lifted their policies regarding pit bulls after having met with me years later.

What are some of your favorite memories of Carla Lou?

Deirdre: Well, we’ve moved across the country together and she lived to 18, so we spent a lot of years together, too.

I remember sitting together on a park bench on the edge of the East River on the night of 9/11. In a day that was full of uncertainty, we had each other. I remember thinking “I have everything right now” when we were together.

Tell me a little about the process of selecting your pinup girls for the calendar? How many entries do you receive and what are you looking for when making a selection?

Deirdre: We average between 300-800 entries per year and it’s our largest fundraiser. We have a panel of judges who volunteer with Pinups for Pitbulls who know about our organization and what we stand for.

Pinups for Pitbulls Calendar photo used with permission from Deirdre Franklin & Pinups for Pitbulls, Inc.

We are looking for lifelong advocates, those individuals who have the potential to serve as ambassadors for the breed and our organization. The image is the last thing we focus on.

Congrats on your recently published book! What’s the book’s focus and who are you trying to reach?

Deirdre: Thank you. This is my second book and second publisher. The Pit Bull Life is a toolkit for anyone who wants to adopt a pit bull type dog. It’s intended to help people understand all that’s involved with owning and caring for a pit bull. It includes information about pit bull history, how to talk to others about pit bulls and the law, including BSL regulations. I view the book as a palatable way to help shape a future for these dogs.

Where do you see Pinups for Pitbulls in five years?

Deirdre: I have no idea. I would like to do more international work, though. I would like to help lift other bigger breed bans across Europe, for example, and parts of Canada.

What question do you WISH you were asked in interviews and what is your reply?

Deirdre: Are you sure they’re not any different than any other dog?

No, they are not inherently different. They are JUST DOGS. That being said, there are dangerous dogs that exist. Virginia has some of the best dangerous dog laws because they hold people accountable.

Aside from donations, what other ways can fans help support Pinups for Pitbulls?

Deirdre: There are a lot of ways people can help! You can sign up to be a volunteer for our organization in your region. If there isn’t a team already in place, you can start a team and help to volunteer at local events. We have branded merchandise that can be purchased on our website. You can also help spread awareness by sharing adoptable dogs that we’ve shared on our facebook page. If you do donate monetarily, donations are tax deductible.

I felt like I could have talked to Deirdre for hours (and as a person with social anxiety, and an introvert, that’s saying something). It was an incredible experience hearing from her directly and being able to learn more about her history, the Pinups for Pitbulls organization, and ways we can help raise awareness about the breed and BSL regulations. Please join me in offering thanks to Deirdre for taking the time out of her hectic schedule to speak with me! Be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win your own copy of her book and a donation to Pinups for Pitbulls in your honor!

Here's the link to the rafflecopter if it doesn't show up on your smartphone:

LINK TO GIVEAWAY

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