Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Had another successful Pinups for Pitbulls fundraiser in the Chicagoland area this weekend at Natural Pet Market in Wheaton, IL. Tracy, the owner of Natural Pet Market, is a fellow calendar girl and the event was so much fun! It was attended with adorable adoptables from Bombshell Bullies and food was provided by Upton's Naturals.

My favorite adoptable bully was a little guy named Cookie Monster. If you are in the "market" for a new pup, definitely contact Bombshell Bullies about him. He is a GREAT dog. Totally loveable and well-behaved.

But the BEST part of the whole event was when Tracy contacted me later that night to let me know that we'd raised $1000!! That brings the grand total for Chicago fundraisers to $3300 this year so far! We owe so much to the great support we've gotten here and all of the awesome companies who have donated their time, products, and money. We're really fortunate. Thank you, from the pups! :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wrigley Beans, International Superstar

The other day, a mysterious envelope arrived in the mail addressed to "Mr. Wrigley 'Beans' Hopman." I was puzzled for a moment, but then realized right away that it must be fan mail from Wrigley's self-proclaimed biggest fan!!

And just check out how happy he was! Wrigley is typically the dog that doesn't insist on being paid attention to the way the other dogs do, so he sometimes fades into the background. But for a few minutes, it was all about him!

In unrelated news, I feel like I should mention that the Brown Dog Dad and I have split up and he will be moving out this week. I say this only because I might mention it in a later post and forget that I haven't said anything previously, so there it is. I will be staying in our house with all of the brown dogs (and Addy!) for the foreseeable future! Their lives will remain pretty much as-is, though I am thinking about turning the basement into a doggie playroom and also moving all of their crates into the second bedroom so they're not all watching me when I sleep. But yes, the same other than that!

Friday, December 4, 2009


Hi friends! Sorry for our horrific lack of updating lately, but we will get to that in a future post maybe.

So in the last post, I mentioned Probert's vet visit. Well, sometime last week, I got a phone message from the vet saying that Probert's blood test is great, but that she needs to talk to me about the lump on his back. I spent all day trying not to freak out, but unable to speak with her because she was in appointments. Finally, around 4pm, she calls and tells me that the aspiration of Probert's lump showed a suspicious amount of spindle cells and that to be safe, it should come off soon.

I called a friend, who immediately googled and read me this page about Canine Spindle Cell Sarcoma, which would likely be what Probert has.

Probert's surgery along with his dental cleaning was scheduled for the 15th of December until this weekend when he managed to somehow break a tooth! The tooth was badly broken and so with the help of the vet, I was able to move his surgery date up to this past Wednesday. On Wednesday they cleaned his teeth, removed the broken tooth, and also removed his tumor.

It was a hard day and when I finally got to pick him up, the tech checking me out warned me before I saw him that the incision was very big because they needed to take out a wide margin around the tumor to be sure they got "everything" in case it was cancer.

So, it's a couple of days later and Probert is doing pretty well and I am just so happy to have him home and alive and hopefully cancer-free. We will find out next week about the biopsy results, but everything I've read and heard has told me that even if it is cancer, this is typically a very localized type and that he should be fine. Please keep him in your thoughts. I just want him to heal well and be okay.

That's been part of our adventures lately! I hope that you are all doing better and that we will catch up with you all soon!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hello to all of our two-legged, three-legged, and four-legged friends (and anyone we missed)! A few weeks ago, my computer broke and then I went out of town for a week, so I haven't been able to update the blog. As it is, I still haven't set up my newly repaired computer so that I can get the photos off my camera, but that is coming. You will have to settle for words for now.

The pups are doing great. It is "vet season" I guess because in the past two months Wrigley, Maizy, and Probert have all been in to see the vet for their necessary yearly visits. Wrigley's visit was mostly uneventful minus the news that he is overweight. Since he is getting the same level of exercise as the ideally-weighted Addy, Maizy, and Probert, our only choice was to cut his food down. Poor Wrigley. Though, having been away from him for nearly a week last week, when I saw him again with "fresh" eyes he looked thinner to me! I guess we'll see how he does!

Maizy's visit was exciting in that she required a tooth cleaning, x-rays (to take to a new ortho doc), had an ear infection, and had a little arm scab that she kept tearing open. She came home from her tooth cleaning appointment in a No-Bite collar limping from hip manipulation and having lost a tooth that just fell out during the dental! Only six years old and she is falling apart! She is an angel about her ear medicine, though, and her arm healed after a few days in the collar (which she hated. a lot).

