Mom severely injured while saving toddler from dog attack

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

AVONDALE, Ariz.--- A Valley mother is out of a coma, and recovering from serious wounds she suffered when the family pitbull attacked.

Crystal Trenkamp raised the 6-year-old dog from a puppy, and she says it never showed any aggression until July 25.

On her daughter's, Emma, third birthday, the dog suddenly attacked the toddler. Trenkamp said if she hadn't intervened, she fears the dog would have killed Emma.

"I opened his mouth, got him off her, and pushed her inside. Then he just started biting me," she told 3TV.

The dog bit 50 times during the attack, which lasted nearly 20 minutes. Trenkamp lost a lot of flesh and blood. A finger had to be amputated, and the rest of her fingers on her right hand won't move due to tendon damage.

"I have no idea what triggered it. He was trained, and always good with the kids," she said.

Her mother, Cynthia, walked in as the attack was happening, and began beating the dog with a shovel.

"I was terrified of losing her," Cynthia said.

Eventually, her teenage nephew lifted the dogs hind legs up, which caused him to release his locked jaw.

She spent several days in a coma, and has undergone six surgeries, with more to go.

Still, her recovery is considered remarkable, since doctors only gave her a 20 percent chance at survival when she arrived at the hospital.

Now, a nurse comes to change Trenkamp's dressings daily. She faces more surgeries, and an estimated three more years of rehab before she's fully back to normal.

Emma received some stitches, too, but is otherwise fine.

Trenkamp cannot work, and is struggling to pay her bills following the attack. The family setup a fund for donations at Wells Fargo, called the "Crystal and Emma Donation Account."  Donations can be made to the account, numbered 1325530879.