Trauma to Triumph: Local family teaches kids about dog safety after attack

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Updated: 4/03/2013 10:33 am
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & -- After her four-year-old daughter was bit in the face by a dog, a local woman is working to turn the tragedy into a lesson and prevent it from happening to other kids. News 4's Ashley Cullins has the story.

Denice Challender-Slater teaches martial arts, and teaching kids about safety has always been a priority. But after her daughter was bit by a family member's dog just before Christmas, now she's teaching kids about dog safety and teaching her daughter about making something good come out of something awful.

"My knees buckled," Slater said. "She had a huge chunk bit in her cheek and her jaw was fileted open."

4-year-old Bébé describes the bite as "Really, really, really hard."

Her 8-year-old brother Enzo was there when if happened. He said he never thought a dog would bite a kid. 

Neither did Bébé, and it has left an impression. 

"It was a traumatic experience for her so I decided we had to try to turn it into something positive," Slater said.

Unlike a person, a dog can't tell you when it doesn't want attention, so Slater teaches the kids to look for clues.

"If it's wagging it's tail or not," Bébé said. 

And she teaches them to give the dogs space and respect.

"Let the dog come to you," Bébé said.

They're turning their family trauma into a community lesson. 

"We're going to be okay, so we can take that strength and share that message and save a lot of kids potentially and what a great opportunity that is," Slater said.

While the kids have fun pretending to be a dog during the exercises, they understand why they're doing it.

"Because we don't want anybody else to have the same experience," Enzo said.

If you'd like to sign your child up for a lesson with Denice Challender-Slater, click here for more information.
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