Probert's visit last night was good. The doctor took blood in order to test his liver as she thinks he will be on his medication long-term and wants to be sure it's not affecting his liver. He also needs his teeth cleaned, so I will be scheduling a dental for him soon. He also had a little mass aspirated and we'll find out what that was. Luckily, everything else is great, so we got out of there relatively unscathed!

Addy doesn't see the vet until April, so she is plenty happy about that!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Funds Raised!

Thanks everyone for your support with all of the work I've been doing with Pinups for Pitbulls. Well, the event on Friday went off without a hitch! Here are a few pictures (no pups, sorry!). At the end of the evening (or really, the next morning, since I got home at about 4:30am), we had raised over $2000 for the bullies! Thanks to anyone who helped promote or came out! It is much appreciated. Look for our family-friendly fundraiser coming up in December in Wheaton.

Me and Tracy, my partner in pit bull fundraising (with the Brown Dog Dad in the back).

All set up for the midnight raffle (there was a second at 3am).

A packed bar and smiling faces. Good signs.
One of my favorite merch items that we have... the Pinup for Pitbulls tote bag.

Friday, November 6, 2009


So, in working on planning tonight's (!!!) Pinups for Pitbulls fundraiser here in Chicago, I have been in touch with a few GREAT bully-friendly local rescues. I am so inspired by all of the hard work that they are doing, and at the same time, I am being heartbroken constantly thinking about the hard lives that so many animals have. There is no way to not wish I could do more.

At the event, there will be photos and descriptions to promote dogs from both One Tail At A Time and Making A Difference Rescue who are in need of sponsorship or foster/forever homes. One of the dogs that really touched me from Making a Difference is Hero. He was found by a woman in her yard, collapsed. She thought he was dead. Once he was picked up, an email was sent out from Animal Control to the director of Making a Difference with only two words, "Help me." And so, we are all trying to find Hero the home that he deserves.

Yesterday, I also received an unexpected email from a caregiver at PAWS Chicago asking if we could promote another dog at our event. Red is already famous in Chicago for attempting to protect his elderly owner during a home invasion. During the course of the attack, Red was shot and paralyzed. His owner sadly could not physically give Red the care that he now needs and Red is in search of a home to live out the rest of his days. I really hope we can help him.

Please think of these dogs... send them your good thoughts. We are hoping to help some of them out tonight, even if it's just by reminding people that there are so many dogs out there that need our compassion and love.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Playing Dress Up

So, once again this year we participated with Pinups for Pitbulls and submitted a photo for the 2010 calendar. Out of the almost 100 submissions, we were NOT chosen to have our own month in the calendar, but our picture will appear on a page in the back. Oh well. Enjoy anyway!

The photo was a huge collaborative effort in tribute to the Elvgren pinup painting, Station WOW. I can't tell you how much fun this shoot was. Everyone who worked on it was great. The photographer, Chris Zibutis is awesome and was assisted by his lovely wife, Monica Zibutis as well as their friend Robyn Martin. The hair and makeup was all done by my sister-in-law, Jenna Hopman. The dog-wrangling and general pup supervision was handled by my husband, Shawn Hopman. We shot at the yoga studio where I teach thanks to the kind owners. The pup models were your friends, Addy and Probert. As you can see, Probert is an old pro at this looking adorable on film thing by now!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Guess who has 4 birthdays!?

Tomorrow is Probert's four birthday! I haven't decided how we will celebrate, any suggestions?

Here is a picture of Probert from when he was first adopted. The toy is his Ellie that he brought with him from the rescue. Um, until Wrigley de-stuffed Ellie. RIP, Ellie.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Probert's Dog

I think I posted before about Probert's problem with coming out of his crate. Every single time he came out of his crate, he had to steal something or have something in his mouth. He would grab laundry, socks, shoes, toys, try to pull the blankets out of the other dogs' crates, etc. So we have remedied this problem by consistently handing him something when he comes out of his crate, so he can just go downstairs without the obsessive "finding something" game he had to play previously. Most of the time now he happily takes his no-eyed, no-nosed, one-eared dog and races downstairs with him. Clearly, he is a well-loved stuffed dog.

In other Probert news, yesterday I threw a ball and he fetched it! I don't think I've ever seen him pick up a ball in his life. Previously he would chase them while they bounced and rolled and then not know what to do after that, but yesterday he picked it up and carried it to a new location! It sounds stupid, but when the Brown Dog Dad came home I showed him and he was equally amazed. Probert might be a dog, afterall!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Yesterday Addy and I went out to Tracy's store, Natural Pet Market in Wheaton, IL for the annual Howl-O-Ween party. Addy did not really dress up for the party, but for my own amusement at home, I dressed her as Tupac. Picture her rollin'.

