It was the story I dreaded covering, and was thrilled to hear someone else got the assignment. A 10-year-old boy had been rushed to the hospital after being mauled by a pit bull mix and another dog. The attack was so severe, the pit bull ripped both of the boy's ears off.
It happened a month ago, and the reporter who covered the story came back talking about how sad it was. I did not listen as she told co-workers about the boy named Brandon. As a mother of two boys I couldn't imagine the horror Brandon's parents must have been feeling.
I didn't want to know anything about his injuries or the attack for fear I would burst into tears and feel horrible. Now I think, what a selfish response. This week, whether I wanted to or not, I met Brandon and his parents.
I hadn't changed my opinion about this tragedy, and sighed when I learned I'd have to do a followup on Brandon's recovery and talk with him and his parents about the day he was mauled by dogs.
What a story of survival, and I am so blessed to have met this little boy. Brandon is 11 now and an incredible inspiration. He has the most positive outlook on life and is so thankful to be alive.
His dad, Tony, told me it has changed his perspective on life and how he lives it. "I take everything and everyday as something special now. I am not taking a moment with him or anyone I love for granted," he said.
Brandon's mother, Christy, said she feels some pangs of guilt because she told Brandon to take a package next door to the neighbor's. It was the neighbor's dogs who attacked him as he was headed back home. "I just wish I had taken it myself," she said, to which Brandon looked at her shaking his head and said, "No mom. It's OK."
I am near tears writing this, but I couldn't cry as I looked at Brandon that day. He smiled at me nearly the entire time I spoke with him and his family. Even when he spoke in detail about the attack, his tireless visits with doctors, even the pain he feels daily, he didn't seem sad.
His dad told me the entire family is closer than ever before. Brandon has a brother and sister. He's the middle child. I have shared his story with my husband and son, because we all need to remember what's important in life.
It's tough to complain about your problems when you meet this happy, well adjusted boy who has been through so much. He just learned surgeons may be able to re-construct his ears, which is very important to him.
Please take the time to watch his story while the video is still on the web site.
His dad told me that God saved Brandon. In the middle of the horrific scene, Brandon's dad said, "I was beating the pit, but she wouldn't turn him loose. The other dog started attacking me from behind, and I asked God to help me. God helped me. The 2nd dog backed off of me, and my dad's Lab ran up and started biting the pit bull on the butt until she let go of Brandon. The pit turned to attack me, and I put my arm in her mouth."
This dad was able to hold that dog until police arrived, even screaming for his wife to bring electrical tape which he used to tape the dog's mouth shut. He also laid her on her side and taped her legs while paramedics worked to save his son's life.
We don't understand why tragedy strikes our lives or others around us, but I know God is always there, and we just need to ask him for help. I am thankful I was able to cover the story I dreaded.