A GRANDMOTHER from St Austell feared for her life as she was attacked by her family's much-loved pet dog, which left her needing 19 stitches to her face and two operations.
Julie Skelton spent four nights in hospital after her terrifying ordeal during which her son's husky-cross-bull terrier set upon her after she slipped and fell on the kitchen floor.
"I'd just taken him outside in the garden," the mother of three explained.
"It was really wet and it had been raining. I knew it was muddy and I thought I shouldn't be wearing my flipflops in the mud.
"When I brought him back in I slipped and he went for my face. Then he went for my arm. It was a very scary situation. If I didn't get up I knew I was going to die."
After she managed to get to her feet the dog released Ms Skelton, who is a trainee nurse, and she managed to put the animal into its cage.
"As soon as I stood up he stopped. It was a dominant thing," she said.
"There was blood everywhere.
"After it happened I kept hold of his reigns. I didn't want him to run off. He was all charged up and I didn't want him going off and hurting someone else."
After the attack, which took place on January 29, Ms Skelton required emergency treatment.
"I was in hospital for four nights," she explained.
"I had 19 stitches and 2 operations on my nose. I still can't feel parts of my nose. They said it could take up to six months for the feeling to return."
The dog had lived in the family home for three years and had never shown any violent behaviour before the attack.
Following the incident, which resulted in the animal, named Saxon, being destroyed, the whole family were left in shock.
"We are all devastated," Ms Skelton explained.
"It was so sad. On the morning he was put down the dog was crying and licking my son's hands. They were best buddies.
"I don't hold any animosity towards it. We still love the dog and we all miss him but we had no choice."
Mrs Skelton's daughter, Kareen Binter, who lives in America, set up a Facebook group in a bid to help raise funds for her mum while she is unable to work.
"I set up the Facebook page just over a week ago when she was still in hospital," Mrs Binter explained.
"She is training to be a nurse and works as a healthcare assistant at a nursing home. She doesn't get any sick pay so that's why I set up the group."
Friends and loved ones rallied together and have already donated more than £500.
"It was a lovely thing for her to do but I was very embarrassed at first," Ms Skelton said.
"I'm a very private person and I feel there are far more needy people out there than me.
"But it has made me realise how much people do care about me and that's really lovely."