We Love Them! The Story Behind The Pit Bull Life

 

 

Book cover for The Pit Bull Life by Deirdre Franklin
When you read the page after the title page and it says, “This book is dedicated to the millions of people who have opened their hearts and homes to these resilient and often misunderstood dogs,” you know you are about to read something special. The Pit Bull Life: A Dog Lover’s Companion, is an ideal read for everyone with a passion for canines. Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

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Life With Dogs had the opportunity to interview Deirdre Franklin who, along with her co-author Linda Lombardi, wrote The Pit Bull Life: A Dog Lover’s Companion, offers some unique insight, anecdotes, and wisdom about these wonderful animals.  Here’s her take on some of what inspired the book and her hopes that it may change some minds.

Life With Dogs:     How did the idea emerge to write The Pit Bull Life? Was it something that had been sort of the back of the mind or was it initiated by a particular incident?

 

Deirdre Franklin:      The idea was brewing for some time. Collaborating together on the subject matter allowed us (Deirdre and Linda) the ability to do in-depth research in a reasonable period of time. The timing of the book felt especially ideal as breed discriminatory laws are being questioned across the globe.​ There was little information available in one place to fight such breed bans.

This is Skye, who, according to the post on the Molly Mutterings blog, “she is one of the happiest, silliest dogs around!”

 

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LWD:     When was it you were first introduced to pit bulls initially? What were your thoughts then? And did your first experience, or a subsequent experience(s), change your mind?

 

​DF:    I have been volunteering in shelters since middle school. While I was less familiar with how wonderful these dogs are back then, my first real love for them came about when I was 17. I was working for a shelter that at the time held a strict “kill policy” for all dogs that arrived looking like “pit bulls.” I had tried to save a pit bull-type dog from euthanasia at the shelter but the staff insisted that my efforts were futile. This was 1996 and the internet lacked the resources that we have today. I left the shelter determined to save this beautiful dog. I found a rescue in Texas that was willing to help me pull the dog. Unfortunately, the shelter stuck to their guns and killed the dog. Through my efforts with this Texas shelter, I was made aware of a pit bull they were pulling from their local shelter who had been found abandoned in a basement. She was covered in mange and was only one year old. I jumped through the hoops required to adopt this dog (sight unseen) and later had her shipped to me in New Jersey. Her name was Carla and she became the dog that would inspire my life’s work.

 

A happy ending to the shelter story from above- years later a board member reached out to me to ask how he could lift the shelter policy. We worked together on the issue until the shelter did indeed lift their policy a few months later. Today, they do wonderful work for all animals in need. ​It was an amazing moment to get to see that original dog through in some capacity. Her sacrifice changed the lives of thousands that would follow.

 

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Caption from The Pit Bull Life Facebook page reads, “Shh, don’t tell Momo it’s not about pugs.”

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LWD:     When formulating the book, how did you determine what to highlight? Was it a challenge to edit the material?

 

​DF:    Linda and I wanted to separate the book into palatable pieces. We knew the subject matter could be challenging for some readers but we also wanted the book to be able to act as a toolkit for future or current advocates. It was very challenging editing the material but it was worth it! ​

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Image from The Pit Bull Project.

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LWD:     Did you discover anything unexpected as you worked on The Pit Bull Life?

​DF:    Personally, I did not find anything that I didn’t expect to find, only because I wrote my master’s thesis on many of the topics that we had delved into. However, the interviews did provide some wonderful surprises, especially to learn the various backstories to the people who also want to provide a better future for these dogs.

 

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I told Pru that she has to read me a story.

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LWD:     What do you hope readers will take away from the book? Do you think it may convert someone who may have a poor perception of pit bulls to think otherwise?

 

​DF:    My hope is that people feel empowered to do more for these dogs. I absolutely believe that it will convert some folks as the cover alone has such a powerful image and the additional images provided truly show the soft beauty of these creatures.

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Civil War Dog Sallie Ann Jarrett, shown above right in only known photograph of her, and immortalized on the base of the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry monument at Gettysburg.

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LWD:     Is there anything surprising even the most devoted pit bull lover will realize when they read the book?

 

​DF:    I’ve received text messages from many devoted dog advocates that didn’t know about Sallie Ann Jarrett (Civil War Dog) or who didn’t know that witches were being burned at the stake around the time that dog fighting was popularized. It was hard for many to comprehend how long this has been going on.

 

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Baxter Bean and Office Zoe approve!

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LWD:     Perhaps this is the most important question…do either one of you have pit bulls?

​DF:    My dog Carla Lou is in the inspiration behind my long-standing dog advocacy work. She passed in 2012 but had lived to be 18! We currently have Baxter Bean (11), a pit bull mix from Trenton, NJ who had been burned badly as a puppy. He’s my foster failure. We also have a Harrier-mix named Zoe. She will be 17 next month and is Baxter’s best friend. ​

 

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Image from Sizzle.

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LWD:     Is there anything you would like to add that people should know about the book?

 

​DF:    We love seeing photos of companion animals with their copy of The Pit Bull Life. We’ve created a Facebook page so that people can share their images and thoughts about it. We’re hoping to write more books like this about other dogs in the future. ​

Image from Pinterest.

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