The vicious attack left his face disfigured forever, but his desire to fight against the world is more powerful than the taunts thrown at him.
Trigger warning: Disturbing images
We come across bullies on a surprisingly regular basis in our daily lives, the ones who don't think twice before behaving rudely or passing unsavory comments, and even as adults, it leaves a mark on us. It affects our emotions deeply as the harsh words embed itself into our hearts and brains. Ryder Wells, a five-year-old little boy has had to face heartbreaking taunts every day.
This brave little boy of Granite Falls, North Carolina, was just 21 months old when he was attacked by two 100-pound rottweilers, reported The Mirror. Even after 50 face reconstruction surgeries, he was left permanently disfigured.
The injuries were so severe that Ryder, then a baby, lost his entire right cheek and his bottom eyelid. Along with suffering from a broken arm and a puncture in the right lung, his teeth were crushed. He also lost 75 percent of his bottom lips.
Ryder's mother Brittany, 31, revealed that the brave boy is no stranger to harsh comments from strangers for his appearance and has been labeled a "monster."
Explaining the situation she said, "In the beginning, it was horrible because even adults would stare. For the first year, he had no face on one side because he had two unsuccessful skin grafts."
Talking about the bitter situation further, she said, "When we go to the park, there's a child who points and screams 'monster' at him before running away."
If being called a monster wasn't enough, the tiny tot has to listen to strangers expressing their distaste after one look at his face. "Out shopping the other day someone shouted 'ew' at him," revealed Brittany.
"It's hard and it breaks my heart as a parent that after everything he's been through, people aren't always nice over something he can't help, But he is such a fighter, he doesn't let anything hold him back," she continued.
The little boy suffered the attack back in 2015 by the rottweilers of their family friend. Recalling the horrifying event, the mum-of-two said, "It happened so quickly. We were eating breakfast and Ryder was back and forth to his toys and back for bacon then he disappeared," as reported by The Daily Mail.
"I looked out of the window and he was face down in the garden. He had pajamas on and they'd been completely ripped off so he just had a sleeve on," she continued and said, "When we picked him up and rolled him, his face was just gone. He'd been around the dogs before and they'd been fine so I don't know what happened." Ryder was then airlifted to the hospital and spent 14 hours in surgery.
If the expectations of the medics were taken into account, Ryder wouldn't have survived the attack, but he was a fighter. He shocked everyone by not just learning to eat and drink but attending pre-school and kindergarten. He is not one to give up.
Brittany, who's also a teaching assistant said, "The doctors said they would do what they could but we weren't expecting him to make it. They said it's a miracle that he's still here because he was so small and the injuries were so severe."
Disclosing about his surgeries, she said, "He had to have a tracheostomy because of the punctured lung and they thought that the dogs had bitten so far into his skull that he would be paralyzed."
But the boy survived and would have to undergo more surgeries until fully mature. It also includes nose reconstruction and dental work.
Brittany proudly says that Ryder is fully aware of the fact that he becomes a source of discussion wherever he goes but remains unbothered by it. "He knows that people are talking about him but he doesn't say much," she told The Mirror.
"He wears glasses and a cap and sometimes he'll hang his head to hide his face.
"I try to deal with it in a better manner so it doesn't affect him so much," she continued. The distressed mother who's raising awareness towards bullying and its effects, said, "I just tell him every day that he's beautiful, different is beautiful and it's ok to be different."
Ryder starts with first grade in September. The tensed mother conveying her concern said, "I just reassure him as much as I can but I'm absolutely terrified about when he goes to school. There are always going to be a couple of kids who aren't kind."
She added that it might not be bad because the kids had already met him in kindergarten and so they "wouldn't be as shocked."
Like every other parent, Brittany wants her son to have a normal childhood. Getting a little emotional she said, "You always want your kid to be accepted and to fit in. Just because he's different, it doesn't make him less of a person. He'll never look the same and we face a lot of obstacles. The doctors said he would never be able to eat normally, he only has eight teeth now but he eats everything."
But Ryder never stops to amaze everyone. Talking about her son's amazing will power, Brittany said, "He refused a puree diet and the special cup they gave him and learned to drink on his own. He's really adapted," and continued, "He has a great group of friends, and people in the town know him now so that boosts his confidence. He's been amazing how he's adapted after what he's been through."
The two dogs responsible for the vicious attack were put down by animal control on the same day. The family is now raising funds for Ryder's remaining plastic surgeries.