Kirsty Wynn is a senior reporter at the Herald on Sunday.

Miracle boy's special day

Ozyris Beeching's family plan a great Christmas for the toddler who survived a dog attack last December 25

Ozyris Beeching, 2, at home in Edgecumbe a year on from when he was savaged by a dog after wandering next door with his new toy lawnmower. Photo / Lani Hepi
Ozyris Beeching, 2, at home in Edgecumbe a year on from when he was savaged by a dog after wandering next door with his new toy lawnmower. Photo / Lani Hepi

Last year, little Ozyris Beeching had "no Christmas".

The Bay of Plenty toddler suffered a vicious pitbull attack on Christmas morning, putting him in hospital with gaping wounds to his face. His mum still cries at the memory.

This year will be different. This year, the Beeching family plan to make up for a lost Christmas and a lost year by putting on a very special day for their special boy. He is their Christmas miracle.

And there will be plenty of presents for the 2-year-old.

"We had no Christmas last year so we have all the family coming here this time," says Tracy Beeching, his mother.

"Ozyris has been really spoiled. His brother and sister have bought him a little motorbike and we have a swing set we will put up on the day."

On the day of the attack, Ozyris had only just opened presents. The 15-month-old toddler wandered next door with his new toy lawnmower - and came within reach of a pitbull terrier.

The dog bit him on the stomach, then picked him up by the the head and tossed him in the air. Ozyris sustained serious wounds to his face and head - and his family feared for his life.

Tracy said she was still upset by the savageness of the attack and felt lucky to have Ozyris with her.

"It still brings tears to my eyes thinking about that day, seeing the scars above his eye and ear and across his forehead," she said.

"He has two teeth marks on the other side by his ear where the dog apparently picked him up."

Tracy said she would never forget seeing her son covered in blood and with with face "ripped up" and a gaping wound above his eye.

With family, she rushed Ozyris to Whakatane Hospital.

"We left straight away, there was no way we could wait for an ambulance - no way."

The dog that attacked Ozyris was destroyed the day after the attack but Tracy says the nightmare continued for her and her son.

"We had counselling for a few months after the attack and Ozyris would wake up a night screaming, 'No, no'."

Apart from that, Ozyris doesn't like to talk about it, beyond occasionally touching his head. "Mamae", he says, which means "sore" in Maori.

Tracy is trying to help the physical scars heal.

"I rub vitamin E oil into the scars on his face a few nights a week to get them to fade but they are a constant reminder," she says.

The little boy is still very wary of dogs and is easily terrified when he hears dogs barking. When they walk down to the local SuperValue store, he stops as they pass the house where the attack happened, and asks his mother to pick him up. "Mummy, cuddle me."

So what about the emotional scars?

Tracy says she feels fortunate to have her son's extraordinary strength and warmth. When they get to the store, he chats with the women who work there, laughs, holds their hands ...

"He is such a loving boy," his mum says gently. "So friendly and always wanting a cuddle."

This Christmas, she says, will be special.

She'll make sure of it.

- Herald on Sunday

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