Woman survives after being bitten 40 times by a dog
Warning: This article contains images that some readers may find disturbing.
Twenty-four-year-old Felicia Hambrick had recently graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in Washington when an encounter with a dog changed her life forever.
Her best friend Cassy asked Felicia to babysit her three children over a weekend in October of 2016. The two women had been friends since high school and Felicia had looked after the kids already many times.
On this particular weekend Cassy’s mom would also be there and, of course, the new family dog Roscoe. He was a recent gift to Cassy’s husband from her dad, though the family didn’t really have time for the dog and often locked it up or left it home alone.
Roscoe was fine with the kids but he’d already been unfriendly with Felicia, whom he considered a stranger. He had even bitten her once on the wrist, so whenever she was there, Roscoe was shut in a room.
After Felicia put the boys in front of the TV on that October weekend, as she was carrying the little girl into the kitchen with her, she heard something strange.
“The dog was in the bedroom. He was almost hysterical and tried to go out of the room,” she recalled. Then suddenly the door opened: “I heard him running towards me.” She had no time to react.
Roscoe leapt at her. Felicia, who’s not quite five feet tall and weighs only 115 lbs, couldn’t fight the dog off. She just tried desperately to protect Cassy’s daughter — and there at least she succeeded. “I knew he didn’t want her,” she later explained. “He was coming after me.”
Felicia herself got the full brunt of Roscoe’s attack. He bit her arms, legs, belly, and neck. Time seemed to stop. Cassy’s mother ran to the kitchen and seeing the situation, first grabbed her granddaughter and took her out to safety. Then she came back with a broom to get Roscoe off of Felicia.
“I remember it hurting so bad that I was literally screaming, ‘I just want to die. Oh God, please let me die,’" recounted Felicia.
Fortunately, a neighbor called 911 after hearing the screams. But by the time emergency personnel arrived, Felicia was so badly injured she couldn’t even stand up.
The next thing she knew, she was waking up at the hospital with between 30 and 40 dog bites. In a stroke of luck, the dog hadn’t bitten through any tendons or broken any bones. But the luck ended there.
She had to spend five days in the hospital where she received 94 staples to hold the many cuts together. Friends and family started a GoFundMe page to pay for the expensive medical treatment.
Understandably, Felicia has been having nightmares since then.
Amazingly though, Felicia didn’t hold it against Roscoe — she believes that he just wanted to protect his family. Cassy and her family naturally feel terrible. But Felicia doesn’t want them feeling bad.
She has a pretty incredible attitude about the whole traumatic ordeal: some friends suggested she get plastic surgery or tattoos to cover up her many new scars, but she wants to keep them as a testament to the experience she had. “I’m going to learn to love them,” she declared.
Watch a moving interview with Felicia here:
In a situation like this there’s no happy ending for anyone. Roscoe may have been too violent regardless. But on the other hand, he never got the chance to be part of a family that really wanted him and had time for him. He was taken away by animal control and put down. Dogs are a big responsibility and shouldn’t be treated like a toy you can put away when you don’t have time.
Cassy bears the awful burden of her guilty feeling: “If I was home, this wouldn’t have happened. She’s my best friend. Because of me, her life is forever changed.”
And Felicia has her scars and traumatic memories. But if there’s a silver lining, it’s certainly that tragedy brings out extraordinary qualities in people.
Felicia showed great courage in protecting the child in her arms and even now in the aftermath she’s demonstrating beautiful strength of character, forgiving all involved and bearing her scars as part of her truth. Impressive!