Monday, May 4, 2015

It can happen to can happen to YOUR child...

I bring this up as a reminder to everyone to always be cautious with kids around dogs. All dogs. I know that so many people are like 
"Oh, MY dog doesn't bite" 
"My dog would never do anything to kids" 
"XYZ breed dogs are great with kids!" 

It can happen...with any breed, any dog. Even yours.

A dog's defense is their mouth. The dog could be hurt or scared or confused or hot or out of his/her element and it only takes one moment. One moment could change your life. One moment could change your child's life.

Is this a bit dramatic, yeah, I suppose it is, but ask this family or this family or this family or these people or our family. (There are many, many stories of pit bull attacks and deaths, I did not, and will not put them here. I do not think that biting is breed specific, though I believe the damage that could be caused is worse in some breeds. Anyhow, that's not why I'm writing this.)

Here's our story (and trust me, our story isn't nearly as tragic as so many others):

About 5 years ago, my heart raced more than I could ever tell you, and as a mommy all I wanted to do was to stop the pain and trauma that I knew my daughter was going through. 

We had gone to a barbecue with some of my husbands’ coworkers. Some people brought kids, some brought their dogs. It was looking to be a fun afternoon with lots of laughter. 

Our daughter was happily playing a few feet away with a big, beautiful dog, so I had just cracked open my first drink. I was interrupted as I was about to take that first, nice cool swig by the sound of my daughter screaming. 

She had been sitting beside someone’s Boxer playing with him. The dog was walking away when I went to my daughter. My husband commented that the dog must have knocked her over as he got up, so I went over to pick her up and comfort her. 

As I turned her over, I saw blood on her face…and a huge gash in her cheek. 

I remember saying that the dog bit her, then I rushed her inside to find some paper towels to soak up the blood and see how bad it really was. Well, it wasn't good. 

Once in there, I remember saying over and over “I just want to leave, let’s go, let’s just go. We need to get her to the hospital. Let's go!” I was shaking, my baby was screaming, her face was torn open. It was horrifying to see my baby like that. My beautiful baby girl…I could do nothing…

This photo is in my vehicle on our way to the hospital. It still gags me to this day to see this. Not because of the gash, but because the gash is on MY baby.

We went to the truck, I climbed in the backseat with her in my lap, trying so hard to comfort her, but freaking out the whole time…adrenaline was going strong. My husband was driving as fast as possible while being safe and he dropped us off at the front door of the children’s emergency room. I rushed in and they immediately ushered us to a room. The staff was AMAZING and I calmed quickly once we were there.

It was very difficult to even keep her calm. This next photo turns my can see the hurt and terror in her eyes and the cut is so deep you can see the nerves and the bone. EW.

The Dr. said we were very lucky because there was a nerve exposed, but not broken, that gives her the ability to blink her eye. 

The doctors and nurses were amazing there and made the whole process much better. A plastic surgeon came in and did the stitches (19 stitches. 5 internal stitches and 14 external).

There were other puncture wounds, one small one under her eye (likely from the other canine tooth) and one inside her mouth from the bottom teeth.

We are sooo incredibly lucky that he bit where he did…had the bite been a little higher, she could have lost her eye…a little lower and it would have been her neck…Thank God for small miracles.

Are we mad at the owners? No. 
Did we sue? No.
Are we mad at the dog? No. 
Did she do something to instigate this? Maybe, but not that ANYONE there saw or heard.

So, I bring this up as a reminder that ANY…and I repeat…ANY breed of dog can and will bite.  Most people are SO shocked when they find out a Boxer did this to's difficult to even find statistics about Boxer's biting people, to be honest, but it DID happen...and it happened to MY daughter.

Today, you can't often see the bite, and most people don't even realize it's there because she wears her hair down so often. But it's there, and will be for her whole life.

She is not scared of dogs. While she had her stitches in, we took her to a friends' house who has a boxer and a pit and had her play with them. To this day, she still LOVES dogs. I was (and still am) way more hesitant than she is about dogs being around her or our son, but she's fearless and amazing. As a matter of fact, she sometimes plays too rough with our current, LARGE, dog and we have to remind her that our dogs defense is her teeth.

It can happen to you, to your child. You are not invisible. They are not invisible. Dogs are not perfect.  Dogs are dogs.

Teach your children to respect dogs. Never let your child approach a strange dog without first asking the owners. Always stay close and watch your children around dogs. Always.  

Educate yourself. Educate your children. Be safe.