Somewhere between hunting for gold in Latin America as a geologist and getting married to a new husband, thirty-three-year-old Susan Purvis loses her way.
Susan comes to believe that a puppy and working on ski patrol at the last great ski town in Colorado will improve her life. When she learns about avalanches that bury people without warning, she challenges herself: "What if I teach a dog to save lives?" This quest propels her to train the best possible search dog, vowing to never leave anyone behind.
With no clue how to care for a houseplant, let alone a dog, she chooses a five-week-old Labrador retriever, Tasha. With the face of a baby bear and the temperament of an NFL linebacker, Tasha constantly tests Susan's determination to transform her into a rescue dog. Susan and Tasha jockey for alpha position as they pursue certification in avalanche, water, and wilderness recovery. Susan eventually learns to truly communicate with Tasha by seeing the world through her dog's nose.
As the first female team in a male-dominated search-and-rescue community, they face resistance at every turn. They won't get paid even a bag of kibble for their efforts, yet they launch dozens of missions to rescue the missing or recover the remains of victims of nature and crime.
Training with Tasha in the field to find, recover, and rescue the lost became Susan's passion. But it was also her circumstance-she was in many ways as lost as anyone she ever pulled out of an avalanche or found huddled in the woods. "Lostness" doesn't only apply to losing the trail. People can get lost in a relationship, a business, or a life. Susan was convinced that only happened to other people, until Tasha and a life in the mountains taught her otherwise.
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 Planets 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 re-homed 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 singleminded 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 owned or been owned by a dog.
What had happened to my beautiful boy? To our family? What did I do wrong? Those are the wrenching questions that haunted every moment of David Sheff’s journey through his son’s drug addiction. David’s story is a first: a teenager’s addiction from the parent’s point of view—a real-time chronicle of the shocking descent into substance abuse and the gradual emergence into hope.
Before meth, Sheff’s son, Nic, was a varsity athlete, honor student, and award-winning journalist. After meth, he was a trembling wraith who lied, stole money from his eight-year-old brother, and lived on the streets. With poignant candor, Sheff traces the first warning signs—denial, 3 a.m. phone calls—the attempts at rehabilitation, and, at last, the way past addiction. He shows us that, whatever an addict’s fate, the rest of the family must care for one another too, lest they become addicted to addiction.
Beautiful Boy is a fiercely candid memoir that brings immediacy to the emotional rollercoaster of loving a child who seems beyond help.