Mom asks for prayers after toddler mauled by dogs

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- The mother of a toddler mauled by dogs is asking for prayers and positive thoughts for her son, Ryder.

"I honestly didn't think my baby was going to make it," said Brittany Wells.

Standing outside of UNC Children's Hospital, she described the morning that changed her life forever.

Wells and her family were visiting from Statesville and were spending Thanksgiving with friends at a home on Euston Street in Raleigh.

Ryder and his mom

Her friend Amber, who doesn't want to share her full name, owns a Rottweiler named Quinn. Amber's mother's Rottweiler, Grace, was also at the house.

"The dogs earlier had never shown any interest or aggression or any signs of ill will toward the baby besides licking and playing," said Wells.

Friday morning, Wells said Ryder was playing in the home and they were in the kitchen.

"I sat down maybe a minute, we're talking I mean a minute, I didn't hear him playing in the hallway anymore. Quiet is never good," said Wells.

When she looked for her son, she saw he was outside and not moving.

"He was just laying there," recalled Wells.

Her 22-month-old-son had crawled through the dog door in the kitchen and into the backyard with the dogs. Wells ran to him and didn't see the dogs, but her son's injuries started to come into focus.

22-month-old Ryder

"I saw the lacerations and the horrible things that had already been done, I did not see this yet," said Wells, gesturing to her face.

Ryder survived the brutal attack but suffered severe injuries to his face. His mother said he will have to have surgeries well into adulthood.

"It is replayed like a broken record in my head, what I could have done what I didn't do," said Wells,

She said all of this happened in a matter of minutes.

Sharing in that feeling of guilt and disbelief is her friend Amber.

"I blame myself all the time because it was my dog," said Amber through tears. "This could happen to anybody. I'm a dog lover, always have been, but right now I am questioning the average dog. It's hard not to."

Both dogs have been taken away to be euthanized, a decision Amber said she had to make.

"Yes it breaks my heart, I love that dog with all my heart," she said. "This is unacceptable and this isn't something that can be forgiven and he has to be euthanized for it. It's the right thing to do as much as it breaks my heart."

Wells said she harbors no ill will toward Amber and her family and knows this was a horrible accident. In fact, since Wells' family is in Statesville, Amber and her family have been at the hospital with Wells and Ryder.

Amber even started a fundraiser since Wells will be at the hospital with Ryder for months while he works to recover.

GoFundMe page for Ryder Warning: Some may find the images graphic.

And as far as Ryder's spirit, his mom describes him as "fierce". The toddler had a second surgery on Sunday and will have a third on Tuesday.

His mom said he became most responsive when he got a call from his five-year-old brother and heard his voice.

Since the accident, Ryder's mom said his support system has grown. She said even the police that responded that day, the paramedics, and the 911 operator have all since called to check on Ryder.

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