My daughters and I had just finished our Saturday brunch at our local Denny’s and said our goodbyes to the hostess, who told us on our way out that she waits all week to see us: “Your smiles and sweetness make me look forward to coming to work.”
We were all aglow at her genuine compliment, hearts warmed that three minutes of conversation with us once a week made any kind of impact on her life.
Before leaving the Denny’s shopping center, we headed toward the grocery store to pick up some snacks for later that evening, when we would be having a game night our neighbor Jose and his seven-year-old son.
(For those who don’t know, Ivy is my sweet red nose pit bull and KOTAW’s Brand Ambassador. She started running to my house from Jose’s – three houses over — when she was a puppy after falling in love with Woofie, one of my puppy angels who inspired the KOTAW name and philosophy. Ivy started out as a borrowed dog, but is now a permanent member of the KOTAW family, opting to live with my daughters and me.
On our walk through the parking lot, as we were discussing whether we thought Jose’s son would prefer Funyons or Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (spoiler alert: we decided to buy him both!) we happened upon a dog rescue event at the pet store neighboring the grocery store.
And our eyes immediately honed in on the pit bull.
She was smiling, held up high in the arms of a very kind man who told us he was a member of Mutt Scouts, a non-profit dog rescue group here in Los Angeles.
The man put her back down on the ground so she could say hello to my daughters and me and introduced her to us as Maybelline, named for the stunning black that rims her eyes and makes her appear to be wearing eyeliner!
As soon as Maybelline was on the ground, she walked gently right up to us and started giving us pittie kisses. Then she did something so sweet that I will remember it forever: She pressed her adorable pittie nose right into mine and looked deeply into my eyes for an entire minute without looking away. I felt like she was looking into my soul and that I was feeling hers. And what I felt was the pure love and joy that is so intrinsically linked for me with the pit bull breed but that so many people are too prejudiced to experience.
Why Don’t You See What I See?
My daughters and I talked to Maybelline’s handler about what we all knew to be true – that pit bulls are one of the most loving, sensitive and gentle breeds there is – but that the pit bull brand has been so damaged by human cruelty that people will cross the street as soon as they see a pit walking by.
Ivy experiences this prejudice on a daily basis. It never ceases to amaze me that people won’t see Ivy’s gigantic pit smile as she wags her tail at them and wiggles her happy pit wiggle inviting them to say hello. Instead, they’ll see only their negative connotation of “pit bull” and cross the street in fear – and, unfortunately, hate.
A Promise to a Pit
We told Maybeline all about Ivy and how it is our personal goal to brand pit bulls as the kind, gentle and loving dogs they are.
We also told her we would help spread the word about Mutt Scouts, who brand themselves as having “a soft spot for special-needs souls, we rescue those who others cannot rescue.”
At KOTAW, we keep our promises. It’s part of our personal brand.
So is kindness.
I like that the Denny’s hostess associates my daughters and me with the happy part of her week. I’m proud that in social media, I’m lauded just as often for my kind heart as I am for my talent as a writer and storyteller.
Kindness and pit bulls are a huge part of my personal brand because they are a huge part of my heart. I know my personal branding efforts are working when I am tweeted a heartwarming story about a pit bull saving a little boy or someone tags me on Facebook along with an inspiring quote about the power of generosity, saying it reminded them of me.
Since people associate me with kindness and pit bulls, logic would dictate that the next step would be to take out the middleman so that people associate pit bulls with kindness.
So, in my continued efforts as a personal branding coach working to rebrand pit bulls as sweet and kind, I am declaring May for Maybelline!
It’s hard to think of Maybelline the makeup brand without thinking of their famous slogan: Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.
Pit bulls are born with hearts full of love. Maybe, like Maybelline the pit, they just need a little eyeliner for the world to see it.
Who’s with me?! Will you celebrate May for Maybelline with KOTAW? I encourage you to pet a pit, rescue a dog or take action on getting over a fear or prejudice this month. What will YOU do to celebrate May for Maybelline, and how will you make your actions a part of your personal brand? I want to hear your thoughts, so please share!
PS: Ivy and I are SO HAPPY to report that Maybelline has been adopted!!
Big hugs and thank yous to the Kury Family for adopting sweet Maybelline and to Mutt Scouts for finding her such a happy and loving forever home.
If you are thinking of getting a dog, I would highly urge you to consider adopting one from a shelter or rescue group such as Mutt Scouts.
There are so many loving dogs like Maybelline in need of loving homes, and this beautiful picture of Maybelline and her new family is proof of how happy rescuing a dog can make both the rescuers and the rescued!
♥, Katherine & Ivy