When a dog named Diamond smelled smoke in her home one night last October, the usually quiet dog barked furiously to wake up her family. Her dog dad, Darryl Steen, was able to help one of his daughters jump to safety from a second-floor apartment window, but was unable to reach his other daughter.
When firefighters arrived, they found Diamond lying on top of the girl, apparently in an effort to shield her from the flames. Both survived, but Diamond was severely burned over 30 percent of her body.
“She will have permanent scarring, so that will be her badge of honor,” Dr. Lori Dabaco, who treated Diamond for five weeks at Eden Pet Hospital in Castro Valley, Calif., told KTVU.com last December. “She has sort of become a mascot for everybody.”
Diamond was honored as a top 10 finalist in this year’s Dogs of Valor Awards, which are presented by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to dogs that “have exhibited an extraordinary sense of courage or resolve by heroically helping a person in need,” according to the HSUS website.
The fire left Diamond and her family homeless. While it would seem that any landlord would be glad to have the hero dog as a tenant, that is sadly not the case. At least 20 landlords have rejected Steen’s applications.
Why? Because Diamond is a Pit Bull.
“They’ll say they accept pets, but then when I tell them I have a Pit Bull, they’ll say they only accept small dogs,” Steen told a reporter in an interview posted on WBIR.com. “But we all know that’s because she’s a Pit Bull.”
Diamond is temporarily staying with relatives while Steen tries to find a new home.
Steen told WHEC.com that the breed’s reputation shouldn’t ruin the life of one proven hero.
PHOTO: Kara Ogushi