Animal Planet’s hit show Pit Bulls & Parolees returns to our screens tonight — with a heart-wrenching episode showing an inmate called Darius unable to hide his joy as he learns how to work with dogs.
The episode sees Darius, on work release from Dixon Correctional Institute in Jackson, Louisiana, start working at the show’s Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans alongside owner Tia Torres.
Tia hopes Darius will replace Country Matt, who was the center’s first ever work-release case, after he left to move to New York.
Emotional footage shows Tia giving Darius some pointers about how to train a pit bull by keeping his hand close the dog’s face so it doesn’t nip him.
When he finally manages to get the pit bull to sit like Tia showed him, he grins like a little kid and says: “Oh, man.”
The episode also sees Darius reveal how he has learnt some valuable lessons in prison. He says: “Jail actually taught me to understand what’s respect, what’s not, what’s integrity. Jail actually grew me to be a respectable young man.”
Speaking about his opportunity at the Villalobos Rescue Center, he says: “To work with someone like Tia is awesome, it couldn’t have come around at a more greater time.
“To deal with someone as well versed in animal care is not only a blessing, but it’s also something a lot of people need.
“Someone to motivate you, someone to like give you that extra push and that extra ambition to do what you like doing.”
It’s evident to Tia right from the start that Darius shows huge promise.
She says: “I tell you what I feel about Darius at this point. The same thing I felt about [fellow volunteer and former inmate] Earl when I met him.” Pointing at her heart, she adds: “All here.”
Pit Bulls & Parolees returns with two episodes tonight, with Darius featuring in the second.
The first includes a harrowing case of a dog being rescued after being found lying on a road covered in maggots and fighting for its life.
Worker Lizzy rushes the dog to a vet in the hopes she can be saved — but it’s a race against time.
Pit Bulls & Parolees premieres tonight at 9/8c on Animal Planet, with a second episode at 10/9c.