Michigan Boy, 12, Injured in Dog Mauling Is Hailed as Hero for Saving Younger Siblings
Detroit sixth-grader Deacon Ashmore didn't hesitate when two pit bulls came charging at him and his siblings, stepping in front of the canines so the younger kids could run away.
The pit bull-mixes seemed to come out of nowhere.
When 12-year-old Deacon Ashmore saw the menacing canines racing toward his two little sisters, his little brother and some other kids while they were playing outside in their Detroit neighborhood Monday afternoon, he instinctively stepped in between them — possibly saving their lives.
"I kinda held off the dogs a bit," he told the Detroit Free Press.
That's a pretty humble statement considering the bravery the sixth grader displayed in that fight-or-flight moment, his mother, Elisabeth Ashmore told the newspaper.
Deacon "jumped in front of all the other kids and made sure they could run home really fast before the dogs got them," she said.
"But he ended up getting attacked."
As Ashmore looked on in horror, one of the pit bulls sank its teeth into Deacon's left calf, puncturing the skin down to the bone, Ashmore told the newspaper.
It looked like "guts were coming out of his leg," one of his little sisters told the Free Press.
He was able to free his leg from the dog's jaws after screaming, "Bad dog! Bad dog!" she said.
Adopted from Ethiopia when he was a baby, his mother told the Free Press that Deacon's only concern when the dogs charged him and the children were his siblings, especially the littlest one, his 5-year-old brother, Kingston.
"He just kept saying, 'I know Kingston wouldn't have survived if the dogs would have attacked him,'" she told the newspaper. "For him, it wasn't a second thought, that's the kind of big brother he is."
She and her husband, Peter Ashmore, rushed Deacon to the hospital, where he underwent surgery to fix the tendons, ligaments and muscle the dog's sharp teeth had ripped apart, according to the newspaper.
He was released the next day after spending the night in the hospital for observation.
Now, his mother told the Free Press, "He's home on crutches."
As Deacon endures a long recovery that will likely include physical therapy, his parents are faced with huge medical costs.
To help the family pay the medical bills, a member of the family's church set up a GoFundMe page asking people to help with donations.
"Many of you know Deacon Ashmore as a great young man!" Clete Bontrager wrote on the page.
"Deacon proved that Monday evening. His leg was mauled by a dog while playing outside with his siblings. Deacon stepped between the two dogs and his siblings so they could run to the house, but in doing so had his leg badly mangled."
Deacon, Bontrager wrote, "will have medical bills which may include physical therapy."
"Along with financial help Deacon can use your prayers for his spirits to stay up and his leg heals without complications," Bontrager wrote. "Thank you."
One of the teachers at Deacon's school, University Prep Academy, wrote to the newspaper praising Deacon because he had done "something truly heroic."
This story originally appeared on people.com