Threads for two- and four- footed fashion hounds are always a welcome gift, at the holidays or any time of the year. Know what’s even better? Fashion-hound gear that actually benefits a worthy dog cause. It’s the perfect present for the season of giving.
That’s the philosophyof Tommy and Sharon Athanasiou, Floridians who were motivated to create PIT BULL SHIRT, a T-shirt business that harnesses the positive power ofstyle toraise awareness of the sad plight of thesingle most misunderstood, abused, neglected, and wrongly reviled dog breed in the world today. (I admit I’m biased: I adore pit bulls, and am the proud owner of multiple pits.)
The Athanasious are dog lovers – he’s an artist, she runs a pet-sitting business -who look forward to adopting a pit bull from one of their local Florida animal shelters (after theirown two elderly dogs are gone). In the meantime,deeply touched upon learning that these wonderful, loving dogs are routinely abadoned on the street or at animal shelters, then overlooked by potential adopters fearful of the tired, inaccurate “vicious pit bull” stereotype, thecouple decided to do something to help.
The result of their dogged determination isa collection of fashionable, pro-pitmessage T-shirts. Each onefeatures original, specially-themed “wearable artwork” that focuses on pit bulls, with an emphasis on promoting adoption.More thanjust fashion statements, these T-shirts are realconversation-starters.
Considermy favorite: a hot-pink T that reads “My Heart Belongs to a Pit Bull” (pictured above).Aw!Or my pittie Cupcake’s favorite, in basic black with hot-pink lettering that reads: “Bully Cupcake Company: Always Warm & Sweet!”
What started with just two designs has blossomed into a range of 24different T-shirts, includingstyles for infants (oneespecially cutekiddie design features a pit pup with the legend “My Best Friend is a Pit Bull”).There are T-shirts for men as well as women, styled with long or short sleeves. And by getting across a vital pro-dog message, these T-shirtscould prove to be lifesavers for pit bulls, encouraging all who see them to adopt apit in need from their local animal shelter.
Every month, PIT BULL SHIRT donates10% of proceeds fromsales to a different pit bull rescue group or educational organization. Past beneficiaries have included Villalobos Rescue Center, the country’s largest sanctuary for pit bulls, as seen on the Animal Planet series “Pit Bulls and Parolees.” This month’s are Pilots N Paws and Smilin’ Pit Bull Rescue.
“We hope that when people see one of our shirts, it will open up their minds to learning a bit more about such an incredible, loving breed,”say Tommy and Sharon, “and ultimately inspire more adoptions and donations to help pit bulls – the dogs with the famously ‘bad rap’ -everywhere.”
Do you have a favorite gift-item-for-a-K9-cause you intend to purchase (or hope to receive) this holiday season? Please share it in the comments, so we can all add it to our shopping list!