the dog bite: one year later

The end of June marked one year since Kaya was bitten by our dog, Jax.

I try not to dwell on unfortunate events, but this was our first major emergency with one of our children, and it wasn’t just an accident- it was a traumatic, vicious situation. Naturally, as we approached the anniversary of the day, I’ve been silently evaluating how we’re all doing one year later.

My biggest concerns afterward were Kaya’s physical and emotional healing.

Honestly, for a time, I feared that her face would never look the same. We were originally most concerned that she would develop an infection behind her eye, which would have had permanent implications. The plastic surgeon also warned us that because the muscle in her forehead was split open, it could leave a large gap there as she grows.

 (2.5 months after the bite)_MG_9010

The gap was evident for a few months, but now it appears to be almost completely healed. Her plastic surgeon was the best we could have hoped for, and we were diligent about following his care instructions. We kept silicone sheeting on the scar for months afterward, per his recommendation. We also used some frankincense essential oil that Michael’s cousin, Nicole, sent to us, for almost the entire year.

The scar on her head has now faded to a whitish-gray, and if you didn’t know what happened, you might not even notice it. She has healed better than I could have ever imagined.


Kaya’s emotional healing has also been nothing short of miraculous.

She loves animals of all sorts- especially dogs. That’s not to say that she doesn’t remember what happened to her- in fact, she still frequently mentions how we don’t have Jax anymore because “he bit Peeky”.

For a few months after her bite, she would describe to me in detail how there was a lot of “red” (blood) on her face afterward, and she sometimes would inspect her scar in the mirror. I know she’s young and most likely will forget the specifics of the situation, but she has overcome what could have been a lifelong fear. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for that, and take pride in my baby for being so resilient._MG_7820

Following the incident, fear gripped me.

I had some intense thoughts. These were things I never would have imagined thinking before.

Why would anyone allow an animal, with a mouth full of what could be considered weapons, live in their home? How crazy is all of mankind to think that sharing our habitations with dogs is a good idea?_MG_4618 But people do allow dogs into their lives and their living spaces, because they are so much more than fur and teeth and bones.

They are a soft place to lay your head when you’re tired.Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset

Velvety ears to listen to your worries and sorrows when no one else is there.

A comforting furry body to bury your face into when you need just need a hug.

Instant and pure happiness over the simplest things.

Forever loyalty and devoted love.

I miss all of those things. I crave all of those things, and when I’m around other good dogs, my heart gets a bout of puppy-fever. When I see how much my children love dogs, I want to give them that special relationship that can only form with a furry four-legged friend.

It’s been an emotional, tearful year when reflecting on this event, but I’m a little less afraid now. I’m grateful for all the positive interactions my children have had with friends’ and family members’ dogs recently. I will forever be extra vigilant and cautious when exposing my children to animals, but I still feel like the benefits of having a dog outweigh the potential risks.

I’m sure that one day, we will try again. We’ll be the safest and most educated we can be before we welcome another dog into our family, but the reality is, any dog could do what Jax did in any instant. No animal should be blindly trusted.

I’m grateful for all the tender mercies and blessings we received during the incident and in the months following. Kaya surely had some angels looking out for her.

jax is gone

I know the blog has been pretty heavy with emotion this week, with all these posts about Kaya’s dog bite. This will be the last one, at least for now.

I just keep thinking that if I finish writing all this, it’ll be easier to keep moving forward.

So… the question that everyone wants to know the answer to: where is Jax?_MG_1760

The day after the bite, we drove him back down to the Bedford Humane Society, where we originally adopted him two years ago. They are a no-kill shelter and promised they would always take him back. He at least has a chance at a new life in a home without children. If we had just turned him over to animal control, a happy ending would have been far-fetched.

We tried to do the right thing for him and for us.

He was never an aggressive dog. Everyone loved and trusted him. The only way I could have imagined the incident happening is that he was asleep, was somehow startled, and thought he needed to defend himself. One week after it happened, Kaya indeed told me that Jax was asleep, she hugged him, and then he bit her.

He made a serious mistake that could have easily been repeated, and there is no way I could risk that with my precious children.

He was a part of the family, and even though he betrayed my trust and did wrong, we are definitely mourning his absence._MG_1173

Kaya asks about him every single day. She still loved him when we said goodbye. I was too angry at the time to even say anything to him.

Now there’s less anger and mostly just sadness.

I lost my running partner. My cuddle buddy. My shadow. My pal.

It hurts to think that I’ll never see him romp through the snow again, give him an empty jar of peanut butter to lick clean, or invite him up onto the bed to snuggle for a nap.

