Meet Casey Boshae Williams, the Gentle Soul Behind The Gentle Pit
This is a story about two puppies, one pendant, and the journey of a stall-mucking Montana farm girl who evolved into an LA designer of chic casual wear and fine jewelry for a beautiful cause: animal rescue.
Let’s start with the first puppy.
Petal, the Pricey Pooch
In 2007, Casey was waiting tables at a Los Angeles restaurant (don’t all great success stories start out like this?) when she decided she wanted a dog. And she searched for a dog in the only way she knew how at the time: the nearest pet store.
Some ooohs and aaahs and a maxed-out credit card later, Casey brought Petal, a tiny handful of puppy Chihuahua, home to her apartment.
Because that was the way to get a dog, right?
Casey’s journey into the world of boutique fashion, pit bull advocacy and animal rescue was yet to take its first step. Designing clothes and jewelry? Volunteering at animal shelters? Fostering dogs? Rebranding animal rescue to be more inclusive, accessible and fashionable? Those ideas weren’t yet on the horizon.
Casey spent the next half dozen years loving (and eventually marrying) her boyfriend Jeff, starting a career and palling around with Petal.
Another puppy would soon rock all of their worlds.
Petal was perfectly happy being an only—and very spoiled—dog. And Casey and Jeff were happy in careers that made it possible to travel, save for a house and dine at fine restaurants.
Hints of Casey’s burgeoning design talent showed. The apartment she shared with Jeff grew into a tasteful expression of California Casual, and Casey’s closet no longer looked like an endorsement for mom jeans and Doc Martens. The pair’s wedding, which Casey designed, was featured in White Magazine.
The trio had settled into a comfortable life and lifestyle. And then Casey fell in love with a “tiny gray bundle of fuzz and eyeballs” that permanently, dramatically—wonderfully—disrupted everything.
Olive, the Transformer
When Casey’s old college roommate introduced her to the world of shelter dogs and animal rescue, she and Jeff agreed that this newfound passion would not include adopting a dog—they didn’t have the room or the schedule to afford an addition to the family.
So Casey made sure she didn’t grow too attached to a pregnant pit bull she volunteered to transport from an Antelope Valley shelter to Wags and Walks Rescue in Los Angeles. And later, when Casey took her girlfriend to a Wags and Walks event—maybe her friend wanted to adopt the new mama?—she and Jeff agreed that Casey would not return with the pit bull herself.
Casey, true to her word, did not. But she did return with a squirming puppy from a different litter.
Goodbye carefully constructed career and home life. Hello to routinely fostering dogs and volunteering 25-plus hours a month at Los Angeles rescues. Hello to launching a rescue-supportive lifestyle brand. Hello to finding beauty—and hope—in the too-often ugly and dispiriting world of animal adoption.
Olive, the Gentle Pit
Olive was not enthusiastically welcomed by everyone in Casey’s inner circle. As Casey says, “it was as if were bringing a saw-scaled viper” into our home.
Olive proved her own advocate. From the beginning, she was sweet, soft, and a little timid. Friends and family, for whom love had motivated their unjustified concern, warmed to Olive. And, slowly, to pit bull-type dogs.
Like many dog owners and enthusiastic rescuers, Casey wanted to wear her love for Olive on her sleeve—or neck. Certainly there had to be something she could buy that would be as delicate and feminine as Olive?
There wasn’t. What she found in retail stores and independent shops were scary (barbed wire anyone?) political or commercial. What Casey wanted was a delicate gold pittie necklace, something stylish and minimalistic that fit her personal aesthetic.
And because she really, really wanted it? She sketched a head of a pittie-type dog that represented Olive, drew a heart in place of its nose and headed downtown to L A’s Jewelry District to find someone who could turn her creation into a special-order, 14-carat gold pendant with a matching chain.
That was supposed to be the beginning—and end—of Casey’s Olive-inspired designs. But then she wanted a pretty pittie-inspired tee shirt and, well, why not some cute joggers, too?
So she got out her sketch pad again. And between drawings, she started to think… Couldn’t there be others who wanted to celebrate their love for pitties while still looking chic? Couldn’t there be people who would want to buy pretty things—pittie inspired or just plain pretty—knowing their purchase would help animal rescue? Wouldn’t she be able to give a lot more money to rescue organizations if money was coming in the door to support her passion?
Casey said YES to all three questions and, after a lot of hard, hard labor, The Gentle Pit was born.
Gentle Pit/Gentle Branding
Casey’s approach to rescue advocacy is as gentle as Olive. She aims to educate, not preach, to demonstrate the joy of animal rescue, not the pain of neglect or abuse.
She knows that not everyone is adoption conscious—yet— and that loving a breeder dog is still love. She knows that a lot of fear and distrust of pittie-type dogs is born of inexperience and misinformation.
Casey knows her own story.
And, now, so do you.