The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be. ~Socrates
When I started this blog, it was with the intent of focusing primarily on giving victims a platform. A place to share their stories so that when read, someone else might learn the effects a horrific attack has on the victim, the victim's family, and the victim's life.
Shortly before turning this blog on, I met a wonderful lady that agreed to share her own experience as a mother of an innocent victim.
A special thank you to Anne King and her family for allowing us to trespass into their private lives. The emotion is raw, the passion is unstoppable.
Well, I don't know if it's so much the attack on my child that will have people's jaw hitting the floor, perhaps what will though, is the reaction of zealots to my child's attack. It doesn't surprise any in our camp though, because the aftermath is almost identical in every incident.Our story begins on a beautiful warm summer evening, we just had one of the best times ever at my in laws. A few visiting cousins and running around a huge backyard made my little one very sleepy. We came home and were about to lay our heads down on nice fluffy pillows, when the door bell rang. It was the youth up the street that used to be one of our most trusted sitters for my child. They often video gamed, and as soon as the youth came over, my little one was re-energized. The youth was going to hang out, and said he wouldn't mind if I went to sleep because they were going to game it up. So, with a freshly washed face, brushed teeth and a sleepy mind, I hit the pillow, soon to be woken up by the youth banging on my door saying his dog had bit my child.Honestly, I didn't think it was much of a big deal, the only dog I knew they had was a little shih tzu. I remember as I rambled around the room looking for shorts and a tshirt wondering what the big deal was, because in this youth I could sense one hell of a panic. I got my shoes on, opened the door, and the youth darted down the street, I had to scramble to keep up to him, and that's when a "hmmm, maybe this is more serious than I thought" started to creep in.When I walked through their door, there was my child, sitting in a chair with a large towel on his face, covered in a blanket up to his chin. His face was a color I have never seen, and can't describe. In his eyes was sheer terror. That's when I wondered "how much damage could a shih tzu do", my son was terrified and couldn't speak, something was really wrong. I bolted home to grab his medical info and phone my husband (our home is only about 10 doors away from the youth's home) I ran back to the house, and they had my child in their van, he still couldn't speak, was wide eyed with fear, and in what I thought was shock. Now I'm very afraid. On the way to the hospital the excuses from the owner were already beginning, the one I remember was the owner saying "he must have startled the dog", now I speak up and say "what is with everyone, how much damage could a shih tzu do"..."it wasn't our shih tzu, it was our pitbull"...I almost threw up.We are at the hospital, the owner and his family waiting in the lobby. My husband arrives just as we are being checked into emergency. At this point, I still haven't seen the damage, I don't have the courage to look. My child, his face, its scary beyond what senses can handle. But my husband looks, and I will never forget his face. I mouth to him to please not to speak about it. We are briskly put in a room in emergency and a crew of doctors come in prepping my son in order to close up the wound that is almost as big as his cheek. They put him under, with the drug that killed Michael Jackson, and that is profound. Sitting there heaving with tears on a stretcher, I see they have to bring more medications in to keep him sleeping, it's taking an hour to close him up.
In the end, it took dozens of stitches alone to close the inside of the wound, after that, doctors said they weren't really keeping track of how many were needed. What they tried to focus on was closing him well so that the scar wouldn't be as jagged as the wound that came from being shaken in the mouth of a pitbull. He had a hole in his neck just below his jawline, and needed stitches just below his lower lash line. The pit had half of my son's face in it's mouth. Docs said if the wound on his cheek had been the one on his throat, he would likely have bled out before help could have arrived. His older sister came in and couldn't speak to him. She just held his hand while he came out of the drugs that kept him sleeping for so long. In those moments, all of our lives changed, that I knew.
But none of us were really prepared for what happened after the attack.By this time, my incredible, strong husband had to go into the lobby and tell the owner to leave, he couldn't handle seeing him there.What happened the next day, when we got my child home, was many visitors, including the dog owner's girlfriend and the youth. I asked them if the dog had ever done anything like this before, the girlfriend said no, the youth said "only to other dogs"...Dog control came to our house, and within hours, we learned, that this pit had tried to attack another child and his small dog, earlier that year, the only thing that saved that child was a heavy duty, slippery winter coat. When the boy picked up his little dog and ran into his house, this pit bolted in the home after them in, and cornered and stalked the family in their home. Not for long, because the owner heard the commotion and rushed in to intervene. At that point, he promised to "deal with the dog", the mother of the first boy charged by the pit told me, and in my living room, after my son had been attacked, the girlfriend of the owner told me she had been telling him for months to get rid of the dog.We went public, I couldn't handle the thought of this happening to anyone else, and that is when the typical blame from zealots began. They blamed me for sleeping, my son for sitting beside the dog, and all the other deflection tactics followed.Many parents go through their children being hurt, some by family members, some by other children, even other types of animals, but when your child is hurt by a pit, not only do you suffer that along with your child, but you also suffer many in society sticking up for the perpetrator. If a person had taken a fireplace poker, and bashed my child's face in, society would demand justice, but because it's a pit, the zealots come out and demand justice for the dog, with their excuses, deflection and denial. We weren't prepared for it. In the coming days I heard poodle comparisons, Stubby, Petey, the Nanny Dog and "it's the owners" back then it was shocking, today though, we are so sick of it all.I understand and am grateful beyond belief for my child's life, and the fact that he will only live with a scar, one that people look at, I see them looking at it, but it's a good opportunity for discussion, and I take every opportunity to speak out. We stand up for victims of pitbull attacks, we simply have to stick together, if we don't, this won't stop.As a person now wanting and working with legislators for strong regulations governing dangerous breeds, I will never understand why anyone would take a chance owning a pit? The controversy surrounding the breed should be prove too much for many to even want to deal with? Am I one to believe it's the owner, yes...owners choosing to have a breed of dog likely ruined by our carelessness, but why should more families have to go through what we have? They shouldn't and .it's time for change. I am one to believe it's the breed, yes. It's both the owners and the breed.My days are now filled with sadness, as a parent, it is incredibly heart wrenching to be blamed for your child's injury, or to see your child blamed for it, especially when it was someone else's negligence that led to the injury. My nights are filled with something worse, and that is nightmares. My child won't sleep in his room, and has incredible issues with being away from home now, he doesn't feel safe.I have seen a horrible side to some in our society. Victim blame shouldn't be tolerated, nor should the choice to own a dangerous dog. 100% strict owner liability, it's time. If the owner of the pit in our case had told us the pit was there, that it had a horrible, dangerous past, my child would not have ever gone there. Or how about after the first attack, he should have had the foresight to the right thing and put the dog to sleep. I remember asking his girlfriend if she was glad it was my child attacked and not hers, because not only did the youth live in the home, but a 10 year old and a 5 year old. The rights of a dog can't come before the safety of humans. That night, my life as a victim's advocate began, I tell my story to whomever will listen, people need to hear how this forever affects families, not just the attack but zealot behavior after.I am grateful for all the amazing souls I have learned that stand on my side of the sandbox, they are smart, savvy and have so much valuable information and resources they are willing to share, don't be afraid to reach out to us...there is strength in numbers, and we all understand what you are going through.My child is a beautiful human soul, and stands for something bigger than his 9 years should allow, and he does it with an amazing style and grace that I envy. I also understand that we are lucky, my child survived when so many others don't. I speak out, so others can perhaps be inspired to speak up too, we have too, not just for change, but to make the lonely island less lonely. I am here, I know how you feel, my child is here, he knows how your child feels, don't be alone, don't let their blame seep in, this isn't yours or your child's fault.