I can only hope he finds those joys with someone else now.

The house is quieter. Lonelier.

I wanted my children to grow up with a dog, and now I don’t know if they ever will. I don’t know what animal I can trust after all this.

Goodbye, Jax. I’m so sad it had to end this way between us._MG_4061

the dog bite story

I wish I didn’t even have to share a blog post with that title.

But this blog is my family’s history, so here it is. Kaya is healing nicely, but my emotions are still raw from what happened last Tuesday. Looking at these pictures still completely breaks my heart.

I am including a picture of the open wound and details about the injury, so if you don’t handle that kind of thing very well, you might want to skip this post.

It was a pretty normal day. Both kids seemed a little extra tired and cranky, so instead of heading out for a walk or going to the pool like we do on most mornings, we stayed at home.

Kaya asked to eat lunch early that day. She sat up in the high chair, happily singing and eating while I did some dishes and the baby played with Tupperware containers at my feet. She finished her meal pretty quickly, so I helped her down and she kept singing and dancing in the kitchen while I continued to clean up.

She left my side for what had to have been less than a minute. I heard her singing in the living room, and then I heard it.

It wasn’t even a full growl. Just a soft noise that was definitely from the dog.

And then Kaya was screaming.


We ran to each other as blood started pouring down her face and onto the kitchen floor.

I couldn’t believe it. Jax bit Kaya.

I scooped her up and ran into the bathroom.

Do I call 911? There’s blood everywhere. My baby is bleeding. 911? No, it’s her head, she’ll be okay. We can drive her to the hospital ourselves. Call Michael.

I sat her up on the sink counter and attempted to call Daddy. My hands couldn’t do it. What were the right buttons? Blood was splattering everywhere… Her clothes. My shirt. The phone. The counter. The floor… We were covered.

I moved her to the tub and stripped her down. I think it was at this moment that I realized Jax was still loose, so I yelled at him to get in his kennel. I slammed the cage door and screamed louder than I ever have in my life.

Kaelyn was screaming and scooting herself down the hallway to get to us. She definitely sensed our fright.

I was washing the blood off her face and trying to get the laceration on her forehead to stop bleeding. I should have applied more pressure to it from the start, but in my panic I feel like my brain wasn’t really working. I put pressure on it then, cleaned it with some hydrogen peroxide, and somehow managed to get Michael on the phone. We couldn’t even hear each other because of all the screaming and crying, but I somehow managed to text him and he headed home right away. This happened right around noon, so he was able to get a ride with someone who was going out for lunch. He normally takes the bus, so it was a big tender mercy that he was able to get home quickly.

I wrapped her up in just a towel and held her in my arms until Michael came through the door. Every time she cried, more blood would rush out.

She was so relieved when Daddy was there to snuggle her.

Our friend Alayna was able to come over and stay with Kaelyn while we took care of Kaya. We called the urgent care clinic covered by our insurance, and they told us to bring her down to see if they could take care of it without us having to go to the emergency room. They cleaned her up a bit, but the verdict was that she would need to go to the hospital to get her stitches.

While we were there, I noticed a text message from a friend at church- her husband was working up in the ER that day, and she suggested that we ask to see him. He has a background with plastics and stitches, so we headed over there and did just that.

It was another tender mercy- our church friend was getting on his shift right as we were arriving at the hospital.

He took great care of Kaya, as if she were his own daughter, and referred us to the plastic surgeon. I am so grateful. We were put in the very best place we could be in the very bad situation we were in.

We packed our little girl up in the car one more time and headed over to the plastic surgeon to finally get those stitches. She was so utterly exhausted by this point.

The plastic surgeon took us in the back as soon as we walked in. He strongly suggested that we leave the room so that Kaya might not resist as much while they were trying to stitch her up. We did, and we heard her fighting tooth and nail the entire time she was gone. They wrapped her up like she was in a cocoon and one nurse held her in her lap for the stitches. All we could hear was screaming and crying and “Daddddddy” and “Mommmmmmmy”. My poor baby was such a trooper.

The doctor told us that the laceration on her forehead was down to the bone, and he was worried that the punctures around her eye could cause an internal infection. He prescribed an eye ointment and an antibiotic._MG_8114

We camped out in her room for a couple of nights so she wouldn’t have to be alone. Anything for this little girl.

I feel like I love her 100 times more than I already did since all this happened. I’m so grateful for all the tender mercies we received that day and in the days after. We have definitely seen the hand of God through all this.

