Pamela Robison Mullins is a Renaissance woman: painter, tailor, creator of unique art and jewelry, world traveler. But to her tiny 4-pound dog Sophia Loren, she’s just “mom.”
The two dress up to go out on the town, often to entertain local home-bound elderly residents in the Oak Cliff and southern Dallas area, or people who have recently lost a pet. “Sophia goes everywhere with me,” ‘Mom” Pam says. “She’s my running buddy.”
And Pam certainly has been running all her life.
Born in San Diego, California and raised in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, Pam attended Pauls Valley High and Muskogee High School. She studied Art at both the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University, obtaining a Degree in Fashion/Apparel Design. Pamela when on to Studied Renaissance Art in Italy as well as French and Spanish Art and got her first job out of college as a “Picker” for Christopher Fallon Designs.
Always an Entrepreneur
She continues to use her degrees to this day as she decorates vintage hats with vintage jewelry, African Cloth, beaded jewelry, chains, leather, and many other unique items. She sells them through Lula Bs Antique Mall in Oak Cliff, and directly to private customers.
“I have always been an entrepreneur,” she says, and works at several businesses, including Dave Perry-Miller for over 20 years, as a Realtor for both commercial and residential properties.
She is also a successful photographer. She travelled to photograph the Terlingua Chili Cookoff just last week and she does pet portraits.
She’s always been an animal lover, was raised with Chihuahuas, and her photos of pet and landscapes have sold well.
“The Belmont purchased 144 of my images that were in the guest rooms for over 10 years,” Pam says, “And my photo of Big Bend was selected by the Texas Photographic Society to be shown in galleries all over Texas and in Europe, including Paris, France.”
Rescuing Sophia Loren
Luckily, Pam was in Texas and volunteering at the Dallas Animal Shelter when a grey cart with four Chihuahuas in it arrived. The woman who owned the dogs said one had already died, and the four in the cart looked emaciated. Apparently, her home had no running water and the dogs were not getting sufficient food. One puppy was barely 1.8 pounds and had no hair, “but should have been three or four pounds by a year old,” said Pam.
It turned out to be an animal cruelty case, which was eventually prosecuted, but at the time, Pam put the sickest dog into an adoption spot behind a glass door so people could see her. She remembers, “As I walked away, she put her paw up to the glass door as if to say, ‘HELP ME.’”
Pam’s sister was in town visiting from Oklahoma, so Pam decided that she would wait and see if anyone adopted the tiny dog. But when she returned a day later to DAS nobody had. “We brought her home and I named her Ava. But my sister pointed out she had a big chest like Sophia Loren, so we changed her name – and I had to go back and change all her adoption paperwork.”
She works hard for others
The Chihuahua is the smallest breed of dog and is named for the state of Chihuahua in Mexico. Chihuahuas come in a wide variety of sizes, head shapes, colors, and coat lengths. They are known for being tiny dogs with big personalities, and Sophia Loren certainly fits that description.
“We visit people we know, many from our church. She’s exceptionally good with older people and children.” Sophia visits the sick and often a neighbor who’s lost a family pet. She’s happy to sit in the lap of a stranger and be petted.
Recently, the owner of Lula Bs got a special moment when Pam and Sophia Loren came to her birthday party. “It was her first birthday without her mother there to celebrate with her,” Pam remembers. “So, I thought what can we do to cheer her up and re-set her birthday? Since she loves dogs and Marilyn Monroe, I thought, why not have Sophia Loren pop out of a cake or something?”
It took a bit of work for Pam to find the right size “cake” and the correct top that would work, but it all came together beautifully, and Sophia Loren popped out just as they’d practiced, to a delighted audience. “I know we’ll never forget that birthday party!”
Star of The Shop
Since Sophia Loren is her constant companion, Pam often purchases fabric to design and sew Chihuahua clothes and hats which, if she doesn’t dress her own dog in them, she sells at Lula Bs, where she’s been a dealer for over two years.
She currently works there on Saturdays with Sophia Loren as her assistant. “People actually come into Lula Bs’ to meet her!”
Pam has had two Chihuahuas that lived long and healthy lives, one for 16 years and one for 15 years. She said it’s most important for this breed to brush their teeth, to keep them strong. And she takes Sophia to the vet for her annual checkup.
Prior to Covid, Pam traveled “to lands far away” and purchased items that she then sold on her website and at pop-up shops under the ‘Notably Curated’ name.
She’s also lead Marfa Tours for over two decades. “I take people to Marfa/Big Bend and provide an unforgettable experience.” Sophia travels with her in America but stays home when Pam travels internationally.
Home and Work
Pam says her favorite thing about working in a variety of businesses is that she loves to connect with different people. “I feel everyone is interesting and has a story to tell. My friends would say I never met a stranger, that I am a rolling stone, and I depend on the kindness of strangers. I have a blast getting to know others.”
She is married to Kayo Mullins, an Oak Cliff resident of 65 years. “He attended Rosemont Elementary, Greiner Middle School, Sunset High, then went to UTA and got his law degree at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.” He practiced law for 40 years. His grandfather, Joe Brown, Sr., was the Judge for the Jack Ruby Trial. He owns the only photo that was allowed to be taken at the trial.
The two met at Kessler Park United Methodist Church at the Saturday Morning Breakfast Club. They were married in Siena, Italy in 2008.
Volunteering In Her Free Time
Kayo has three grown sons, “All Eagles Scouts and all college graduates,” Pam says, and the couple live with their four dogs: Sugar, a 50 lb. white and caramel hound dog; Sir Remington “Remy,” a 5 lb. Chihuahua; Bandit, a 6 lb. Papillon, and little Sophia Loren, Pam’s 4 lb. Chihuahua.
Pam volunteers for the Chihuahua Rescue & Transport (CRT) organization in her free time when she’s not traveling or visiting Museums. “I am known as someone able to catch loose dogs and if not claimed, I can help re-home them.”
She also makes cards from her photographs for sale and makes cards from magazines. Plus, she sews, collects items from India, (mostly clothing) and loves to travel. Her trips to India last November and another to Morocco this October were both postponed due to Covid.
In her travels she has met very many fun or famous people, including Will Farrell, J. Alfred Roosevelt (the great nephew of Teddy Roosevelt whom she’s met many times; she visited him at his home in Marfa), Edward Kennedy, The NFL’s legendary Rosie Greer. “We were photographed together at the 1980 Democratic Convention in New York in 1980, where I was a delegate.” And Pam’s toured Donald Judd’s milled aluminum boxes with Martha Stewart in Marfa, Texas.
The toughest time of her life was when she worked in a job she didn’t like.
“I forced myself to work that job for several years because the money was so good. But Depression kicked in and I had to take a break and nurture myself and find new perspective with professional help.”
Now she nurtures others with her well-dressed Sophia Loren in tow.
Want to see Sophia pop out of a Birthday cake? See: sophiascurations
on Instagram. To book Sophia for your next party: firstname.lastname@example.org