Tuesday, January 17, 2012

famous dogs and thick skin

I didn't really ever ask for famous dogs. I mean, sure, I did always think Suvi was the cutest thing on earth, and would understand if Target wanted to replace Bullseye and his red rings with Suvi and her black spot.

In reality though, I figured at best Suvi and I would be great breed advocates by working with MN Pit Bull rescue, volunteering, and making a good impression on anyone and everyone we could. Remind me to tell you some other time about how welcoming (or not....) my parents were to the idea of me adopting a pit bull...

All of that felt like small potatoes when I met Chad. To be clear, I knew he was a dog lover when we met, but I had nooooooo idea what I was getting myself into. It took him a while to even tell me his dogs' names, and when he did, it was followed immediately by "I swear I'm not crazy, so please allow me to explain after you watch the YouTube videos." Not because he was ashamed, of course, but as his "Behind the Camera" on R&P's page states, because he was sure I'd think he was the crazy dog guy, and he'd be back to single status.  

He is STILL the crazy dog guy... Before we were dating very seriously, this is how my friends and I referred to him - CDG for short. 

Back to the famous dogs thing. I absolutely loved the fact that Chad was using the unlikely friendship his dogs had built to promote breed awareness for both dobermans and chihuahuas. It made me so proud of him, and it was a huge connection for us - the same thing I was hoping for Suvi to do for pit bulls. 

At no point could I have imagined the sphere of influence R&P had, or continue to have. Their followers (and I mean this in the best way possible) are FANATIC about them! What a fun family to come into - millions of people that have the same love of dogs that I do!  But I still got to watch it all from afar....

Until I started to get friend requests from Chad's "dog friends." Such nice people, with such nice things to say about us, and nice comments on my photos of Suvi! I LOVE being a part of this!

Until Chad started to post photos of Suvi on the R&P Facebook page. So many nice people, with such nice things to say! And a few with some not nice things to say. Hm, bullies are in T-R-O-U-B-L-E when we have human babies....I did NOT handle the criticism well.  Chad's advice? Get some thicker skin, and focus on the 99% of the R&P fans that love dogs, understand breed stereotypes and the R&P mission, and then get even thicker skin to deal with the other 1%.

Until Chad posted the first YouTube video that included Suvi. Ok, human kids will have to be home schooled, because I really don't deal well with people badmouthing my babies. Or questioning my (our) parenting abilities....grrrr.  But, I pulled up my big girl undies, put on my thick skin, and realized that THIS is the exact reason to continue to post videos. The responses to Suvi fell in three groups:
  1. Fans LOVED her. I liked this one best, and it accounted for 95% of the responses. Thank you!
  2. Viewers (clearly not true fans) thought that Chad would seriously adopt a dog for the purposes of additional YouTube entertainment. Really?! Grrr....
  3. Viewers thought that Suvi might hurt Pablo, or take his place. Some valid concerns, but those who REALLY understand Ramsey and Pablo know that Ramsey could have hurt Pablo at any second of their lives, and the reason we all love them is that she doesn't, which breaks the breed perceptions of many. Ditto for Suvi. And those that really know Chad know that he would NEVER put his dogs (nor would I) in a position to be harmed. And believe me, no one will ever take Pablo's spot. He runs this place, and these girls' lives, and he gets plenty of playtime, attention, and love from all 4 of us...
There were definitely a few conversations with Chad where I insisted that if people couldn't be nice to Suvi, she should just be left out of the "fame" part of our lives. But really, she does not have a personality that allows for her to be left out. And plus, it continues to be a great opportunity to help dispel the myths about pit bulls. 

I know that even in starting this blog, I'll have to put on my thick skin more often. But the good news is, most of the R&P fans are really amazing people, with the best interest of dogs at heart, and they love our new combined family as much as we do. And for that, I want to pass on a big THANK YOU!


  1. You guys are doing a wonderful wonderful wonderful wonderful (did I mention wonderful?) job! Don't forget it. Post this note by your door so you can see it as you leave the house. Period!


  2. You BOTH have wonderful dogs and thanks for sharing a little of them with the rest of us. As for the negative people, just ignore them.

