My Life Among the Underdogs: A Memoir – Book Review

Published Date: January 15, 2019

Publishing Co.: William Morrow

Pages: 245

Goodreads Synopsis.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

My mission is to rescue. My hope is that one day I won’t have to.”

If you’ve heard that quote before, there’s a good chance that you’re a fan of Animal Planet’s Pit Bulls & Parolees. This memoir belongs to the feisty, red-headed woman who started Villabos Rescue Center, first rescuing wolves and wolf hybrids, then turning to one of the dog’s with the baddest reputations, the American Pit Bull Terrier. Currently, the rescue houses close to 400 dogs of all breeds and employs parolees to help with all of the work. It takes one tough person to hold all of that together.

In My Life Among the Underdogs, we get a peek into Tia’s life before starting the rescue. First, being raised a cowgirl by her stepmother who taught her to depend on no one else, to a drifting young adult, to an exotic animal trainer, to a dog trainer for Hollywood, then to rescuing full time. All of this while giving birth to and raising two beautiful daughters, who would become strong, independent and compassionate just like their mother.

We also learn the life stories of some of the top dogs of Tia’s life. These chapters were both uplifting and heartbreaking. You learn about these wonderful, resilient creatures and all they taught both Tia and humanity and then, you hear about their passing. How can that not tug at your heart? If you’ve had a dog, you’re probably all too familiar with that pain, so it’s impossible not to relate.

There are not too many people in this world that I truly idolize but, Tia Torres is one of the them. Life spent rescuing animals is hard, I’ve dabbled in it myself, no where near the size that Tia has. While rewarding, at times it can be absolutely soul crushing. You have to look the worst of humanity in the eye, not engage to the best of your ability and just get the poor, tortured animal the fuck out of dodge. It’s a hard thing to dedicate your life to. Animal rescue workers are more prone to depression and suicide, and it’s understandable.

I hope to see more memoirs from Tia Torres or anyone on her rescue crew. It helps bring more people into the rescue fold, even if it’s adopting instead of shopping, every changed mind is progress and we still have a long ways to go.

My one complaint, and I don’t think I’ve said this since I was little, is that there are no pictures! I mean, I want one million dog pictures, but if there could have just have been ten or so, that would have been great. I loved hearing about these amazing dogs but I would have also really liked to see their cute little faces.

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10 thoughts on “My Life Among the Underdogs: A Memoir – Book Review

  1. Yay! I’m so happy you enjoyed the book so much! ^_^
    And now that you mention it, I am really surprised they didn’t include pictures! lol Fantastic review, luv! ❤

  2. I only caught a little bit of her show, but I love and respect anyone who does things like this. There’s some really interesting shit about the intersection of how pitbulls are viewed and racism that wasn’t surprising, It was just sad. I know you’re more of a dog person, but I’m a huge fan of the Kitten Lady, as well. She does kitten rescue and fostering and just holy shit, it’s just so inspiring. I want to do fostering one day when I have a better living situation ♥

    1. I’ve never heard of the Kitten Lady but I’m a huge fan of Jackson Galaxy and Howard Stern’s wife Beth is a fostering machine. I follow her on IG to get daily doses of kitty cuteness. 🙂

      1. I love Jackson. Kitten Lady has a YouTube as well. I think her name is Hannah Shaw and she does tutorial videos about the dirty details of fostering, and she talks about controversial shit in a matter of fact way. She’s also covered in tattoos and has the sweetest voice known to god or man.

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