ATHENS (KYTX) - For the first time, we're hearing exclusively from the 4-year-old Athens girl bitten in the face Monday by her family member's pit bull.
She has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home now. Little Madi Ponce has some stitches down her face and lips, but is taking her medicine and as her mother puts it, "is being a trooper."
Her mom Amanda Ponce sat down with CBS 19 and talked about what a traumatic experience this has all been for her family.
"The dog bit me," 4-year-old Madi says as she sits on her mom's lap.
She's leaps and bounds from where she was days ago, when a pit bull bit her in the face and paramedics flew her to Dallas Children's Hospital in critical condition.
Some family members at the scene told CBS 19 they thought Madi was holding a little dog and teasing the pit bull, but apparently there were no other dogs inside at the time of the incident. Amanda says it was so hectic that everyone was very confused about what happened.
"I think maybe she tried to pet him. I mean there was an adult in the room and she says she just turned her back for one second and it was just like that," she said, snapping her fingers. "It was something that was a complete accident."
Amanda Ponce was at work when it happened. She says the dog's owner is her cousin and she doesn't blame her. She says Madi is at her house a lot.
"We don't blame anyone," Amanda says.
Her focus is on her little girl.
"The top portion of her lip was almost completely ripped off. It was just hanging. and then the inside of her cheek was ripped. She had to have stitches [in her lower mouth], had to have stitches on the inside of her lip and then stitches under her eye.
Amanda says she's still in shock about what happened.
"The dog was raised around kids, raised around babies even," she said.
After watching her daughter deal with severe injuries, she hopes other parents will be more cautious around all pets.
"Be careful. Of course I can't stop anyone from buying a pit or owning a pit but if you're going to have that kind of breed of a dog or any animal that can turn, just don't have your small children around them because they don't understand. [Madi] doesn't understand that something cute and cuddly can hurt her," Amanda said.
Now, Amanda is looking forward, hoping Madi's stitches heal and she can put this all behind her.
Madi is on antibiotics to prevent infection, and she's using creams, mouth rinses, and only eating soft foods.
Amanda says if Madi's stitches heal the way they're supposed to, she hopefully won't need any cosmetic surgery.
After the dog bit Madi, a family member's friend shot the dog. It was tested and did not have rabies or any other diseases.
The owner has not been charged in the attack.