Rescue dogs

“It’s time to show who I am now”

Jacqueline Durand interviewed by CBS News (CBS News)

A dogitter who had most of her face ripped off by two rescue dogs has chosen to reveal her injuries to the world in a bid to move on without fear.

Jacqueline Durand, 22, from Dallas, Texas, had to be placed in a medical coma, resuscitated multiple times and undergo major reconstructive surgery after being mauled by dogs she was put in charge of just before Christmas last year.

The two dogs had previously been ‘lovely’ to her but immediately attacked her when she opened the door, dragging her into the living room and ripping her nose, ears, lips and cheeks off. The incident happened just a day before his 22nd birthday.

Now Ms Durand has come forward to talk about her ordeal and show its impact on her body to help dog owners and sitters understand the dangers. Some readers may find the images difficult to watch.

“I didn’t ask for this so I think it’s time to show who I am now and I can’t be afraid of that,” Ms Durand said in an interview with CBS News aired Wednesday.

“I want dog owners to know their pets and be able to communicate with their guardians how they are doing.”

    (CBS News)

(CBS News)

“I thought I was going to die”

Ms. Durand, who is a student at the University of Texas at Dallas, had seven years of dog-sitting experience when she was invited by Justin and Ashley Bishop to look after their two rescue dogs Bender, a Boxer and Pit Bull mix, and Lucy, a German Shepherd mix.

In an Instagram live stream on Wednesday, she said the bishops initially promised the animals would be restrained when she arrived, but then texted her the same day to tell her they were on the loose in the House.

With other dogs, Ms Durand said, there had never been a change in their behavior between her first “meet and greet” and the first time she visited their home. She said SCS she was “speechless” about Bender and Lucy’s sudden turnaround.

Describing where they attacked her, she said: “My legs, my arms, my face the most. Basically, when I felt the skin hanging off my face, I thought I was going to die.”

Ms Durand was saved by an automatic alarm triggered after the attack left the front door still open. However, when the police arrived, it took them 37 minutes to overtake the aggressive dogs and Ms Durand lost around 30 per cent of her blood.

In the police video shown by SCS, the bishops told the officers that they had had “no” problem with the dogs before that time and that they had “no history of violence. None”. He noted that there were already three children in the house, including a three-year-old.

However, Ms Durand is suing the family for negligence and her solicitor pointed to a sign which allegedly hung on their door which read: ‘Mad dogs. Please don’t knock or ring the bell .”

The attorney, Chip Booker, said SCS“The dogs were dangerous and had vicious propensities. We suspect the bishops knew that. We suspect that everyone who encountered these dogs, especially Lucy, knew that.”

Jacqueline Durand after reconstructive surgery, although still in an early stage of her recovery (CBS News)

Jacqueline Durand after reconstructive surgery, although still in an early stage of her recovery (CBS News)

The bishops contest this lawsuit. In a statement, they said: “We are heartbroken by the tragic incident involving Ms Durand.

“We know she has been seriously injured and we are devastated by what she and her family are going through. We would never have knowingly put anyone at risk and we were shocked by what happened in our home.

“Due to ongoing litigation, we have been advised not to give any interviews. However, we want Ms. Durand and her family to know that we pray fervently every day for her recovery.”

Both dogs have now been killed on the orders of a judge. Ms Durand says she is still awaiting an apology from the bishops and has never been fully paid for the dog-sitting job.

Her partner Nathan stands by her side

Ms Durand arrived at the hospital with more than 800 bite marks on her body and required weeks of treatment and surgery. Doctors took skin grafts from her buttocks and forehead to reconstruct her face.

When she left the hospital, she was cheered on by doctors and nurses, and she returned home to another standing ovation from first responders and her boyfriend of three years, 24-year-old Nathan.

In her Instagram livestream, Ms Durand said: “‘I was skeptical if he was going to stay with me. I asked him directly, ‘Do you still want to be with me? I’ve changed forever’, and he said. said ‘I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else’.”

Prior to the attack, Ms. Durand had helped Nathan recover from cancer. “I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to show the same level of love and care that she showed me during this time,” he told CBS.

Ms. Durand still wants to work with dogs, and maybe become a dog trainer, though she may not be able to get near German Shepherds and Pit Bulls anymore, as the sight of them still triggers flashbacks.

Although she still has one to three years of surgery ahead of her, she said the prognosis is good for her face to grow back completely, meaning she is unlikely to need a face transplant. .

On her progress, she said: “It really lifts me up from where I was. Because I felt so helpless in the hospital. Being home I knew I was going to heal more here. than I could in the hospital.

“It’s not fun to think about [future surgeries], but I also think how amazing the doctors are. And so I put it in their hands to help me.”