Cover image for My life among the underdogs : a memoir
My life among the underdogs : a memoir
My life among the underdogs : a memoir
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publisher Info:
New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2019]
Physical Description:
228 pages ; 22 cm
The beloved dog rescue advocate and star of Animal Planet's hit show Pit Bulls & Parolees chronicles her life in this heartwarming memoir told through the stories of eleven of her best-loved dogs. Tia Torres combines never-before-told rescue tales with select stories from Pitbulls & Parolees. A sweet and stirring gallery of unforgettable canines, this book captures the hearts of dog lovers everywhere and is a testament to the loyalty, love, and devotion these dogs have to offer - if they're only given the chance.
Personal Subject:


Call Number
Material Type
636.708 TOR New or Popular Book Adult Nonfiction

On Order



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.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The star of Animal Planet's popular Pit Bulls & Parolees and founder of the Villalobos Rescue Center, Torres shares stories from the lives of several of the pit bulls nearest and dearest to her. After her brother dropped a wolf hybrid named Cujo on her doorstep, Torres fell in love with the breed, opening the Villalobos Rescue Center in Agua Dulce, California, in hopes of helping other abandoned wolves after their owners found them to be unsuitable as pets. But when Torres met Tatanka, a lovable pit bull who immediately took to Torres' young daughters, Torres shifted the focus of her rescue to the much misunderstood and maligned breed. Among the other pit bulls she adopted are L.A., who became the constant companion of her daughter, Mariah; Duke, who turned into a movie star alongside Mickey Rourke, Justin Timberlake, and Jake Gyllenhaal; and Junkyard Joe, whose bloodhound instincts got him work as a drug sniffer. Torres does vital, admirable work, and fans of her show as well as animal lovers in general will enjoy these warm-hearted recollections.--Kristine Huntley Copyright 2018 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Star of the long-running Animal Planet series Pit Bulls & Parolees, Torres has a wealth of experience as a trainer and advocate for dogs of all kinds. She also founded -Villalobos Rescue Center, New Orleans, initially a wolf/wolf hybrid rescue and now an all-breed rescue center, though pit bulls remain at the heart of their work. Readers get to know Torres through the stories of dogs who have played special roles in her life and the lives of her children. Duke and Moose, large red pit bulls, worked with the author on movie and music video sets in her career as an animal trainer. Junkyard Joe learned to channel his energy into drug detection. Monster lost his family but found a new best friend in Torres's son Moe. Each pit bull profiled shows the potential in rescue dogs, regardless of their backgrounds or breeds. VERDICT Animal-loving readers will be drawn to Torres's commitment to the "underdogs" she has spent her life caring for. There is also a built-in fan base of readers for her memoir, which reflects the spirit of her popular television show. [See Prepub Alert, 7/9/18.]-Meagan Storey, Virginia Beach © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Junkyard Joe
Introductionp. 1
Tatanka Buffalo Girlp. 15
A Dog Named L.A. The Princess and the Pitp. 39
Duke The Action Herop. 51
Moose The Reluctant Rock Starp. 76
From Delinquent to Drug Detectorp. 96
Monster A Dog and His Boyp. 122
Lucky The One-Woman Dogp. 151
Bluie The Knight in Silver Armorp. 189
Taz The Little Dog with Nine Livesp. 209
About Villalobosp. 225
Acknowledgmentsp. 227