Pei Ketron is a freelance photographer, based in San Francisco, who specializes in travel and commercial photography. While her business started as a humble side gig, it has since flourished into a full-time success. She takes gorgeous photos of just about everything: portraits, exotic destinations, mouth-watering cuisine, dreamy landscapes—and, of course, her two dogs, Luna and Terrra.
Luna is a two-year old lab-pit mix and Terra is 100% American Staffordshire Terrier (Pei bought doggy DNA tests to confirm these findings, since both dogs are adopted. How cool is that?). Since Terrra was the second adoptee, she’s known as “Little Sister” since Luna had to take on more of a guiding, teaching role to help her adapt. Pei lives with her two doggy girls and husband in a one-bedroom apartment in the Sunset District neighborhood.
San Francisco can’t be beat, but Pei has discovered that living in a small city apartment with two attention-craving dogs brings its share of pleasures and challenges.
Pits In The Big City
Pei had no exposure to pit bulls when she was growing up. In fact, it wasn’t until the summer of 2009, when she rented a house in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with a girl who had a pit bull, that Pei experienced the breed first hand.
Her first impression: “They are the sweetest, super chill, snuggly dogs,” she said. “They have lots of love to give.”
That summer stuck with Pei. Or rather, that pit bull stuck with Pei. Knowing that pit bulls are so often misunderstood and have a reputation for being vicious dogs, she was inspired to adopt them later in life. It was her attempt to root for the underdog; to be their advocate if others are not or cannot be willing.
But Pei knew she needed to wait for the right time in her life to adopt. She didn’t, for example, want to adopt while in a rocky relationship, or put herself and her dog in any sort of temporary or unstable position. She had to be in the right place and at the right time in her life to bring a furball into her home and heart.
It was after Pei met her husband, Mike, and knew that they were both in it for the long haul that they decided to go for it. Her husband wanted a big dog, and while Pei knew she loved pits, they wound up choosing with their heart.
“We went off of our gut, versus breed,” she admitted.
When they met Luna, they knew she was the one. She wanted to play, she had an infectious, energetic personality and she seemed as “into” Pei and her husband as they were her. It was the right fit. And so, a pit bull it was.
Dogs Around Town
Pei recalled her childhood, growing up with dogs in the ‘80s, in a very small town in Arizona. Her family was always into pets, it seemed. They had a fenced-in yard, and she fondly recalls having several small dogs, constantly roaming about. But, she noted, it was a different time then; people approached the idea of dog ownership in a far different light than they do today.
“As a child, I didn’t have a say in the matter ,” she reflected. “But I remember the dogs lived their entire lives at the home. They didn’t go around town. It’s nice, as an adult, to re-think those decisions.”
Part of this re-thinking included paying attention to the social needs of her dogs—more so than just sticking them in a backyard to romp around. For example, when Pei just had Luna—before Terra was adopted about a year later—she noticed that Luna “seemed sad at home alone. But she would light up around other dogs.”
This led Pei to schedule a slew of play-dates for Luna, and to also invest in a dog walker for some time. It worked for a while, the increased socialization, but what really did the trick was bringing Terra into their lives—a live-in, always-around playmate for Luna.
“Now, I don’t feel the pressure to schedule play dates and to have an outing with the dogs every day,” Pei said.
Photo by Sherese Elsey
The Long View
Pei and her hubby hope to stay in the Bay Area long-term, eventually settling into a home with a yard. This would allow them to have more space (and yes, more dogs!).
In the meantime, they enjoy visits to the beach, the occasional romp around a dog park and entertaining in their apartment.
Want to follow Pei and her pups in their city adventures? Find them in pictures on Instagram.