Woman’s face ripped off in dog attack as her own pooch turned on her during walk

A woman had her face ripped off in vicious dog attack leaving surgeons having to reattach her nose and lips.

Rebecca Oelker took her two blue heeler dogs, Maverick and Apollo, out for a walk on a seemingly normal morning in January.

She noticed Maverick was acting different, not listening to her and growling.

The 24-year-old, who works for the military police, tried to take hold of his collar to encourage him to sit, but then he turned on her and attacked.

“He bit my hands, arms, and managed to knock me over, which was when he managed to get at my face and rip my upper lip and most of my nose almost completely off,” she said.

“He came after me about three or four times, and I thought I was going to die.”

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Rebecca said: “I managed to get on the phone to my partner, Stuart, who was at work at the time, and he told me to get upstairs, away from the dogs.

“I was in the tub when the paramedics arrived. I was admitted to surgery about two hours after they got me.

“Luckily, I had an amazing plastic surgeon, who was able to reattach everything.

“I was in the hospital for a week, with severe swelling to my face, and nerve damage to my hands and arms so bad that I couldn’t hold a cup or feed myself.”

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Surgeons had to give him more than 100 stitches to reattach her lips and nose to her face.

She suffered severe swelling to her face, and has lost sensation in her nose and upper lips.

Rebecca, from Connecticut, US, said: “I still have a decent amount of swelling on my face, and no feeling in my nose or upper lip.

“My surgeon thinks that will come back eventually, but only time will tell.”

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Rebecca went on: “It’s changed my perspective of life, of death, and of how quickly everything can change in a heartbeat.

“It’s been a slow process, but I’ve tried to give myself peace and love and let myself take as much time as I need to get back to ‘normal’.

“All in all, I feel pretty good. I’ve connected with so many people who have been attacked, and it’s shown me a side of things I wouldn’t have been exposed to otherwise, so it’s not all bad.”

She decided to speak out after talking to other dog attack survivors who said they felt isolated due to their injuries.

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Maverick had to put down, but Rebecca still loves her other dog Apollo.

She said: “I met death and she said, ‘Not today’. So, my point is this; if you are alive, right now, reading this, there’s a reason. You were put here for a purpose and you’ll be here until it is fulfilled.

“But when your last moment on this planet comes, just know that there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. I know you might not believe me, but it’s the truth.

“I have so much to be thankful for. For my life, my will. For every person who has crossed my path in the last month and shown me kindness and compassion. For my surgeon and all those nurses.”

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Rebecca added: “For Stuart, who literally spoonfed me my meds for a week and dripped water into my mouth when the nerve damage kept me from being able to hold a cup. And for a dog who reminds me every day that most boys are good boys.

“I’ve been put on a road I wasn’t expecting, and I have no idea where it’s going to lead, but I am ready to embrace it and whatever it brings.

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“I want people who have been victims of dog attacks, and who may feel alone, to know that they’re not alone. It’s an incredibly common thing, and it affects hundreds every year.

“I want people to know there is hope, and healing, and a community of others who understand exactly what it feels like to go through something like that.

“I hope I can convey even a portion of that throughout all of this.”

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