In one afternoon, Melody Ralls saw her vivacious 10-year-old son go from an enthusiastic daredevil to a battered boy lying in a hospital bed.
Hunter Kilbourn’s family had a trip planned to see WWE action in Oakland Sunday night so he could see some of his heroes, but then he ran up a a flight of stairs at a friend’s house and a pit bull ran down and attacked.
When he fell, another pet pit pounced on him.
“He was like, ‘Mommy, I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die,'” shared Ralls of Martinez.
Those are the words she had to find comfort for as she watched her oldest child, Hunter Kilbourn, struggle after he was mauled.
“He was conscious and then he was kinda starting to lose consciousness, like eyes rolling in the back of the head,” she said.
As she tried to calm him, she had to steel herself against what she was seeing.
“He was missing a chunk in one of his cheeks, and this from here to here across his face was torn off and half of his ear was torn off. And from here to here was wide open where I could see down into his head,” Ralls said as she detailed Hunter’s facial injuries.
“It was pretty terrifying.”
To repair what two pit bulls ripped away, Hunter had to be airlifted to the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento for an operation.
Wednesday, he endured four hours worth of skin graft surgeries.
“They took pieces from his groin area and the eye-lid needed a graft as well,” said his mother.
Hunter was mauled by dogs that had been friendly in the past. They were usually kept outside, but went inside during this visit.
Their owners have put up a sign at their home asking for privacy, saying this incident has been horrible. Their own son was bitten on the arm as he tried to help Hunter.
Melody Ralls’ opinion of pit bulls has definitely changed.
“I think I would never own a pit bull, I would never let my children around a pit bull,” she said, looking to the future.
For now, her focus is on getting Hunter well.
Hunter’s doctors aren’t seeing signs of the lost eyesight and facial paralysis they had feared. However, he has a long road of recovery ahead.
A special fund has been set up through Wells Fargo to help his family. Just go to any branch and ask about the Hunter Kilbourn Recovery Fund.
You can also give via PayPal by going to firstname.lastname@example.org.