My nose was savagely ripped off by my friend’s pit bull…but I still love cuddling dogs – The Sun
GABRIELLE Myers had never feared dogs, until a friend's pet savagely tore of her nose.
The 29-year-old, from Indiana, USA, was left with a gaping hole in her face – and missing all her teeth – when she was attacked by the American pit bull.
Gabrielle, who used to work in a department store, has had seven operations to rebuild her face and endured two years of strangers staring at her in horror.
Despite everything she's been through, she still absolutely loves dogs – crediting her own with getting her through her lowest points – and now even works in a pet shop.
Speaking exclusively to Fabulous Digital, Gabrielle tells her story…
I’ve always loved dogs and, when my friend invited me to a house party he was throwing, I couldn’t wait to meet his new American pit bull called Caine.
Personally, I've always loved the breed, although they're banned for being dangerous in the UK and some parts of the US.
He already had a pit bull called Clyde, who adored me, and one of my own dogs, Chevy, is a cross between a Labrador, boxer and American pit bull.
When I got to the party on June 11 2017, I made a beeline for the dogs, like I usually did.
Clyde jumped up at me. Before I could move away, I saw his huge mouth open wide as it came towards my face
Caine was a huge dog, almost the same size as Clyde, even though he was only two.
He let me rub his tummy and I went off to enjoy the party.
Before I knew it, it was 1am and time to leave. As I came out of the toilet, Caine rushed towards me for one last cuddle.
Clyde walked over too – so I assumed he wanted the same. I'm only 5ft 2ins and I bent down so Caine could rest his paws on my shoulders.
But as I did so, Clyde jumped up at me. Before I could move away, I saw his huge mouth open wide as it came towards my face.
His teeth caught hold of my face – grabbing from my forehead right down to my chin.
I screamed as loud as I could and, startled, he let go. But by then, the horrific damage had been done.
And as I put my hands to my face, I was aware of a huge hole where my nose had been
There was blood everywhere and Clyde kept circling me – but Caine stood protectively in between us.
Hearing my screams, my friends rushed into the room.
My eyes were blurred by all the blood gushing from my face.
And as I put my hands to my face, I was aware of a huge hole where my nose had been.
Panicked, I screamed at my friends to find my nose so we could put it on ice.
Then I staggered towards the kitchen, feeling like I was going to collapse.
I thought I was going to die, but my friends tried to reassure me I would pull through.
My injuries were so severe I was airlifted to St Vincent's Hospital, Indianapolis, where doctors were waiting to rush me into theatre.
Because I'd been drinking, they couldn't put me under general anaesthetic for my emergency surgery, which made me panic more.
In the end, they restrained me and I was put in a drug induced coma after the surgery – to calm me and allow my body to start healing.
I wished I was dead. I couldn’t begin to imagine what life was going to be like for me – I thought my life was over
Two days later, I woke to find my sister Rachel, 35, standing over me.
It was such a relief to see her and realise I had survived the dog attack.
But the doctors had some awful news – they couldn’t reattach my nose because they couldn’t get the blood flow to it.
They said they had repaired my face as best they could. I was just devastated and it took me a while to understand the enormity of what had happened to me.
For days, my head was covered in bandages and I had to eat pureed food – because my gums were mangled and teeth were gone.
In short, I was a complete mess. I felt so ugly and disfigured, I still had a big hole in my face.
A week later, looking back at pictures of my once pretty features, I broke down in tears.
In that moment, I wished I was dead. I couldn’t begin to imagine what life was going to be like for me – I thought my life was over.
The last two years have been very hard – people looking at me in the street in horror, seven reconstructive surgeries
The doctors told me expert surgeries would help me look somewhat normal again, but at that point I didn't believe them.
I couldn’t see past the hole in my face and I felt so depressed – I didn’t want to see anyone.
It was the worst pain I'd felt in my life. But somehow, I found the will to live.
Gradually, I gained my strength back and got used to cleaning my wounds every day – to prevent dangerous infections.
For months I barely left the house. Understandably, I struggled with dogs and my own two noticed a change, but they were still constantly cuddling me.
The last two years have been very hard – people looking at me in the street in horror, seven reconstructive surgeries and the feeling I would never be the same.
One time, in a supermarket, a woman asked me “how can you go out looking like that?”
On another occasion, a man told me I was “disgusting.”
I don't mind when kids stare, but when it's adults they should know better.
DANGEROUS DOGS ACT
Dog fighting has been illegal in this country for nearly 200 years, but it still goes on.
In 1991, the government introduced the Dangerous Dogs Act to try and stamp it out.
They banned pit bull terriers, as well as the Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero.
If you own a banned dog, the police can take it off you, even if it's well behaved and no-one's complained.
But there are some exceptions.
If you can prove your dog's safe, despite it being a banned breed, then you can get a certificate of exemption.
You will have to neuter, microchip and keep your dog muzzled and on a lead while out in public.
Owners of exempt dogs also need special insurance, in case their pet injures another person.
At first, I kept quiet when people were rude, because I felt so hideous and understood why people would be shocked.
But now I get mad and answer back – it's embarrassing and incredibly hurtful.
For a long time, I felt like an outcast.
Yet to my dogs, I was the same person. I don't know how I would have got through it without them.
I decided not to press charges against my friend, but I've cut contact with him.
Clyde was in quarantine for 10 days, as is protocol where I live, and then released.
I didn’t want him put to sleep – he was a good dog who I think lashed out because he was jealous of the attention I was giving to Caine.
Looking back, any dog could have done the same and I don’t blame him for it. It was one of those things.
I had a lot of counselling to come to terms with what happened.
But in the end, it was the love of my dogs Mo and Chevy that saved me.
They still needed me to be the person I was before. I had an obligation to get up in the morning and look after them.
Without them, I might have stayed in bed all day, depressed. My dogs gave me a purpose. I feel like they rescued me from myself.
I work in a pet store now and I love it. I’ve also had the best surgeons, who have done a great job in repairing my face.
I’m happy in my own skin now and more confident than I have ever been.
Earlier this week, we spoke to a woman who had her first ever funeral when her baby daughter died.
Gabrielle is fundraising for her surgery, you can donate here.
Source: Read Full Article