43 year-old Beverly Wright and 78 year-old Irene Parker believe angels had a hand in their survival of a vicious pit bull attack that occurred this past March in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The two women were going door-to-door on North Delaware Avenue, educating residents about Jehovah and inviting them to an upcoming Jehovah’s Witnesses convention. Parker was approaching a home in the 200 block of North Lewis Place, when an 80-pound pit bull came barreling through the front door of the house and lunged at her head. Wright was two houses down the street when she heard Parker’s screams and ran to help her ministry companion and longtime friend.
Five-foot tall Wright wrestled the animal off Parker and put it in a headlock. The pit bull wriggled free from her grasp and again went for Parker. Wright pulled the canine off her friend a second time when the large animal turned on her instead. The dog tore at her arms, sunk its teeth into her leg, and dragged her across the yard.
Wright was resilient and grabbed a baseball bat from the dog’s owner who was standing nearby, screaming. Wright swung the bat twice at the dog before she lost her grip. Unfazed, the pit bull kept ripping into her leg. Finally, the animal attack ended when a local man named Mike Harrell grabbed a gun from his truck and shot the animal. Harrell, reportedly a quiet, polite man, had heard screams from two blocks away and acted quickly to save the women.
Both women were rushed to St. John Medical Center’s emergency room with life-threatening injuries and received hundreds of stitches. Both women also denied potentially life saving blood transfusions based on their religious beliefs.
Parker suffered several broken bones and her face is permanently disfigured. She claims she remembers little from the dog attack, but does remember a lot of blood and the sound of her right ear being torn off. She was released from the hospital in 18 days and has undergone five surgeries so far, and still requires more. Her most recent surgery rebuilt part of her eyelid that was torn off in the dog attack, rendering her incapable of closing one eye. Parker’s recovery has been difficult, as she says she went off her pain medication a week ago and is still in constant pain, making it hard to even sleep.
Wright, on the other hand, has made a remarkable recovery. She was told by St. John physicians that she might lose her leg, but she started going door-to-door again just six weeks after the attack. Wright goes door-to-door weekly, but says she usually gets tired after two to three hours, even with sporadic breaks. She is getting what she hopes to be the last of her five skin grafts next month.
Friends, relatives, neighbors, and other Jehovah’s Witnesses have supported the women via accounts that have been set up in the their names at the Bank of Oklahoma to help with medical expenses that are not covered by insurance.
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