He does not like to be called a hero.

He is uncomfortable with all the attention.

A soft-spoken man from a small city in northern B.C., Robin Elgie has become a familiar face across the country, as strangers follow news of his recovery from a savage dog attack that nearly cost him his arms, his hands.

Elgie, 66, was mauled by two pitbulls that invaded his Fort St. John trailer home on Christmas Day. To protect his girlfriend, he put himself between her and the dogs, and used his arms and hands to defend himself.

The same hands he has worked his whole life with, as a heavy-duty mechanic and equipment operator, as a hunter and a fisherman.

Robin Elgie hands

Robin Elgie has regained some movement in his hands, but his road to recovery will still be long and hard (CBC)

He is thankful, now, for the doctors and nurses, for generous the donations from people he will never meet. He knows the road ahead will be long.

He knows, too, that he is lucky to be alive, that the attack could have turned out much worse.

"If that had been a woman or a small child," he said from his hospital room in Edmonton, "they wouldn't have made it."

In the early days after the attack, doctors could not promise he would regain feeling in his hands.

"There was a good possibility of losing at least one arm," Elgie said.

But that didn't happen.

"I do have a little bit of movement in some of my fingers," he said.

He has started physiotherapy.

"If anything at all makes this easy, it's the people," he said of the doctors overseeing his treatment. "They seem to be pleased with the way it's going, so far. I definitely am. "

Some people have called him a hero, for what he did that day in the trailer, and for what he has endured since then. The pain, the surgeries (he can't recall exactly how many), the extensive skin grafts on both arms,

"That's not the case," he said. "No. I was lucky."

His face has been on television screens across the country. His story has been written up in the Globe and Mail and the Alaska Highway News. A gofundme campaign has raised almost $22,000 to help in his recovery, after he leaves hospital.

He is grateful for the support.

"There's no way I can thank any of them enough," he said.

The dog attack, is "just something that happened."

For now he will follow doctors' orders, work on his recovery, and try to get back home as soon as possible.

Asked about his plans beyond that, he paused to think a moment.

"Just get on with life, I guess."