TEENAGER Meghan Reynolds needed 48 stitches to her face after being savaged by a dog.
The 13-year-old had to endure almost four hours of surgery following the attack by a German Shepherd in Sunderland’s Herrington Country Park.
Meghan was enjoying an evening in the park with friends when the animal, which was being held by its owner on a long lead, suddenly turned on her.
The Sandhill View schoolgirl said: “It’s a bit of a blur. I was with my friends, and one of them stroked the dog. The next I knew, it had grabbed me and I was on the floor with the dog attacking my face.”
The horrified owner managed to get the dog to let go and passers-by rushed to the youngster’s aid, pressing a hoodie against the wound to stem the bleeding.
When an ambulance still hadn’t arrived after 40 minutes, someone managed to flag down a passing police car, and officers drove Meghan to Sunderland Royal Hospital where her frantic mum Carol Reynolds was waiting.
The mum-of-five, from Gardiner Road, Grindon, said: “I got a phone call at about 7pm, and I just went straight down to the hospital, but no one knew what was happening because the ambulance hadn’t turned up. I was in a terrible state. It was horrendous.”
The attack happened on Friday evening after Meghan had been to a barbecue at a friend’s house in the Penshaw area.
Full-time mum, Carol, 38, who also has three sons, Connor, 17, Jack, 14, Michael, 11, and daughter, Jessica, seven, said: “Meghan has been so amazing throughout it all. She hasn’t cried once. You just never imagine anything like this happening.”
The owners of the dog, which has since been put down, are devastated by what happened and no one can understand why the animal, which has happily lived with children, turned on Meghan.
The plucky teenager said: “It is a good thing it happened to me or it could have been a little child. The owner was really lovely. She sat holding me until the police car came and took me to hospital, and has sent me gifts and a card.”
Doctors won’t be able to tell the extent to which Meghan will be scarred until all the swelling on her face has gone down.
Grandfather George Reynolds, 62, who lives in Washington, said: “We want to highlight this as a warning to others about what can happen, and for owners to be extra careful.”
A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service said: “We are very sorry for the delay at what must have been a terrifying experience for Meghan and her family. At the time of the incident, we had a very high volume of 17 calls to emergencies where the life of the person was in danger.”