  3. I have 3 chi's all rescue dogs. One of mine came from a Pit Bull rescue (Luv-A-Bull in Eugene Oregon). He ruled that rescue.....he was the smallest dog (7 lbs) and he was the boss! It is amazing to me how big dogs can be so gentle with the little ones! I love seeing all your dogs and follow them as if they are an addition to my own. Keep it up! :)

  4. As a Dobie Mama, to two wonderful adopted monsters, I am proud of you for letting Suvi's life be shared. She is so beautiful, and fits just right into her new family. Here's to many more wonderful times. :)

  5. I love watching all three of those dogs. Always remember what good Suvi is doing as an ambassador for her breed and just ignore those bad comments. You really are doing a good job and keep the blog coming as well as those great videos!

  6. I for one am glad Chad found himself a partner, you broke some fan hearts (not mine no threat here) but you can tell, just by looking at his dogs, that he's a great guy, hated to think of him alone. You have one awesome pack. One question about Suvi, as a puppy no spots now spots everywhere. Is that normal or like freckles on humans?

    1. Aw, thanks Judi! About the freckles - strangely, I guess they are similar to humans (I didn't have freckles when I was very young, and then there they were at about 7)! Suvi's came in gradually, but now that she's full grown, it doesn't seem she's getting any more. We get a lot of questions about whether she's mixed with dalmatian - her freckles are on her skin, aside from the eye patch and butt spot, unlike a dalmatian. It's actually pretty common coloring for pits and american bull dogs, just not usually as visible as Suvi's!

  7. Please ignore the negative people who are posting negative comments.
    Fact is that dog lovers are great people and would clearly understand the love you folks are giving your babies.
    Don't be discouraged by those negative people, but do continue to love your babies and each other, and share that love with us :)

    ~Michelle From Singapore

  8. I have been following Chad, Pablo & Ramsey for a long, long time. I am so excited that you are part of the family & Suvi is too. I look forward to more blogs & more videos. I have subscribed to all 3 including having been subscribed to Chad's for a very long time. And, I 100% agree w/ Chad. You cannot let the people that are negative get to you. It's easy for me to say cuz I'm not on that side you are reading but his advice to focus on the 99% & throw out the 1% is definitely the best thing. I just adore Pablo & Ramsey & can't wait to get to know Suvi, oh yeah, & you & Chad too! LOL!

  9. You go girl you wear those Big girl undies till they wear out..lol
    What about Pablo hurting the other 2.. my little chi (he past away at 15 last year) was the only dog we ever had that bit anyone.. So you better watch out for him
    But really it is the way you treat and train your dogs that makes them safe to be around..No matter their breed..
    I love all 3 off this Family and you and Chad are perfect to be their Mummy and Daddy..

  10. I fell in love with Ramsey and Pablo the first time I laid eyes on them. Their friendship and love for each other really touched and captured my heart. And their proud papa Chad also stole my heart for being so open and sharing his life with these beautiful fur babies. Then came the addition of you and Suvi. I have to tell you that I couldn't be more happier for the new family you both created. You all look like you fit perfectly together just like a puzzle. I feel honored that you both share your lives with these beautiful bundles of joy. And I so look forward to seeing your future blogs and new videos that you are willing to share. From one animal lover to another, I send you my love and well wishes. God bless.

  11. I fully support all yours & Chad's great writing/video-ing that shares honest & heartfelt connections to three amazing dogs! I'm lucky to have had both a Dobie (my first dog, after moving from home) and then, two Chihuahuas in my life...Now, without dogs, I love sharing/"knowing" Ramsey, Pablo & Suvi. To get the bonus of yours & Chad's well-written (& generous) shares of your lives marks you both as *Ambassadors* for following one's passions, as well! I'm happy to subscribe!

  12. It is refreshing that you are being so open and honest about this topic. I admit that I was one of those who was horrified initially to see Suvi, though I would never have made a rude comment, but that's only because I have a one-eyed Chihuahua whose loss was caused by a simple snap from one of my other larger dogs. I was similarly nervous when I first found R&P. So there seems to be two issues: 1) Chihuahuas are more delicate that bigger dogs and 2) fear of pitbulls. Please continue to spread the message and try to change people's minds. Maybe Cesar is right and there are no bad dogs, only bad or neglectful dog owners.

  13. My favorite is Ramsey, but all three dogs are delightful! Keep up the wonderful work!

  14. Definitely keep all 3 dogs in the videos! Don't worry about the negative people!!
    Suvi is part of the family and we definitely want to see her too!! :-)

  15. I was thrilled to see the addition of Suvi!! My heart melts at the photos and pics of the 3 dogs - it's obvious that they not only have accepted each other, but LOVE each other. It reminds me a bit about our household - we have 3 dogs (a 13 year old 12 lb. chi, a 3 year old 55 lb. pit/hound mix, and a 3 year old 75 lb. full blue pit).

