Emmaleigh's Dog Attack Recovery
My husband (Jarret) had to work late Friday night so we did not get going early that morning for our usual Saturday routine. We are a large family with 8 children ranging from 21 - 4 months. We strive to have time with each of our children, so on Saturday mornings we take a different child out to breakfast each week. This week was no different just that we were running late.
Our middle 3 children (Addison 10, Asher 8, and Emmie 5) had asked to go play with their friends outside. We live in a very quiet neighborhood. The worst thing that happens around here is for the kids to leave the toys strung up and down the street. So of course we allowed them to go. We are blessed with neighbors who watch out for everyone, even those who don't have kids of their own.
While the kids were outside playing Jarret was getting ready for us to go to breakfast. Jarret, Kaleb (our 16 yr. old), and I were sitting in our room chatting. It was Kaleb's week to go out for breakfast. All the sudden we heard the kids screaming (remember they WERE supposed to be playing with friends) and Jarret asked why they were screaming that way. I told him they were just playing, because the screaming sounded like the screams of a whole bunch of kids. Instead it was the screams of 3 children being attacked by a Husky dog.
Next thing I remember is Asher coming in screaming for help. I pulled Felicity who was only a month old at the time out of the wrap I was wearing her in, handed her to Kaleb, and took off running. Jarret came in screaming for towels. I grabbed a phone and called 911. It was the longest 5 minutes of my life.
It seems that the neighbor kids couldn't play so our 3 decided to play freeze tag in the street in front of our house. When they took off running the dog attacked Emmaleigh. The dog mauled her head, face, hands, neck, chest, and back. Addison pulled the dog off and sustained lacerations to her hand. While Asher came screaming to us for help. The screaming was so loud that neighbors from the next street came running to help.
Emmie and Addison were taken by ambulance to Children's Medical Center of Dallas. Jarret rode with them while I drove with Felicity to the hospital.
Addison ended up with 3 stitches in one hand and was released a few hours later. Unfortunately, Emmaleigh required surgery. After many x-rays and CT scans it was determined that she had a few broken bones as well. Her jaw was broken and her right thumb was crushed. During all this time I only saw a small bit of her face. I could not bear to look. We have pictures, but even 3 months later I still cannot bring myself to look at them. I am told the lacerations on her face were 3" wide by 7" long. She also had lacerations on her head and neck. Her thumb was torn open badly, she had puncture wounds to her chest and back as well.
She was taken back to surgery where they were able to suture her head, face and neck. Her hands were sutured as well, and her right arm was put into a full cast. The wounds on her back and chest were left open to heal on their own.
She came home the next day with many future appointments schedule. She was only able to eat soft foods for the first 30 days due to the broken jaw. That was a tough one actually.
We are now 3 months out and Emmie has been so very brave through this, but she is no longer the same person. She was once a bubbly, afraid of nothing, all the time happy little girl. Now she is scared and angry more often than not. After some serious emotional breakdowns, we are at a point that she needs therapy, play therapy specifically. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a therapist that takes our insurance and has openings. There are therapists with openings, but they do not take our insurance. Play therapy costs on average in our area $150-200 per hour. To date the best the dog owner has done is offer Capri Sun and drinkable yogurt the first couple of weeks.
We are asking for help to continue paying the medical bills that we are incurring that our insurance does not cover, or will no longer cover in the future. Those bills currently include play therapy, chiropractic care to help her body recover from the fall and injury, and her occupational therapy that we are close to maxing out. We won't know until October, but Emmie may also need face remodeling sometime next year as well. We may also use the funds for Asher to receive some therapy as well, because has taken all of this very hard.
I cannot explain in words well how much any help will mean to us. We understand that Emmie will never be the person she was before the accident, but we hope that we can at least help her understand what has happened, and how to work through the anger and fear she feels, rather than continuing to take it out on those who love her so dearly. BUT, even if you cannot help monetarily the most important thing we need are your prayers for healing and wisdom.
ETA: I do not want to edit this original post, because I don't want it to appear as if we are being dishonest. Please take the time to read UPDATE 27 to have all the details about the attack in full.
