Disclaimer: This post is quite graphic and traumatic. I do not want to leave any details out, everyone should know exactly what happened. If you are easily grossed out or squeamish at all, please do not read this post.
My beautiful, sweet girl was bitten on her face by one of in-law's dogs while Lon and I were downstairs looking for winter clothes Monday night. Usually the big dogs are outside while the kids are there but it had just snowed that morning and was too cold out. Grandma Amber was watching the kids for us while she cooked dinner, Miss Anna was playing in the dining room with Alan. She got a little to close to one of the dogs, tripped and fell on him. He instantly reacted out of fear and got her good on the left side of her face, pulling away quickly when he realized it was her. I just remember hearing her scream, we started heading upstairs, but when we heard Alan and Grandma Amber start screaming too, we booked it up there. There was so much blood everywhere, we couldn't tell what was exactly was bleeding. I remembered my First Aid training and started putting pressure on the wounds, then we placed a butterfly bandage on the biggest wound. We hurried to the Emergency Room, I did not think that she would make it while we waited for an ambulance.
The roads were awful, it was so snowy and icy out. I had Lon drive, so I could keep an eye on Anna and keep her awake. She was starting to go into shock. I yelled at Lon that she wasn't wanting to respond and he told me to call the cops. There was a cop car in front of us as ways ahead, we were hoping to have him or someone escort us the rest of the way. I remember being on the phone with dispatch, desperately trying to get Anna to open her eyes and say something. The cop car started leading us to the hospital, booking it on the ice. I was bouncing her hands and feet, patting her chest and saying her name over and over again. She kept slipping. We slid and almost crashed several times, but Lon was somehow able to pull us out of it. I don't remember too much at this point (it was all just TOO much) but things went from bad to worse REAL fast. Lon lost control of the car on a patch of ice just a few blocks away from the hospital, slid up onto a curb and hit a pole. I just remember screaming, nothing else. According to Lon, I started trying to get Anna out of the car, determined that I was going to walk her to the damn hospital. I wasn't about to let my daughter bleed out in the car while we waited for an ambulance. That's the only reason the cop let us continue on.
We made it into the Emergency Room just barely in time. Anna was in and out of consciousness while we were checked in. Once in our room, the nurses got her crying good when they checked her vitals though, but they assured me that it was what everyone wanted her to do. They explained that getting her crying was not only a response (Good thing for a bleeding person) but it would help get her blood circulating so that she could start the process of replacing all the lost blood. She fussed for so long though, it broke my heart!! But I kept reminding myself how GOOD it really was for her, she hadn't even cried once since she was bit. That was a horrifying thought to me, she was so weak she didn't even care to fuss. Thankfully, her vitals were good but with all the blood we couldn't tell if the dog had gotten her eyelid or not. We also thought that he may have actually punctured the temple too. So they sent for the doctor, took off the butterfly bandage and encouraged us to let the wound bleed more. That way it would clean out any bacteria naturally. After having a good cry, Anna felt much better. She was back to her old self: ticked off that we wouldn't let her walk around the ER room, talking to us about different things, wanting to watch her favorite cartoons on the tv, and irritated that everyone felt the need to monitor her. She is so silly!
The doctor came in and determined that she would need stitches, how many though he wasn't sure about. We tried and tried to get a good view of all of her wounds, but still thought the eyelid was cut too. He did a quick eye exam and determined her vision was still good. Then we had more waiting around to do. Lon and I snuggled with her while we waited, even though she didn't want us too lol, and tried to recover from the night's events. I may have broken down a few times, it was all just so scary. Then the room started to fill again as they prepared for her stitches. Nurses and doctors came in and out, all cooing at how beautiful she was despite everything. She had to say hi to each and every one of them, pretty sure that she was the sweetheart of the ER that night. :) Everyone loved her.
The stitches were just TERRIBLE. They had to strap her down and had three nurses plus Lon and I hold her down. She is one strong little girl, fought us so much. They also had to cover up her whole head with a sterile cloth, which scared her so bad. Lon and I did our best to talk to her and keep her calm. She just kept screaming. The Doctor was amazing though, he was very quick and did such a good job with her stitches, despite all the movement and noise. After he started and had sterilized the area, we were able to see all the wounds. Her eye and eyelid were just fine, so was her temple. It was all just through the skin tissue. I think I broke down when they told us that, I had in my mind that she would never be able to see the same way or that she would have other lifelong issues from the temple being damaged. The Doctor and nurses assured me that though she may have a big, nasty scar by her eye for the rest of her life, she was okay. We had done everything correctly as parents: putting pressure to help slow the bleeding, putting on the bandage, getting her in to the ER immediately, keeping her awake during the ride, having all of the dog's records present when we brought her in. Anna received seven stitches total, making a little "V" shape right by her left temple. She handled everything like such a champ, we are so proud of our little fighter!
|Before and after the stitches|
Today, two days after the incident, Miss Anna barely even notices her injury. She is irritated that her left eye occasionally is swollen shut and she looks like she was in a boxing match but other than that, she is her normal self. Lon, Grandma Melanie and I have been having lots of mini-heart attacks from her running around and climbing on things. She is doing great! Everyone has been saying that the scar should fade with age, especially since she is so young now. She hopefully also won't have a subconscious fear of dogs when she is older, I think she is too young to remember any of this. I really do hope these things are true, I can handle going through a traumatic night as long as I know that she will be 100% okay in the end. No bad memories, nothing. That is my biggest fear as her mother, I don't want this incident to change her life. She is a happy little girl who loves life and loves animals. She will always be beautiful in my eyes, no matter what. But I want happiness to continue for her. This is all I can ask for.
For those that are curious, we are not euthanizing the dog. He was (and still is) a family dog of my in-laws and is very loved by everyone, including us. He is not some stray, he is Uncle Tyler and Aunt Sam's baby! This was an accident and he is quite remorseful over it. Lon said he hasn't moved hardly at all in the past few days, I think he has major guilt. This was not a vicious attack, the dog is still quite young, was startled and reacted the wrong way. He knows that. Plus, it would go against every single one of my Buddhist trainings and morals to have him euthanized. I was raised in a hunting family that only kills one to feed another. We are all one in this world, the animals and the humans. Its the Circle of Life, I refuse to disrupt it for something like this. However with that being said, the dog will never be near my children again. I do not wish to hurt him but I will also not allow him to hurt us. Alan will be sad, they were best buds before all of this. I know that my son will be happy to know that the dog will be going to a nice house up on the Rims, where there is lots of open space for him to run and be happy.
I have heard a lot of different responses from my family members, some think the dog should be euthanized and some agree with us. This is why I have wanted to wait some time before telling everyone, we are still in shock and raw with emotion. I do not wish to offend or hurt anyone because we have different opinions on the matter. But I had to share this now, it was time. No matter what happens in the end with the dog, it is our decision and our decision only. It will only affect us, so why be so upset about it? It does nothing to help us recover and heal. Thankfully, I have also had some positive responses. Friends and family members sharing their dog bite stories and assuring me that she will be okay in the end. Several people have told me that she had a guardian angel looking out for us that night. I fully believe this. Two weeks ago on that day my grandfather passed away. He loved her so very much, she was the light in his life. I completely believe that his soul was with us that night, keeping her alive and keeping us safe on that icy, icy road. We all could have been badly hurt, or worse, several times that night. But we came out okay. There were some special forces at work that night.
We love you so much Anna Ariel. We are so blessed to have you in our life. <3