A Lacombe family is praising the quick thinking of their 11-year-old son for helping to save their 10-year-old daughter from a vicious dog attack in Terrace Ridge.
Lucia Johnson, 10, after having dinner with her family on July 22 was wanting to try out her new rollerblades she got for her birthday. Her parents Meg and Jay said she could go to Terrace Ridge School and back, as long as her brother Broc, 11, went with her on his bicycle.
On the way to the park, two dogs jumped a fence near the path entering Terrace Ridge School and ran after the two kids — with the more aggressive dog knocking over Lucia.
“The dog was latching on to her elbow and shoulder. It bit her quite good on the shoulder with deep puncture wounds,” Jay said.
The dog began aggressively biting Lucia while she attempted to protect her face and neck. It was at this time that Broc told his sister to be as quiet as she can and stay still. When the dogs began to lay off a bit, Broc made a break for home — which lured the dogs away from Lucia allowing her to escape in the opposite direction.
Broc ran home and grabbed his father Jay, who immediately ran out the door in only his socks..
“When I was running, I didn’t know what I was going to find. I am glad it was as minimal as it was because a dog can kill someone,” Jay said.
Jay arrived at the scene to find the dogs, but not his daughter who had managed to make it home on her own after her brothers actions caused the dogs to lose focus on her.
After getting the dogs to back off of him, Jay returned home to his family relieved to find his daughter alive and safe. Jay and Meg loaded Lucia into the vehicle, where they spent four hours in the emergency room. During that time, Meg contacted bylaw in order to ensure the dogs were not still on the loose and Jay himself went back to the scene to see if he could find them.
“I wasn’t able to find the dogs— I assume the owner got them back home. We didn’t figure out the dog situation until the next day,” he said.
Jay said his daughter, who is an animal-lover and has always had a positive attitude, is doing alright but he worries how the incident will affect her going forward.
“I know the nightmares are coming and she hasn’t been able to sleep alone yet. She likes to have someone near her. I know we will have a hard time getting her to walk somewhere on her own again,” he said.
Jay was grateful that his son Broc was there that evening.
“She was crying saying he saved her life by giving her quick advice and getting the dogs to go the other way. The time she was down there was seconds but it probably felt like an eternity,” Jay said.
Jay and Meg were also very grateful for the kid’s school, Terrace Ridge School, for having a Safety Day which included how to deal with aggressive dogs.
“That school does lots of great stuff and we already let the people who run safety day know that it was instrumental to helping our kids get out of that,” he said.
Once things settled down the next day, the family went out into the community with bylaw in order to identify the dogs involved. The dogs are now being detained and Jay reluctantly hopes that they are put down.
“I don’t want that dog to get someones else’s kid. That is a terrifying thought for me,” he said.
There have been no other reported incidents with the dog, but Jay said many in the neighborhood told him they are afraid of the animal.
“The ultimate solution is not one I particularly like, but I feel like the dog should be destroyed. Whatever the risk of that dog doing something like that again is just not worth it,” he said.
Jay was proud of both of his kids for how they reacted to a scary situation.
“They did all the right things and once everything calmed down, I gave everyone a hug and thanked Broc for doing the job he did. That is why we send them together — in case anything happens,” he said.
He added, “This could have been so much worse.”