Fort St. John senior attacked by pit bulls could lose use of hands, arms
'It was like a shark attack,’ says survivor of Christmas Day nightmare
Bandaged from the tips of his fingers to above his elbows on both arms, Robin Elgie fades in and out of lucidity in an Edmonton hospital bed under the effects of heavy painkillers.
"If the RCMP didn't get there when they did it would have been bad, because I just didn't have the strength anymore," Elgie said. "I knew I was getting tore up, I don't know if I realized how bad. I did lose a lot of blood."
The 66-year-old heavy-duty mechanic and machine operator said he is fortunate to be alive after a vicious Christmas Day attack inside his trailer home by two marauding pit bulls.
Elgie said the attack began after his partner, Wendy Lee Baker, 51, opened the trailer's door to let in their small dog. The pit bulls charged through the open door, tore the family's 15-year-old cat to pieces but ignored their small dog.
Elgie managed to get between the dogs, while Baker, after being bitten several times in a futile attempt to save the cat, escaped to a bedroom and called 911.
Out in the living room, Elgie was in a fight for his life. He said he grabbed a shelf and tried to beat back the dogs, but the shelf slipped from his hands. He said the dogs were small but the power of their jaws and the intensity of their attack shocked him.
He said the onslaught eventually drove him back into a chair.
Weakened from blood loss and exhaustion, he said all he could do was use his arms to try to protect his face and neck from the relentless biting.
RCMP shoot dogs
The two dogs continued to rip and tear at his arms until RCMP officers arrived.
The officers first tried sedating the dogs, but when that failed one officer shot a dog at close range inside the trailer. The second dog was also shot but escaped and was later tracked down and dispatched with a gunshot.
Sheryl Elgie, who lives in Prince George, drove to Edmonton where her father had been airlifted for emergency surgery.
'When I first went to see Dad he was in a lot of pain," she said. "Dad has always been such a strong man, so it was hard for him, for us, to see him in so much pain. He was more worried about me than himself."
Elgie said he has had four surgeries and needs more surgery to reconnect torn tendons and muscles. He will also need skin grafts. His biggest fear is that there will be insufficient blood circulation to his hands, which could mean amputation.
Sheryl Elgie said friends in Fort St. John went to clean the couple's trashed trailer and were shocked by the scene.
"It was worse than a horror movie," she said. "It was like something out of a nightmare. There was blood absolutely everywhere."
Friends and even strangers in Fort St. John have rallied around the family. An online fundraising campaign has already surpassed its $10,000 goal.
"I'm completely blown away with everybody's generosity and I'm just so thankful for everybody out there who has been able to pitch in and help my dad as much as possible," Sheryl Elgie said.