“Let me start off my story by saying that I’ve never really been a dog person. I’ve always been nervous around them. I had an adorable yorkie before my first son was born who I felt was my child. When she started to try to ‘protect’ the baby, I immediately asked my mom if she could keep her.
When I became pregnant with my second son, my husband and I had to re-home an Australian Shepard because he anxiously bit my husband in the face when he was trying to inspect something on his fur.
My husband’s parents are huge dog people. They have four dogs total. One big Golden Retriever, one Australian Shepard, and two Dachshunds. Over the years of knowing the dogs, I actually grew very fond of the Shepard. (She and I both had similar anxious personalities). My in laws have been a huge part of helping us with our little ones (now three boys), so that we can work as needed. They recently moved into a new home a few miles away from us. July 4th was my second son’s 2nd birthday. My husband was working so I loaded up my 6-year-old, 2-year-old, and 8-month-old and took them to watch the fireworks. My two oldest spend quite a bit of time with their grandparents so I offered to drop them off to spend the night. A break is always necessary when you have three under age six.
The next morning, my husband and I were sitting together having some coffee when his phone rang. It was his dad. ‘We are on our way to the hospital. A lamp fell and hit [my son], its bad.’ At first we thought it probably wasn’t as bad as they were saying because grandparents are always more protective of their grand babies than us to our kids. We got dressed and made our way to the hospital. I had a pretty bad feeling come over me when we were pulling up, so I asked my husband to drop me off at the door.
I ran inside and found my sweet boy gashed up. He had four large lacerations on his forehead, nose, and cheek. Grandmom was rocking him back and forth, totally panicked. I could tell she was absolutely horrified. They explained that they were letting a few of the dogs outside, had their back turned for just one second, and my oldest son came on the porch yelling for them. They ran in and found the lamp laying on the floor next to my son bleeding. With this information, the doctors cleaned up my son as best they could, had him stitched up, gave us some medicine and sent us home. We thought the nightmare was over then.
Later that night, a few people had messaged me questioning the type of wounds my son had. I hadn’t thought much of it until others pointed out how much it looked like a dog had attacked him. The thought of it scared me enough to go into my boys’ room and check on him. When I went in, I found him with a fever of 103. A few hours later I convinced my husband and myself enough that something was wrong and made another trip back to the hospital.
By this time, my son’s eyes were swollen shut. We mentioned that the marks looked similar to a dog bite as we had been told and they agreed. The doctors took one look at him and decided he needed to be admitted for IV antibiotics. We spent two more days in the hospital. Seeing our little boy not able to see well enough to know what was happening to him was the single worst thing ever as a parent.
We had to discuss the possibility of one of the family dogs being responsible. I asked my oldest to break down what happened (he has high functioning autism, and has poor speech/communication) and he finally mentioned that the Australian Shepard had run back inside when grandmom was trying to take them out, and that my little one had been trying to play with her and she bit him. Her attack was enough to scare the retriever and he bumped into the table, knocking the lamp over onto my son.
Looking back, I don’t think the thought had ever crossed their mind that one of the dogs could have done that. To dog moms and dads, these creatures are their children. I’ve learned from this experience the importance of keeping my small babies separated from even our family pets. Although I was angry at first about how everything panned out, having time to think over what happened, I know how quickly things can happen. In a matter of seconds, this happened to us. Our son could’ve lost his life.
Unfortunately we all learned this lesson the hardest way possible. Please, for the sake of your babies and your fur babies, let’s be more vigilant of them all. An animal is still an animal, no matter how calm and trained you may believe they are. Teaching my boys about treating animals nicely is now at the top of my list, when before it wasn’t something I thought much of. I always thought that other people should have their dogs trained not to bite. And now I know that alone, is not enough. It’s also very important that if you have animals, make sure that you exclude them as a cause from the beginning whenever a child is injured. If any of us had realized this sooner, his recovery would’ve happened much faster and been much less risky. Luckily, my boy is pushing through and will hopefully have no recollection of any of this. We are so thankful for God staying by our side through it all.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Sara Workman. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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