‘Susie’s Hope’ – Bringing a True Life Tale of Inspiration to The Big Screen
A desperate start in life turns into an amazing Super Smiley Adventure. A pit bull mix abused by humans; and a human almost killed by a pit bull. Both survived to find each other! Who could be set on fire, left to die, live to meet the Governor, change animal cruelty laws and have a feature film made about her inspirational life? Meet pit bull mix Susie and her person Donna Lawrence, the true-life subjects of their inspirational feature film starring Emmanuelle Vaugier. And… Smiley and Megan are actors in “Susie’s Hope” too!
I always start my story by stating that, even though it was a horrible attack and I suffered irreparable damage, I do not blame the animal. I blame the owners who turned their dog into what it was. Their neglect and abuse made their dog fearful and territorial.
I had observed this dog chained outside and underfed for five years. When the owners moved and left the dog, I began caring for it instead of calling Animal Control. Each day, I put a bowl of food in its doghouse and left. I did this for several days, but during a routine visit one morning, the dog attacked me from behind. I will never forget that day. My life flashed before my eyes as I found myself on the ground in the angry animal’s jaws. He clenched my right leg between his teeth, and I knew that he could overpower and kill me. I tried with all my might but I couldn’t loosen his grip. Panic set in.
My adrenaline was pumping as I tried to kick him off with my left leg. That made the dog angrier, and he lunged for my throat. I caught him in midair by his collar and he bit and chewed on my hand.
I knew that he could kill me or rip my leg off. I cried out to God for help. I heard a voice say, “Throw him back with all your might and roll away.” I did as I was told and got out of his reach.
I knew I was in trouble. My leg and hand were bleeding profusely. The voice spoke again, “Run for help and get out of his sight.” When I reached a neighbor’s house, I knocked on the door and fell to the ground. Thankfully, he found me and rushed me to the emergency room.
I ended up with 45 stitches in my leg and drainage tubes running in every direction. The bite had penetrated both sides of my leg completely and left the bone exposed. It was two months before I could walk again. The doctor told me I was lucky to be alive. He said that most people either do not survive or lose a limb to attacks like this. I thanked God for saving my life. I knew that His intervention saved me.
I had always loved dogs, but that attack made me fearful of them. I had frequent nightmares. Eventually, my physical healing was complete, but I continued to struggle emotionally.
Then one day I met Susie, and she changed my life forever. So now you can see Susie and I shared something in common: she was a pit bull mix that had been had been tortured by a human and I was viciously attacked by a pit bull just a few months before we met. Our similar experiences allowed us to go from being victims to living victorious lives. I forgave the dog for my wrongful attack, and Susie forgave the human for hers.
Since Susie’s Law passed, Susie and I have been very busy traveling the state to speak at any event where we can teach others what we learned.
~Donna Smith Lawrence