Some people are terrified of pitbulls. Most of this fear comes from a lack of knowledge about the breed and an antiquated notion that these dogs are fiercer, crueler or more violent than others. Although people with dogs tend to understand that every dog has its own personality, other individuals continue to cling to these ideas, maligning an entire breed because of them.
Though this is still a common problem in the pitbull community, Arjanit Mehana recently saw a shift in a neighbor who had never liked his dog Simba, a pitbull. Things changed completely, however, when Simba saved her life.
Mehana, who lives in an apartment building in Sweden, noticed the way his neighbors never seemed to warm to Simba. Though Mehana knows Simba is sweet and gentle, many of his neighbors would actually avoid the dog in the halls, obviously judging him because he is a pitbull.
An older woman who lives a floor below Mehana had always been particularly uncomfortable around Simba, even to the point of coldness.
"He always tried to greet her, but she called him mean and looked at him with fear," Mehana told The Dodo. "She never liked him because he was a 'bad' breed."
It didn't seem to matter to the older woman — or to many of the other neighbors — that Simba was calm, sweet and well-trained. Their fear was based on a stereotype, and it made it hard on Mehana to see just how coldly people treated his beloved dog.
All of this changed one day when Mehana was walking Simba back to their apartment. They were heading up the stairs when Simba stopped and began barking. He ran to the door of the older woman. When Mehana pulled on his leash, Simba refused to move.
That's when Mehana realized why his dog wouldn't from the door. "I heard a weak voice shout for help," he said. "She said, 'Please don’t go.'"
Mehana realized the door was open and went inside. That's when he found his neighbor on the floor and unable to move. She had broken her hip and had been lying on the floor for two days. Simba had discovered her just in time.
While she waited for the ambulance he had called, Mehana and Simba sat with her. "She said, ‘Thank you for hearing me,'" Mehana said. "I thought she was talking to me at first. But then she said, 'No, not you — the nice doggie.'"
The woman was still in the hospital as of early December, but that didn't stop Mehana's neighbors from finding out about the story and showering Simba with gifts. Soon, everyone who had misunderstood Simba and his kind heart was beginning to see him differently.
Mehana hopes this example will inspire others to view dogs like his more favorably. "I know Simba is a wonderful dog," he said. "But I hope this event will make people see bully breeds differently. We, as human beings, must deserve their loyalty and love."