My Life among the Underdogs

My Life among the Underdogs

by Tia Torres


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From one of the most respected figures in the dog rescue community come the harrowing, funny, and inspiring stories of nine incredible dogs that shaped her life.

Tia Torres, beloved underdog advocate and star of Animal Planet's hit show Pit Bulls & Parolees, chronicles her roller-coaster life in this heartwarming memoir featuring some of her best-loved dogs. With inimitable honesty and characteristic brashness, Tia captures the spirit and heart of these intelligent and loving canines, while carrying us behind the scenes of her TV show, into the heart of post-Katrina New Orleans, onto the soundstages of Hollywood films, and even to the jungles of Sri Lanka.

Tia has devoted her life to shattering the stereotype that pit bulls are dangerous, vicious predators. As the top dog at the Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans, the largest pit bull rescue in the United States, she and her team have rescued, rehabilitated, and rehomed hundreds of animals that might otherwise have been destroyed. As she puts it, "Most of the stories in this book are about animals (and a few humans) that needed someone to believe in them and a purpose in order to show their true nobility."

Each dog Tia writes about here has overcome abuse, trauma, neglect, or just bad luck to become a stalwart, loving companion to Tia and her family. You'll meet Duke, whose intelligence and matinee-idol looks made him a star in movies and music videos; Junkyard Joe, whose single-minded passion for tennis balls was channeled into expertise as a drug-sniffing dog; Bluie, the unswerving protector of Tia's daughter Tania; and a host of other unforgettable canines.

My Life Among the Underdogs is above all a love story—one that is sure to grip the heart of anyone who has ever loved a dog.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062797872
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/14/2020
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 21,227
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Tia Torres is the founder and proprietor of Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest Pit Bull facility in the United States, and the star of the hugely popular Animal Planet show Pit Bulls & Parolees, which has been on the air since 2009. After serving six years in the army, Torres worked for a Los Angeles city program to curb gang violence, serving as a liaison between the city and gang members. She also became an advocate for Pit Bulls, forming the Pit Bull Support Group, which offered free classes and assistance for Pit Bull owners. In 2006, she launched Underdawgz, a program that pairs parolees with rescue dogs. Tia lives somewhere in the swamps of south Louisiana with eight dogs.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Tatanka Buffalo Girl 15

A Dog Named L.A. The Princess and the Pit 39

Duke The Action Hero 51

Moose The Reluctant Rock Star 76

From Delinquent to Drug Detector Junkyard Joe 96

Monster A Dog and His Boy 122

Lucky The One-Woman Dog 151

Bluie The Knight in Silver Armor 189

Taz The Little Dog with Nine Lives 209

About Villalobos 225

Acknowledgments 227

Customer Reviews

My Life Among the Underdogs: A Memoir 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fantastic read. Just wasn’t quite log enough. I just finished. The entire book was like sitting down with Tia and listening to her stories
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I laughed, I cried. What a great read..thank you for all you and your family do for the Underdawz!!
Melody Ellis 21 days ago
Is a warm well writen book! I enjoyed very much and yes I cried.
Eva Williams 6 months ago
love the booklove the cause
Anonymous 9 months ago
Its like listening to Tia talk on the show...her heart and soul is so apparent in all she does. Glad I read the book and got to hear a little more from her perspective...and about all she has been through to get to where she is. How lucky are the dogs who have the fortune to come into her life! Most of those pups have had a life as hard as or harder than hers...I can totally understand her compassion for them, and her tenacity to make their world a better place. She is a true hero!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very well written memoir! Tia words paint a picture to the readers and made you feel like you were right there by her side with each story. It shows you the evil side of humanity and there are those who are willing to risk their lives for a four legged animal. It shows you the hope and fight in this loyal breed. Such a misunderstood and abused breed, but yet so forgiving and loving.
Amanda137 More than 1 year ago
Great book, easy read. When reading each dog's story, Tia makes you feel as if you were there experiencing it with her. The emotions are real and I teared up and laughed. The amazing work you and your family has done and continue to do for all these dogs and giving them a second chance is selfless. I thank you for your love and dedication to these loving and misunderstood breed of dogs (Pit bulls). They have the biggest heart and love the hardest, yet are very forgiving for all the hard times they've experienced. Pick up a copy of this book for yourself or as a gift for an animal lover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
she'd a few tears!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very personable, honest book for dog lovers. The dedication and faithful loyalty Tia pours into her life mission is astounding. I loved hearing the dogs' stories as well as Tia and her family's story. After working as a vet tech for 12 years, I have seen a lot of heartbreak, so I can surely relate to the emotions. I have done my share of rescuing over the years, although only one or two at a time, so I totally get it. The dogs who end up in Tias's hands are the truly lucky ones! Wish it was that way for every dog.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tia Torres is a true hero. I loved reading her stories about her dogs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Heart-rending and heartwarming stories, well written and true.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished this book and must say I enjoyed it very much. It was heartwarming, some tears, and some funny parts in the book. Thank you Tia for sharing your family including the stories of the dogs and how they affected your lives. Hope down the line you will find time to write another book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great quick read, most entertaining
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I managed to cry after every chapter!!!! Some cliches. You can tell this was written by a real person that didn’t spread their whole life earning an English and literature degree but that’s why it was so good; it was real, authentic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very few books make me laugh until my sides split and bawl my heart out. This one did both. It was a very quick read that left me wanting more, and the creativity in centering the chapters around specific dogs really puts this far and beyond other memoirs I’ve read... five stars aren’t enough
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved reading this!! I laughed, I cried, and I was humbled.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was looking forward to finding out more about Tia' s life leading up to the recuse. I already know a lot of the info on these featured dogs from watching the show.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book !!! Smooth, easy, engaging read -- anyone who loves animals will love this book !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Can't wait for next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book. It ended too soon. Need a sequel please.