Abused pit bull, Florida inmate form remarkable bond during prison training program

A pit bull from Putnam County that was once very sick is now a graduate of a prison training program.

When Action News Jax introduced you to Remo in March, he was anemic, malnourished and loaded with worms.

If he hadn’t been rushed to a vet, he likely wouldn’t have made it, officials said.

Today, Remo is 30 pounds heavier -- and happy and healthy.

He has been training with inmates at the Montgomery Correctional Center.

“He's changed my life,” Howard Culpepper said. “What he's been through and the way he acts towards us and others, it's amazing.”

Culpepper said he was incarcerated last September.

“I got around drugs, and it about ruined my life,” Culpepper said. “If I didn't come to jail, I think I wouldn't be here right now.”

This unlikely pair was brought together by the Teaching Animals and Inmates Life Skills, or TAILS, program.  It’s a joint effort by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the non-profit Pit Sisters Rescue.

“[The dogs give] them unconditional love, which a lot of these guys have never had in their lives,” Jen Deane of Pit Sisters Rescue said.

Wednesday, Remo went home with his new owner, Lorraine Hernandez.

But Remo and Culpepper may see each other again in October, when Culpepper gets out of prison to start his life anew.

“I’m going to miss him a lot,” Culpepper said. “But I got a wife and kid to go home to, and I can't wait to get out and get me a job, and take care of my family. And yes, I'm going to get me a dog.”