I Am Not What Happened To Me

This morning I had a wonderful chat with a journalist from Metro.Co.Uk who is publishing an article on our story.

Our conversation sparked memories of when we were in the hospital with Hunter. Memories of story hungry reporters waiting outside in the parking lot, hoping for a chance to talk with us. Messages flooded my inbox with requests for interviews and, for days, news vans drove around our neighborhood wanting to speak with witnesses and waiting for us to come home.

I get it. People were curious and anxious for details, but it was OUR story, our lives, and sadly, our nightmare. But that didn’t matter. The article ran through multiple news outlets with detailed information from those who were on the scene. Anyone could google our name and be able to scroll through pages of articles about the accident. (Most of them have been recently archived).

I cringed when I saw the pictures plastered across the internet. There was Michael, kneeling next to Jango, with a stern, but typical cop-like expression on his face. Nothing can prepare you for the moment when your real-life nightmare is hung out to dry for everyone to see. Even more, the comments were beyond appalling.

Those articles are now a thing of the past, and I am happy to say that our lives didn’t end with the accident. There is life beyond trauma and having a journalist reach out and ask questions focused on our triumphs, opposed to our tragedy, fills me with sweet relief. I feel like…

WE MADE IT.

Talking to people about tragedy can oftentimes bring about interesting responses. A lot of times, people want to separate themselves from the person it happened to, so instead they ask about the nature of the trauma. The most common question I am asked is: What happened to the dog? And, what kind of dog was it? But not much after that. For those of you who’ve had loved ones with cancer you can probably relate when you read “What kind of cancer did they have?” I’ve heard that one of the reasons why people do that, is for self preservation. Subconsciously we believe if we can understand the details they can separate themselves and their lives from our personal situation and avoid a similar fate.  Not that anyone can avoid cancer, or even dogs, but maybe it makes us feel better to be more aware.

Having a journalist ask about our whole story was refreshing, because a lot of times people only want the facts. But beyond the details is the heart and humanity that shape what happens to us.

The people (or characters), in a story can change us with their experiences, challenges, heartbreaks, losses, victories, etc. We aren’t just made up of facts, like the kind of cancer one has, or the breed of the dog that attacked Hunter. Our story is about who we are and who we have chosen to become.

I do understand that facts ARE important, so if you really want to know, you can find them here. But if that’s all you read, you will miss out on my invitation to find hope and joy in the journey .

So, for all the curious minds, here is a post that somewhat focuses on Jango, Michael’s police K9 that attacked Hunter.

Take it or leave it, but either way, don’t let this be the only thing you remember about our story!

•Jango lived with us for one year before the accident.

•The kids never pet or associated with him. They didn’t need to. He was not a family dog, he was a working dog.

•He was a Belgium Malinois.

•He was returned to his previous owner after the accident.

There you have it, the cat, or…the dog, is out of the bag. If you want to read Jack Longstaff’s article from Metro.Co.Uk click HERE or to read and listen to our story on a few other platforms, click HERE.

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