Boy Who Survived Gruesome Dog Attack Gets Dream Trip Disney World
Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation
In November 2015, Brittany Wells and her 22-month-old toddler, Ryder, spent Thanksgiving at a friend's house in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her friend had a Rottweiler named Quinn, and there was another Rottweiler named Grace that was visiting at the time. Neither of the dogs had never previously shown any signs of aggression and seemed to enjoy licking the baby boy. But on the Friday morning after Thanksgiving, Brittany was unnerved by the fact that she couldn't hear her son playing in the hallway anymore.
"Quiet is never good," she told ABC News.
When she stepped into the backyard, she saw what every parent dreads: her son was lying on the ground, completely motionless. When she ran up to him, she found that he was, thankfully, alive, but had suffered brutal injuries to his face. While the dogs weren't around at that point, the belief is that he had crawled outside to play with them and ended up being attacked instead. Both of the dogs have since been euthanized.
"It is replayed like a broken record in my head, what I could have done, what I didn't do," Brittany said.
Ryder was taken to the hospital, where it became clear that his injuries were severe and would last well into adulthood. According to his GoFundMe page, Ryder "had a total of 40 some surgeries totaling over 70 hours in the operating room" and lost "75 percent of his lips as well as his bottom eyelid," among other things.
But today, over three years later, Ryder is finally getting some great news. Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina is sending the little boy and his family to Disney World next week to celebrate his fifth birthday.
For Ryder, it's a wonderful treat after years of struggle and hospital visits.
"This is a chance for them to celebrate all that he has overcome, and have time away from doctor's appointments, hospital visits, needles, all the painful and not great stuff, to just relax and spend time as a family," Laura Jasmine, the Senior Wish Coordinator of this branch of the foundation, told ABC News.
"We are extremely grateful and appreciative super, super, super, super, excited," Brittany said. "It doesn't feel real yet."
"[Ryder] almost lost his life," Brittany added. "But he completely lost the left side of his face, along with many other injuries, and so over the past three years, we've completely worked on reconstructing his face and getting his skin back on…We still have a lot to repair in the cheek and we will address that in July. But we are just going to let Ryder be Ryder and get the good break that I'm ready for and I know he is, too."
For another story about resilience that will lift your heart, see here for the tremendous, heartwarming tale of "Batkid"—the little boy who saved San Francisco and then beat cancer.
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