A mother has been forced to take down all the mirrors in her home to stop her nine-year-old daughter seeing the ‘catastrophic’ injury inflicted on her face by a labrador.
Lily-Fay Parfitt celebrated her ninth birthday at home in Southwater, West Sussex, yesterday – just nine days after the vicious dog tore into her mouth and cheek.
Surgeons told Kelly Parfitt, 32, her daughter’s injuries were 9.5 out of ten on a severity scale. Lily-Fay was left deaf in one ear and unable to close her eyes.
“The surgeon took one look at her and said “it’s life-changing, we don’t know if she will get senses back because of the severity of the injury”, Ms Parfitt said.
Lily-Fay is expected to be ‘scarred for life’ after the unknown dog ‘came straight to her’ before launching into the air and clamping on to her jaw with its teeth.
She had been playing with her cousins and siblings after school on her aunt’s farm in Pulborough, West Sussex, when the dog, which had been left tied up, attacked her.
Mother-of-five and full-time carer Ms Parfitt said: ‘The dog actually came straight to her.
I heard an ear-piercing scream as it grabbed her top lip and tore out her cheek, leaving catastrophic wounds.
‘My mum got to her before I did because I had her baby brother in my arms, she told me “don’t come near” and pushed me away.
‘The injuries to Lily’s face is something that I never want to see again. Her top jaw, her top teeth, her tongue and bottom jaw had been degloved.’
Her two younger brothers, who witnessed the attack on Friday, September 20, were traumatised by the incident and are now terrified of any dogs they don’t know.
The next day Lily-Fay was taken in for an operation on her face and by Monday, September 23, she was home – but her mother made sure to remove any mirrors.
‘It’s life-changing for Lily, she can’t smile as she’s lost her lips. What I can see of her lip at the moment is that it’s really jagged, like a jigsaw piece,’ Ms Parfitt said.
‘We’ve taken all mirrors down and covered the one in the bathroom up so she can’t see her reflection.
‘I think she’s going to be shocked because she’s very into photos and selfies.
I feel like I’m in a daze, it’s like I’m in a dream. I think I’ll wake up and it will be a bad nightmare but clearly, it’s not going to happen. It’s still so raw. Lily has been so brave.
‘She’s also having night terrors. She won’t go anywhere without me at all times.
‘She’s doing alright, but I don’t think it’s hit her yet. It’s all covered up so she can’t see it. When [the gauze] comes off is when it’s going to seem real to her.’
Lily-Fay had 192 stitches on the outside of her cheek to hold it together, 38 stitches in her lip and even more inside her cheek.
The dog took off so much skin that she lost 25 per cent from her top lip and surgeons were concerned stitching her up too tightly may leave her mouth drooping.
Shockingly it was the little girl’s 104th surgery as Lily-Fay was born with a rare birth defect leaving her with a horseshoe-shaped kidney and just 40 per cent of her bowel.
With three weeks off school to prevent infection, the youngster is determined to keep up with her school work and Ms Parfitt says she even smiled last week.
‘She’s already had so much going on in her little life as it is, she’s doing really well,’ her mother added. ‘As far as I am aware the dog has been destroyed.
‘I wouldn’t wish this on anyone, but it’s happened to the child who has already gone through 103 operations in her life because of her rare birth defect.
‘It’s not like she’s like any other child at school. She’s already gone through the mill as it is, we don’t know how many more ops it will be.’
Sussex Police said officers had responded to reports of a child being bitten at a farm in Pulborough between 6 pm and 7 pm on Friday, September 20.
A spokesperson said: ‘The eight-year-old girl suffered serious facial injuries and was taken to hospital.
‘The owners of the dog have been identified and are assisting police with the ongoing investigation.’