Shortly after adopting Jasmine, we started working on the 2007 April cover story, “Where to shop, stay, play and dine with your dog.” In her first six months with me, Jazzy stayed in nearly two-dozen four-star hotels as part of our research. Most everyone we met wanted to stop and say hello, commenting on how beautiful she was. Some people shied away, of course, because of the bad rap associated with her breed, but if they gave her a chance, Jazzy won them over by rolling over for a belly rub.
When her photo ran on the cover, letters from readers poured in about how glad they were to see a pit bull looking happy and getting some much-needed good press. I suddenly found myself fielding inquiries from marketing and advertising folks about using Jasmine in ad campaigns and photo shoots. I also found myself becoming one of those “crazy dog people,” dressing up their little purse dogs and taking them everywhere – except Jasmine’s big pittie head wouldn’t even fit in one of those purses. My closet runneth over with leather and sparkly pink crystal collars made in Paris, fabric numbers adorned with “Princess,” and tough-but-sweet girly skulls wearing ribbons. She accumulated clothing, too – everything from hoodies to T-shirts (her favorite reads, “I had a nightmare I was a Chihuahua” – she gets a lot of laughs in that one, even from the purse dog people, which she enjoys).
My assistant, Steve, began referring to her as “Jon Benet Jasmine” and joked that I was turning into Mama Rose (“Sing out, Jasmine Blue, sing out!”).
Then we got the call from Macy’s to appear in an ad to promote their holiday animal costume contest in conjunction with the SF/SPCA windows (where over 250 needy animals were adopted this year). Jazzy wore a pink Santa hat and readers and friends said they saw her on the back page of the Chronicle Datebook. When she played hostess at the contest, people showed up just to meet her, and Jazz took her duties very seriously, dressed in a Mrs. Claus outfit as she posed for photos.
We were having a great day until a woman approached, scowling. “Your dog is humiliated in that outfit,” she said. “This is animal abuse.” My heart sunk. Had I really become the world’s worst stage mother? Was the Miss Teenage Pittie USA contest next?
I knelt beside Jazz and kissed her nose. “Are you OK, sweetie?” I asked. She gave me a big wet kiss and rolled over for a belly rub. Just then another woman approached with her young daughter. “Is that a pit bull?” Mom asked. “Yes,” I said proudly, “she is.” The little girl peaked out from behind Mom’s coat. “She’s afraid of pit bulls,” Mom explained, “but she thought your dog was so cute that she wanted to come and see her.” I held my hand out and asked, “Do you want to pet her?” The little girl nodded, but her expression remained dire. Jazzy wasn’t waiting – she loves kids more than anything except tug-o-war and bully sticks. She walked slowly to the little girl, her red velvet Mrs. Claus skirt wagging back and forth with her butt. The girl touched Jazzy’s head and Jazzy began licking her face. The more the girl giggled, the more Jazzy wiggled. The girl sat down on the ground, put her arms around Jasmine’s big strong neck and hugged her. As they walked away, the little girl asked, “Mommy, can we get a dog like Jasmine?”
In fact, Jazzy does have a bigger purpose in life than just being gorgeous; she is a wonderful ambassador for her breed. This January, she will appear on a wine label for Chalk Hill’s 2005 Cabernet Franc as part of the “Dogs of Winter” series for the Dog Lovers Wine Club. Proceeds benefit shelters nationwide, where pit mixes make up 30 percent of the population (upward of 75 percent in urban areas). As I write this on a rainy day, Jazzy lounges on the sofa, snoring. I hope she can help many more pitties find sofas to snore on. To that I say, “Sing out, Jasmine Blue, sing out!”
For more information on the Dog Lovers Wine Club, please visit www.dogloverswineclub.com.