While baking chocolate chip cookies, I heard a knock on our door. My neighbor told me to quickly grab my handbag. I didn’t have to ask. I knew something had happened to our six year old son. When I got to the cul de sac, my son was there with his entire forehead ripped open with a blood- covered face and head. I didn’t want to alarm him, so I walked up to him and gently held him.
Meanwhile, I heard the story while we waited for the ambulance. My neighbor told me that a stray dog had been playing with all the children. When they left, the dog suddenly attacked my son when he had tried to pet him. To protect himself, he fell face down on the ground while covering his face, but the dog was in for the kill. Fortunately, a ninety-eight year old friend saw all of this from his old hacienda. Although he was housebound, he took his cane, miraculously limped to the site, and beat the dog with whatever force his very broken and aged body had left. This was a WWl veteran’s last fight.
An ambulance, fire truck, police car and helicopter, and neighbors all came to the rescue. Our son was screaming while pointing, ‘dog!’ The same dog had returned, and was right behind me just watching us. As a neighbor ran to get his gun, the dog ran away.
When the ambulance arrived, my son became even more hysterical. He kept screaming, ‘no ambulance, no gas mask.’ Since he refused to get into the ambulance, a good friend got her car and drove us to the hospital. She had the foresight to bring a compress. Head wounds bleed profusely. All the way to the hospital he kept saying, “Don’t leave me, mommy. Don’t leave me.” So when the plastic surgeon finally arrived and told me I couldn’t go into the room, we had a Mexican stand-off. “Nothing is happening without me because I promised him. Our son, whom we adopted as a baby, has always been fragile so he is not going into that room without me.” Mom prevailed.
The doctors said, “You better not faint on us.”
I held our son’s hand as the doctor used over a hundred stitches. He was semi-conscious the entire time with a sort of twilight injection. My husband finally arrived from downtown Los Angeles, and asked if I wanted him to take over. His face went completely white when he saw his son with his head caked with blood. I said no. He looked relieved as he left the room. I remained calm.
When we took our son home, we put pillows and blankets on the floor and put the television on to distract him as we lay there with him. All of a sudden, I ran out of the room into our bedroom and sobbed uncontrollably. At first my husband couldn’t understand because we were all home safe. And then he understood and just held me.
That was the most difficult thing I have ever watched to this day.