On April 2, 2016 something happened that I believed would never happen to our family and our lives were changed forever.
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.