One day when I was almost 2 years old, I was at home with my parents. My dad went to do some paperwork, and my mom had to use the restroom. They had locked the sliding glass door to keep me away from our half wolf and half German shepherd dog, Tiny.
For some reason I chose that day to master the lock on the sliding glass door. I fiddled and tinkered with it until, click, I finally got it unlocked. I quickly and quietly slid it open, snuck outside, and quietly closed the door. I decided I would have some fun. I started throwing rocks for Tiny, and he chased them. Then I fell down. Suddenly the dog snarled, grabbed my left arm, dragged me over a pile of rocks and dirt into a mud puddle, and started tearing into my head.
I froze with fear. I couldn’t move or scream. Tiny growled savagely. Who would save my life? I couldn’t do anything to defend myself. I was only a toddler!
My dad heard a blood-curdling snarl. Predatory animal making a kill. Oh, no–Benjamin! shot through his mind. He dropped the paperwork and ran for the door. My dad dashed out into the backyard and up onto a small mound to get a better look. There I was, lying in a red puddle about five feet around. Tiny was standing over me with his teeth bared, snarling at my dad.
My mom also heard the snarl. At the same time she heard the words, “The dog is trying to kill your son.” She had no reason to believe that–she thought I was inside. But she raced out the door, ran up onto the pile of dirt right behind my dad, and froze. I wasn’t moving, and my mom was sure I was dead. “God, save my son,” she cried under her breath.
My dad charged at the dog. Tiny only backed up a foot, growling more savagely, trying to protect his food. My dad charged again. The dog backed up another foot. My dad yelled as loud as he could, charged again, snatched me, and ran for the house. I was quiet the entire time, but when my dad snatched me, I screamed long and loud. My mother was relieved. She had thought I was dead!
As Dad dashed toward the house, Tiny sprang after him. When Tiny lunged, my mom grabbed the 120-pound dog by the neck and shook it like a rag doll, its feet completely off the ground. My dad turned to close the sliding glass door and realized my mom wasn’t there. He looked back and saw her still shaking the dog. He yelled, “Get in here! I need your help.” She threw the dog and ran for the door. My dad slammed the door behind her.
Right on my mother’s heels, the enraged dog slammed into the glass. The dog backed up and charged again, the glass flexing dangerously. “It’s trying to get in!” my mom shrieked. The dog slammed the door again, nearly breaking it. “Go out front,” my dad yelled. She grabbed me and ran out the front door, taking a clean cloth to try and stop the blood that was still spilling out of my head.
My dad called 911. The dog was still trying to get in! When he finished the call, he ran to get pepper spray and a gun. He nervously opened the door a crack and sprayed the pepper spray. The dog backed up enough for him to open the door and stick the end of the gun out. When the dog saw the gun, he dashed to the far side of the yard, up a little hill, and behind a large bush. My dad opened the door, went out, and shut it behind him. He ran after the dog, yelling at it. Tiny dashed around the yard several times and at last stopped and faced him. My dad was angry and wanted to start with the toes and pump him full of lead. But he heard a still small voice say, “One shot is enough. You don’t need to end up in jail over this dog. Your family needs you.” It was in the city and there were houses all around.
An ambulance was just passing my house, going back from another call. Right after my mom burst out the front door to escape from the crazed dog, the ambulance pulled up in front of our house. The paramedics strapped me onto a gurney because they were concerned that my neck might be broken. As the ambulance pulled out, we heard a shot. Tiny was dead, but what about me?
The ambulance whizzed past the traffic on the freeway as if the other cars were standing still. Trucks looked like they were speeding in reverse. As we jolted along, the paramedic tried to put an IV in my arm, but he couldn’t. I had lost too much blood. As the paramedic struggled to put the IV in, he burst into a sweat and told my mom, “The children are the worst.”
Meanwhile, back at home, Animal Control showed up and asked where the dog was. Dad said, “Out back. Dead.”
The man said, “You shot the dog? We wanted to test it for rabies!” But when Dad explained how the dog was trying to break into the house, the man totally understood.
In a few minutes we were at the hospital. There were several patients with various problems, but all the nurses and doctors rushed into a room with me. I blacked out briefly. When I came to, they were trying to put in an IV, but my veins were flat from blood loss. They tried and tried but couldn’t get it in. When they finally did, the needle went right through and popped out the other side. They finally managed to get the IV in. Then they took X-rays to see if anything was broken. Nothing was!
They cleaned my head out with several bottles of saline solution. My scalp, where my forehead should have been, was hanging down over my eyes, and my skull was showing. There was a deep gash from the dog’s tooth in the bone at my left temple. The rest of my scalp had pulled back to the back of my head. My left arm was punctured and torn in a few spots. The bloody mess that was covering my head was splattered with dirt, mud, and pebbles. The lower half of my ear was hanging upside down. The nerve to my face was exposed, but miraculously not damaged. They left me for several hours while waiting for a skilled plastic surgeon to come. At last he came and sewed up all four layers of my scalp with what seemed like thousands of stitches. It took over 2 1/2 hours just for him to sew me up.
I am fortunate that Tiny didn’t go for my neck. God is good to have saved me from that dog gone wild!
by Benjamin Judson