She has been healing so well, with no sign of infection.dogbitehealingkaya

On Monday, she had her stitches removed. We celebrated with ice cream, and she was the happiest girl in the world. We do have to keep steri-strips, followed by tape, on it for another 5 weeks or so. I’m so happy to see both of her bright, beautiful eyes open again!Thank you to everyone who has offered prayers, love, and support. It’s meant the world to our little family.

my dog bit my baby

Yesterday afternoon, my dog bit my baby.

It happened in an instant, with a dog everyone trusted.

I’m still in shock that this really occurred.

She has a bone-deep laceration on her forehead and multiple puncture wounds on her eyelid. He just barely missed her eye.

It could have been so much worse._MG_8124 My heart is broken for my sweet girl…and the dog. I think I’ve felt just about the whole spectrum of emotions this past day and a half, from guilt to sadness to anger… and I’m certain the emotional roller coaster isn’t over yet.
However, we’ve seen so many tender mercies and blessings from the Lord through this. We know He loves us. We’ve been surrounded by family and friends who truly love our family, too.

She is going to heal. She didn’t lose her eye. She is still here with us.

I am so grateful.

We are so blessed.

cookin’ out with karl

We got to see my brother this past weekend! He brought Kaitlyn over too, of course, and we had a great cookout. They really enjoyed seeing the babies!_MG_7823 We tried some grilled chicken (using this recipe). I am so picky about my meat that I barely tried it, but everyone else said it was great. Even Kaya ate a ton of it, so it must have at least been decent! Michael is awesome for manning the grill, as always._MG_7818 We also enjoyed some corn, barbecued beans, and cookies. Jax’s mouth was watering the entire time, as usual! He really earned a piece of chicken though, since we had a great 6.35-mile run earlier that morning._MG_7820Of course, there was some serious Mario Kart playing afterward. Hopefully we’ll see them again soon- we’re hoping to go tubing down the river later this summer. I’m looking forward to it!

five on friday! (01/30)

ONE. Our biggest news of the week has to be that little Miss Kaya is officially undergoing potty training… and it was all self-initiated! She just started asking to go sit on the potty… and keeps having success! She’s still currently wearing her diaper, but hey, we’re making progress, albeit slowly. I am so proud of my big girl! She gets a sticker on her paper every time she goes.

_MG_6227 TWO. I have finally figured out how to get Kaelyn to nap in the afternoon! I tuck her in all cozy and warm, and she sleeps for about two hours. It is so strange having a couple hours all to myself… but it’s great, and everyone is happier when the baby is well-rested! 🙂_MG_6234 THREE. In my attempt to stop eating cookie dough in the middle of the afternoon, I’ve started having yogurts. These cookies-n-creme yogurts might not be much healthier than ooey gooey chocolate chip cookies… but hey, they taste amazing (and who could pass up a 35-cent snack?)!_MG_6231 FOUR. I’ve been wishing for a bigger crockpot for ages now, and I saw a deal on one last weekend on Amazon. I got excited, but like always, I hesitated to order it, because I truly don’t like spending money (especially for something I want). Michael went ahead and just ordered it for me, and it came this week. I married a pretty great guy… and I can’t wait to use this for making homemade “rotisserie” chicken! (also, is there anything cuter than a baby in a box?)_MG_6221 FIVE. Love these little buddies. They are best friends, and I’m grateful for their company in the kitchen while I cook. (and yes, Jax is always lurking in the background… haha!)_MG_6208Happy weekend to you all!

Linking up with Natasha, April, Christina, and Darci today!

friday favorites (10/10)

Happy Friday! As usual, here are some of the best moments from our crazy little family this week! 🙂

This sweet girl will always make my favorites list. Of course! How could she not, with that gummy smile and her bright eyes? All of a sudden, her cheeks seem a lot chubbier and her tummy pokes out (which makes it even more tempting to tickle her)!kaelyncollage10102014 - CopyIt’s been cooling off and feeling a little more like fall, and cuddling up with my baby and taking a nap has happened a couple times this week. I’ll snuggle this sweet face to sleep any day.Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset

Katherine hosted our play date this week, and she turned it into a Halloween cookie-decorating party for the kids! We had so much fun and actually made way less of a mess than I expected we would with little hands in frosting and sprinkles!
Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetI did the frosting, and then Kaya put all the candies and marshmallows on by herself! I have to say, I’m impressed. I was also amazed that she didn’t eat any of the decorations while we were doing it!
Processed with VSCOcam with a5 presetSpeaking of eating, I made fajitas for the first time ever this week and they were so easy and amazing! Here’s the recipe if you want to try it (and believe me, you do).Processed with VSCOcam with a9 presetIt wouldn’t be a true Friday Favorites post without my dog doing something goofy… so here’s all 31 pounds of him, squished into a Build-a-Bear toy bed. There is nothing he won’t try to snuggle with!Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Happy weekend!

