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Pit Bull Hero

Norton and his owners.

When large breed dog lover Ann heard about a "loser" dog that needed a home, she was hesitant. Already the owner of a Rottweiler and an American Staffordshire Terrier, Ann saw no need for another dog. She decided to take her two dogs and go for a look at the dog in need of a home. The dog was a Pit Bull named Norton and was classified as a "loser" because he would not fight. Ann knew that she could not leave the 6-month-old pup in those terrible conditions, so Norton had found a new home.

Norton suffered from scars that were both physical and emotional. Ann discovered that she could not leave Norton alone for any period of time. With his severe separation anxiety, Norton was able to chew and eat his way out of any enclosure or room that he was left in. He needed to be near his people or he would panic. Ann's husband was able to take Norton with him to work, but on the rare occasion that he had to be left at home, he had to be heavily tranquilized. No training or medications would work, so Ann and her husband Barrie resolved that Norton would be their constant companion. Soon after Norton went to live with Ann and Barrie, their Amstaff, Hillary passed away. As sad as the owners were, Norton took the loss very hard. He had lost an important member of his pack. The separation anxiety got worse and Norton took to sleeping in his owner's closet just to be as close as possible to them.

One night, Ann got up to go to the bathroom and was careful to close the door securely behind her so that Norton would not enter. While in the bathroom, Ann was bitten by a spider. The spider bite inhibited her body from producing any antihistamines, so she went into anaphylactic shock. Ann's throat closed and she got very light headed. She could not get out of the bathroom and could not make a sound.

For reasons that are still a mystery, Norton got up from his bed in the closet and began to push Barrie with his nose until her husband woke up. Seeing how upset Norton was and not seeing Ann in bed, Barrie found Ann nearly unconscious. When the paramedics arrived, Ann had stopped breathing. She was revived and rushed to the hospital where she spent two days in intensive care.

It is unknown how Norton knew that a member of his pack was in trouble, but Ann is convinced that she would not be alive today if it weren't for Norton. Because of his brave deed, Norton was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame. Ann and Barrie received an oil portrait of Norton, a medal and a year's supply of dog food. Norton was also honored by the Toronto Humane Society, where he received another medal and a gift certificate for a month's worth of treats that he happily shares with the newest member of the family, Amstaff Haley.