Just over a week ago, a Pocatello baby was mauled by a dog and flown to a hospital in Salt Lake City. The little girl's parents tell KPVI she's doing better, but will have years of surgeries ahead of her. Now, the community is coming together to help Anita.
"I've just never seen something so gruesome in my life. I saw her stick her thumb in her mouth and I could see the thumb inside of her mouth as she's trying to sooth herself, and it was just so painful she wasn't even able to cry," Ricki Fielder explains.
Fielder and her husband, Hasan AlQattan, have spent more than a week at Primary Children's Hospital in Salt Lake City after their 13-month-old baby (Anita AlQattan) was viciously attacked by a neighbor's dog in Pocatello.
"All I could do was scream. (I) screamed the whole time in the ambulance all the way to the emergency room," Fielder recounts.
On the night of the attack, the couple was on a date. It was their first real date night since Anita's birth. They left her with a neighbor who they say is close enough to be family.
Just after the husband and wife finished dinner, they got a phone call that changed their lives.
"She said, 'Anita got attacked by Rocky and it's really bad. We called the ambulance and the police. They're all on their way,'" AlQattan says.
Anita went straight into surgery at Portneuf Medical Center.
"The doctor came out and said, 'Hey, I've got bad news for you,'" AlQattan states. "I ask him, 'Is she okay. Did she die?'" AlQattan continues, "He (the doctor) goes, 'No, Anita is all sewed up. She's all good, but when I got to her skull I found that it's fractured and the CSF which is the brain fluid has leaked out.'"
That injury was life threatening, so Anita had to be flown to Utah. Due to COVID restrictions, neither Fielder nor AlQattan were able to fly with their baby to the new hospital.
For the first few days in Primary Children's Hospital, Anita was heavily sedated. However, the parents had some relief when after nearly a week, Anita smiled for the first time and began to be more active.
Doctors told the couple Anita was bitten at least three times. Her injuries are so severe she is going to have a long recovery with years of reconstructive surgeries.
As of Monday, the parents have no idea when they'll get to take their baby home. Originally, the two thought they'd be able to return home by October 28. However, Anita's upper lip began to turn black. Monday evening she went in for another surgery. This time to remove the skin around her mouth that has died. Doctors removed half of the little girl's upper lip.
With word of Anita's injuries spreading across the community, people are already rallying together to help the family. A GoFundMe account is gaining traction online and Hasan's work is paying for the couple to stay in a hotel while their daughter is in the hospital.
"We've got the best community ever. They all came together and are supporting us fully. It's amazing!" AlQattan exclaims.
"It's very amazing," Fielder reaffirms.
The couple gives updates on Anita's condition online (Facebook is the main outlet they use) and openly talks about the attack with hopes of raising awareness to prevent it from happening to other kids.
"It's just as easy as just being vigilant with your kids around animals, or anybody you leave them with," Fielder says. "Even if you trust them, even if it's your mom's dog or your dad's dog, just be vigilant. Make sure there're steps in place for the child's safety and the dog's."
So far, the GoFundMe page has raised more than $10,000 for Anita and her family.
Also, this Sunday there will be a fundraiser for the family at Highland Golf Course at noon. The fundraiser is a benefit scramble. To participate it costs $40 which includes the green fee and cart. Carts will be based on availability and organizers are asking teams to sign up beforehand.
For more information on the scramble please contact Kadee Cavanee at (208) 220-3254. Teams can pay for their spot at the scramble via Venmo @kadee-cavanee.
You can donate to the GoFundMe account click here.
Note: The dog that mauled Anita was voluntarily given up the day after the attack and euthanized.