Standing Out and Standing Up: Pit Bulls and Your Personal Brand


Blog by Bri Prooker, KOTAW Girl Gang member at KOTAW Content Marketing, boutique branding through storytelling studio

Standing Out and Standing Up: Pit Bulls and Your Personal Brand | Bri Prooker, KOTAW Content MarketingDogs, kindness and magic. Those three words are all I need to describe my experience going to the Stand Up For Pits Hollywood event with my sister Kelsey at the beginning of November.

It’s a memory we will both hold dear in our hearts forever.

I’m so grateful to my mom for splitting the cost of tickets with me so we could surprise Kelsey on her birthday in September with news that she’d be attending the sold-out event as one of her presents. And I’m even more grateful to my mom for insisting I take the other ticket.

I of course wanted to go watch Rebecca Corry, mom to rescue Pit Bull Angel, perform stand up. I of course wanted to be there to support the Stand Up For Pits Foundation, created by Rebecca and inspired by Angel. The Stand Up For Pits Foundation does life-altering work; saving Pit Bull lives and advocating against dog fighting and breed specific legislation. Anyone who knows the KOTAW Girl Gang knows that the Stand Up For Pits Foundation is one of our all-time favorite Pit Bull organizations. We love Stand Up For Pits so much, in fact, that it’s featured prominently on our Pit Bulls and Personal Branding page, along with actionable steps you can take to support the non-profit.

It’s our personal mission in life to spread Pit Bull love wherever we go and make the world a better place for all pitties. Which is why our Pit Bull Ivy is KOTAW’s Brand Ambassador and why our love of Pit Bulls (and mission to use our brand storytelling and creative marketing platform to help rebrand them as the sweet and loving dogs they are) has been an integral part of the KOTAW brand since day one.

Saying Yes to Happiness

I wanted with all my heart to pet and kiss and hug all the shelter dogs from Paw Works who would be available for adoption at the Stand Up For Pits Hollywood event. I wanted to watch Kaley Cuoco host the stand up event and be surrounded by Pit Bull (AKA velvet hippo!) lovers.

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Pit Bulls and Personal Branding co-founders Bri Prooker and Kelsey Prooker with their rescue pittie, Ivy.

I knew it would be a dream come true, but wasn’t sure I could safely attend, due to my disability from my rare array of auto-immune diseases that leave me in chronic and debilitating pain.

But my mom pointed out that I withstand grueling monthly doctor appointments —and don’t get anything fun out of them. My mandatory appointments for my chronic pain (to give me pain medicine) flare up my vasculitis — which causes even more pain.

So what my mom said made sense. If I can survive the pain of my doctor appointments that make me miserable, why not at least try to go to an event that could make me happy?

I wrote to the Stand Up For Pits Foundation and the Hollywood Improv, where the event was being held. I told them I couldn’t stand still in line and couldn’t sit in a chair without propping my legs (or my blood vessels could break and cause internal bleeding). I asked if there was any way I could be accommodated. And the answer was yes.

Dreams Come True

I am so grateful to the Stand Up For Pits Foundation and Hollywood Improv for accommodating my disability. Kelsey and I arrived an hour and a half before the show so we could donate stuffed animals, dog food, cat treats and cat toys that we bought to provide some much needed comfort to the animals at the Lancaster and South LA Shelters — and so we could get in ample snuggle time with all the adoptable dogs available at the Stand Up For Pits Hollywood event.

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Bri Prooker and Kelsey Prooker with Nana and Stephanie at Rebecca Corry’s Stand Up For Pits.

Kelsey and I had just dropped off our donation and were barely in the courtyard to the Hollywood Improv when a very famous velvet hippo named Nana waddled in right behind us.

And we suddenly felt like all our dreams had come true in only a minute of being there!

My mom and Kelsey and I have been longtime fans of Nana and her mom Stephanie, who is an amazing advocate for Pit Bulls, fostering and dog adoption.

We told Stephanie that she and Nana make us happy every day with their adorable pictures and videos on social media that are a true testament to the unbridled love and joy that comes from adopting your best friend.

Nana is a true celebrity — with 141K followers on Instagram alone! — and you can tell she’s used to being fawned over everywhere she goes because she walks around like the queen she is, which is as precious as it gets. And she never wants to be out of arm’s reach of her mom Stephanie, which is heartwarming as can be.