    Our Chihuahua was 11 years old and not tolerant of other dogs when we adopted a 1 year old hound/pit mix from the shelter. We spent months cautiously acquainting them (I was accused of being overly cautious - but the size difference meant that even a minor snap could be a major injury). They are sisters through and through now - the pit/hound mix being extremely protective of her little (though older) sister. A year later we rescued a dying pitbull (from total neglect) from a neighbor. He was 2 years old. While nursing him back to health, we spent months acquainting all 3 dogs. It is really something to watch the pit roll over on his back submitting to the chi. A camping trip found them all sleeping together. My chi has hip issues and a flare-up had her uncomfortable and just laying in her bed for a few days. My pit would come lay beside her for hours. The chi definitely rules the roost, and the other two respect that to the point of it being ridiculously hilarious sometimes (the pit whining because he can't come up the stairs because the chi is sitting on the top step...) The dog most likely to bite is the chi, and the one who wants to sit on your lap and cuddle is the 75 lb. pit. Go figure.

  16. I love and respect what you are doing here. I own a doberman myself and have experienced all the breed stereotypes. I love the bully comment! Can't wait until I hear the story of what your parents thought. Mine were less than thrilled and still deal with a few support problems...funny that you can grow up and be a successful individual but can be respected by your own parents for your choice in the breed of pet you get!!

  17. It's amazing, the things that people believe about certain breeds, and will tell you, when you're on the other end of the leash. It's also amazing to see the things that people will do, when they see you walking a vicious killer, be it a "pitbull" or a Doberman. To me, people who are willing to give into that kind of ignorance rather than listen to what you might have to say to educate them...well, the kindest thing is to leave them in the dark. Because I'm not sure what I would say otherwise. Not family safe, certainly.

    Bottom line, is any dog can be dangerous for a baby. Babies' (and small children's) very existence screams "prey". But dogs who are well trained, well socialized, and well supervised...well, they tend not to have a problem. Be it pit bull or pomeranian, Doberman or dalmatian. And even if a dog is uncomfortable around kids? Owners who train, socialize, and supervise know their dogs well enough to know this, and limit interactions accordingly.

    I'm not worried that Suvi is a babykiller ;) Or my Elka, for that matter; she loves babies, and has learned that they are what those carriages hold, to the dismay of mothers in my town, who don't like seeing a perky Doberman staring at them in hopes of getting near their offspring. Good thing two of my friends have babies.

  18. Keep going with the vids and the blogging! It's great to see more relationships between big & little dogs - my own chi-terrier mix LOVES big dogs. Right now he's teaching our neighbor's five-month-old Rhodesian Ridgeback some manners; he was very patient with her as a small puppy, letting her lead him around by his leash, but he'll definitely tell her to back off now when she gets too rough. Whenever they meet on the beach it's funny to see her roll over and desperately try to get lower than he is. His best friend is an enormous mastiff mix, which freaks people out, but the only time that there has ever been violence involving them was when a strange husky attacked him. I was terrified that he would get hurt before we could manage to grab the other dog, but the mastiff just ran over, grabbed the husky by the neck, and _threw_ it off him. Luckily no one was hurt, but it was pretty impressive. We call him the bodyguard now.

  19. I think ya'll are doing an amazing job breaking down those breed stereotypes. As for the negative folks, try to ignore them. Problems with dog breeds are the human owners, not the dogs. I think Ramsey,Pablo and Suvi are great! And that's all I got to say about that!! : )

  20. Chad, Ramsey and Pablo knew what they were doing when they picked you and Suvi as part of the pack. Have the time of your life sweetie.... it is!
    All the Best from a Pitty, Dobbie, 4 kitty family to your new and growing?? family!!

  21. Suvi and you are now a part of the family, and there is absolutely no reason why she should be left out of the fame part. All you can do is try and educate people, and hope that they will listen.

  22. I live in a province that has banned the pit bull breed. How backward and ignorant is that? I love to watch your dogs play together. I would love a second one (first is a lab mix rescue) but hubby says only if the second doggy comes with his own income! I'm still working on him though. In the meantime, I'm hoping to foster some dogs from our local Humane Society. Pablo & Ramsey, and now Suvi have shown me how much fun more than one dog can be.