Aften Bell has so much passion that she was back to work a few days after a major surgery. “I was only five days into recovery after an open myomectomy where I had 14 fibroids removed,” Bell says. “I could barely walk, yet I was in my home office making videos for our kick-starter launch.” Bell worked in a debilitated state for the launch of her dog accessory line, Bubble & Spike. Its fashionable and functional harnesses are inspired by Bell’s work running The Love Pit Dog Rescue, a foster-based rescue for pit bulls.
Starting The Love Pit:
I started fostering for DFW Rescue Me. I got really into fostering the pit bulls. I was attracted to the underdog, the dog that nobody else wanted to foster. A couple of years later, I crossed paths with a pit bull in Oak Cliff. I was on my way to Kessler Park, and there was a dog in the middle of the street with a giant hole on the side of her face. She was walking into oncoming traffic while cars were swerving, so I got out and helped her. Within 24 hours, my Instagram post about her traveled the world, and I raised a bunch of money. I was floored by the fact that people were giving me money and trusted me to take care of the dog. That inspired me to help more dogs like Sweet Pea and to work with people that also believed in the same mission.
How’s running the rescue?
It’s been going great. We’re in our fifth year, and we have well over 250 volunteers. We’ve rescued close to over 1,000 dogs. We have a new headquarters in the Design District, so we’re able to have a facility where we can house dogs before they go into their foster homes.
Operating during a pandemic:
Our adoptions have been up. Our fosters have been up. Our intake has been down slightly because we have just been very careful with expenses. People’s money and donations are going to other organizations that need it, like health care. However, we still need it.
Her dog accessory brand Bubble & Spike:
I worked for a company under Fossil called Skagen, and they discontinued most of the brand. I had the opportunity to stay, and I chose to leave. I took my severance and put that in savings to start building toward my dream of creating my own product line. I knew I didn’t want to go back to corporate America. I thought I might as well take my design skills and try to make these tools better. It was really important to me that whatever I did had a positive impact. I didn’t want to just create another accessory. There’s too much of that out there already.
Bubble & Spike’s mission:
When we go buy products for our dogs, we want them to look cute, pretty or cool. But unfortunately, a lot of the accessory products for dogs don’t work the way that they should. The training product is either too outdoorsy and too campy. Then you have the fashion stuff that doesn’t help you control your dog or train. The goal of Bubble & Spike is to mesh the two so that people get excited about training their dogs. We want our product to be fashionable with purpose and function behind it.
Her own pets:
I own five pit bulls, and then I have one foster. So at any given time, I have about six dogs. The lazy crew is Sweet Pea and Dozer. The crazy crew is Buddy, Alley and Buster. Right now, my foster is Bud. He’s an 85-pound American bulldog.
Misconceptions about pit bulls:
They’re actually really great family dogs because they’re attentive to people. They’re loyal to their human, which means they’re easy to train. They’re food motivated, they’re toy motivated and they’re very athletic. Unfortunately, you have people out there that think they’re dangerous and aggressive. That’s what made me so passionate about pit bulls. At one point, I was scared of pit bulls too. When I got to know one, I was like, “What on earth? What have I been thinking all this time? This dog is a big goofball.”