Diamond had to overcome a lot to be named a hero. Fire, smoke and her breed’s reputation to name a few.
Diamond, the 15-month-old dog is a Pit Bull – the type of dog that is most abandoned and euthanized in the country, associated with dogfights and often cited in the news about dog attacks.
Against all these odds, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles presented Diamond with their 29th annual National Hero Dog award.
Darryl Steen, and his two daughters were asleep in their Hayward, California apartment on Oct. 24 when Diamond started barking. Their apartment was on fire.
Mr Steen said: ‘She means everything to me. If it hadn’t been for this dog, me and my girls wouldn’t be alive’.
Steen said he found his 9 year old daughter Darahne and dropped her to safety out of a second story window. He could find his other daughter, 16 year old Sierra who was hiding under a mattress in her father’s room.
Luckily it was not long before Diamond found her; firefighters spotted the gray-and-white pit bull on the mattress shielding Sierra, Mr Steen said.
Mr Steen and Sierra had to be hospitalized for burns and skin grafts.
Diamond had to be treated for burns and smoke inhalation at a pet hospital where the bill was over $5,500. Everybody was so generous and there were so many donations that some of the money had to be sent back, Mr Steen said.
Diamond had been with the family about a year before the fire, Mr Steen said. She was very protective of the girls, but her allegiance had never been tested.
Mr Steen and his daughters are living with his sister in Hayward, and Diamond is staying with their other relatives for now. They haven’t been able to find an affordable apartment that will take Diamond but Mr. Steen won’t give her up, so he keeps looking.
With her award, Diamond gets a plaque, dog food for a year, airfare to and from Los Angeles and hotel accommodations for her and her family.
But for all her heroics, Diamond isn’t without an Achilles’ heel.
Mr Steen said: ‘She likes the dog park and playing with me and the girls. But she doesn’t like cats. She is scared of cats’.