Only moments passed between 4-year-old Kurtis Hendrickson stepping outside Tuesday night and his sisters running back into their grandmother's Hicksville, Ohio house, both screaming.
In that time, a relative's dog had seized Kurtis by the head, sinking its teeth through one baby-round cheek and into his left eye. The force of the bite knocked two teeth out of the boy's mouth; he was covered in blood.
"I freaked out immediately," his mother, Taylor Ellis, said. "Just running through the house, screaming, holding him, calling 911, having them get there. It went by so fast, but it seemed like it took forever."
What had taken the dog under a minute to do took surgeons at Community Memorial Hospital hours and 60 stitches to begin repairing. By that evening, Kurtis had been sutured and stapled back into stable condition, but Ellis said he still needs at least $10,000 in reconstructive surgery for his eye and punctured lip.
It's an overwhelming expense for their family, she added. They are uninsured and living with relatives, and paying for Kurtis' care required her to use the money she had saved for a new place to live.
Ellis would rather have her son than anything else, but she said every dollar that others can donate to her family will help. Kurtis will receive the rest of his treatment at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
"The way he looked before was horrifying," Ellis said. "It was just something a mother never would dream in a million years."
Anyone wishing to make a contribution can do so via GoFundMe.
Ellis said the dog had never been aggressive before, but she filed a police report and had it quarantined after the attack. It will be euthanized Oct. 19.