A San Benito teacher is taking man’s best friend to new heights.

Robert Pedraza is the founder of Paws and Strides Rescue in San Benito, saving countless dogs on the brink of death. The ranch he grew up on as a child has now been transformed into a pet rescue and sanctuary.

He started 10 years ago when he found two sick puppies and saved them. That moment brought him to this point.

“One dog turned into five. Five turned into 20. 20 turned into hundreds and years later, here we are now,” said Pedraza. 

He cares for nearly 40 dogs at a time, all rescued, looking for that forever home. Each one of them coming in with a struggle but Robert, along with his girlfriend, cares for the animals by providing food, shelter, flea and tick prevention and even spay and neuter. Early on Robert paid for everything out of pocket and still does so if needed. 

The rescue isn’t Robert’s job, it’s his passion. Robert is a full-time PE teacher at a middle school in San Benito, walking up as early as 4 a.m. to care for the animals.

“Everyday drive from Harlingen, come over here, get everyone situated. Go to work. Come on my lunch break, switch them out. Go back to work. Get out and do it all over again,” Pedraza said. 

It’s those countless hours and dedication that stood out to Lori Fulton, who volunteers when she can. 

“I’ve always been impressed with him and his passion,” Fulton said. “He doesn’t just do it for a little while, it’s his lifestyle. That’s why I feel like he needed to be nominated for hometown hero.”

No matter how exhausting the work can be, Robert says it’s not impossible, adding that it’s his passion. 

“I guess to them I’m their life, but for them, they’re my life. I got to do what I can,” said Pedraza.

In 2018, the rescue became a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. If you would like to adopt a pet or volunteer, you can contact them at (956) 456-2839.

If you have someone you would like to highlight for their acts of kindness in our ‘Hometown Heroes’ segment, email Nicole Hickl at nhickl@sbgtv.com or contact her through Facebook.