A mum who has been left scarred and terrified to leave her home after an horrific dog attack has thanked those who saved her life.
The 38-year-old was mauled by a Japanese Akita at a house in Julian Street, South Shields in August last year.
Her injuries - which have left her with a ‘pocket’ of space inside her throat - may never fully heal and are so severe she can only eat mashed food or strained soup and in need of a dietician’s help to build up her strength.
Doctors who carried out more than 10 hours surgery on her said the dog’s bites were just millimetres away from a carotid artery in her neck.
The woman, who does not wish to be named, was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle she was transferred to the city’s Freeman Hospital where specialists continued to treat her as she fought for life - at one stage calling in her family because they feared she would not make it.
She was in hospital for six weeks before she was able to return home, with Northumbria Police saying she was lucky to be alive following the ordeal.
But the mental scaring has left her struggling to leave the house without company, with a fear of dogs.
I want to thank my family and my partner, but I also want to thank the Freeman Hospital because if it wasn’t for them, I might not be here.Dog attack victim
The attack saw Scott Sehem, 32, of no fixed abode, jailed for being in charge of a dog which caused injury while dangerously out of control.
She has blocked up much of what happened to her.
Today, she has thanked everyone who has helped save her life.
She said: “I want to thank my family and my partner, but I also want to thank the Freeman Hospital because if it wasn’t for them, I might not be here.”
While her fear of dogs brought about by the attack remains, she says she realises their behaviour is a result of a lack of training and hopes one day she will feel comfortable in the company of the pets once again.
She said: “I can’t go out now, I have to be with someone from my family. I feel like I have no life because of that.
“One weekend I walked to the corner shop and saw a dog was tied up there. I just ran back home.”
The woman has lost five stones in weight because of her problems eating.
She said: “I still have to be around people in case I collapse because I struggle to eat.
“I joke with my dietician and say a lot of lasses would love to be able to diet like I have. She says I’m funny, but I really have to start to get more weight on.
“I’m still terrified and it’s going to take a long time. I feel stupid when I go outside in case I see a dog.
“But I want people know I don’t blame dogs. It’s down to how they are brought up and trained.”