Winter is finally here. As I lay in bed (all toasty in my electric blanket), there isn’t a night that goes by where I don’t think about all the dogs that sleep outside in the cold. I know those non-Californians will roll their eyes when they read this, but hey, to us in CA, IT’S COLD!
We decided to take action and hosted our 1st annual Blanket Drive for various Pit Bull Rescue organizations. We immediately created a flyer for distribution to clients, colleagues, friends, family, etc. Within 3 weeks, we were shocked by the tsunami of generosity. One of our donators scoured her house and was only able to find 2 blankets to donate. Unsatisfied with her search, she took it upon herself to call numerous local thrift stores to check blanket inventory. She spend the better part of a Saturday driving (with her dog in her lap) all over San Diego to pick up every blanket in her path…to the tune of $200! In the end, we collected over 250 blankets!
We packed our car door to door with blankets. The interior vehicle capacity was truly maximized. It’s true; we could not fit one more piece of fabric inside. We headed north for the 3 hour voyage up to Villalobos Rescue Center (VCR). To be honest, it’s a miracle we made it to the rescue safe and sound; the lack of driving visibility was not ideal. Anyway, VCR is the home of 250+ rescued Pit Bulls. Tia Torres, the founder of VCR, along with her family + staff dedicates their lives to love and care for these Pit Bulls.
As we drove to the outskirts of Los Angeles, we finally came upon our freeway exit. After a few miles of twists and turns, we turn onto a dirt road surrounded by a whole lot of nothing. All of a sudden, we see a man walking a pit bull….a few seconds later, we see a woman walking a pit bull. As we continue to drive on this dirt road, we saw about 10 people walking pit bulls. I was VERY excited as I knew we were getting closer!!!
Before we knew it, we were looking at the Villalobos copper sign at the entrance of the rescue; immediately, we recognized this sign from watching Animal Planet’s Pit Bulls & Parolees. We made it!
To our surprise, the dirt parking lot was completely full. We had to create our own spot and parked next to the Pit Bull kennels. There were so many people out and about. We exited the car to a cold, windy, sunny day. With all the hustle and bustle of the people and various activities, we weren’t sure what to do next. We recognized Tia’s daughter and asked her where we should drop the blankets; she pointed us to the front porch of the house. As we started unloading the piles of blankets, a nice man approached us and asked if we needed help. He told us he drives 100 miles every Saturday just to volunteer stating this is the most amazing place in the world. With three of us working together, we de-blanketed the car in no time. Then, he was excited to show us a few of his favorite dogs. As we were looking at all the beautiful dogs, I saw Tia Torres out of the corner of my eye. She is like a Tasmanian devil zipping all over the rescue with her super woman cape on while being pulled in different directions like Stretch Armstrong.
Although I’d spoken with Tia on the phone about 1 year ago, we had never formally met. About a month ago, one of Tia’s volunteers was kind enough to include our company’s information on the VRC website. We have an insurance agency, Einhorn Insurance, which provides home, renter and liability insurance to owners of pit bulls (and all other “dangerous” or “black listed dogs”). Most insurance companies have a list of blacklisted dog breeds and will not insure a home if the owner has a “dangerous dog.” For every policy we issue that comes as a result from someone finding us on www.VRCPitBull.com, Einhorn Insurance will donate $20.
We were able to catch Tia between tasks and hand-deliver a donation check for several policies we had written in the past month as a result of her website. She was extremely appreciative and was kind enough to spend about 10 minutes with us discussing future adoptions, the rescue and her show Pit Bulls and Parolees.
We let Tia get back to the dogs and gave ourselves a self guided tour of the property. We had a media-biased vision of what the Rescue would look like after seeing the facility on TV; however, without the TV editors to skew our view, we were amazed at the magnitude of the operation. There is no way to begin to comprehend the amount of work, love, dedication and selflessness that goes into taking care of 250+ dogs until you see the scope of this rescue facility and the animals that depend on Tia, her family and crew.
We continued to make our way through the property and saw “Wolf Event” signs that peaked our curiosity. How often does one get a chance to attend a wolf event? This was quite an unexpected surprise, so we happily followed the arrows. When we got to the top of the hill, we met a man named Teo (the Founder/Director of Wolf Mountain Sanctuary www.wolfconnection.org). He was having a pot luck lunch and was going to have a Wolf demonstration where the staff and event attendees took the wolves on a 3 mile hike. The wolves were beautiful and looked a lot like huskies.
Our visit to Villalobos was a very special memory. Often times, we are so caught up in our own bubble (work, family and life’s everyday activities) that volunteering and contributing our time/energy to special causes takes a backseat. It felt really good to make an effort and support others that are doing the truly heroic work…selflessly dedicating their lives to helping the less fortunate…whether they can speak for themselves or not. This experience had a profound effect on us. It was wonderful to witness Tia and her team dedicate their lives to help these persecuted animals; it reconfirms my faith in humanity.
Special thanks to the generous donations from staff at Qualcomm, Fish & Richardson, Claim Jumper, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, Knox Attorney Service and our neighbors/family in San Diego.
We can’t wait for our next visit!!!