She also whipped out her adorable high-five trick and won the trick contest! Now we get to go back to Natural Pet Market with a $25 gift certificate! Wooo!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Busy Busy

Well, things have been so busy over here getting ready for the Pinups for Pitbulls fundraiser in Chicago that I haven't been taking many pup pictures or finding time to update. Sorry about that! Hope to be back to catch up with you all soon! :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Working and Training

This weekend was an eventful one for the pups. On Saturday, Maizy made her glorious return to therapy dogging by working at the local library again. We had 4 kids signed up to read to her and she was so so so good. I had bought an extra copy of Demo and brought that along to donate to the library in Maizy's name, so hopefully she will be hearing that story soon! On Saturday we heard part of a Goosebumps story about worms, and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back read by siblings. We also heard Hooray for Fly Guy! about a fly who plays football. The last one was read by a grandmother because the child was disabled and could not read. He did like dogs, though, and he REALLY liked football! Maizy was an angel the whole time we were at the library, so I was proud of her. She was especially adorable while resting her head in a little girl's lap and looking up at her as she read. She is a nice dog.

On Sunday, Probert had his first ever day of school! I took him over for a private session with our favorite trainer, Rendy from Anything is Pawsible. Professional training is part of the program laid out to manage Probert's anxiety by his vet and our session was really productive! We worked on desensitizing him to the Halti, staying with distractions, saying hello, and got a lot of great tips about how to manage some of his more difficult behaviors. Probert warmed right up to Rendy, which was adorable. It was interesting to me to notice how when she tried to get him to play with a toy, he would get excited about her excitement, but not know what she expected him to do with a ball or a rope. Sometimes at home he will pick up a toy and carry it for a second, but he always drops it. He doesn't really understand how to play. I get so used to it, but to be reminded of it is so sad. Then again, I have to remember that this is the same dog who used to move as far away as possible and then flatten himself to the ground every time a car drove by while we were on walks and I know that he has come so far. There's still more work to do, but he can definitely do it.

So, we have a lot to work on and so far, the work at home has been going well. Probert is a smart little dog. I also had some good conversation with Rendy about our decision to medicate Probert which reinforces that we did the right thing. Looking at him now as compared to pre-medication, I could not be happier with our decision. The medication has clearly freed up some space in his mind to work on being a dog without the incessent anxiety and fear. And as Rendy said, "You clearly have not turned this dog into a coffee table." :)

Here is a video of one of Probert's favorite "games," and probably the only one he has figured out how to play. I like it because you can hear all of his snuffling to find the treats. This game is called "Find It" and I throw little treats into the rug for Probert and Maizy to find (they do this well together and the competition keeps them working, but I wouldn't do this with a dog who resource guards from other dogs). The rug hides them enough that they use their noses more than their eyes. They didn't get this game at first, so I contained it to one side of the rug, then expanded slowly. Now we can play this game on the big living room rug or I can start to move treats off the rug into other parts of the kitchen (you'll see in the video that one rolls away and Maizy digs it out from under the counter). This method of slow expansion has worked well to make sure that everyone "gets" what the goal is. Let me know if there are other variations that you play with your dog!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Poor Addy

Poor baby Addison has a poufy face tonight for some unknown reason. We gave her an antihistamine to see if it will clear up by the morning. She looks so uncomfortable. I hope the medicine helps! Send her good thoughts!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Safety Maizy

Yesterday while out and about, Maizy and I stopped and bought her a shiny new dog seat belt for the car. (We also went to Natural Pet Market in Wheaton, which Maizy LOVED and which is owned by friend to pit bulls, Tracy!)

(Yeah, you never want to have to ride in my back seat... it is dog hair city.)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Maizy and Friends

Two pictures from this week:

Maizy and Probert smelling the fall air.

Maizy and Justice both looking nervous about being so close to each other. To be fair, Maizy has the most to worry about because Justice is always the one attacking her. She always acts like a lady.

Monday, September 28, 2009

We Made It!

The Pinups for Pitbulls Team: Michele with Frankie, Jesse, Nicole with Addy and Maizy, Trish, and Gina.

The Chicago PAWS Walk For Their Lives yesterday was a great time! Everyone returned from last year, plus a few new additions, so we had a great group (all ladies, by the way)! This year I had started a "team" for Pinups for Pitbulls and we raised over $1000 between us, beating our goal.

The weather was beautiful for the end of September in Chicago, so no complaints there. The walk was long and we took many breaks because of our little fwee wegged friend, Addy, who was worn out by all the walking. She refused to be carried very far or to ride in a stroller (we tried!), so we walked at her pace. Jesse quite nimbly handed out Pinups for Pitbulls fliers to people walking with pit bulls (we had a fun time trying to spot the pitties). By the time we got back the the finish line, they had disassembled it and there was no one there to cheer for our accomplishment. Boo.

