Nashville, Tennessee, USA
I have two very active sons. Both are very active in soccer and generally all sports. They have always been rambunctious and they get in arguments with each other — I guess most siblings do. One Thanksgiving evening they were both at a neighbor’s house playing basketball. My oldest son, “Bill”, and his buddy were playing with the younger kids, who ranged in age from three to ten.
The neighbor had a mongrel Great Dane that was really massive. He was kept chained whenever the kids were playing outside, and had never been a problem.
My wife and I were in the den watching TV when we heard loud screaming outside. We are used to noise but this time it was a shrieking sound. I went to the back door and saw Bill in the back yard of a second neighbor, holding his arm and bleeding. All of the other children were gone and the great dane was barking at my son through the fence.
As I ran down the deck toward him, I could see my younger son, “Jake”, coming around the front of the house screaming. All of the other children were gone. Bill was crying, but angry at the same time, and I couldn’t tell how badly he was hurt.
We took Bill to the hospital that night and he had to have emergency surgery to repair tendons in his forearm and hand. He was very worried about his hand and arm because of being a soccer goalie, but the doctors assured him that he would be all right after therapy.
The next day our neighbor and his oldest son came to the house and sat down to tell us what had happened. Somehow the dog had gotten loose from his chain and started to attack the little kids, including Jake. Bill caught the dog from behind, jumped on his back and wrapped his arm around the dog’s neck to hold him off. The neighbor’s son then got the little kids out of the back yard and into the house. After they were safely inside, Bill tried to get away from the dog himself, but the dog came after him.
Bill shielded himself with his forearm. He kept trying to get over the fence but the dog kept pulling him back down. My neighbor then came out of his house and got the dog to let go of my son. Of course by that time his forearm was shredded and he couldn’t get over our fence by himself.
While our neighbor’s son was telling us this story, Jake began to cry. He had always looked up to Bill as an example for soccer, but had never seen him as willing to sacrifice himself to help a pesky little brother. Suddenly his big brother was someone who would risk his life for him.