Plucky girl saves sister from jaws of pet bulldog

By kathy baratta
Staff Writer

Plucky girl saves sister
from jaws of pet bulldog
By kathy baratta
Staff Writer

HOWELL — Being a heroine can be bittersweet. Just ask 12-year-old Megan Nowicki, who saved her sister, Kristin, 13, from a vicious dog attack.

What dampened her heroics?

The attacking canine was the family’s own English bulldog, Howell Heat, named for the girls’ softball team for which the 2-year-old dog had served as mascot.

Following the July 13 attack on Kristin, the dog underwent 10 days of observation at a local veterinary clinic and, according to the law, it was then euthanized.

The loss was hard for both girls and their friends and softball teammates, according to their mother, Marcie.

Only the two girls were home when the attack happened. Megan was lying on the couch watching television when Howell Heat started to growl and move toward Kristin, who was working at the computer.

Megan said before either girl could do anything, the dog had clamped Kristin’s left arm in its mouth and was dragging her from the chair. Megan stayed clearheaded, and reacted by reaching her hands into Howell Heat’s mouth to separate his jaws to release her sister’s arm.

Kristin ran outside where she was given immediate aid by a neighbor from down the street who heard her screams.

Still inside the house, Megan was able to drag Howell Heat into his kennel cage and shut the door. After calling 911, Megan rode with Kristin in the ambulance to the hospital emergency room.

Marcie Nowicki, a member of the Howell Board of Education, alternated between pride and sadness as she spoke of her daughters’ ordeal.

"We were just lucky she (Megan) knew what to do and was able to do it," Nowicki said.

Nowicki also acknowledged the important participation of not only the ambulance responders, but the neighbor they know only as "Bob the EMT" who lives down the street and who came running when he heard Kristin’s screams.

She said Bob tended to Kristin’s arm, which had been torn open in the attack.

Kudos also were due Howell Patrol-woman Gabrielle Giuliani, who was instrumental in calming both girls, "making them feel safe," Nowicki said.

As of this week, Kristin’s arm was healing well, according to Nowicki.

However, she said, the pain of having to put down a pet they had since he was a puppy still lingers for both sisters as well as the girls on the softball team who loved him.

Unfortunately, the family will never know what made the dog attack. The dog had never displayed aggression before.

Kristin said she was proud of her little sister, but "sad about the dog." Megan agreed, but said she was glad she had been there to help her sister.

When asked where she found the courage to act so quickly, Megan said, "I don’t know. I guess I didn’t really have time to think about anything. I just knew I had to help my sister."