This week Austyn Clanton of Beaumont told a reporter what was happening in the moments leading up to the mauling.
“Me and my big brother were fighting,” Austyn told Houston’s KPRC-TV. “The American bulldog jumped on me. He started biting and scratching.”
According to Austyn, the dog, named Mattis, was trying to protect his older brother, Trystan.
“Mattis was trying to protect Trystan and Mattis attacked me,” he told Houston’s FOX 26. “I got in the house but he still wouldn’t get off.”
His father, Brad Clanton, who served as a Navy corpsman, described the scene inside the family’s home as “chaos.”
“I’ve seen trauma. I’ve seen chaos,” the father told Houston’s KHOU-TV. “But it’s different when it’s your child. … When it’s your own kid, you just freeze.”
“I’ve seen trauma. I’ve seen chaos. But it’s different when it’s your child. … When it’s your own kid, you just freeze.”
— Brad Clanton, father of injured boy
Austyn’s mom, Vanessa Clanton said the experience was heartbreaking.
“It makes you feel like you failed your child in some way because there were no signs,” she told FOX 26. “You take a dog from 7 weeks old and you raise it until they’re 3 years old, and you think your dog will never do this.”
News photos this week showed Austyn with scratches on his face and his left arm in a cast.
“You take a dog from 7 weeks old and you raise it until they’re 3 years old, and you think your dog will never do this.”
— Vanessa Clanton, mother of injured boy
Medical staff told KPRC that Austyn nearly died when an artery in one of his arms suddenly burst two days after a six-hour operation to repair muscle damage. Luckily, Austyn was still in the hospital.
“If that tear had happened at home, there’s a potential that he would not have made it – potential that he would have lost his arm, and if the bleeding continued, possible that he would have died,” Dr. Phuong Nguyen said.
The surgical team had to rebuild the blood vessel, using a microscope and “some veins and arteries nearby” the site of the rupture, Nguyen said.
Doctors say Austyn also could have lost the arm at one point – but the boy joked he could have gotten a bionic one if that had happened.
Vanessa Clanton, told Houston’s KTRK-TV the family has relied on faith to get them through the ordeal – and was proud of the bravery Austyn has shown.
“It was really impressive for him to be as chill and calm and just ready,” his father added.
The dog no longer lives in the family’s home, according to FOX 26.