Mom speaks about the shock of dog attacking her toddler [WARNING: Contains graphic content]

2019-05-14 15:09
Nicolette du Toit. (PHOTO: Supplied)

Nicolette du Toit. (PHOTO: Supplied)

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WARNING: Contains graphic content 

It’s been a few weeks since two-year-old Nicolette du Toit, from Rustenburg, North West, was bitten in the face by her granddad’s Staffordshire terrier.

Though the toddler is on the road to recovery, her little face is still shocking to see.

Both her eyes are bruised and her upper lip and tongue were ripped in two when the male staffie, which had been in the family for years, bit her.

But when we speak to Nicolette’s mom, Lize-Mari (25), she sounds calm and collected. As far as she’s concerned, the worst of it is over and her little Nieks, as she calls her, will be okay.

“I was less than 4m from her when it happened. I got such a fright,” Lize-Mari tells us.

“I think she’s still in a bit of pain but at least she’s walking around, chatting to us and eating,” she says.

Doctors had to remove two of Nicolette’s upper teeth which had been loosened in the attack. Her eyes, jaw, nose and gums are still badly bruised.

Nicolette du Toit. (PHOTO: Supplied)

(Supplied)

“We’ll only really be able to determine the extent of the damage once the swelling has come down but we believe and trust that she’ll make a full recovery. If necessary, we’ll also consider plastic surgery.”

Lize-Mari says she and her two children had been visiting her father when the incident happened. Nicolette had been playing on the lawn with her granddad’s female staffie while her brother, FW (4), was walking with their granddad to open the gate.

“The female was in heat . . . That should’ve been a warning. I don’t know, maybe the male was jealous of the attention Nicolette was giving her?”

Lize-Mari says she was speaking to her husband, Hanno (28), on the phone to say they’d be heading home before dark.

“I told him I had to hang up to get the kids and all their stuff in the car. But before I ended the call, it happened. I’d find out later that my husband had heard everything on the phone.”

Nicolette du Toit. (PHOTO: Supplied)

(Supplied)

Lize-Mari saw the staffie grabbing Nicolette’s face. At the other end of the phone, Hanno helplessly had to hear his wife and children’s screams.

“My dad handled everything well,” Lize-Mari says. “He was the one who stayed calm.”

The moment Lize-Mari screamed at the dog, he let go. But blood was pouring from her little girl’s face.

“My dad said I shouldn’t look – I suffer from anxiety. He was afraid I’d get an anxiety attack. He helped load me and the kids in the car and raced to hospital.”

Lize-Mari is full of praise for the medical team who assisted Nicolette before she was taken into the operating room later that evening.

She says though her dad had been calm throughout, he broke down when they took Nicolette into theatre.

“My dad is heartbroken. I broke down on the spot and so did he. In front of my son, we’d tried to stay strong and not cry.

“It’s a family dog. It wasn’t his fault. We don’t want to put it down. We love animals. My dad’s considering sending the dog away – maybe it can be trained for something?”

Lize-Mari says she doesn’t know how she could’ve prevented the tragedy.

“I’m not a helicopter mom. Of course I do everything in my power to protect my kids but it’s impossible to protect them from everything. Maybe if I’d been holding her in my arms . . . But I’m often alone with the kids. I can’t hold both of them in my arms 24/7 while doing things for them.

“The only advice I have if something like this happens is to stay calm. Nicolette is such a happy child. It’s as if we’re taking it much harder than she is. And we’re careful not to cry in front of her.”

Read more on:    animals  |  accidents
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