With a selfless motto that everyone deserves to have a wonderful quality of life, Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin employs love, companionship, integrity and loyalty into her self-started organization Pinups for Pitbulls. Helping dogs nationwide, Franklin’s charitable work has been recognized by media outlets including American Dog Magazine, Animal Planet and other high profile publications. Speaking to Helping Paws NJ, Franklin shares all on her very own little darlings as well as her other successful volunteer efforts.
What inspired your love for pinups?
Franklin: “My love for pinups began when I was a young girl. My grandma Bella in Brooklyn, NY always had wonderful photos of her and her girlfriends posing near cars and all done up. She was my interpretation of a strong woman and a beauty queen, two things I wanted to be! I no longer wish to be a beauty queen now that I’m a professional woman, but dolling up for photos is still always fun!”
You’ve received press for your efforts from outlets such as Animal Planet’s Pit Boss, has this helped the Pinups for Pitbulls cause?
Franklin: “Absolutely! All press helps our cause and helps our mission. Our goal is to disseminate information to people who could otherwise not find it or who may not even be looking for it. We love our dog advocate friends and share our discoveries with them, but what we aim to do most is reach the non-advocacy communities where the information is most needed. We need to reach the general public, the legislators, and the people who just plain love their dogs but do not know how to train them, for example. The internet can be a tough place to navigate if you do not know the right questions to ask or what you are even trying to ask. We try to simplify things for everyone and do our best to be that resource, when it relates to our mission.”
You have lots of experience with animal rescue, as you have worked in post Hurricane Katrina efforts in New Orleans, and volunteer work with animal shelters and other rescue organizations. How does this experience shape your work at Pinups for Pitbulls?
Franklin: “It keeps me focused on what is most important, the dogs. It keeps things real in my mind, not abstract. Some people work from a desk and never see what is actually happening on the ground, I fear that sometimes they lose touch that way. I want to be in the midst of it, so I can stay fresh, not burn out, and bring my very best to our cause.”
You own over four animals how did they come into your life?
Franklin: “I have only 4 companion animals. Two of which began as my fiancee’s, and then became part of my pack. Only two of them are pit bull-type dogs, Baxter Bean and Carla Lou. Carla Lou came into my life through CHAKO.org over 16 years ago! She’s 17 and will be 18 in July. Baxter Bean is my foster failure from Pet Rescue of Mercer (NJ). Lexi and Zoe, our non-pit bull dogs are wonderful and were in Jeff’s life before I was.”
How did your name “Little Darling” start?
Franklin: “I began modeling around 2005 and was also performing burlesque regularly with the Hellcat Girls Burlesque out of Philadelphia, PA. I gave myself that name after seeing the movie ‘Little Darlings.’ I thought the name suited me since I am a genuine sweetheart and I am barely 5 foot 3.”
Your organization has clever and innovative forms of promoting your cause from necklaces to calenders, what inspired you to create these ideas.
Franklin: “We are always trying to find new ways to reach new audiences. We also don’t submit to the status quo. I am of the “whatever it takes” attitude.
If having more merchandise helps further our message, I want to develop new ways to have people come over to our table or shop on our site.
It’s a win-win.”
Why is adopting an animal important?
Franklin: “It’s important only if it’s the right thing for you and your family. If you mean adopting vs. breeding, it’s important because there are too many homeless animals dying in shelters each day. Until that is rectified and we can attain a No-Kill nation, breeding just is not my cup of tea. I’m not an expert on that subject, I just know what I see day in and out on our fan page wall. Seemingly endless posts of urgent dogs in need, and that’s just the one’s who made it to our wall. It’s tragic and unnecessary.”
At the end of the day, what inspires you?
Franklin: “Carla Lou inspires me every day. She’s lived with me since I was 19 years old. I’m almost 36. She had been left for dead in someone’s basement in Texas, was flown to me sight unseen when I adopted her (I literally saw a photo of her the night before she flew out), and it took me a month to get approval from Dawn Capp at Chako. Carla Lou is a sage, my little buddha. She is gentle, noble, funny, outgoing, and everything that I try to be each day. Baxter Bean is covered in caustic chemical burns and survived parvo at the same time he was burned. With these two faces in my home, it’s hard not to stay inspired to do right by them.”
“My friends also inspire me. They are all so talented in their own ways. We help keep each other grounded and help bring each other up when we need it.”
“I am a lucky girl!”
What is coming next for Pinups for Pitbulls!
Franklin: “Our model application process is drawing near (4/2). Our next calendar will be amazing! It’s being shot by Celeste Giuliano Photography, one of my favorite photo studios in the world! Additionally, we will be vending at many tattoo conventions, comic conventions, and will be hosting a large scale event in Kansas City, MO this June. It’s been a full year and it’s only March! I just got back from our Party Like a Pinup event that was in Tampa, FL last week and before that I was in Asheville, NC for their convention. I’m tired but excited! I’m also in grad school for public policy and my case study focuses heavily on PFPB’s mission. We’ll have lots of great educational materials coming out of my case study in the coming months. Check our website resource page regularly for more data.”
Special Thanks to Deirdre Franklin For Interview And Permission To Use All Photos