The Facial and Spiritual Reconstruction of Collage Warner
Mauled by a Pit Bull
Chicago, IL - Collage Warner recently sat down with Dr. Garrard McClendon of the McClendon Report to share the life-altering attack she endured in 2001, and her struggle to cope with the damaging injuries. Collage Warner's video is part of a webisodic series by the McClendon Report that gives advice and insights on the "hard topics and difficult questions we all contemplate," according to the video's description.1 The video was published on YouTube on June 14, 2014.
At the time of the attack, Warner was a junior in college. She had gone to visit a young man she was dating. While standing at his door, she rang the doorbell. As soon as he opened the door, the dog inside attacked, trying to latch onto her throat. "I had turned my head in the knick of time," Warner said. So the dog clamped down on her lower face and nose instead. Her friend had to "literally pry [the dog's] mouth open," Warner said. "Because those dogs, they do not let go."
"When I saw my face, this whole part of my lip was peeled back and all you could see were my front teeth." - Collage Warner
Warner said that one of the arriving paramedics was in shock at her injuries. "I remember her reaction. Just, 'Oh my God,' and this was a paramedic," Warner said. "For her to say that to me, I knew it was bad." After arriving at the hospital and being wheeled into the OR, her friend, who also came to the hospital, asked the nurse if he could come in and pray with her and the surgeon before the operation. The nurse allowed it. "It was an awesome experience," Warner said.
When Warner awoke from the first surgery, she was in a hyperbaric chamber. "My mother was right there," she said. "I remember putting my hand on the hyperbaric chamber. She was standing on the other side and put her hand there. At that moment, I knew I was going to be okay," Warner said. Her facial reconstruction required four more surgical procedures. Her surgeon reconstructed her nose, lip, cheek and philtrum. "He did what he needed to do to reconstruct me," she said.
"People are being mauled and killed by pit bulls and rottweilers. I know for me to have survived ... God was on my side that day." - Collage Warner
Warner said she has been truly humbled by the experience. She added powerfully that, "From the day that pit bull jumped on me, until … today, I did not have any control over anything. My healing process -- I could not speed up the healing process. As you know it had to take its course," she said. "That's humbling. To have to wait to heal." Warner believes that the power of prayer is the only thing that kept her from losing herself to total despair during her long recovery process.
Warner said that her prayers focused on moving forward in life. "To not be so insecure and so self-conscious. To not be afraid to continue to live," she said. "There were points when I did not want to live honestly." Warner explained, "I stayed home a lot. I did not want to socialize -- my social life was just totally cut. I did not date for a very, very, very long time." Warner said it has taken years to get to where she is today, to have the courage to share her story with others.
When asked about her dreams, Collage Warner said she believes that God has given her a heart for single mothers. She has been working on a talk show that is for and about single mothers.
05/14/14: Family Dog Attack: 'Gripper' Breed Pack Attack Leads to Devastating Near Fatal Injuries
12/12/14: Video: Mother of Fatal Pit Bull Attack Victim Shares Story with State Representative
Wow. And to think, she was luckier than most attack victims!
Great interview! This is one strong lady!
Ms. Warner is a wonderful spokesperson — she speaks with intelligence and passion. I hope she continues to tell her story.