The walk had about 4,000 participants this year and I think the money raised was in the neighborhood of $250,000! Great news!

We didn't hang around too long, but we did have to go to the doggie massage tent so that Maizy, Addy, and Frankie could get a well-deserved massage. Also, Maizy spent some time playing in the water (which was meant for drinking). This video I took cracks me up. Look at how wet Addy is from her unexpected splashing.

On the way home, we made a well-deserved stop at Fritz Pastry which I cannot recommend enough if you are in Chicago. The food they make is delicious and some of their items are even vegan (ask for which items are vegan, but I recommend the coffee cake or the blueberry muffin). They also have a great little outdoor deck that is perfect for tired doggies.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Addy Loves Tug

Addy couldn't stand it that the Brown Dog Dad was not trying to get her toy, so she kept putting it in his hand so he would tug it. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Busy Week

It is a busy week for us this week in terms of anniversaries. Yesterday was both Justice kitty's (guesstimated) birthday as well as the 3rd anniversary of Probert's Gotcha Day! And today is the 4th anniversary of Wrigley's Gotcha Day! Glad to have them all in the pack and I am reminded every day of how much I love their furry butts.
Puppy Wrigley.

Puppy Probert.

A recent picture of how I can often be sitting while working on the computer: knees up, Justice sandwiched happily in my lap.

And Another Sad Story in the Media

Yesterday the story broke of a bust on a dog fighting ring (ran out of the same home as a licensed day care) in Maywood, which is not so very far from where we live. It is always harder when these things happen close to home. The original article was illustrated with a "vicious dog fighting" graphic which has been replaced with some photos, but really bothered me and definitely distracted from the issue at hand. Can we get a "vicious humans" graphic, please? I have read a lot of dog fighting stories in the media and this is maybe one of the worst as far as the descriptions of the conditions of the dogs who were found, so I recommend that you read at your own risk.

This morning I read the updated story, which is illustrated with a painfully adorable picture of the Cook County Sheriff holding a 4-week-old white pit bull puppy that could melt any heart. Seriously, adorable.

A few things really struck me about this story:
1) The majority of the comments (as far as I read) have been surprisingly positive in terms of not bashing the breed. I don't know how people could read a story like this and still blame the dogs. These conditions are not fit for anyone and it is no wonder that these dogs may not be happy to see people. They are AFRAID.
2) The comment in the story of one of the neighbors that she was (understandably) afraid of these dogs and is glad that they have been removed. Okay, well now you still have to live alongside these PEOPLE and you are okay with that?
3) One of the suspects spoke to the media and is quoted as dismissing what the police have found as nothing major. Not something you see every day.
4) As the police were investigating this home, they look into the neighbors yard and see ANOTHER abused pit bull and subsequently bust that guy, too.
5) There is a law against felons owning an unaltered dog?
6) It is no wonder that people can grow up with a lack of compassion for animals when this house contained a daycare and the children were literally playing outside beside abused and mangled dogs. We need to work so hard to teach the next generation that this is not normal or right.

We will see where this story goes, but I think the public at large is definitely getting on the side of anti-dog fighting and I can only hope that this case will be another step towards ending dog fighting in our society completely.

Now go and hug your dogs.

Monday, September 21, 2009

This just in...

Check out Probert and I in the local news!! Please leave a comment on the paper's website to thank them for doing a positive story about pit bulls!

Dog lover advances the cause of pit bulls

By Adam Rosen, arosen@mysuburbanlife.com
Berwyn Life
Mon Sep 21, 2009, 10:43 AM CDT
Berwyn, IL -

Nicole Hopman has always enjoyed the company of pit bulls, so much so that she has dressed up as a pin-up girl to raise money for the breed she loves.

"They’re the breed of dog that is most in need of responsible ownership,” Hopman said. “A lot of people are just getting them to fight or train the wrong way and it doesn’t help the breed at all.”

In 2007, Hopman heard from Little Darling, a pinup model and burlesque performer and creator of the “Pinups for Pit bulls” calendar, that she had seen photos of her Hopman’s pit bull and Probert wanted the dog to appear in the 2007 calendar. Hopman accepted, and was brought in the following year to appear beside her canine friend for the 2008 calendar.

This year, Hopman and Probert did a photo shoot with local photographer Chris Zibutis and submitted her best photos to the calendar.

If Hopman is one of the lucky 12 chosen, it will be her second appearance in the calendar and third for Probert.

