It was just a regular Saturday when six-year-old Lily Norton went over to her friend’s house to hang out. The family was pet-sitting their friend’s pit bull, but no one thought much of it. The girls were about to play a game of cards when the pit bull suddenly attacked Lily.
Lily’s mother, Dorothy Norton, heard her daughter’s screams and ran to see what was happening. What she saw was horrifying: the pit bull had clamped down on Lily’s face. But thanks to Lily’s quick thinking, she had put her shoulders up to protect her neck, and the pit bull released her immediately when it saw her mother walk in.
Lily was rushed to the hospital and underwent an 11-hour surgery to close the gashes on her face. She received more than 1,000 stitches, from her neck to under her eyes. She was unable to talk, but she was responsive to her mother’s care and needs.
As the family struggled to cope with the aftermath of the attack, their friend Jackson Pitcher started a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of travel and medical expenses. The response was overwhelming, with the fundraiser raising over $15,000 towards its goal of $6,500.
But the road to recovery was far from over. Lily remained sedated and was on a breathing tube to help her heal and reduce the chances of her scratching at her face. She was scheduled to undergo another surgery in a few days, but her doctors warned her family that there would be noticeable differences in her appearance and ability to smile, as her muscles were too damaged.
Despite the challenges, the Norton family wanted to share the visual evidence of what had happened to their daughter, and posted a photo of Lily’s face post-attack. According to Pitcher, “Everybody hears about dog attacks, but they can’t really picture in their head what that looks like, so we put it up.”
The family was determined to ensure that no one else would have to go through what they had experienced. They worked with local law enforcement to ensure that the dog was euthanized, and to raise awareness about the importance of responsible pet ownership.
As Lily continued on her road to recovery, the family was overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support from their community. They knew that it would be a long journey, but they were ready to face it with hope and resilience.