Titan, a Pit Bull dog, is credited with saving a woman’s life in Georgia, alerting her husband before he left the house when she had had a brain aneurysm and had fallen down, fracturing her skull. From CBS Atlanta:
“He ran down the steps and would not let me go out the front door,” [John] Benton said. “He was barking and running around in circles, he’d run up a few flights of steps and run back down just to keep me from going to let me know something was wrong. And that’s when I followed him up the stairs to see what he was trying to tell me.”
Mr. Benton’s wife, Gloria, would almost certainly have died if left alone on the floor for hours, as she would have been without the dog’s intervention. Titan the Pit Bull is now being honored as “Neighbor of the Year” by the local Vintage Pointe Neighborhood Association. He is the first non-human to get the award.
Ironically, Gloria, who is well on her way to recovery, had been very skeptical when her son first brought home the dog, in particular because of its breed. The reason it’s ironic now is obviously because her life was saved by the dog’s good instincts, intelligence and heart. All dogs seem to possess these qualities to one degree or another. However, the skepticism she had regarding Pit Bulls is understandable. If you follow dog news stories—as I am wont to do—there’s just no quibbling with the fact that a significant majority of stories about dogs attacking people involve that breed. I suppose to judge scientifically whether Pit Bulls are genuinely more prone to inappropriate violence you would have to control for (1) the tendency of very bad dog-owners (gang members, anti-social fiends, etc.) to acquire Pit Bulls simply because of their intimidating reputation and (2) the tendency of the media to see it as more of a story when a Pit Bull attacks someone, versus, say, a Dachshund. I don’t have the numbers and analysis to come up with a definitive conclusion, and I don’t know who does, but given the large preponderance of stories about homicidal Pit Bulls, it is more than understandable for anyone to be skeptical of the breed. It is also quite understandable why one would want to be very careful about mixing a Pit Bull with small children. However, even if there is something awry in the genetic make up of Pit Bulls, it’s not the individual dog’s fault, and no doubt some careful and dedicated owners can find good them to be good and loyal pets.
The debate over the breed will go on. Meanwhile, it’s a great thing to see such a positive story involving a Pit Bull, proving that even the most feared dogs have those most noble qualities embedded in their being, and the care and love of responsible owners can be rewarded many times over.