On October 24, at 1:30 a.m., Darryl Steeen awoke to his pit bull, Diamond, barking. According to Darryl, "She almost never barks, so I knew something was wrong."
Diamond's barks alerted the family of the fire, now raging through their apartment's living room. Amiss the chaos, they rushed to get out of the burning building. Steen tossed his youngest daughter out the window to safety but his older teen daughter suffered burns and smoke inhalation and was in hospital for nearly a month. Steen suffered injuries as well, nearly 30% of his body was burned, causing him to also spend weeks in the hospital.
What about Diamond? According to Steen, he didn't ask about Diamond after the fire because, "I didn't think she had got out, and I didn't ask because I didn't want to know." It turns out, the Hayward animal services took Diamond to Bay Area Veterinary Specialist and Emergency Hospital where she was cared for initially and treated for just smoke inhalation. Later, when transferred to Eden Pet Hospital, it was there they discovered she was not stable and had more burns than realized. The selfless and compassionate staff jumped to sweet Diamond's rescue, caring for her even on their days (and nights) off and without pay. When healthy enough, Diamond remained in vet's office during the day and would home home with a vet technician at night. Caitlin Hatch, a fellow compassionate animal owner said, "When I would come to visit my cat who was also hospitalized, I would often see Diamond making her rounds around the hospital to get kisses and hugs from the staff. Diamond had those women wrapped around her finger, as it should be. Eden Pet hospital is a great place where pets get medical care as well as loving care. They do alot of good work for the community. The Dr's there Dr.Dabaco and Dr. Hollenback run free feral cat spay and neuter clinics, as well as look after the animals at the hayward animal shelter." In fact, Diamond is alive and well because this special place as they made her family and kept her alive and loved. Because of Eden Pet Hospital and the wonderful staff members, we have this awe-inspiring story to tell.
It was while in the hospital, Steen learned of Diamond's survival and that she was going to be okay. About a month after the fire, Steen was finally reunited with his pit bull hero, who was responsible for saving his life and his daughters' lives. Unfortunately, Diamond's vet care did not end up affordable for Steen. Steen has nearly $5,500 to pay off in vet bills in addition to trying to find a new place to live and start their lives over again. Steen mentioned he didn't know what would happen but Diamond will continue to be a part of the family no matter what. "I'm hoping we will all be together for Christmas," Steen added.
"I owe her everything," said Steen, as he played with Diamond, the gray and white 1-year-old canine at the Eden Pet Hospital. "She's a heck of a dog -- a heck of a dog." Even Steen's daughter said they would be a family again as soon as they had Diamond back.
Jennie Comstock, the city of Hayward's animal services manager, said anyone wanting to help pay Diamond's medical bill, may send a donation to the Hayward Animal Shelter at 16 Barnes Court, Hayward, CA 94544. She asks that donations be sent in Diamond's name, and said they are tax deductible. Comstock even stated, that Diamond was loving and sweet. She also added, "Diamond is a hero and anything anybody could do would be appreciated."
An account for donations to the Steen family also has been set up through Bank of America, account number 0892576522. Donations may be made at any Bank of America branch.