family health parenting

When Life Throws a Curve Ball

April 24, 2017

I was planning to write last week, and life threw me a curve ball. My planned post was all about Easter and Passover, it was full of joy and themes of deliverance.

Today, I’m writing about deliverance of a different sort, redemption, prayer and loss.

Our dog attacked one of our daughters. We are lucky to have our daughter with her full vision. We no longer have a dog.


Easter morning before the accident

It was about 6:15 in the morning. A and I were the first people up. I walked down the hall to put a dress on the ironing board when I heard a scream. The dog had bitten A in the face, and there was blood above and below her eye. We raced to the ER, and they sent us by ambulance to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

A had emergency surgery to repair the ripped tear duct. I can’t say enough amazing things about CHoP. We are so very, very lucky that A still has her vision. The care there was phenomenal. (as someone who lives with a very critical nurse, we didn’t have any care lapses). We got there by noon on an ER to ER transfer. A went right to ophthalmology by 1 pm. By 2, we had a surgery plan, and by 4 pm, we were whisked off to surgery. We made it home by 9:30 pm that night. She will be on oral antibiotics and eye drops.

What we didn’t know is how common dog bites are. In fact, we are just one of many victims that will be treated by the hospital this year. We are also extremely lucky that although A was hurt, she will make a full recovery. There is a large public service announcement poster in the Surgical waiting room.

We don’t know what prompted the bite. A is not aggressive to animals and is more fearful than her siblings. Our dog, Zeus, is a Great Pyrenees puppy who has just turned 1. We discussed it at length with our vet and with the nice people from the GP Rescue, who feel that Zeus may have felt A was somewhere she shouldn’t have been and was trying to move her. Since dogs don’t have arms or hands, he used an available tool, his mouth.

In Pennsylvania, most shelters will not take an aggressive dog. In New Jersey, our neighboring state, ANY dog that bites a child is euthanized. We didn’t want that for him. When a dog bites a child, it is reported to the City and State from the ER. Luckily, Zeus had all his immunizations. The City spoke with our vet and verified them.

We had a trial finding a placement for Zeus. The Staff at CHoP, our veterinarian, the GP rescue all agreed he needed to be removed from the home permanently as he is too risky to be around young children. This was hard for us as we had raised him from a puppy and he had never been away from us except when we traveled. We spoke to many shelters trying to find him a placement where they would accept him and not euthanize him. Our veterinarian really advocated for him (with the shelter manager), and eventually, he was able to go to a No-kill shelter. I had no idea it would be so hard to place and surrender a dog.

I fumbled through the rest of the week in a slow moving haze. Kurk and I realized that we used up all our energy the day of the surgery. I had no idea it would be so tough to regain my equilibrium or how deeply all the events would affect me. I am so very grateful A is recovering. Not much else got done in our home last week, but we are facing this week with renewed energy.

There are so many people to thank who walked with us either physically or in spirit that day. My Aunt, Lora came to the ER to sit with us until we left for Philadelphia. Then she went to my home to cover the other children from the bus drop off throughout the evening. I don’t know what we would have done without you. My children’s teachers and the school checked in with us by phone throughout the day. My dear friends, Jennifer in California and Kathy kept touching base with us throughout the day. The LDS Bishop of Bethlehem, Edward Whitley made a mad dash to the ER, to bless A but missed us and was able to coordinate for her to receive her blessing at ChoP (thank you Brother (DR) Bryant). Thank you to the Rabbi at B’rith Shalom for praying for A and also the Very Reverend, and Dean of the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Tony Pompa. Thank you all for your prayers and reaching out we are blessed and humbled by your friendships and support.

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6 Comments on "When Life Throws a Curve Ball"

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Rob and Becky

I’m so sorry for all of you. I’m sure the bite was traumatic enough, and then to have to say good-bye to your pet–well, I’m just sad for your family. I am glad your daughter will be ok and recover.

So thankful to hear your daughter will be OK. I’m sorry about the children’s pet and I hope it works re-homing him. We see often what wonderful dogs a Great Pyrenees is with families and animals in our farm journals. The only personal experience we have had is via my son in law who is a large animal vet. There is a hobby farm he visits to care for the goats, sheep, llama, etc and for the last 3 years now that dog has tried to attack him on every visit. The same with anyone else that comes by…non stop… Read more »
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