MIDDLEBURG, Ky. (AP) — A central Kentucky boy who survived being mauled by a pit bull over the summer is getting ready for reconstructive surgery.
Ten-year-old Garrett Carrier and his mother, Crystal Sims, told media outlets that during surgery this week a muscle will be taken from his back and used to reconstruct an armpit. In addition, nerves from his ankle will be moved to his arm and he'll get Botox injections to help firm up the muscles.
Sims says the surgery should significantly increase her son's range of motion with the arm, which was left dangling at his side after the attack and required more than 100 stitches to sew back on. She says doctors hope he will regain full use of his hand and be able to have a wide range of motion with his arm, though he probably won't ever be able to raise it above his head.
Sims says she is hoping her son's mental scars will heal along with the physical ones.
She said the attack has made him afraid of a multitude of things, including playing outside.
"He's doing great, he really is," Sims says. "But I still worry about him a lot. I worry about his emotions. His dad was attacked by a dog when he was 15 or 16, and he's still not over his fear of dogs. Garrett's scared of a lot of things now, not just dogs. Loud noises. The dark. A lot of things."
Although he has returned to school and he says his friends treat him the same, Garrett said he is limited in what he can do physically.
"...They asked for soccer sign-ups and since I can't play baseball I raised my hand to play soccer," he said. "But the teacher shook their head, and I just took my hand down."
His mother said she gave in to his request for a puppy for his birthday, thinking it might help him recover but so far they haven't really bonded.
"He's tried but she is just so frisky and she scares him," Sims said.
After he recovers from the upcoming surgery, Sims said she plans to take Garrett and the puppy to a dog trainer to help them bond and help her son learn to trust dogs again.
"I hope it will be good therapy for him," she says. "It's just one of the things we're going to have to work on."