Nine surgeries and four weeks after a pit bull attack nearly ripped the arm off an 8-year-old girl, the child returned to her Delaware home with her limb reattached to her body.
"First he bit me on the hip to knock me down and then he grabbed my arm, but he was going for the back of my neck," described Emily Ruckle, the daughter of Newark, Delaware city councilman Todd Ruckle.
Emily, who spent the past month at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, was viciously attacked Sept. 27 by an abandoned pit bull named Frank, who her family was housing in a separate in-law suite at their Adelene Drive home in Newark, Delaware.
Her 15-year-old sister fought the dog off before police arrived and carried Emily, who was critically injured, past the violent pit bull.
The girl was airlifted to CHOP that afternoon and underwent a 12-hour surgery, the first of nine operations, to save her right arm.
Doctors said more procedures and treatment are necessary for Emily to regain use of her limb, but the young girl was happy to be heading home.
"I'm really, really, really, really excited," said Emily, who planned to celebrate with dinner at Chick-fil-A.
"She's a tough cookie," added her mom, Maria McGuinness Ruckle, who told concerned friends and relatives in a Sept. 28 Facebook post, "The doctor told us this was the worse dog [attack] she has ever seen and this is her specialty."
"I collapsed after I saw her," Maria said. "There's nothing that can compare to seeing your child unconscious in that kind of condition."
Newark Police, who credited Emily's older sister with saving her life, fatally shot the pit bull shortly after the brutal attack because its aggressive behavior prevented medics from treating the child.
When Emily left the hospital Tuesday, she headed directly to the police station to personally thank the officers who came to her aid.
Emily's father, Todd, was elected to his first-term as councilman in April 2014, according to the Newark city website.