Pit Bulls = HAPPY!

July 20, 2014  

Have you seen the new “Happy” Pit Bull video?? It’s now on our homepage and it’s made several rounds on social media sites. We caught up with the filmmaker, Karen Erbach, to learn a little more about her and her projects. Here’s the scoop:


“My background is filmmaking – three years ago I had absolutely no interest in pit bulls, in fact I was in the crowd that was sort of scared of them. None of my friends owned any and I was never exposed to them until I rescued one from a vet (when I lived in LA) that had kept him for a year, using his blood for transfusions. His name was Spot and he was super friendly. He didn’t live with me, but I walked him everyday until I found him a forever home. I wouldn’t meet another pit bull for almost ten years. About three years ago, my Akita and then my Chow mix died. They both lived long lives at 15 and 16. My husband and I thought that, when we were ready, we might want a Golden Retriever type dog. Then a friend of mine asked me, well, begged me to foster a dog for the local shelter. We agreed but, for the most part all they had were pit mixes. We met three dogs, and chose the one that had been there the longest. His name was Charlie – he was a brindle pit bull. We brought Charlie home and within a month we had fallen head over heels in love with him. It’s so funny how life is – the last dog I thought I would ever own would be a brindle pit bull.


Once you own a pit bull, your life sort of changes. You become aware of all the “hype” out there and you experience breed intolerance first hand with looks and comments when you’re out on a walk with your pit bull. If you volunteer or foster, as we did, then you become even more aware of the cruelties that these gentle dogs are subjected to. You hear the stories of dogfighting, abuse, neglect and outright lies about them that are constantly perpetrated by the press. It’s heartbreaking. Next thing you know, you’ve become a pit bull advocate. I started making videos for dogs in foster care – mostly pit bulls, but a few long timers too. I also made a couple of other PSA’s about adopting and fostering, like this one.

Ruby 7

A wonderful pit bull advocate, Kim Stangel, who works with a group called Battle Against Dogfighting here in Milwaukee, asked me to make a positive pit bull video with local dogs to be screened before “Guilty Before Proven Innocent” that was playing for one night at the Oriental. The song, Happy by Pharrell Wiilliams, had been floating around in my brain and I thought it perfectly represented the pittie attitude. The decision was made to use that song and do a Happy live-action photo booth. I put the call out and within 24 hours I had more than 30 pit bulls and their families offering to come out on the weekend and dance and sing to the song, HAPPY. We shot it in two days in about 12 hours. All of the dogs were great – not one negative incident – and each dog only had 15 minutes to come in, settle down and start looking Happy! I’m still sort of shocked that we got through all that so well. One woman, Amber Parham, brought a bunch of the awesome collars (M & G Pawccessories) she makes for the dogs so they could wear them in the video. She also donated one that we raffled off to raise funds for a local dog, Beatrice, who had been stolen and deliberately burned by some awful man. All in all, the shoot was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time.


I decided to start a Facebook page called Don’t Believe the Hype where the Happy video was first shared. This page will only be positive pittie things. Mostly I will post videos, but also photos that inspire smiles. I plan to continue to share pittie PSAs on the page for people to use for their own rescue page, adoption event or to enlighten a disbeliever. I’ll be posting an “ADOPT” PSA soon for anyone to download or share. I’m also planning to do another PSA with pitties, kids and elderly people. Again, the purpose is to share or use for anything. Free, of course.”


Thank you Karen for using your talents to help stubby dogs!!! Keep up the great work!

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3 Responses to “Pit Bulls = HAPPY!”
  1. Dana Lustig says:

    Love it!

  2. Liz Vinals says:

    I LOOOOOOVE this!!! I too learned about pitties when I ended up with one out of a technicality lol. I’ve become an advocate and funny thing is most people don’t even know what a pittie looks like, often saying that Luci is NOT a pitbull or at least a mix. Ha!!

  3. Love this video!!! Whenever I’m having a bad day, all I have to do is watch the video and it snaps me right out of the negative mood I was in. The song is perfect for the breed cuz they’re such clowns at heart anyway and always have a smile to share.