AN ELDERLY Gympie woman is recovering from a broken back, a heart condition and the grief of losing her beloved pet following a savage dog attack.
Jean Smith, 74, was recovering at her daughter's home near The Palms yesterday as she recalled the attack which not only triggered her health issues but killed her seven-year-old female maltese, Lucky.
Mrs Smith's ordeal began about 4.30pm last Monday, when she took Lucky for a walk near her Amy St residence.
As the pair rounded the corner on to Mellor St, a large brown dog sprang from behind a bush and grabbed Lucky in its jaws.
The attack was so quick there was no time to respond.
"My reaction was to pull the lead as tight as I could and not let go (of Lucky)," she said.
Mrs Smith yelled for help and a man up near Madills Holden started running down the road to her.
Mrs Smith's tussle with the dog caused her to fall to her knees and roll into the gutter.
"I knew what was happening when I hit the ground. I knew Lucky was in a lot of trouble.
"Lucky was such a small dog and this dog was much bigger."
As Mrs Smith lay in the gutter in shock, two women driving by stopped and rushed to her aid.
Meanwhile, the man who had run from the top of Mellor St used his bare hands to wrestle the dog, attempting to force open its jaws to release Lucky. His efforts were in vain.
The women helped Mrs Smith to her feet and called an ambulance and the police.
Mrs Smith recalls hearing a man's voice calling the dog and apologising.
Lucky was rushed to a vet by police while Mrs Smith was taken to the Gympie Hospital with chest pains.
At the hospital, she was diagnosed with heart issues and referred to Nambour Hospital.
Mrs Smith was told by Nambour doctors she had an enlarged heart brought on by the stress of the dog attack.
Mrs Smith returned home last Wednesday but found herself back at the Gympie Hospital with severe back pain.
Medical tests revealed she had a broken vertebra.
But the worst blow was losing Lucky.
"I just knew Lucky would not make it," Mrs Smith said.
Lucky was given to the animal lover when she lost her husband three years ago.
"Lucky was a good friend," Mrs Smith said.
"She kept me company and I never once worried about taking Lucky for a walk.
"Now, I would be too scared to take any dog for a walk.
"What happened was just terror and I was sobbing the whole time."
Mrs Smith regrets not asking for the names of the two women who helped her last Monday and wants to thank them.
Mrs Smith said she was visited by Gympie Regional Council local laws officer Darren O'Brien yesterday who confirmed the offending dog had been euthanised.
"I'm pleased this won't happen to somebody else," she said.