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Only on 9: 8-year-old girl helps save mother’s life after dog attack

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — An 8-year-old girl rushed to help save her mother’s life when their family dog attacked her. The mother had to undergo two surgeries but is now recovering at home.

Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz spoke with the family in York County Friday, who explained the terrifying moments that unfolded right in their backyard.

Two weeks ago, a day spent playing in the creek with their family dog, Winston, turned into an 8-year-old girl having to save her mother.

On Friday, Eryn Mericle watched her kids, Tailynn and Bentley, enjoy a warm and sunny afternoon outside. But just two weeks prior, the same yard was a very different scene.

“That was the scariest day of my life,” Tailynn said.

Eryn was putting their 2-and-a-half-year-old dog, Winston, away in his kennel after a day in the water. She said that’s when it happened.

“Whenever he turned and looked at me, I could just see the look in his face. So I went to shut the gate and whenever I did, he came out the gate and started attacking my arm,” she said.

Eryn said before she knew what was happening, she was on the ground and Winston was pulling her into the woods -- her arm mangled by his grip.

“He would not let go for nothing,” she said.

That’s when 8-year-old Tailynn heard her mother’s cries for help.

“I heard her screaming and I heard Winston growling a lot,” Tailynn said. “I heard her saying ‘Stop, Winston! Stop,’ and that’s how I knew she was in trouble.”

Tailynn quickly jumped into action. She tried pulling Winston off, but he was too strong. So she made another quick decision.

“I ran, I jumped onto that fence and then I was thinking to myself, my mom is going to get very, very hurt,” Tailynn said. “So I jumped down and went to call 911.”

She called 911, got her 4-year-old-brother safe inside the house, and ran across the street to find neighbors and her uncle, who was able to get Eryn to safety but had to shoot and kill the dog to do it.

“I really feel like if she wasn’t here, it would be worse than what it was,” Eryn said.

The attack left Eryn with multiple fractures in her wrist, including 30 staples and 38 stitches. A main artery in her arm was also nicked.

Today, she is still unsure how or why this happened but what she does know is that her daughter saved her.

“My mom, she says I’m her hero,” Tailynn said.

A hero and a miracle to the Mericle family.

“That’s what I keep telling her, is that she is my hero now,” Eryn said. “Even though you are my daughter, you are my hero. If it wasn’t for her (being) there, it would have been a different outcome.”

Eryn has had two surgeries and has plates and screws in her arm. She says doctors are hopeful that with physical therapy she will be able to move her arm and fingers again.

(WATCH BELOW: Mother creates foundation for son killed in violent dog attack 18 years ago)

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.

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