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Toddler recovering at home after Thanksgiving dog attack

Posted January 6
Updated January 7

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— A toddler who was injured in a dog attack the day after Thanksgiving was recovering at home Wednesday after multiple surgeries and nearly 40 hours in an operating room.

Ryder and his family were visiting friends at a home at 2312 Euston St. in Raleigh for the holidays when the toddler found his way into the back yard where two Rottweiler dogs were being kept.

Brittany Wells, Ryder's mom, said the whole thing happened in less than five minutes.

“I looked out the back door, and I didn’t see him and then all of a sudden, I saw him lying [there] and it was ‘Oh my god, he’s in trouble,'” said Wells.

Wells said the dogs had not previously shown signs of aggression.

On Wednesday, she told WRAL News she was not sure she would ever see her little boy sleep in his bed again.

"(The doctors) told us they did not think he was going to make it," she said. "They were surprised...from the extensive injuries he suffered. They are surprised he made it."

Wells said Ryder's injuries were serious.

"The left eye under his eyelid, half of his nose, most of his lips were completely taken off down to his jaw," she said. "His jaw was broken in two places and his right arm was broken."

Five surgeries later, Ryder’s personality has not changed.

"He is 23 pounds...he is 2, and he still beats up his big brother," Wells said.

Wells says she found somewhat of a cathartic outlet in social media, and though some graphic pictures were met with criticism, she said she wanted to show how her son beat the odds.

"It was not meant to shock people," she said. "It was not meant to upset anyone. It was that Ryder survived, and this is what he survived and he is amazing for that."

Ryder has another skin graft surgery scheduled for Feb. 15.

And while Wells says there is no doubt the coming months will be a challenge, she believes this is part of a purpose and will serve as inspiration to others.


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  • Keith Phillips Jan 8, 2016
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    Shocking and horrible injuries and permanent scars are evident in the video of the poor little boy, who currently seen in this video, has a tracheostomy (which hopefully is temporary until his face, scalp, and neck heals. What this family dog did to this visiting little boy's face is life altering for the rest of his life.
    Betsy should I agree with you that it was the little boy's fault?
    Being that he is only 2 years old - should he have already learned, and been taught to be careful, around vicious (and in this case potentially deadly) family pets? I tend to disagree on this point.

  • cdurham Jan 7, 2016

    Betsy, I agree that children should be supervised, but recent stories across the nation involve attacks by multiple dogs.

  • cdurham Jan 7, 2016

    Janet, You can differ from my opinion, but its not ignorant. Read some of the recent stories throughout the nation.

  • Janet Scott Jan 7, 2016
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    cdurham…what an ignorant comment. The parents are at fault here for not watching their child. Multiple dogs are NOT a problem.

  • Jami Heller Jan 7, 2016
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    He crawled through a doggie door. It says it in the video.

  • Chase Truman Jan 7, 2016
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    How is this the dogs' faults? This child went into the backyard. The dogs did not get loose and run a muck in the neighborhood. Trust me, I am very sorry that this happened to this child and I hope he makes a full recovery, but to blame the dogs in this situation is not fair. What the dogs saw was someone coming into their territory and they tried to protect it. This was a terrible mistake, but not the fault of the dogs who were in their own yard.

  • betsymillsaps Jan 7, 2016

    Bottom line CDURHAM supervise your child. I have always had atleast 3 pits, I have two grown children and a grandson. None of which have wver been bitten by any of my dogs.

  • cdurham Jan 7, 2016

    I'm glad that Ryder is at home again. I'm so sorry that the family experienced this. I wish that people would think more about the consequences, if something goes wrong when they chose a pet.

  • cdurham Jan 7, 2016

    It seems that most serious dog attacks occur when there is more than one animal. I think it would be smart to not own two rottweilers or pitts.

  • Kim Plucker Jan 7, 2016
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    How does a two year find his way into the backyard, by himself? ?I have 4 boys and this is the part that gets me.