Name: Courtney Berman
Location: Sitting on the curb outside my mom house. Not facing the owner or dog. California
Year of attack: 2020
Tell us about the attack
On April 5th 2020 I was sitting outside my moms house on a phone call when something suddenly pulled me back onto the sidewalk. At first I wasn’t sure what it was. I thought maybe it was a person trying to get my attention, but as I turned around, I realized there was a huge pitbull, biting my tricep. I remember the pain as his teeth sunk into my skin. I remember being confused at first and thinking that maybe he was playing with me. I tried to move my arm, to shake him off, but he just kept biting me. Harder and harder. I remember looking up at the owner who also looked scared and realizing then that I was in danger. All I know is that it felt like it lasted forever. And I remember thinking as he dragged me into the street that if I didn’t get up, this dog was going to kill me.
How has your life changed as a result of the attack?
I wake up every morning just to realize that what happened to me was not “just a dream”. And it’s always in those first few seconds, when the pain in my elbow starts to spread up my arm, and my right thigh-where the skin graft was taken-starts to burn, that I realize, this is my new life. I’m grateful. Please don’t misunderstand. I am so incredibly grateful for the longest list of things. I’m grateful that I have my arm. That I can move my fingers. I’m grateful that more muscles and tendons were not permanently damaged. I’m grateful that he didn’t grab my neck. That he didn’t bite my face. And that he didn’t somehow manage to get on top of my body while I was laying helplessly on the floor. I know that I’m lucky. And there are these moments when I even feel it. Lucky.
The pit bull was euthanized.
What would you like people to know as a result of your attack?
One of the things that help me survive my attack was that my uncle had heard somewhere that if you put your finger in the dogs rectum they will release their bite. After the dog let go of me it actually latched onto my stepdads forearm and my uncle used this method once again and for the second time the dog let go. I’ve been looking into attacks/dog bite advice columns over the last few months and I don’t see that being suggested or talked about anywhere. I’ve also heard stories about dumping a bucket of water over the dogs head to help them release their locked jaw. I’d like to get this information out there.
I’d like to prevent further deaths if possible.