Or, as the folks at Overlook Press are doing, focusing on one particular canine breed: the pit bull. Sadly, because of these pooches’ often intimidating appearance, they’ve acquired a poor reputation—often considered unfriendly and even dangerous.

One pit bull aficionado decided it was high time to improve the breed’s standing in the canine community. In 2005, Deirdre “Little Darling” Franklin founded the nonprofit organization Pinups for Pitbulls, because she was tired of so-called rescues and shelters that euthanized healthy, friendly, and adoptable animals because of their alleged “breed.” Drawing on her background in modeling, Franklin created an unusually striking calendar—eye-catching pinup girls and their pit bulls in era-appropriate attire—that has become famous in the world of animal advocacy.

Pinups for Pitbulls (Overlook, Oct.) compiles the best of the organization’s calendars along with more than 100 never-before-seen photographs into a lush, full-color volume. The book also features essays and testimonials from former pinups and longtime volunteers, as well as a complete history of the breed, helpful tips for new rescue owners, and a heartfelt homage to the dog who inspired it all—the late Carla Lou. The organization has a popular Web site, pinupsforpitbulls.org, and a Twitter feed with an established following. Franklin now tours on behalf of her organization, visiting animal advocacy conferences around the country.

Franklin will appear at Overlook (1546) today, 1–3 p.m., and on Friday, 10 a.m.–noon.