Kelsey and I were beyond delighted that we got to hang out with Nana and give her kisses and hugs. We even got to get our picture taken with her and Stephanie, who is such a kind-hearted and genuine soul — one we admire immensely.

Celebrating Pet Adoption

We then accomplished our goal of snuggling and petting and kissing the adoptable dogs from Paw Works. We soon learned that a sweet dog named Speedy had already been adopted — and we celebrated this wonderful news with all the amazing people from Paw Works.

There was one dog to each person from Paw Works, which was really nice because all the dogs felt loved and comfortable as more and more people entered the courtyard.

Paw Works dog adoption at Stand Up For Pits Hollywood.

Bri Prooker and Kelsey Prooker giving lots of love to the dogs available for adoption through Paw Works at the Stand Up For Pits Hollywood dog adoption event.

If you’re in Los Angeles and looking to adopt a dog or cat, you should definitely check Paw Works out. They do amazing work and even have a sleepover program — Sleepover Sunday — where you can do a “trial run” with one of the adoptable dogs to determine if your home will be her forever home.

VIP Recognition

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Kelsey Prooker and Bri Prooker on the red carpet with Rebecca Corry at Stand Up For Pits Hollywood.

Kelsey and I then checked in at the box office to make sure there was a note about my disability accommodations and found out I had not one, not two, but FOUR “Reserved VIP” signs designating two tables for Kelsey and me, along with a booth where I could prop my legs plus an extra chair for me to prop my legs if I chose to prop them in another direction!

And suddenly we were less than a foot away from Angel’s mom and our hero, Rebecca Corry herself! Kelsey called out her name so we could say hi, and Rebecca immediately walked over, gave me a hug, and asked me if I had gotten all my accommodations to comfortably watch the show. I told her yes and thanked her profusely as Kelsey started to tell her we were the ones who had sent Angel a trophy and Olive (a party-loving Pit Bull she fostered who has since been adopted) a card and some party glow sticks. But before Kelsey could finish her sentence, I said (still in delighted shock!) that Rebecca knows who we are (Kelsey hadn’t heard our conversation because by that time it was very crowded and loud!) Kelsey and I chatted with Rebecca and thanked her for everything she does, then asked if we could take a picture with her. She said yes and then asked someone to take our picture. I’m delirious in the picture, still in awe that Rebecca recognized Kelsey and me and knew who we were.

Yes, we’ve made it a daily mission to support Stand Up For Pits and share Angel’s sweetness with the world through KOTAW’s social media, but we do it out of a love for Angel, not for any recognition or glory. So it meant the absolute world to us not only to be recognized by Rebecca, but for her to show us so much palpable kindness. By this time the press were there and the red carpet was all abuzz, but Rebecca asked Kelsey and me if we wanted to take a picture with her on the red carpet. Still in a whirlwind daze, we said yes, and posed with Rebecca as cameras snapped away.

Stand Up For Pits Hollywood with Rebecca Corry

Amazing memories of a beautiful event.

Then Rebecca hugged us and said we could go inside to our reserved spots early if we wanted so we could get comfy. We thanked her (profusely again!) and marched right into the theater to find the Hollywood Improv staff eating dinner and going over their list of tasks for the show. Everyone looked at us inquisitively, wondering who we were and what we were doing, but we just said “Rebecca Corry said we could come in and relax” and suddenly they were showing us to our reserved seats.

A Birthday Present to Savor

Kelsey and I arranged my memory foam pillows on the booth and I propped my legs and we both were buzzing with joy and gratitude. I asked Kelsey if she wanted to go back outside to watch Kaley Cuoco walk the red carpet, and as much as she loves Kaley Cuoco, she said “No, I’ve already gotten the best birthday present ever. Let’s just relax here and savor everything we just experienced.”


BACK ON THE CLOCK


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Rebecca Corry’s touching quote about her forever Angel. Photo and graphic by Kelsey Prooker.

The Stand Up For Pits Hollywood show was incredible. Kaley Cuoco did an wonderful job hosting and her kind-hearted nature shone through in every word she said. Rebecca Corry was laugh-out-loud hilarious, telling stories of Angel and shuffling around the stage like her velvet hippo who “had Motown on a constant loop in her head”.

