Boy learns to walk again after pit bull attack

Boy learns to walk again after pit bull attack

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NewsChannel 36

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

MICHELLE BOUDIN / NewsChannel 36

Posted on June 1, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 3 at 2:39 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Five months ago doctors weren't sure 6-year-old Jakob Clark would walk again.

He was attacked by a pit bull. His arms and legs were badly damaged. Jakob has made incredible progress but his parents say he still has a lot of work ahead.

Jakob spent 37 days in a hospital before returning home in January to a rock star welcome, complete with high-fives, cheering kids and a balloon release.

"I like that all my friends were there. I really was excited to come home," Jakob said.

A pit bull attacked the kindergartner just days before Christmas.

"He was on a ventilator. He had lost blood. He was in critical condition. It was serious," said Jakob's mother, Donna. "He was badly wounded. ... The ride to the hospital I didn't know what to expect. Thomas rode in the ambulance so it was the longest ride of my life just getting to the hospital."

Jakob underwent 13 surgeries. He lost some use of his arms and is now left-handed inside of right-handed. He also had to learn to walk again.

"I was worried about him keeping both arms and having any use of his leg," said Jakob's father, Thomas. "Now, he's writing and throwing with his left arm and it's amazing."

Jakob has physical therapy three times a week.

"The dog removed bone from my child's elbow," said Thomas Clark.

"He's had to have muscle grafts, skin grafts," said Donna Clark. "He is such an inspiration to me because his will and determination. He never complains about going to therapy. ... He's gained his weight back, he's laughing and he can walk around. He's a 6-year-old boy again."

There are a lot of celebrations these days but also a lot of work for Jakob and the rest of the family. They are pushing for new laws, banning pit bulls as pets.

"We've been through hell and back and I just don't want anyone else to go through that," Thomas Clark said.

Even Jakob's 9-year-old sister is playing her part, writing a letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to outlaw pit bulls.

"I think she just wants no one to get hurt again," Jakob said.

"We've just come so far," Donna Clark said. "When this first happened, we were in the hospital and we didn't know what was going to happen. ... And now, he's a typical 6-year-old boy again. He comes home, has a snack, out the door he goes, running and playing in the neighborhood. He's back to being a normal 6-year-old boy again."

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