five on friday: a bookworm, friends, and a confused dog

ONE. I’ve had a little bookworm on my hands this week! She carries these books all over the house, puts them into piles, and sits and “reads” them. I’m so glad she has such a love for books! I’m hoping to get her some French stories soon, too._MG_4020 _MG_4021 TWO. I am so blessed to have so many great friends! We’ve been talking about taking a picture all together for a while now, and this week, we finally did it. I’m so glad we did! Katherine and I started these play dates when Kaya and Mia were just tiny little things… and we’ve watched our group grow in numbers, grow as mothers, and even grow more pregnant bellies! _MG_4042 THREE. This baby. This BABY! Seriously. She gets more beautiful by the day. She’s also chatting us up like crazy lately and it is so easy to get a smile out of her._MG_4067 _MG_4068 Also, please notice all the drool! Call me crazy, but I keep feeling around her mouth for tooth buds- Kaya got her first tooth at barely three months old, so I’m on the lookout! She also hasn’t been sleeping very well and has been nursing a ton…_MG_4076 I know I already shared about five million pictures of her in this post alone, but I just couldn’t pass up showing you her gorgeous Sunday dress! 🙂_MG_3978 FOUR. I think we’re getting close to potty-training… and I’m honestly not sure I’m ready for all that it entails! Kaya sits on her toy makeup mirror and pretends it’s a potty (and apparently you have to pull your shirt up over your belly when you’re on the toilet?)! She’s showing some other pretty big signs of being ready, too… so we might just have to start trying soon._MG_4085 FIVE. My dog sleeps in a cat-like position. He also still sneaks crayons as a snack when we’re not looking. Weirdo._MG_4055Happy Friday!!!

happy 2nd birthday jax!

wpid-wp-1409531847957.jpegDear Jax,

Today is your second birthday! Of course, we don’t know your actual birthday, but this is the day the animal shelter chose to write on your records, and we’ve stuck with it.

You’re probably thinking it’s the best day of your life, since you enjoyed eating the fat trimmings off a piece of steak and licking the empty peanut butter jar. I’m not sure it gets much better than that when you’re a dog.

We brought you home 15 months ago now. Before we lost Maggie, I always had the thought that she’d pass away at a time that another animal would need us. I found you on Petfinder, and when we met you for the first time, I just knew you had a good heart. You’ve proven that time and time again, especially in your role as “big brother” to two crazy little girls._MG_3420

Jax, you’re the best dog our family could have ever hoped to find. You’ve had your share of struggles while adjusting to living with us, but all in all, you’re a good boy.

You live to run and always get excited when you see me putting on my shorts and lacing up my running shoes.

You’re the best cuddler. There were so many days in the beginning of my pregnancy where I was sick and exhausted, and having you curled up in the crook of my leg while I slept was just what I needed. When my back would ache, you would lay behind me in just the right place. How is it that dogs just seem to know?wpid-photogrid_1409535276157.jpg

We love your energy and sweet spirit. You’re wild at times (even running for an hour doesn’t wear you out), but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

You’re a good dog. Happy birthday! 🙂

weekend scenes

Our weekend started off with a dreary, rainy Friday. We didn’t even leave the house after Michael got home, but that didn’t mean that Kaya had to miss out on any fun…_MG_3464Kaya loves pretending that anything and everything is a slide, so Michael had the idea to take one of our folding tables out of the craft room and let her go down it. This might’ve been the best day of her life (minus any day she gets to share Daddy’s Reese’s)! I know we’re supposed to be responsible adults now that we’re parents… but hey, it’s so much more fun to stay a kid!_MG_3463We tried out these pepperoni rolls for dinner… Mmm!
Processed with VSCOcam with a4 presetSaturday afternoon, we went to visit Ben and Brittany and their sweet new baby, Caroline, at the hospital! I had the privilege of taking a few photos for them. Here’s one of my favorites:
_MG_3506 Sunday morning was church, of course, and then we came home with the hope that we’d all nap._MG_3541

I think Jax gets more sleep than anyone in the house right now. He’s also a nursing-pillow thief.Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset I skipped napping and instead made homemade French bread. It was my first time doing it, and I have to say, it was super easy and turned out great!Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 presetIt was a fast, fun weekend. Happy Monday everyone!