Her video tribute to Angel brought tears to our eyes. And there was something beautiful in seeing Kaley Cuoco, mere feet away from us, crying too — along with Rebecca and an entire packed room. Yes there is still so much work to be done. Pit Bulls continue to be gravely misunderstood and horrifically discriminated against. Breed specific legislation is unconscionable and, along with dog fighting, must cease to exist. But every person in that sold-out room loved Pit Bulls, passionately and unconditionally. And seeing and feeling that is something Kelsey and I will carry in our hearts forever.

After the show, on our way out, Rebecca found Kelsey and me and gave us more big hugs, thanking us for being there.

And we thought, Rebecca was definitely not hugging everyone there. She has said time and time again that she loves dogs but hates people. So why did we stand out?

We would like to think it’s because the KOTAW Girl Gang’s brand epitomizes true generosity.

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We love and thank you, Rebecca and Angel! LOVE, Bri and Kelsey

We’re not fan girls; we’ve never tried to suck up to Rebecca or anyone else on social media or in real life.

We genuinely love Pit Bulls, fiercely admire the work Rebecca does to stand up for pits and are determined to spend our lives standing up for pits too, as well as advocating for pet adoption. And we don’t do this to impress anyone or for any kind of recognition; we do it out of love for Ivy and her “type” and on behalf of our other rescues (and KOTAW Girl Gang members!) LuLU and Doosis.

We don’t say we love animals because we think it sounds good for our personal brand. Insincerity sticks out like a white wire strand of lights on a Christmas tree.

You don’t want your brand to stand out for all the wrong reasons.

Which is why the “fake it ’til you make it” platitude has no place in personal branding.


How many “social media gurus” have you interacted with online who know next to nothing about social media marketing? How many so-called “marketing influencers” have you come to realize have zero clients and spend all day playing Candy Crush on Facebook? Is your personal brand sincere, or do you post what you think you “should” post? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below — and if you found this article helpful, heartwarming or both, please share it on your favorite social platform!

Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Sorry it has taken me a week to come and comment on this beautiful post. Again, you know how I feel, but I want to say that you are such an inspiration. Your courage to persevere through so much pain with a smile on your face is just amazing, and helps me in more ways than you’ll ever know. Don’t ever stop sharing your story.

    Bri – you, your sister and mom bring me so much joy. Every Facebook post, Twitter tweet, blog post and interaction warms my heart. I just love your passion for standing up for pit bulls and I am so glad that you and Kelsey were able to attend this event. I’m so happy that your adventure started off with a greeting from Nana. That alone would have made it a night to remember! Everything else was icing on the cake.

    This was a beautiful post to start the new year. I love it and I love you! Thanks for sharing this warm, wonderful story with us.

    • Bri Prooker says:

      Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for reading my blog and leaving this beautiful, heartwarming comment. Your words are such a gift and mean the absolute world to me. Thank you for always telling me that what I write and post has so much of an impact. Knowing that brings tears to my eyes and makes me feel so grateful — and inspires me to keep writing and posting cute pictures and stories about our adopted fur babies, in the hope that it will keep bringing you joy and inspire others to open their hearts to Pit Bulls and pet adoption.

      You’re so right: meeting Nana right away was pure giddy joy. I think there should be dogs to pet and kiss and cuddle with everywhere I go — and that if there were, I would be able to go more places and do more things because they’re so healing. Thankfully I have my very own furry healers right here at home and am such a homebody that all I really want to do is cuddle with them while reading and writing and watching our favorite shows and movies. And the best outdoor adventures will always be taking Ivy and LuLU on walks (and Doosis who has been coming with us… so much so that we are about to buy her a kitty harness so we can do more with her than walk back and forth on our side of the street… and not have to lock her in when we go on farther away walks!)

      I’m so glad you thought this was such a good post to start the new year. I love you too and am so incredibly blessed to have you in my life. xoxox

      • Elizabeth says:

        It would be wonderful to have sweet furry creatures in more places to pet and hug and love! We have some volunteers who bring their dogs to the airport here, and we were so lucky to get to meet one last year before one of our trips. We didn’t see any this year, but we were looking for them. It made a huge difference in our travel attitude. I think it lowered my blood pressure and heart rate too! :)
        I’m so glad that you have your own amazing healers right at home…and that is so crazy that Doosis will take walks with you. You will have to post pictures when you get her in her kitty harness and walk her! Just thinking about it makes me smile from ear to ear. I love you and all of your beautiful fur babies! xoxo

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