Three siblings were playing together in their grandma’s backyard in El Paso, Arkansas, on Sunday when their world was turned upside-down.
“It was the worst day of my entire life ever,” grandmother Brenda Hrubes told KARK.
As 3-year-old Annsley, 6-year-old Declan, and 10-year-old Aiden enjoyed the outdoors, the neighbor’s two dogs spotted them and ran over. Seeing the dogs approach Annsley, Declan got up and put himself directly in their path.
He carried Annsley while the dogs attacked him and he tried to protect her. Aiden then heroically threw himself in the way of Declan and Annsley, and the dogs started to maul him.
“Our middle child Declan (6 years old) got in between his sister and the dogs and started carrying/shielding his sister away from the attacking dogs all while being attacked viciously by both dogs,” dad Jacob Moore wrote on a GoFundMe he started for the children.
“Aiden (10 years old) then stepped in between Declan and the dogs to get them off of his brother and sister. We had to rush them to ER where Declan had to receive stitches in multiple places all over his body. Aiden has to have surgery as he got the worst of it.”
Hrubes shared that at one point, the young hero believed he was dying and had one final message for his family.
“He was laying in the street and the owner was already dragging one of the dogs away, but the other was still just chewing him up,” she recalled Aiden saying.
“My 10-year-old grandson was laying there saying ‘I’m dying, Bren bren I’m dying, tell everyone I love them.'”
“It felt like a million needles were poking me,” Declan said of the attack.
“I thought we were going to lose him,” Declan added of Aiden.
Declan ended up getting 10 stitches to close up his wounds, and Aiden was in surgery for three hours to treat around 40 wounds he received in the attack — but they were relieved that their sister was safe.
“It’s okay, you aren’t bit,” Declan said. “That’s the only thing that matters.”
While Aiden’s injuries were extensive, doctors have given him a good prognosis.
“We just talked to the Dr,” Hrubes posted in an update on Facebook from Dec. 12. “Aiden came thru surgery fine. They were able to close all the wounds. Which means it’s less likely he’ll need other operations layer on.
“Thanks for everyone’s prayers. He’ll probably be released tomorrow. I’m so grateful!! No major muscle or artery damage.”
The wounds will heal, the scars will fade, but these two brothers’ love for their little sister will never be forgotten.
“These boys are heroes!” their father wrote on GoFundMe. “They were so brave and had it not been for them, their baby sister could have been seriously injured or worse.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.