Tag Archives: dogs

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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Polar Apocalypse

Okay, that’s a little dramatic but we did get 4-5 inches of snow and we woke up to it being 1 degree outside. The dogs were out for less than 3 minutes, they could barely pee, before they started lifting their paws and trying to lay down in the snow. So we’ve declared it, No Leaving the House Day.

It’s excellent timing as I’ve already been feeling restless. I’m ready to get outside and work on all the things but alas, that’s still going to be a couple of months.

That means today I’m going to try to occupy myself with lots of random things; try a new baking recipe, decide whether to continue the book I’m reading or not, laundry, pinning soup recipes and eyeballing Instant Pots. (My faithful crock pot has a massive crack in it.) There might even be an attempt at writing but we’ll see. My restlessness makes concentrating nearly impossible. Even as I write this, I drift off thinking of other things.

What do you do to combat cabin fever?

Here’s Ozzy looking all majestic in the snow:

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C&M Vacation Hiatus

Good morning friends! The coffee hasn’t even begun to kick in yet but I thought I’d drop in with a quick announcement that I will be gone for 9 days for a family vacation. I haven’t decided whether I’ll take my laptop or not so I doubt there will be any posts. We’re driving 2 days down, 5 days at the location and driving 2 days back, with the dogs. It’s going to be quite the adventure. If you’d like to follow any potential hijinks, don’t forget to follow me over at my Instagram page. It’s right in my hot little hand so I’m expecting to update daily there.

I leave you off with a cute picture of Samus helping me pack for the big trip.

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A House Covered in Fur

It’s been awhile since any of my adorable critters have been featured on the blog. Not for any lack of cuteness but because they’re mostly featured over on Instagram. (I fully admit that Instagram is a lot more fun that I thought it would be.)

I’ll do a mini-intro for each pet for anyone new to the blog.

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Blanket thieving once again.

Zelda, our second pet together. (The first being a rat named Wednesday.) We’ve had a love/hate relationship. She likes to do bad things. But since we’ve moved to the house, we’ve seen a whole new cat. We now have a nightly ritual that if I’m not in our bedroom at the correct time, I hear persistent mewing.

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Snowed in.

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Meanwhile, this one likes to make snow angels.

Ozzy, our first dog together. We’re dog people, thru and thru. We adopted Ozzy from a high-kill shelter in Flint. Michigan when he was 10 weeks old. He was malnourished, dehydrated, had roundworms and mange. He’s the first animal that I nursed back to health and 100% the reason I got into animal rescue. By my own estimation he’s lab/chow/pit bull mix. He’s a big, laid back baby who kicks all the ass at cuddling.

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Brisk morning romp in the yard.

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Gaming with Dad.

Samus. Oh, Samus. We were planning on getting a second dog a year later than we did. My grandpa was dying, I was depressed, my husband decided I needed someone to take care of who couldn’t take care of themself so I wouldn’t dive further into depression. His irresponsible coworker at the time had a new litter of puppies. Inbred puppies. Mom had had one litter of puppies by a neighbor’s dog, they kept a male puppy and when he was old enough, he knocked up his mom. She’s 3/4 mini-Aussie and 1/4 Rottweiler. To top it off, mom stopped nursing the puppies at about 5 weeks and the people couldn’t handle the puppies cries so they locked them in a bathroom. One which, they did not clean and eventually threatened to throw them all out in the snow if the people who wanted one didn’t come pick them up. That’s how we came to have a puppy at 6 weeks old who shouldn’t have been separated until 8 weeks. She’s an adorable pain in the ass. She’s high energy of course but also has anxiety and OCD, along with severe trust issues.

Snuggle Pups

It’s been a very dark few days here, my husband’s grandmother is losing her battle with cancer, so the pups have been working overtime trying to cheer us up. They don’t normally snuggle, or hold still long enough for me to take a picture so this is a one in a million shot. Of course my phone decided to use flash when it usually never flashes and by the time I turned the flash off the moment was over lmao.

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Fur Covered Sofas = Home

Since we bought our house in June, we’ve been operating with a recliner in the living room and the entertainment center. That’s about it. I mean, it’s not like we had a ton of money when we decided to buy a house, then we had vehicles problems until we recently gave up and got a lease. So, half a million things were more important than a couch but, HOLY HELL IS IT AWESOME HAVING A FUCKING COUCH AGAIN.

Some serious coffee drinking, reading, blogging, and let’s be honest, napping are about to happen on this new gray beauty.

Dog approved. Which is good because we bought it with them in mind. Just like we bought the house with them in mind. I mean if reincarnation was real, I would want to come back as one of my dogs.

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A Swollen Foot & 80’s Music

In true C&M fashion, I hurt myself the day before our house warming party. In an even more thorough C&M fashion, on the day of the party, I dropped a 22 pound bag of ice on it. Not to slow me down though, at least not until after about an hour of dancing to 80’s music at the end of the night. All at the encouragement of my boss and his girlfriend of course, because no one I know parties harder.

Other than that bit of foot misfortune, the party was a success and we received some really sweet house warming presents. Everyone seemed to have a genuinely good time.

Ozzy and Samus were the life about half the party. Some people who didn’t have dogs made up for it by playing mass amounts of ball and paying attention to them in general. It makes for a nice quiet day today, although Ozzy played way too hard for his weak back legs and will have a few days recovery.

A rainy day following the party has been the perfect excuse to nap and watch movies like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

Now to just lazily kill time until Game of Thrones.

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High on Paint Fumes

The entire weekend was spent at our new house painting a few rooms. One thing I can’t stand is white walls in every single part of the house. This is a home not an insane asylum. We’ve had the house for less than a week and already had to break into it. Apparently, unknown to us, one set of keys doesn’t work and one does. We left the good set inside the house since we were coming back the next day to continue painting. Upon discovery, much frustration ensued. We ended up cutting out a screen and being able to open the window to the bathroom, so my husband shoveled me through the small window and the day was saved. Adventures in home ownership have begun.

The dogs took to the new place pretty well. We’ve been worried about the younger one, Samus, because she’s only ever lived in once place. Turns out, she took to it faster than our older dog who has moved with us one million times over the years. Maybe he’s just overwhelmed to have his very own yard finally.

Here they are exploring the new place before we started painting:

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