Even if she is not included, Hopman will host a calendar release part Nov. 6 at The Exit in Chicago. However, half of the stars in the calendar will not be allowed admittance.

“There are no dogs allowed, but there will be many dog lovers there,” Hopman said.

Probert the pit bull received his name from the former Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings forward Bob Probert, who was notoriously known for his enforcer style of play. Nicole, a Red Wings fan, agreed with her husband Shawn, a Blackhawks fan, on the name.

& quotable
“For me it’s disappointing that there are people out there who are willing to exploit a dogs loyalty for profit, and it’s disappointing that someone has the capacity to be so cruel.”

Calendar preorder available
The “Pinups for Pit bulls” calendar will go on sale in early November starting with the launch party Nov. 6, but calendars can already be pre-ordered at the organizations Web site, pinupsforpitbulls.com.

More about Nicole
OTHER PETS Addy, a pit bull
HOBBIES Baking, yoga
JOB Yoga teacher in Oak Park

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy Sunday!

Addy holding the same de-footed Cuz as Maizy in the previous entry. Obviously, Addy is much littler.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Not Dead Yet

Hello! Just a quick update to say hello and that we're still around and doing fine. Lots has been going on, all of which has kept me from updating the blog. I have mostly spent my time working hard on getting things organized for the Pinups for Pitbulls Calendar Release Party in November. This week Addison graduated Advanced Obedience at Anything is Pawsible, which was great. She finally learned to "stay" in a stand position and I was so proud of her. We have some work to do, definitely, but I think she has a chance of passing the CGC test in a few months maybe.

Anyway, I don't want to post a huge wall of text, so I will post again soon with pictures! Of pups!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In the News

Two cool stories that I wanted to share today:

1) This story from April about "wild" dogs in Moscow who have learned to take the trains into the city center where they beg for food before taking the trains back home at night where they rest and do the same thing again the next day. This story is simultaneously adorable and sad. I want to hug all of those dogs. (Even if you don't read, at least click to look at the cute pictures.)

2) This story from today which reports on an ad that Main Line Animal Rescue in Philly has placed in Washington DC (and which will likely appear in other areas) that says that for every time Michael Vick is tackled in that region's game, 5 bags of dog food will be donated to a local shelter. The ad also encourages people to volunteer at their local shelter and perhaps spend time "hugging a homeless Pit Bull." I'm all for this. Homeless pups need hugs.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An Event!

I've posted before about Pinups for Pitbulls and I think even shared the picture of Maizy, Probert, and me from the 2008 Pinups for Pitbulls calendar as well as the picture of Probert and another human model in the (first ever) 2007 calendar. Well, this year we've stepped it up a notch and not only did we submit a photo for the 2010 calendar (just wait and see which dogs made it!), but I am also organizing a fundraiser for Pinups for Pitbulls right here in Chicago!

Please pass the word on about the event and if you are in the area, it would be awesome to see you there! Also, if you have a business or know someone who does, we are currently in need of items for the raffle!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Demo the Dog

Quite possibly one of the cutest things I've ever seen is this book, Demo: The Story of a Junkyard Dog. I love the idea for the story, I love the illustrations, I love the whole darn thing! Will definitely be picking up a copy and maybe a second one to donate to the local library. Speaking of the local library, Maizy goes back for her "kids reading to dogs" program in October. I think this is a story that she would not get tired of hearing!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Two Pets, One Bed

Is Justice a giant cat or is Addy a small dog? Maybe a little of both.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Buddha Chai

Well, unrelated to the Brown Dogs (or Addy), but I thought I would share this with you. This weekend I had some free time and decided to devote it to making a felt portrait of my friend, Flo's dog, Chai as a little Buddha. I am really happy with the way it came out. Flo thinks that the likeness is dead on, which was the goal.

I think I will definitely make more in the future. This was a fun way to spend a couple of hours.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Epic Biteyface

No dogs were harmed during the events portrayed in these pictures. Addy and Wrigley are great friends, they just both like to play rough.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Little Sister

While we were outside playing yesterday, I also took some pictures of my cute friend, Addy Mae! She is helpfully resurrecting all of the old toys that the brown pups had gotten bored of in recent years and giving them renewed purpose.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

We Act Fast

By popular demand (or rather, by the consistent demand of Wrigley's biggest fan), here are some pictures of Wrigley Beans. I am posting them in sequential order as I took them so that you can see what his normal behavior is. He is not the kind of dog that lounges around outside, oh no! For danger lurks in all directions, he must remain ever vigilant. He is only sitting because I required it of him and he was feeling like being obedient today, apparently.

Now was that a variety of emotions or what?! Worried to alarmed to concerned to suspicious... you have to admit that the guy's got some range!