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Local charity goes to the dogs

Posted: December 24, 2008 4:52 p.m.
Updated: December 25, 2008 9:00 a.m.
Tia Torres expects two special guests to visit her for Christmas dinner.

Navy corpsmen Jacob Thompson and Bryan Suganuma earned their meal Dec. 17 when they came to the rescue of nearly 200 pit bulls at the Villalobos Rescue Center in the Acton-Agua Dulce area, which is a home for abused or abandoned pit bulls.

A snowstorm buried the center in six feet of snow and owner Tia Torres promptly began moving the dogs inside.

Torres posted details of her ordeal on her MySpace page and Thompson was alerted by a mutual friend.

"Since I live close I felt I could help," Thompson said. Close was a 130-mile drive from Camp Pendelton to the shelter.

But before Thompson and Suganuma left, they put an advertisement on asking for blankets to keep the stranded pooches warm.

"We picked up the blankets and headed north," Thompson said.

He put chains on his pickup and used driving skills he learned growing up in Oregon and arrived at the rescue center Dec. 18.

"This experience really proved to me that people can come together for a love of dogs rather than the type of dog," Torres said. "It restored my faith in people and what is truly important."

Thompson spent Christmas Eve making plans to spend Christmas with Torres.

The meal wasn't the biggest payoff for helping save the dogs.

"I did it because I love animals," Thompson said.

Signal Staff Writer Brian Charles contributed to this report.


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