Dog survives vicious attack, owner calls it 'Christmas miracle'

SEATTLE -- The owner of a small Boston terrier that was attacked by a pit bull earlier this week said the dog's survival is a "Christmas miracle."

Lori Pacchiano said she let her dog, Henry, out into the yard Tuesday morning so he could go to the bathroom. It was moments later that Pacchiano said Henry was viciously attacked by a neighbor's pit bull.

The pit bull bit Henry through a fence, tearing flesh off the little dog's face.

Pacchiano raced over to the fence but couldn't get the pit bull to let go.

"I was breaking boards over the pit bull's head, but he would not let go of Henry," she said.

Screaming for help, Pacchiano jumped onto the pit bull's back and tried prying open his mouth with a stick.

"His whole face was hanging off of him and I just thought he was going to die," she said.

During the entire incident, Pacchiano said Henry continued to put up a fight, digging his paws into the ground to keep himself from being pulled through the fence.

The attacking dog's owner soon came out to help and was able to get the pit bull off of Henry.

Covered in blood and mud, Pacchiano raced to a veterinary clinic in Lake City, where a surgeon quickly operated on Henry.

"Henry's a tough dog," said Dr. Beth Davidow. "We were very worried about him when he came in. The wound was very bad. Half his face wasn't attached anymore."

Henry lost his little black nose and two surgeries stretched his skin across his face.

Even though he's now disfigured, Pacchiano said a lot of people have come to love Henry's new face.

Her Facebook posts asking for prayers prompted online friends and strangers to donate nearly $7,000. The money is much needed, as Henry is scheduled for another reconstructive surgery next week.

But between Henry's recovery and the community's generosity, Pacchiano said this will be her best Christmas ever.

"This is miraculous to me," she said. 'This is Christmas."

Doctors say barring any infections, Henry should be okay after another few months of healing.

Pacchiano said the owner of the pit bull took her two dogs and left town.