Derek didn’t swat the dog, Linda Egstrom said Wednesday evening as she sat with Derek Malcom and Destiny Achilles.
Egstrom said she was the one who corrected the five-year-old male. And she did not hit the dog hard when he looked like he was going to relieve himself on a sofa in the living room. Egstrom was propped up in that same living room as she spoke. Bandages covered both arms. Malcom sat nearby, his right arm in a sling and a cast on his hand.
“Derek didn’t lose his finger,” Egstrom said. “He has four pins in it.”
Malcom said he was rushed to a hospital in Corpus Christi for surgery to save his badly damaged finger.
Although complete recovery from their injuries will take some time, Egstrom said her biggest loss is Kalevra, her 85-pound canine buddy.
Egstrom said the name, Kalevra, is Hebrew for awesome dog.
She was completely stunned when the animal attacked without real provocation. The dog had never been aggressive with anyone in the house before that incident.
When Kalevra was finally taken out of the house that day, he had been stabbed several times with a steak knife, tranquilized by Animal Control Officer Lupe Valdez and was led by a group of armed police officers. Egstrom authorized the animal control staff to destroy the dog, fearful of what he might do in the future after such an attack.
“I just tapped him with two fingers, like you would with a two-year-old,” Egstrom said. The response sent her and then Malcom into a self-defense fight for their lives.
Kalevra latched onto Egstrom’s arm and, in typical pit bull style, the dog hung on, ripping flesh and muscle.
As Egstrom screamed for help, Malcom grabbed the knife and went after the dog. Then Kalevra turned on him.
The two were finally able to get out the door and call for help. But inside, the living room was splattered with blood and tissue.
“He was loved,” Egstrom said of Kalevra. “He was very loved.” She said she’d had the dog from the time he was a puppy.
When asked if she would advise pet owners to think first before bringing a pit bulldog home, she shook her head and said she would.
“I can’t explain it. But if you’ve got a pit bull and a child, I’d definitely think that over,” Egstrom said.
She said the breed normally makes for a safe and friendly companion. But after that experience, she was not sure she could trust another pit bulldog.
“It was like a bad dream,” she said of the experience. “But Derek saved me. I have no doubt that Derek saved me.”
Egstrom said 30 minutes before the attack, she was sitting feeding the dog powdered sugar donuts.
“They were his favorite,” Egstrom said. “I lost my best friend the other day.”
“I just want to tell people that he was never bad. He was never mean. I just never would’ve thought he would do that. I would caution people,” Egstrom said.
“It was horrible on all levels,” said Destiny Achilles. When she returned to the home and saw the damage that the attack had caused, she said she was shocked.
“It’s just very heartbreaking to see your loved ones like that.” She said Kalevra was more than 80 pounds of solid muscle.
Now the victims are concerned about recovering physically and financially from the freak incident. The two adults will face considerable physical therapy to maintain normal use of their injured limbs.
Both victims were rushed to Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville where they were treated for their injuries.
Egstrom said doctors were unable to stitch up her wounds because they had been so deep.
Malcom was taken to Corpus Christi for surgery, also by ambulance. They fear the medical bills will be staggering.
“You would not believe what rolled gauze costs,” Achilles said.
The family is planning a benefit dinner at the Roadside Tavern at 2503 S. Washington St., where Egstrom works. Volunteers will sell barbecue brisket and carne guisada plates for $7 each at the business starting at 2 p.m. Saturday to raise money to help cover the medical bills.
Achilles said the family is thankful for all the help they have received from neighbors and friends since the incident.
Most of all, they wanted to thank the first officer at the scene, Greg Baron.
The victims also wanted to thank the Estrada family and everyone else who pitched in to help them at the scene and at the hospital.
Egstrom also thanked Gary and Loretta Pearson, the owners of the Roadside Tavern.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.