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With no father figure in Tia's life, her mom showed her that if you have the loyalty of an animal companion, you don't need much else.
At the age of 17, Tia left home and in tow were her entourage of pets including her two Arabian horses, an Angora goat, and her Catahoula Leopard Dog - Cougar.
It was only because of her existing relationship with animal control that they released the dog that would be named "Tatanka" into her custody and she became the start of something very big.
Villalobos Rescue Center was a wolf and wolf hybrid rescue and that time, but "Tatanka" was the start of the Pit Bull rescue.
She longed for a family of her own and began to take in neighborhood dogs and stray cats at an early age.
Tia was raised by her stepmother, whom she calls "mom." The two shared a love of animals and together they struggled to keep the family, which included horses and these "gifts from Mother Nature" as her stepmother called them, united.
VRC secured all the proper permits; yet, at the final moment, Kern County did not grant permission for the rescue to conduct their business in the remote area of "Old West Ranch," Tehachapi.
Wolves and Pit Bulls were portrayed and maligned as "creatures of the night" and Tia fought to prove that they are gentle and loving animals.The center's founder, Tia Maria Torres, agreed to be on the show to help pay part of Villalobos' then ,000 per month bills.Since moving the entire rescue group, including all the dogs, parolees who wanted to go, and her family to New Orleans, the expenses have tripled. The show's main focus is the interaction between Tia, her dogs, and the parolees who work for her, during daily care and training duties, and pit bull rescue missions.Working with those who walked a fine line between the law and breaking it was always something that interested Tia.This job took her into the housing projects and drug houses that would ultimately lead her into a career of working with parolees.
Times were tough, both financially and physically, and her stepmother raised her and took care of a menagerie of animals all on her own.