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Kaylin's Story  by Valerie Roberson

Kaylin then and now

I remember Kaylin taking a “break” from her puzzle activities to be with “Percy” who was resting quietly on the floor. Kaylin remembers crouching on the floor with Percy and rubbing his ears. As Kaylin describes, she noticed Percy slowly looked up at her as she began to stare him in the eyes. Perhaps for a 9 year old, she innocently wondered if he liked her painted face. She noticed his upper lip started to quiver, though more curious than scared, she wondered what he was doing. Circumstances to follow I can never erase; sometimes I can close my eyes and still hear Percy’s breathing. Percy was a 109lb black lab and Kaylin was 59lb, I saw him lunge. At that time I had no idea what depth Percy’s attack would ensue. I remember him tossing Kaylin about from side to side. There was no sound from Kaylin. The only sound in the room was that of my father in law and me yelling help. As Percy continued to toss Kaylin about I remember, albeit gruesome, the wetness on the floor, myself and my father in law who at this time was attempting to pry Percy’s jaws apart. We were notably unsuccessful. I vividly remember Percy breathing with darkness in his growl. It’s surprising the things that run through your mind, looking for things in the living room to aid our attempt in getting him to release Kaylin from his grip. What seemed like a lifetime, my father in law was able to finally separate Percy’s jaws from Kaylin’s body, which lifelessly fell face first to the blood spattered floor. I quickly noted that she had massive facial lacerations encompassing her upper right lip, her left eye lid as well as her left arm. My father in law promptly provided me a rag packed with ice which Kaylin allowed me to hold snuggly against her face as I scooped her up and cradled her yelling for someone to call 911. Realizing our location and the time required for emergency services to arrive I asked my father in law can you drive us? My mother in law sat silent as I look back now probably unable to process the events of moments prior. My older daughter, Shelby, walked in circles, rambling and crying as she witnessed the entire event.

Kaylin remained silent the majority of the ride, intermittently moaning voicing concern that something was wrong with her eye, that she couldn’t see. She said, “My lip feels funny”. As my father in law continued plugging down the road, the words that still haunt me like a bad echo, were, “Mommy, you’re not going to let me die are you?” Bill, over hearing let out a gasp and I swiftly responded, “No, mommy is right here.” Cradling Kaylin, I ran to the ED entrance door where I was greeted by a police officer who asked has she been shot. I said, “No, attacked by a dog.” The medical staff swiftly took over as I paced frantically outside in the hallway of the ED bay. The next several hours blurred as the ED physician began to lay out a progressive plan of care for Kaylin which included triage, intravenous access, radiographic procedures, medications and the looming reality of how to reconstruct Kaylin’s face. Her injuries were severe with multiple lacerations to both sides of her face as long as 15cm in length. Graphically speaking Kaylin’s right upper lip was hanging via one fissure of tissue that would hopefully allow adequate blood supply for reattachment without grafting. It was completely torn from the center of her lip and hung to the side exposing all her top teeth. Kaylin’s left eye was separated at the outer canthus and she suffered a puncture wound through her peri-orbital area that by all means miraculously missed her eyeball. Kaylin’s left cheek bone was exposed by a 3cm laceration. In addition her left forearm was evaluated for a fracture as she notably had puncture wounds reflecting her attempts to guard herself during the attack. Kaylin underwent approximately 3 hours of surgical intervention requiring intubation with maintenance of life support to enable him the ability to perform extensive multilayer closure with varying suture types to provide minimal scarring.

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