8-Year-Old Recovering From Dog Attack Faces Insults From Strangers, But His Mom Tells Him He’s Beautiful

He defied all odds.

Ryder Wells, Brittany Nicole, dog attack Brittany Nicole / GoFundMe 

Ryder Wells is just like any other eight-year-old. He plays soccer, goes to school, and enjoys rock climbing. The only difference between him and other children his age is that most children have not undergone nearly 50 surgeries after suffering from permanent facial damage sustained in a dog attack. 

Ryder has been through quite the journey over the last seven years since the life-altering attack, and his mother hopes to instill him with confidence and love as he grows up among others who are often afraid of his physical differences. 


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Ryder lost his entire right cheek, the bottom of his eyelid, and 75% of his lips in the brutal dog mauling. 

While visiting family friends in Granite Falls, North Carolina for Thanksgiving back in 2015, 21-month-old Ryder was viciously attacked by the family’s two 100-pound Rottweiler dogs.

According to his mother, Brittany, the toddler was happily playing with his toys in one room while the others were eating breakfast when she noticed that he’d suddenly disappeared. 

“It happened so quickly,” the mother told The Mirror in 2020. She eventually found her son facedown outside in the garden. "When we picked him up and rolled him, his face was just gone,” she said. 


Brittany claimed that Ryder had been around the dogs before, and they were never aggressive toward the little boy. They were seized by animal control and euthanized the same day. 

Ryder was airlifted to a nearby hospital, where he spent 14 hours in surgery. Doctors originally braced Brittany for the worst. “We weren’t expecting him to make it,” she shared. 

However, little Ryder pulled through and survived the attack. In addition to his severe facial injuries, he suffered crushed teeth, a broken arm and a puncture in his right lung.

"He had to have a tracheostomy because of the punctured lung and they thought that the dogs had bitten so far into his skull that he would be paralyzed,” Brittany explained. 


Not only did the little boy survive, he exceeded medical professionals’ expectations, and learned how to eat, drink, and attend pre-school. While Ryder’s recovery has been a complete miracle, he still has a long road ahead of him, and strangers have unfortunately not been so kind to him due to his physical appearance.

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Some people have insulted Ryder, labeling him as a ‘monster’ when they notice his face. 

"For the first year, he had no face on one side because he had two unsuccessful skin grafts,” his mother explained. The toddler’s facial damage made him a target of bullying and rude comments.

"When we go to the park, there's a child who points and screams 'monster' at him before running away,” she said. "Out shopping the other day someone shouted 'ew' at him.” 


Brittany says that it breaks her heart that people are cruel to her son over something that he cannot help, but insists that he is a “fighter” who doesn’t let anything hold him back. However, he is beginning to take notice of others staring at him in public spaces. 

"He knows that people are talking about him but he doesn't say much,” Brittany claims. "He wears glasses and a cap and sometimes he'll hang his head to hide his face.”

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His mother says that she assures her son every day that he is beautiful. 

“I just tell him every day that he's beautiful, different is beautiful and it's ok to be different,” she shares. While Brittany does her best to boost Ryder’s confidence in himself, she admits that she is “absolutely terrified” when he goes to school. 


"There are always going to be a couple of kids who aren't kind,” she acknowledges. Thankfully, before Ryder started kindergarten, his classmates were informed of his differences so that he could enter the classroom without the fear of being taunted. His mother has one important takeaway for anyone who encounters her son: "Just because he's different, it doesn't make him less of a person." 

After Ryder’s attack, Brittany launched a GoFundMe page to help cover his medical bills. As of today, the page has exceeded its goal of $50,000, with a total of $66,405 in donations. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.