I’ve had some people ask about coming to the trial as support. You are welcome, but be aware there will be pictures shown of Emmaleigh’s face that I have never shown publicly. You will also have to hear my kids cry and discuss what happened. If you can’t handle it, then it would be best for you to not come. Jarret and I, as well as my parents are going to have a hard enough time staying strong for them to get through this. The date for court is July 15th. The jury will be chosen first and depending on time afterwards will determine if the trial will start that afternoon or the next day.
Please pray for us. Pray for our kids. This is going to be hard. Pray for our mental health. I mean that with all seriousness. I do not want to go back into the depths of darkness I was before.
We would appreciate your prayers over the next month or so. The dog owner chose not to accept the plea deal offered by the DA, and has instead decided to go to trial. This is the criminal case which means the kids will have to testify. They are incredibly brave and strong, but they are also children who still deal with lots of fear and anxiety.
If we are friends on FB you know that Emmie has been having an emotional time preparing for her next scar revision, which is in 11 days. She asked for an appointment with Dr. Derderian which we had last week. We were not planning a pre-op appointment this time around, but I’m definitely glad we saw him ahead of time.
If you look at the picture with the green circle you will see a scar that is fully mature. This scar was revised in March. Dr. D had hoped that all her revised scars looked like this, but they don’t. The other scars on her face are still pink. They are smooth, but still have not faded yet. Dr. D expects that they will, but is just taking longer than expected.
The scars with the black arrows have been revised as well, but are still pink and “keloid” like. He has given us the option to do steroid injections into them during the next surgery. The steroid will help speed up the maturing process, as well as soften and flatten them. We have chosen to do this option.
The pictures with the red circles are the scars that will be revised on the 21st. They are much smaller than the previous ones done, so healing should be much easier.
We had hoped that this would be her last revision, but Dr. D thinks he will need to do one more for the scars under her chin. But, it will not be done anytime soon. We all need a break. Emmie has not even come close to recovering emotionally from the first revision and we are about to do it again. That sounds mean that we are doing it again and she is probably not ready emotionally, but the younger she is when she gets it done the easier it is for her skin and her healing will be better. While that is the case we will not do another revision for some time after this one. Every time a revision is done they have to make the scar longer to do the work. The revision does do its job, but it has its cons as well. We will come back in a couple of years before she hit puberty and decide how we will handle it then.
I have spoken to another SCARS Kids mom and she said in her opinion they steroids are an excellent option and also believes that giving her time to grow and seeing how her skin changes are a great decision as well. Having someone who has been through it agree with our decisions helps to solidify that we are doing what is best for Emmie.
Also real quick about court stuff. We are still waiting for a criminal trial date. We are set to go to court again in Feb for civil, but it will most likely be rescheduled.
We appreciate you and will post an update after surgery to let you know how Emmie is doing. Thank you for your prayers and love.
Did you explore getting coverage under the dog owner's liabilty policy? This is what I found: The great majority of dog bites to children occur at home or in a neighborhood. Because most homeowners carry insurance, the issue of damages for a child's dog bite injuries will be covered under one of two sections of the homeowner's policy. Under the medical payments, or med-pay, sections, the insurance company automatically pays out up to $1,000 for a child victim's medical bills. The child's parents won't have to prove the dog/homeowner was negligent. But that's only $1,000 (more if the homeowner paid for higher coverage limits). If the damages exceed $1,000, the child's parents have to pursue their injury claim under the personal liability section of the policy. Typically, the coverage provided under personal liability is anywhere from $100,000 to $300,000. To succeed in a negligence claim under the personal liability section, the child's attorney has to prove the dog owner was negligent. He can normally do this with the evidence you gathered at the time of the dog bite, his own investigation, and through other pretrial discovery methods.
thank you for the apology...what a blessing you have been, are and will be to your children AND this world--this only makes me want to donate more!!!...unfortunately, i cannot...however, i am all in--the kids' dishonesty does not negate the fact that she got so completely mauled... (Mom/P.S., you're doing everything right (don't be hard on yourself)!)
I can't imagine how terrified the children must have been; that's a heavy burden for a child to carry. I'm so glad they told you, though, because to have harbored that for years would have be so much heavier.
Shanna, you all have been through so much! Will pray that somehow the Lord will bring peace and a measure of closure soon even though you’re staring at a mountain that seems daunting. He will be very near to you all as you walk through yet another valley.
Please look into the owner's insurance policy as well:)
Sue the dog owner...if he is a home owner certainly he has home owner's insurance.