Jannina Laaksonen is a pit bull mom with a mission. To dispel breed stigmas and encourage adoption. But she is going about it in a very non-traditional way – through humor.
Lasskonen’s social media sites are filled with photos and videos of her two pit bull mixes, Sookie and Ivy, re-enacting movies, performing tricks and just being goofy.
Meet The Girls
When Laaksonen adopted Sookie in 2011, she had no experience with bully breeds. She went to the shelter looking for a friend to make her new townhouse feel less empty.“I had no experience with bully breeds prior to Sookie and she taught me how amazing and misunderstood they are,” she says. “She came into my life at a strange time and I often ask myself, ‘Who rescued who?’”
Laaksonen describes Sookie as “very mellow and she loves her lazy time. She is the sweetest dog I’ve met and she is very in-tune with others’ emotions. She loves children and definitely lives up to pit bulls’ old ‘nanny dog’ reputation.”
Ivy came into Laaksonen’s family in 2013. Like many of us, Laaksonen was not looking for a dog when she saw the sad photo of a 14-pound stray that was just 9-10 months old, had a skin infection and missing fur, and had a wound around her neck, likely from an embedded collar. Although Laaksonen posts the dog on her site, asking someone to adopt her, she says she knew Ivy was going to be part of their family.
Ivy is the family clown, according to Laaksonen.
“She is one of the most expressive dogs I’ve ever met and she knows how to keep everyone entertained. She is a major attention hog and wants to be cuddled at all times. She is very funny and she loves the camera. She is also very eager to please and will do anything for a snack. In the Dinosaur video, she ran to the camera and licked her chops because I shook a bag of treats.”
A Mission of Love
As she and her two best buds are making waves on social media, Laaksonen hopes it will help end breed stigma.
“The message we are trying to get across through social media is that pit bull dogs are not the monsters the media portrays them to be” Laaksonen explains. “I try to catch photos that portray them in a goofy, fun way. Through sharing photos and videos, we’ve had people tell us that they’ve grown to love and adore pit bull dogs. That is our main goal — to raise PAWsitive pit bull awareness and change minds.”
In turn, she is hoping this will lead to more adoptions.
“My dogs have made me passionate about the pit bull breeds and animal adoption, and they have opened my eyes to animal rescue,” she adds. “Shelters are filled with healthy dogs of all ages and breeds that are waiting for their fur-ever homes. It’s a far too common misconception that all shelter animals are old and ‘broken.’”
In addition to her cute videos, she also helps raise money for dog rescues. Recently, they helped raise $7,100 for Georgia Canine Rescue and Rehabilitation through WagAware.com, a company that donates 50 percent of all profits to nonprofits.
Keeping Up With Sookie & Ivy
Laaksonen says she isn’t sure what the future holds for them, but plans on continuing to raise positive awareness for pitties, helping dogs in need and encouraging adoption.
And what about adding to the pack? She says she “cannot wait until we can add more love-a-bulls to our pack!”