On this Thanksgiving day I would like to publicly express my infinite gratitude to the three people who came to my rescue on May 23, 2014. There was no time to call 911 that afternoon when I was attacked by a pit bull belonging to Shawn and Loreena Lemon of 215 S George St, Decatur, Michigan. My life was in immediate danger and I was helpless in the situation.
I had been traveling north toward downtown in my power wheelchair and the dog was already charging at me as I passed the Lemons’ house. When the dog reached the end of his very long tether, his collar snapped free from it and within 3 seconds he had swooped in front of me and around to my left side. As I continued at eight miles per hour down the sidewalk, the dog launched himself at me and chomped his jaws onto my left ribcage. His grip was viselike from the start.. I had to abruptly stop because the drag of the dog’s efforts to keep up with me on his hind legs was causing me excruciating pain.
The three men who came to my rescue saw the dog break free and attack. Daniel Garza was in his pick-up heading home from work. Bruce Falor was also driving from downtown. Jacob Darda was outside his nearby home.
I was not aware of any of them. There had been no traffic or pedestrians anywhere around me for several minutes and I fully believed myself to be alone and unobserved. Many thoughts clicked through my mind. My most important realization was that my lightweight, nylon-shelled, tightly quilted jacket was protecting me, and I needed the dog’s teeth to stay where that jacket was. The big question was, how long would it hold up? Every tiny move I made incited the dog to shake my ribcage with his muzzle. I had to sit motionless.
I decided to risk turning clockwise away from the dog. I turned about 140 degrees and had to stop. The dog walked along with me on his hind legs and was only increasing the already constant tightening of his jaws on my ribcage.
At this point I thought I could last under this pressure another 30 seconds, but another minute seemed doubtful. Something caught my attention six feet to my right. I carefully turned my head and saw an opaque wall of fog-like matter. It had touches of movement within it, like wisps of a gentle breeze causing swirls in the mist. It was the color of a dark grey storm cloud. I looked up, and observed that it was actually an arch that went overhead. Then I heard vehicle engines. And voices? Singing?
It was Daniel Garza honking his horn. He jumped the curb onto the sidewalk, and rammed his pick-up at the dog. The dog released me and ran ten or fifteen feet toward the back door before stopping and looking back at me. Daniel backed into the street and pulled up to my rightside. between myself and the dog. Then he maneuvered the truck, herding the dog, until the dog was directly in front of his truck. He charged at the dog and ran it up to the back deck. The instant the dog jumped onto the deck, the door opened, the dog went inside, and no one came out.
The instant the dog released me, Bruce Falor appeared where the dog had been. He was ready to fight the dog with his bare hands should it decide to attack again. When I later asked Jacob Darda what he was planning to do with his bare hands against that dog, he said, “Just like Bruce. I was going to fight it.”
We were all shaking, but there was no shortage of courage on that corner of town right then. These three brave men are my real life heroes. Without their lightening quick thinking, and instant willingness to risk their own safety, I would not be writing this letter this morning. They saved my life.
As it is I have only recently been able to write about what happened on that day and the events that followed. What I have written here is just an outline of the beginning of what has been for me a six month parade of miracles, blessings, panic attacks, and nightmares. My ribcage is not fully recovered and the long hours I have had to lie in bed while it heals have weakened me. But I have my life. I have Joy and Love and Friendship. And Showers of Blessings.
There is much more of my story to tell. I have many others to thank. And I am currently dealing with the fact that within a few weeks of the Lemons’ dog being put down on July 2, they acquired a pit bull puppy (Their previous dog’s name was “Easy”. I am referring to this new puppy as “Irony”!).
May we all have many more showers of blessings this winter than of snow!