Thursday, June 11, 2015

Three years ago...

**warning-this post may not be for the squeamish! Injury photos ahead**

{not our puppy, darn it!}

Three years ago, we experienced one of those worst nightmare traumas. One of those things that your instincts warn you about, but you push it aside with a big ol' "nah, that's not going to happen!" only to wish you would've listened when your instincts started waving that giant red flag.

Let me explain...

Three years ago, my aunt was getting married and asked me if I could come stay with her and her fiancé for five weeks to help with the wedding prep. She worked full-time at the hospital, dividing her time between the ER and the cardiology department and didn't have a whole lot of time and/or energy to devote to her second wedding. So, I agreed to go. Roo and I packed some things, hugged and kissed hubby/daddy-o at the airport and away we went to our five week home in the middle-of-nowhere, Wisconsin. Sounds exciting, right?

{also not our dog}

My aunt picked us up at the airport, with friendly greetings and warm hugs. She even took us to a famous custard place for cheeseburgers and, of course, custard. (I can't remember the name of it, I only remember that the President had eaten there the previous summer.) Anyway, while we were en route to the famous custard joint, she told me not to let Roo run in the backyard if the dogs were also out there. She explained that their dogs, Borzois-or Russian Wolfhounds, were very highly instinctive due to their carefully purebred genes. She was afraid that the dogs would run after and attack little Roo if she did. So, naturally, I felt sick to my stomach (hello, instincts) and told her we would be very careful. This was my precious baby girl, no way did I want to see her get mauled by a hunting dog! 

{the morning of the incident}

We kept a close eye on the dogs, and were very careful about our actions and movements around them for the next two days. On our third day there, the dogs had gotten used to us being there, and showed virtually no concern for the small human/prey that was temporarily invading their home. We didn't relax, but we started to feel a little at ease.

It was the evening of the third day that things suddenly went wrong. I was standing in the kitchen, scraping the spaghetti plates and loading the dishwasher when I suddenly heard the most awful growl and piercing scream. My daughter's head was inside the jaws of the largest of the two dogs and there was blood everywhere. So much blood. I remember kicking the dishwasher door up and dashing across the floor, to the very spot she's standing in two photos up. My uncle had already leapt across a dining chair and was prying the dog's mouth open. I grabbed my baby and carried her over to the sink where the water was still running. She was screaming and crying and bleeding. So much blood! 

My aunt ran up the stairs for a medical kit as I held my baby, calmly, almost detached. Looking at her head, I could see she had a very large gash above her eyebrow, an almost separated nose, a torn eyebrow, scratched eyelids, lips and cheeks. I could see exactly where this dog had tried to take a bite out of her, exactly where it's teeth scraped her beautiful skin. 

As my aunt bandaged her head, I ran up the stairs for my wallet, insurance cards, Guy the Giraffe and a clean shirt for Roo. (The one she was wearing was soaked with blood.)

I helped her out of her bloody shirt and into the clean one. We loaded in to the car and headed to the nearest emergency clinic (35 minutes away.) 

On the way, I had to call my husband at work and try to explain to him what had just happened. He wasn't due to fly out for the wedding for another 2 1/2 weeks, and I knew this was going to upset him. Thankfully, he remained as calm and logical as I do in these types of situations, and simply asked that I take good care of her. 

Upon arriving to the clinic, we were given the option to either have the wounds stitched then, by the doctor on hand, or wait until 7:00am the next morning for the pediatric plastic surgeon to take care of them. Given the nature, size and location of the wound, and the fact that she's a girl (not that boys aren't subject to being self-conscious of scars), we opted for the pediatric surgeon. We were assured that the stitches could wait until then. They applied a clear numbing gel and white gauze bandage to the largest gash, covered her nose wounds with a bright pink bandage, gave us a prescription and sent us on our way. We went to Wal-Mart for that prescription, wouldn't you know. Me with my white, blood-stained shorts and blood smeared skin/face. Her with her white gauze wrapped skull and numbing gel/blood oozing wound. What a "People of Wal-Mart" pair we made, huh?

We took her to get an ice-cream after the Wal-Mart trip, where the first thing she did when she got out of the car was ask to go pet the pit bull. Sweet girl, she wasn't afraid! I would've let her pet the dog if he hadn't been getting into his family's car to go home. (I love all dogs, "bully breeds" included.)

I will tell the rest of the story in pictures and captions, if that's all right. 

Here comes the not-for-squeamish-people pictures...

{trying her best to be cheerful and brave and doing a darn good job of it!}

{the biggest gash, it required 33 stitches to close}

{the morning of getting stitches, look at her face. Even in sleep she was in pain.}

{a little pre-stitches pep talk}

{stoic. This was how she dealt with it. Amazing, really. The only time she cried was when they put the needle in the inside tip of her nose to numb it so they could stitch her nose divider thingy back together}

{post stitches, thirsty girl!}

{so lucky that nothing worse happened!}

{the cut on her nostril is now a scar that looks like a smiley crinkly nose wrinkle}

{later that day, walking the new puppy dog toy that my aunt and uncle gave her}

{playtime and an apple for the horse}

{the next morning her face was almost unrecognizable}

{but still just as sweet as could be. In this picture she had just said, "Momma, I'm not mad at VaVa, she didn't mean to."}

(VaVa was the name of the dog that bit her.)

{in a happy, silly mood despite her injuries and discomfort}

{a few days later}

{can't stop this girl from shining bright!}

My aunt and uncle never filed a police report on the incident, and I can't say that I blame them. I honestly think it was an accident. The dogs were kept separate from us for the duration of our stay.

To this day, we're not sure what happened to make VaVa lunge and attack. She had been asleep on the rug during dinner and wash up. I wonder if Roo stepped on her tail or maybe she startled her when bending over to give her a hug or kiss. I'll never know. 

Her scar today is barely noticeable, it's prominent in the summer months when her skin turns golden tan, the scar stays white. It's half hidden in her hair, which is probably good. We have never made a big deal over the scar and what caused it, she is not self-conscious about it, nor is she afraid of dogs. 

I look back at these pictures and I thank God that she is still here, whole, in one piece. It could have been so much worse. 

Blessings to you!


  1. Oh look how well her face has healed!!! :O

  2. Roo the Resilient! <3 Beautiful baby girl and beautiful momma!

  3. One gorgeous girl with her beautiful Mama

  4. One gorgeous girl with her beautiful Mama.

  5. This just gets me to my deepest level... Roo was just like my oldest when she had to get some pretty serious stitches after an accident with a block wall at daycare... all she wanted to do was go back to school for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Priorities, right?? Roo looks so beautiful, you would never know she had been attacked. You had a very good surgeon!

  6. oh my oh my, glad everything mended and she has been left with no fear. I would have been terrified.

  7. Dogs view children differently than they do adults and kids and dogs should always be supervised (in a perfect world). Stuff happens and kids - and sometimes big people - get bit. I try to keep my sweet, loving pittie away from people's kids, just because nothing ruins a nice visit quicker than a dogbite!

  8. Wow oh Wow! I was so glad to see that she healed in time and it did not cause a fear in her, but how incredibly brave your daughter is!

  9. This hits home! 2 months ago my 5 yr old put his right arm through the window on our storm door. He was trying to close it and the glass shattered. Blood and glass everywhere. He had to have 11 staples, some stitches, 9 needles because the numbing gel didn't work. But no muscle damage, no arterial damage, no major nerve damage. He was and is so brave and curious and daring. It is amazing how resilient kids are.