Updated 09 March 2018

Little girl left with horrific scarring after dog attack learns to love herself again – all thanks to selfies!

Her mom says taking selfies is a way for her daughter to understand events.

A little girl was left with a shattered jaw and horrific scarring after being mauled by dogs.

Paige Woody (41), from Crestview in Florida, USA, watched in horror as two pit bulls grabbed her daughter’s face, tearing her skin and leaving her eye hanging from its socket.

In an attempt to save Zoey (5), mom-of-three Paige threw herself over the pit bull, which resulted in her damaging her knee and losing part of her ear.

Paige rushed the child to hospital and later she was airlifted to a specialist unit for 10 hours of extensive procedures to repair her jaw.

Zoey’s jaw had “shattered into hundreds of pieces” which had to be joined together again.

Lucky to survive, she went on to have in-depth surgeries, dissolvable plates fitted into her jaw and her upper and lower eye reconstructed.

Zoey (now 6) is set to undergo her third skin graft in April.

She’s also learning to accept the life-altering damage to her face thanks to taking up to 30 selfies a day.

Her mom believes the photos help her to appreciate herself. “I think the selfies are positive as it’s helping her to understand and appreciate the healing process too,” Paige said.

“A couple of times she’s asked if she was ugly and of course I tell her it’s not true and that she’s beautiful.

“Other people tell her she’s beautiful too, which I believe is helping to encourage her to recognise that she’s still pretty.”

Zoey still can’t smile fully despite a part of her lower lip, which was completely sliced off in the attack, having been reattached.

Her mom says taking selfies is a way for her daughter to understand events.

“She won’t look in a mirror and avoids them – the only way she looks at herself is through her camera phone.

“By photographing her face and the scars she can compare how she looked three months ago and how she’s progressed, as she slowly gets better.”

The attack happened last year, when Zoey tapped on a glass door to get her mother’s attention.

One of the two pit bulls, who were playing outside, pounced when hearing the noise and pulled the girl out of the house. Paige tried to pull the dog off and shielded her daughter with her own body.

“The dog was still attacking Zoey relentlessly and wouldn’t let go, so I threw myself on top of her, shielding my sweet girl from the continuous attack.

“I was terrified I was going to lose my daughter.”

“My head was gushing with blood. Zoey’s face was bleeding and her eye was hanging down, all I could do was wrap her in a towel.”

At the hospital Zoey was airlifted for life-saving surgery and Paige treated for deep gashes to the back of her head and other wounds.

“Her jaw was completely shattered into hundreds of pieces. She couldn’t chew for 10 months, everything she ate had to be blended.”

Zoey has had two skin grafts and is scheduled for a third, all accompanied by chemo injections and laser treatment.

Zoey has to keep out of the sun as UV rays can cause her transplanted skin to thicken, which could complicate future surgeries and grafts.

When outside for longer than a few minutes, the little girl needs silicone sheets applied to her face to block the sun and break-up her scar tissue.

Zoey was also diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) but is much more at peace now thanks to therapy.

She’s often quizzed in public about her facial scars and bravely responds by explaining her attack.

“People stare at her or say, ‘Oh my god, what happened to you?’,” Paige says.

“She’s six but has the oldest soul ever. When people are staring at her she’ll walk up to them and say I was attacked by two pit bulls, which is why I look this way.”