It all started the end of June 2008. It was a awesome Sunday. Eric and I decided to do yard work, while the girls (our pups Lucy and Penny) played in the yard. We had just gotten started when Eric and I heard the girls barking at the fence. Penny's bark soon turned into a high pitch yelp, cry. She was bit by the neighbor dog through the slats of our white picket fence. Eric ran over to the fence a started yelling, "Oh my God, my dog, my dog". The neighbor dog was continuously biting Penny through the fence, not letting her go for a second. I was horrified. I swore her whole head was going to pop off because of the force he was biting and shaking her.(At this time she was 11 months old). I was screaming bloody murder. The neighbor lady's friend was watching the house, and he came up to the dog and was trying to pull him off of Penny, causing him to bite and pull harder. A neighbor heard my screams for help and all the noise, and jumped over three fences to help. He put the dog in a headlock and was the beating the dog in the face - still the dog continued to bite through Penny's nose. All of sudden - Penny was gone, through our picket fence she went. The dog actually pulled her through the slats of our fence. Eric jumped over the fence, trying to save Penny. Meanwhile, three big men were still laying on top of the dog trying to make him release his death bit. Finally, he let go of Penny to go after the neighbor who jumped over the fences. The man watching our neighbors house picked Penny up and placed her on our side of the fence. She was with it. She ran immediately to the back door. All I remember is Eric saying get a blanket and don't look, just don't look. I had to look - she was whimpering at the back door, blood running down her nose with a hole in it. Eric scooped her up and raced her to the emergency vet in Indiana, singing "Penny Lane" (by the Beatles, in which she was named after) the whole way. I was in shock - pissed but in total shock. I called my parents (who live in the same town) told them what happened and immediately they were on their way over to take me to the vet. I have never shook so hard in my entire life.
When I finally arrived at the vets office, Penny was already taken back and being worked on. Eric told me the doctor compared her bite to a humans broken nose. Little did we know 10 minutes later we would get different news. I was sitting there, crying, scared, and unsure of what was going to happen to my puppy. I felt so out of control. All of a sudden the doctor called the "parents" of Penny Lane back into the OR. We got back there and I wish no one will ever have to see what I saw. Penny was laying there, with tubes through her mouth and was limper then a wet noodle. The tubes going through her mouth, you could see from the holes in her nose. The doctor informed us that the injury was way worse then she thought it was. The neighbor dog actually bit straight through Penny's nose, into her mouth and broke through the upper pallet of her mouth. She was in bad shape. That's when the doctor asked the unthinkable question: "Should I keep working on her?" I was in shock the seconds those awful words came out of her mouth. Eric and I looked at each other for a second and he said, "Do whatever you have to!" We left the OR and went outside to sit on the curb and talk. We both said, we made the right decision. There was nothing else wrong with her. Her heart, brain, eyes were all fine. It was just her nose and mouth - and we prayed those could be repaired. After Penny's repair surgery the doctor informed us that she did all she could do and she felt she would need to go to a specialist to get further treatment. She said, we could pick her up tomorrow morning at 7am.
When we picked her up the next morning, she was so swollen. She had gauze bandages over her nose. I had been preparing all morning for what I was going to see. As soon as Penny saw us, she slowly wagged her tail. It made me breathe a sigh of relief. We decided to take her to our normal, everyday vet. As soon as they saw her - they said, there was nothing they could do here for her. They wouldn't even touch her. We asked, where we should take her. They recommended the VCA animal hospital in Aurora, which is a good 45 minutes (without traffic) from our house. We said thank you and started on our journey.
We called the VCA animal hospital while we were driving to let them know we were coming and what they should expect when we got there. Thankful we got there in under 45 minutes (thanks to Eric's quick driving and no traffic). We walked in, told them who we were, and seconds later a vet nurse was whisking Penny back to the ICU. We were in awe at how this "vet" hospital looked and acted like a REAL hospital. We filled out all the necessary paper work and as soon as we were done, our name was being called. The main trauma doctor took us into a examination room and told us what the plan was. They said the surgery Penny had done at the ER vet, was done extremely well. They were going to watch her, and have a few more doctors/surgeons look at her before they make their decision on how to treat her. They said we could go back to the ICU to be with her for a few minutes. That made me happy.
We walked back there and to my surprise it was so nice. There were a few cages but majority of the dogs were on the floor, laying on pillows and blankets. It was so reassuring. Penny was on a table - again when she saw us, her little tail wagged. I pet her and she peed. Everyone was excited because peeing meant everything internally was still working well. She was going to be seen by a few more trauma doctors in a bit so we decided to get some lunch while we waited. That was the longest 30 minutes in my life.We got back there, signed it and the main trauma doctor came out with a big smile on her face. She said they all agreed that they were not going to do any additional surgeries. They felt, with Penny being so young and with the surgery she had, everything would eventually (very slowly) fuse back into place! We were thrilled. Penny had to remain in the ICU for awhile longer. We said our goodbyes and headed home.
We were home for a little bit and we wanted to inform the ER vet what they trauma doctors said. She didn't agree at all. We were in shock. She felt Penny need a plate to hold it all together. We called the VCA animal hospital, told the main trauma doctor what was discussed. She said she would get back to use shortly. We got a call back about 3 hours later. The main trauma doctor said she called a board meeting (with all the main, head doctors from the hospital) and they ALL decided no other surgery would be needed, that she would heal on her own because of her age and the surgery she already had! We felt such a huge relief and were overjoyed!
We were able to bring our "shaved head" Penny home 3 days later. She had to wear a plastic cone, a gauze muzzle that we had to make every few days when the one she was wearing got dirty. She had to have soft food, mixed with water so she could drink it up. It was the hardest 8 weeks of our lives but we were so happy to have Penny Lane home with us! I swear this made us stronger as future parents.
Penny Lane - 2 months after the attack
Today she is a happy, healthy, some what toothless pup! She will be 3 years old, this July! Her scar has healed perfectly, you can barely tell it's there! With certain dog foods, she needs it watered down (so it gets mush, which is easier for her to eat.) She doesn't play with dog toys but that is understandable! She is full of life and LOVES being outside! She could spend hours on end out there! She is still very cautious of other dogs, especially ones behind a fence!
Stay tuned for the story of "The Neighbor" (the neighbor with the dog that attacked Penny) - she's a B***h with a capital "B"!