Here’s the thing about Pit Bulls and Parolees

Yesterday I was supposed to write about an unlikely place where I see God. I even opened up the internet and started typing up some words, but they were forced and ugly and boring. So I went to McDonalds and watched two of my favorite little girls play and fling ice cream all over the place in excitement. Then I went to a baseball game with some Americans and ate cotton candy and popcorn (because our baseball stadium might not have giant soft pretzels or vats of chili-cheese fries but they do have popcorn and cotton candy for $0.25 each). Then I went to sleep because sleep is important. So let’s talk about God today. And another of the unlikely places I see him. In addition to my Kindle and out my classroom window, I see more of who God is on the TV! On my parents’ TV usually, because I don’t have cable.


A couple years ago I was doing my typical spend-Easter-day-simultaneously-barfing-and-eating-candy thing when I was blessed by a marathon of a new show to get hooked on – Pit Bulls and Parolees. (An I’m-sick-and-it’s-Easter marathon was what got me into Deadlist Catch. Who knew crab fishing could be so interesting?!) You guys, Pit Bulls and Parolees combines two of my favorite things – puppies and guys with tattoos. If you’ve never heard of the show, you should seriously check it out. It’s got redemption stories of all kinds and twin shenanigans and cute dogs and even a love story (I cried when Perry and Tania got married because they are the most precious things).

Pit Bulls and Parolees chronicles the goings-on at Villalobos Rescue Center, “a rescue, rehabilitation and placement facility for abused and abandoned Pit Bulls.” Because who doesn’t love Pit Bulls? Oh, that’s right, I guess a lot of people. But one of the reasons I love the show and Tia and what they’re doing is that they are loving the outcasts, those the world has deemed unworthy or dangerous or bad. Like Pit Bulls. Which have always been one of my favorite dogs because they’re so cute and loyal and such a nice size and always look like they’re smiling, except when they look like they’re crying and Tia has to rescue them and love them back to health and give them a happy home.

But the best most God-est part of what Tia and her family are doing at Villalobos is that not only are they rescuing and loving on dogs, but they are also rescuing and loving on humans. Tia employs parolees – guys getting out of prison who need a fresh start. She employs men the world has deemed unemployable. She trusts men others have deemed untrustworthy. She gives them responsibility, she gives them a paycheck, and she takes none of their crap. She doesn’t see them as a rap sheet. Like the dogs, she doesn’t hold their past against them. She looks past stereotypes to the person. She is the queen of second chances. And guess who is the Ultimate King of second chances? God.

What Tia offers these guys is what a lot of missions organizations and churches and ministries should be offering (along with Jesus – we can’t forget Jesus and I honestly pray that Jesus would show up and show out at Villalobos every day, so that Tia and her family and the guys and the dogs and everyone around would know He’s the real reason to change, the real reason to rescue). Tia’s life would be much easier if she decided to rescue Labradors or Pugs. I’m sure she’d suffer less heartache if she decided to stop rescuing at all. If she adopted the all to common attitude of me first and what about what I deserve?

I see God in Tia (even if she doesn’t seem Him in herself, which she might, I’ve never had that (or any) conversation with her, although I’d LOVE to) because she doesn’t think about herself and when God chose me, He wasn’t thinking about Himself. I see God in Tia and in Villalobos the same way I see God in Hosea and Gomer’s relationship. Because Hosea went to the whorehouse and bought his wife back. Because Tia goes to the prison and says, “I want that one,” and she empowers men to be men. She loves deems those previously labeled unworthy worthy and gives them a new chance every day to be worthy. 

Which is what God is all about.

2 thoughts on “Here’s the thing about Pit Bulls and Parolees

  1. This was beautifully written, powerful and purposeful without preaching. It is important to seemor find God in unlikely or unexpected places. People too often categorize where God should be or where they are expected to think of Him or worship Him and sadly they have put this into a to do list type of appreciation.
    I have always felt I could appreciate God in nature and animals ….. such a pure creation. If I can get up daily and marvel at the wonderment of His creation and know how deeply I embrace it that I am more in touch than those who enter a church weekly, contribute to the collection plate and walk out. Some live life doing the best they can for the world and some unfortunately do not.
    Your comments and insight into the work Tia Torres does with, for and about pit bulls and any dog see rescues, rehabilitates and regimes if possible are above commendable. Although I had never equated it with where I see God, through your insight I do now.
    Thank you.

    1. Wow, Chris! Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to comment! It is so easy and such a habit for us to put God in a box. But then we miss out so much! I recently started a practice of every night before I go to bed typing up three ways that I saw God that day. I see God in books I read, in my dogs, in the mountains around me, in my students, in my friends, in TV! He is everywhere and in everything and He is begging us to pay attention to Him. When we do we see more of Himself AND more of ourselves and what He has for us. I pray that He opens our eyes more and more each day to what He is doing around us. 🙂

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