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Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Lesson on Petting Strange Dogs

This is not the most flattering pic of Justus, but you all know how beautiful our boy is right?

So, we had a traumatic Friday night. Rusty took the kids down to our neighborhood park to play. It was about 5pm. The kids encountered a woman walking her dog on a leash. Emma, being the all-time biggest animal lover, asked her if she could pet the dog. (We have had to teach our children to do this, because their instinct is to touch every animal they see.) The woman didn't hesitate to say yes, and told Emma she wanted to teach her how to approach the dog correctly. She told her to stick out her hand for the dog to smell, and then pet the dog on the head. Emma followed directions, and the dog was fine. Then Justus' turn. (For those who are faint in stomach, read cautiously.) He did just as she said, and when he went to pet the dog on the head, he lunged at Justus' face and clamped down.
We rushed him to the ER, where they stitched him up, 6 in the lip, one on the nose. His lip was lacerated in several spots, but one of them went clean through to the inside of the lip, leaving a gaping hole. This freaked me out, obviously, when I arrived at the park. Rusty had called me immediately, and told me to get there ASAP with lots of rags. Justus' clothes were completely saturated with blood when I got there. I kind of lost it, despite Rusty telling me not to. We jumped in the van, and sped to St. Joseph's ER. (Luckily, Lisa had just gotten here, so we were able to leave the kids and run!) Rusty called ahead, spoke directly to the ER doctors, which probably sped us along in the ER process. (I know, it's not fair, but if you had seen my child, you would have begged for someone to attend to this boy!)
We got a great ER doctor, and she was very compassionate towards Justus. But holding a two-year-old down to stitch him up for 30+ minutes is never fun. Justus was a stud!!! He is incredibly stoic with pain, which we already knew from previous stitches experience, although very minor compared to this. (No, I will not be receiving Mother of the Year anytime soon.)
My brother was attacked by a dog, very seriously, when he was three, and this has always been one of the most traumatic events in the life of my family. My Mom has always said that she can still see it in her mind at any given time. I'm afraid Rusty feels that way now, and my kids might as well. This was a very bloody, ugly scene, and I feel grateful that I can't see it in my mind, because imagining it, and having to watch him cry while they stitched his face, is more than enough. We took a jog this morning, and every time we pass the park, my stomach tightens into a knot. We will never forget this as long as we live.
What can we gain from this? Well, for one, I want to make it known to all of you with children that even when an owner confidently instructs your child they may pet their dog, it is not always safe. I will for sure only be allowing my kids to pet Disney, and maybe only Golden Retrievers for the rest of their lives, because I'm pretty sure this has never happenned with a Golden Retriever ever in the history of dogs. But the direct quote from my friend Heather is "Down with Dogs!" BE CAREFUL with dogs and your children. Unless they are tried and true kids' dogs, avoid them! I would never wish this on your child. We couldn't identify what kind of dog this was, probably a mixed breed of some sort. But it was definitely NOT a scary looking dog. My kids are not even allowed within sight of the scary killer type dogs. This was totally unexpected, according to the owner as well.
Thank you, all of you who have called or have come by to visit. It means so much to us! Family and church family, as always, we love you.


Anonymous said...

Yes, Down with dogs. They bite children and have exposed hiney holes. I win this hands down.

Aaron said...

Too bad you don't have a picture of his lip before it got stitched!
As one of the few people who saw it before he got sewed up, I must say, this picture is tame compared to what it did look like.

Poor little man.

Jiffy News said...

Poor little Justus! That is aweful! What a trooper though. Did anything happen to the dog?

Seay Famiy said...

It broke our heart to see the picture of Justus and yes, brings back horrible memories. We are praying that the memory of this attack will be miraculously removed from Justus and Rusty's mind. God is able to do this!
We love you,
Nana and Pop-Pop

Lyns said...

We are praying for your little guy. This is such a big fear of mine becoming a reality. Thanks for sharing in your pain with all of us. I hope that we can all learn something from this.

We love you guys!

Anonymous said...

Double down with dogs!!!Yuck, I am praying for Justus...little trooper.

D. Bacak fam said...

We are praying for you guys. What a terrible deal to go through. Kevin was bitten on the lip by our dog (albeit in retaliation for Kevin biting the dog on the ear) and it is a terrible ordeal to go through. Down with dogs.

CarpioFamily said...

I had Justus in my class sat. night, and i only saw his nose at first. Then as I was talking to him i saw his lip behind the pacifier. I had to turn so i wouldn't cry, This poor little boy. I'm glad he got taken care of quickly, I'm glad he's a trooper. I'm glad I could pray over him in class as i held him. One child noticed and even said "sorry you have a cut". Justus we'll be praying for you.

- Kaylene

Melodi said...

Ditto! Down with dogs! I have a bad childhood dog memory as well and I am so thankful Justus will recover from this. I'm so sorry Rusty and the kids have that picture in their minds.

Arlene said...

i'm praying for justus...and all you of...sweet little boy...and i'll be praying this doesn't leave the kids in fear of animals in future!! i love you guys!

Anonymous said...

I am so with Heather down with dogs...I remember as a child being chased by a pack of wild dogs, bitten by a doberman pincher and german shepard....down with dogs! But up with little Justus, I know he'll be back motoring around soon! Sometimes it takes us moms a little longer to heal inside than it does for the kiddos to heal outside!

Jennifer Bacak said...

Justus the same night played with Disney ( aka DZZZZ DZZZZZ). Two days later while he was outside with me he begged to pet a dog being walked down the street. He's fearless.. like his sister.. Lord help us all!!!!