When Animal Planet’s “Pit Boss” returns for a new season on Saturday, Jan. 5, viewers will notice that things are a bit different.
Shorty Rossi is still the tough-talking little person with a fondness for cigars and pit bulls, and he still runs his Los Angeles talent agency for little people, Shortywood. He still rescues pit bulls in his spare time, with the help of his dedicated crew.
But now there’s a new wrinkle.
“I’m getting a kennel,” he tells Zap2it, “which I’ve never had before. Our rescues usually go to fosters and into other rescue groups, so we try to take on the challenge of kind of running a kennel. It brings a whole new drama appeal to the show.
“We’re working with another kennel, and they loaned us some of their spaces. Sharing space with another kennel is not the best thing.”
Along with taking time to maintain and operate a kennel for his rescue dogs, Rossi has also taken a new pal under his wing.
“Christian is a young kid who I’m now mentoring,” he says. “Before he met me, he didn’t have any dogs and had never been around pit bulls. Now we’ve got him cleaning the kennel, picking up poop and sleeping with pit bulls.”
It turns out that Rossi’s own pit bull, Hercules — the star of 2011’s “Hercules Saves Christmas” — was instrumental in bringing the new friends together
Rossi says, “We were auditioning for Hercules’ second Christmas movie, and he was one of the elves that was going to be in the new movie. He was a good kid who wanted to help and work, and he became a close friend.
“He travels with me around the country, helping at the book signings and the pet expos. He’s a very good kid.”
Asked how the existing Shortywood staff felt about a new face, Rossi says, “Oh, they’re never happy. It keeps them in their place and lets them know to act right and know where everyone belongs. It’s a good thing to bring in new people.”
Rossi also has a secret to keeping the peace.
“I’m the boss,” he says. “I can do what I want.”