Noiah, 13, suffered serious injuries (pictured) after being attacked by his neighbor’s dog in Rolla, Missouri
A 13-year-old teenager was attacked by a neighbor’s dog who jumped on him twice, tearing his face and neck open while delivering cupcakes to his friend after his mother’s gender reveal party in March.
The violent attack happened while Noah was outside his neighbor’s house in Rolla, Missouri, when – after delivering the cupcakes – the pit bull broke free from the chain and plunged on him in the front yard, and on Noah’s 12-year-old sister in the front.
Noah’s pregnant mother Julia Poland (33), stepfather Beau Logan (43) and the dog’s owner managed to pull the dog away from Noah, but within seconds he managed to break free again and carry out a second brutal attack.
Noah was carried into the house and soon paramedics arrived to take Noah to a children’s hospital in Saint Louis – 90 minutes away.
Tara Stone, 34, who hosted the gender reveal party, drove her sister Julia to the hospital where they saw Noah – his head wrapped in a bandage and blood on the floor – before being admitted for emergency surgery.
Afraid of what was happening, Noah asked, “Am I going to die?” but was comforted by Tara and his mother who assured him that all would be well.
Doctors revealed that Noah’s throat, arteries and larynx were exposed during the attack and that tissue, skin and muscles were pulled from his face. The dog also ripped out Noah’s spit gland and broke his jaw.
‘My sister was at my house for a small gender reveal party. We grilled, enjoyed cupcakes, and celebrated my sister and her future son joining our family,” Tara said. “When Julia got home, she was unloading the car with my nephew Noah who wanted to give the neighbor’s daughter a cupcake.
Pictured: Noah, 13, lies on a hospital bed while being intubated after being seriously injured in the life-threatening dog attack. Noah’s throat, arteries and larynx were exposed during the attack and tissue, skin and muscles were ripped from his face
Left: Noah (center) pictured with his mother Julia (rught) and sister Haley (left). Right: Noah (left) with his Aunt Tara Stone (right). Tara hosted a gender reveal party for her sister Julia when the neighbor’s pit bull broke loose and attacked Noah
“He came back to get some more for her parents, but when he returned to the neighbor’s house, their dog broke off his chain outside and attacked Noah.
“The neighbor, my sister Julia, and Noah’s stepfather all ran and tried to pull the dog away. They did, but the dog got loose a second time.
“After they removed the dog a second time, Noah was carried inside where my sister and a neighbor provided first aid until the EMT arrived to take him to the emergency room before Noah was later airlifted to the hospital.
“No one knew the full extent of Noah’s injuries. We just knew there was a lot of blood and his face was so lacerated it was unrecognizable. We didn’t know whether he would live or die. My sister described his face as a ‘burger’.
Since the attack, Noah has had four surgeries to clean and stabilize the area, remap the nerves and arteries, and reconstruct his face using a skin graft and muscle tissue from his femur and nerves from his leg.
The reconstruction is not yet complete, and doctors aren’t sure if Noah will ever regain feeling in the right side of his face or mouth. It will take Noah about six to eight months to recover from his initial treatment before he is ready to undergo further necessary surgeries.
Pictured: Noah before the dog attack. According to Tara, Noah is nice and liked helping older neighbors – like mowing their laws – before being attacked
While he is recovering, fluid should be drained from his face every two hours and his calorie intake should also be monitored. Noah’s house must be kept above 23 degrees Celsius to maintain his blood flow and although he can walk, adequate rest is needed to aid his healing.
“He spent two and a half weeks in the pediatric ICU,” Tara said. “Early surgeries focused on cleaning and stabilizing the areas affected by the attack and mapping the nerves and arteries in his face.
“Reconstruction requires extensive additional operations. Noah lost so much muscle on the right side of his face that doctors had to graft skin and tissue from his femur and nerves from his leg.
“It certainly takes prayers, family and community support to stay strong. We have always been a family that has been able to come together and find ways to support and love each other through difficult times.
Because there was no vaccination record for the dog, Noah was also treated for rabies, but after tests were done, it was fortunately discovered that the dog tested negative for the disease.
Noah’s 12-year-old sister Haley witnessed the attack and is staying with their Aunt Tara while Noah recovers.
“Haley (12), Noah’s sister, witnessed the attack and has stayed with us while Noah is undergoing treatment. That’s hard for a twelve-year-old, and she and Noah are very close,” Tara said.
“I personally have had days where I sat and cried. As a mom, I can’t help but squeeze my own boys tighter and let them know how much I love them.
Since the attack, Noah has had four surgeries to clean and stabilize the area, remap the nerves and arteries, and reconstruct his face using a skin graft and muscle tissue from his femur and nerves from his leg. Left: Noah in the hospital. Right: before the attack
Due to Covid-19, Tara said only her sister Julia and her partner Noah had been able to visit during his two and a half weeks in the pediatric ICU.
After undergoing the first four surgeries, Noah is now healing at home before returning to the hospital for further treatment later this year.
Fortunately, the family has had the support of their local community, which has been invaluable, but they have also found a lot of support online.
Because she wanted to do everything she could to help her sister and nephew, Tara founded a GoFundMe campaign who has raised over $40,000 to date to help Noah recover.
“The way the community has responded with love, gratitude and encouragement is something beautiful,” Tara said.
“It doesn’t replace the heartache, but it really has brought some measure of comfort at this extremely difficult time.
“No family expects tragedy to strike until it happens to them, but my sister is one of the strongest people I’ve known in this entire process.
Noah photographed with his sister Haley who witnessed the attack in March this year
“For now, Noah is home trying to find his new normal. He does virtual school until he can heal better and build the confidence to return. It won’t be this school year or maybe even the next, but we’ll take it day by day – celebrate the small wins.
“People who cheer him on have been a game changer. Trauma will manifest differently in different people and his mother has been given advice on that and how to prepare.
“I didn’t know what to expect from GoFundMe. I just didn’t want the family to worry about the finances of Noah’s healing.
“It has surpassed my original goal and people have sent cards and gifts, offered their homes to stay near the hospital, and other dog attack survivors have reached out.
Churches, the school and community businesses have asked how they can help. We are strong in our faith and Noah is on many prayer lists.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about dog breeds related to Noah’s story, but I don’t want to lose sight of what’s important.
“Noah is a sweet boy. He helps his elderly neighbors and constantly hugs his family. He offers help around the house and always works hard.
“He is kind, sensitive and loves people. I hope he can keep that. It is so necessary in today’s world.’