Boy Who Was Mauled By Dog & Needed His Face Reconstructed Is All Smiles for Disney

Ryder Wells
Facebook/Brittany Nicole

Three years after a traumatic dog attack, Ryder Wells from Wake County, North Carolina, got some exciting news: He was being sent on his dream vacation to Disney World. The boy was only 22 months old when two Rottweilers mauled him and left him badly injured. But now, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is helping the now 4-year-old Ryder and his family make new memories and celebrate his fifth birthday at the happiest place on earth.

  • At the time of his incident, Ryder's mom told reporters that she had only sat down for a minute when disaster struck on Thanksgiving.

    According to ABC 11, the horrific incident happened on November 27, 2015. Ryder's mom, Brittany Wells, explained at the time that she and her family had been visiting friends in Raleigh, North Carolina, for the holidays. There were two Rottweilers, Quinn and Grace, at the home where the Wells were staying, but according to Wells neither dog had shown signs of aggression before the attack.

    "The dogs earlier had never shown any interest or aggression or any signs of ill will toward the baby besides licking and playing," she said. But in a split second, everything changed. Wells said she had allowed the then 22-month-old to play in the house while she and her friend Amber were in the kitchen. 

    "I sat down maybe a minute, we're talking I mean a minute," Wells said. "I didn't hear him playing in the hallway anymore. Quiet is never good."

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  • When she went looking for her boy she saw that Ryder was lying outside and not moving. 

    "He was just laying there," she recalled. From what she gathered, her boy had crawled through the doggie door in the kitchen and made it out into the backyard with the dogs, who then mauled him horribly. 

    “It is replayed like a broken record in my head, what I could have done what I didn’t do,” Wells added.

  • The attack left Ryder with severe injuries, and over the last three years, he's undergone more than 40 surgeries to help reconstruct his face.

    According to Ryder's GoFundMe page, he's had about 40 surgeries, adding up to more than 70 hours in an operating room, and he will still "face years of plastic and reconstructive surgery."

    "The damage on the left side of his face consisted of loss of muscle, nerve and tissue. He lost 75 percent of his lips as well as his bottom eyelid," the paged shared. Ryder has also had two failed grafts and had only eight teeth left after the attack and "ones they had to remove due to infections." He also has suffered from a respiratory disorder, according to Fox 8

  • But now, Ryder will finally have a moment to step away from hospitals and doctors appointments, thanks to a special trip to Disney World.

    In a wonderful gift for the boy, the Make-A-Wish Foundation surprised Ryder and his family with a trip to Disney World next week.

    "We are extremely grateful and appreciative. Super, super, super, super, excited," his mom told reporters. "It doesn't feel real yet."

    And she explained just how much this gesture meant to her son, who has done nothing but try to recover for the past three years. "He almost lost his life," she said. "He completely lost the left side of his face, along with many other injuries. And so over the past three years, we've completely worked on reconstructing his face and get his skin back on."

    Laura Jasmine, a representative of Make-A-Wish of Eastern North Carolina, told reporters that the organization wanted to help Ryder and his family take a break from the hospital and doctor's appointments. 

    "This is a chance for them to celebrate all that he has overcome, and have time away from doctor's appointments, hospital visits, needles -- all the painful and not great stuff, to just relax and spend time as a family," she explained.

    And although Brittany Wells is aware that once the family returns from their trip, it will be back to business as usual with another surgery already scheduled, she hopes this trip will give her boy some precious childhood memories.

    "We still have a lot to repair in the cheek, and we will address that in July," she said. "But we are just going to let Ryder be Ryder and get the good break that I'm ready for, and I know he is too."

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