Four Feet Tall & Rising: A Memoir

Shorty Rossi, Author
Shorty Rossi with S. J. Hodges. Crown Archetype, $25 (282p) ISBN 978-0-307-98588-0
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As host of Animal Planet’s Pit Bull show, Rossi has become a name in the animal rescue community for his fierce advocacy for the interests of the pit bull, which he sees as a misunderstood breed. In this energetic autobiography, Rossi—a “third-generation Little Person” tells a fascinating life story, including his early escape from his dysfunctional, antisocial dad; living on the street at age 14 and becoming a legendary white member of the L.A. Crips gang, which led to a 10-year prison sentence; and his postprison career as the head of a talent agency for little people. Through it all, however, runs the thread of Rossi’s relationship with pit bulls, from the first pit that helped him through his tough adolescence to the number of pits he currently owns. Starting with one “spark”—“to convince kids in the projects that pit bulls weren’t dangerous and shouldn’t be used for fighting”—Rossi starts his own rescue service, which allows him to free dozens of pit bulls and develop an in-your-face approach to people who mistreat the breed. This led to his discovery by Animal Planet and his development as a dynamic television personality. But Rossi makes no apologies for his passion: “Dog rescue often turns normal, good-intentioned people into crazy fanatics.” (Jan. 17)
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