When Helen Jürlau Arnold uploaded a video in 2007 of her pit bull playing with baby chicks, she didn’t expect it to amass millions of views or for thousands of people to subscribe to her YouTube account. She was simply sharing a cute video of her dog Sharky with her family in Estonia.
“YouTube popularity was very overwhelming since my English was pretty bad and I had started using YouTube just to share clips with my family,” Arnold says.
Arnold was born in Estonia and lived there on a farm full of chickens, pigs and cows for 19 years before moving to Texas in 1999, so it was only a matter of time before she had her own menagerie. Her little zoo began with a pot-bellied pig, but it wasn’t long before she had chickens, ducks, bunnies and the stars of her YouTube channel, Sharky the pit bull and Max-Arthur the snowshoe cat.
Max-Arthur was discovered on Arnold’s property 11 years ago, and Arnold says “he was in terrible condition and probably wouldn’t have lived till the next day” if they hadn’t taken him in. Sharky came along five years later as a 4-week-old pit bull puppy, and he was one of the main reasons why Arnold continued to share videos of her pets.
“I had a hard time with the bad comments and people saying that my dog could not be trusted, so that was why I kept doing the updates like 'Pit bull and chicks - two months later',” she says.
While you might not expect a pit bull and a cat to get along, Arnold says that Max-Arthur and Sharky were instant friends — but Max is the boss, of course, which is evident in one of Arnold’s most popular videos, which features Max riding a Roomba vacuum and swiping at Sharky.
Sharky, meanwhile, has a sweet temperament that challenges the pit bull stereotype, and Arnold admits that even she was surprised by the extent of the dog’s docility.
“I gave extra love to Sharky because I was frightened by other pit bull owners who said that the dogs could turn on you when they get older. But I have come to find that my pit bull is the smartest dog that I have ever owned. I think they are born with an amazing sweet and caring heart!”
And Arnold isn’t the only one who receives the dog’s affection. Sharky was just 10 months old when he began “fathering” baby chicks, and since then the playful pit bull has fostered goslings, a guinea big, a baby rabbit and an iguana, among other creatures.
“Sharky wants to be everyone's friend. He likes every little animal — little lizards, baby birds that fall down from trees. Chicks, ducks and geese are like his own babies. Now his newest love is a little baby rabbit named Oreo. He's just in heaven when he's surrounded by all his babies.”
In addition to a vacuum-riding cat and a pit bull crawling with fluffy chicks, Arnold’s YouTube channel also features humorous videos of Max-Arthur taking showers in the sink (Who says cats don’t like water?) and other adorable critters from her ever-growing zoo. You can keep up to date with Sharky and Max-Arthur's latest escapades at HelensPets.com, or you can become a fan of Sharky on Facebook.
Don't miss this adorable video of Sharky and Max-Arthur with some baby chicks.