Written By: Janell Gormanous
Christian Abram Gormanous
Christian was born on May 27th 2008. He was 6 lbs. 2 oz. when he came to us. Christian was our second son and our 3rd child to be born. In 2001 we had a son named Dalton who for unknown reasons was born when I was only 26 weeks pregnant. Dalton passed away when he was 3 weeks 3 days old. It was a very painful and sorrowful time in our lives to bury our precious baby boy. Two years later God gave us our precious baby girl Trinity whom we absolutely adored. I still longed to have a son again. So when we had Christian, he was more than just having another child. He was an answered prayer. God had given me another boy. We were so excited and so was his big sister Trinity. She loved having a baby brother. Christian loved super hero’s but his favorite for a long time was Spiderman. He would wear his costume everywhere. Christian was so sweet and loving. He was giving and cared about others. He was also wild and full of energy. After a few years later we were blessed with another son and then surprisingly in December 2012, we had another son. My family felt complete. I can’t describe how happy and fulfilled I felt in my heart.
On Saturday, January 19th, 2013, the baby was 3 weeks, 3 days old that day and I was starting to physically feel up to running around and cleaning. Christian and Trinity were wanting to go to the store so they could spend their own money. Their Daddy had brought them both home 5 gold dollar coins the night before and Christian had $10.00 saved up in change in his bank. They were itching to go spend all that money. Christian was just 4 months away from turning 5 years old. He starting to slow down a little bit and really becoming a big boy. I was so proud of him. We had stopped at the Dollar General that morning at our first stop. Trin and Christian spent all their money there on toys and some candy. The most awesome thing about that day was how well he and she were getting along. Christian was so excited ripping his new bow and arrow out of the package as soon as he got in the truck. We went to the grocery store and then headed home. Trinity and Christian had bought some walkie talkies together and were excited to go outside and play with them when we had gotten home. We put away the grocery and I put some new batteries in their new walkie talkies and then we went outside to play. I watched them as Christian rode his power wheels truck down to the end of the cul de sac and Trinity rode her bike and rode on the back of Christian’s truck. His battery was dying so Trinity helped me push Christian in his truck up the driveway. We went in together and I made them something to eat. I was spending the day getting caught up on all the laundry and house work that had been neglected in the past few weeks. I was folding some clothes on my bed when Trinity came in and asked if they could have the pint of ice cream she had gotten at the store. I told them yes and her and Christian giggled and ran to the fridge to retrieve their treat. They winded up eating the whole pint together and with no arguments of who got more that day. Christian was sitting in his room watching a movie on TV. After a little while Trinity asked Christian if he wanted to go outside in the back yard and play with the walkie talkies again. He jumped up and yelled “yeah!” bolting to the door. I told Christian to put his shoes on and told them to stay in our fenced yard. I trailed behind them as they ran through the back door to the swing set. I changed out a load of laundry as I listened to them playing outside the open door. I sat on the back steps and admired how well they were playing together. I remember the feeling of total peace that seemed to feel the fresh smell of the cool air. Christian was standing in the swing with his long sleeve yellow shirt that read ‘Dads first draft pick’ that he had just gotten from his Mema for Christmas, and some 5t pants that he had just started to fit although they were still a little big on him. Standing on the steps I called to them and said “A few more minutes guys.” Trinity yelled “OK” and Christian said “OK mommy,” as he smiled at me. I stood as we stared at each other smiling at one another what felt like minutes but was only seconds. It was like we were saying good-bye and we didn’t even know it. That moment is seared in my mind forever. His beautiful smile. I could hear the baby waking on the monitor so I walked into the house to feed the baby feeling like they were safe in our own back yard for a few minutes. I fed the baby, changed his diaper and laid him down in the crib. I grabbed my 2 year olds hand as we walked towards the door and said “let’s go get sissy and brother.” Just as we reached the foyer door, Trinity barged through and yelled “The dog attacked Christian.”
I don’t know how I knew but I just knew she was talking about the neighbor’s dog, a pit bull mix. I was partial to pit bulls being that I had owned them in the past and had a wonderful experience with my own. They are just misunderstood and mistreated I thought. A dog that my kids named Coco because we couldn’t remember his Spanish name. A dog that for over a year my kids and I interacted with on almost a daily basis. We fed him, played with him, pet him and even bathed him a couple times. We treated that dog like our own. The dog would routinely escape his fenced in yard and hung out at our house chasing our cats and playing with our Labrador. Just a few weeks before this day, someone complained about him running loose, so our neighbors, the owners of coco, chained him up in their back yard. Our neighbors are wonderful people, but they worked a lot so they were hardly ever home. The most people interaction this dog got was from us.
When Trinity barged in, I stood stunned for a second looking at the blood on her arms and clothes. It was difficult to register. I said “stay inside with the boys!” and I ran through the house thinking the dog has attacked his leg or arm, we are going to have to rush him to the hospital but he’s going to be ok. When I ran out the back door, I quickly scanned the back yard for him and saw that Christian was lying on his side next to the fence. I remember everything was like an eerie silent haze. I felt like I couldn’t run fast enough as I stared with disbelief that this was my baby. I was shaking as I picked him up in my arms and looked him over as I moved quickly back towards the door. I stared at him in shock. This can’t be Christian, this can’t really be happening ran through my mind. I felt my legs go limp and I couldn’t breathe. I felt like I was going to pass out as I ran the short path to my door that felt so far away. I told myself, “I can’t pass out, my baby needs me.” I laid him down on a pile of clothes that were on the floor and grabbed a towel or a sheet and wrapped it over his neck. I don’t remember thinking. I was just in complete shock that this was really happening. All I knew at the time was that the dog had pierced his neck. I knew I had to stop the bleeding .Trinity opened the foyer door and I yelled to her, “call 911!” I pleaded with Christian to please “don’t leave me!” I told him “I love you baby, don’t leave me, mommy needs you!” I knew I was losing my baby right then and I could not accept that. He was still barely breathing and I just wanted him to keep breathing. My daughter brought me the phone and I remember I started telling them my address right away. I just wanted them to start coming NOW! I don’t remember what she said, I think I said my son was attacked by a dog and I put the phone down beside me on speaker because I needed to give Christian breath. I could hear the fire truck pull up outside when my sons heart stopped beating. I started to pump his heart and give him breaths feeling anxious for them to come in and save my sons life. One of the fire fighters that day was my husband’s nephew. He came in and I told him what was going on and I told them, “bring my baby back to me!” Christian dying was not an option to me. I don’t know if it was shock or God’s grace or both but I just did not accept that he was going to die. I need my son and he needs me. We had never been away from each other longer than a couple hours. I could not fathom the thought of being without my baby. My neighbor came to help with my other children while the firefighters and paramedics tried tirelessly to save Christians life. I called my husband who was driving home from work and told him what had happened. He soon arrived and followed the ambulance to meet life flight. He told Christian “hang in there son, Daddy loves you.” Then they whisked him away to the helicopter. Then he rushed to meet Christian at the hospital. I don’t know how long it was, but as I was packing our things into our truck when the officers came to tell me Christian was gone. I didn’t want to believe them. I wanted them to call the hospital and tell them not to give up! You can’t say he’s gone unless you give up on him is what was running through my mind. I need my baby, I need my son. I can’t be away from my kids. I was overwhelmed with disbelief.
I can’t describe the agonizing pain that overcame me and the daily pain that we go through being without our beautiful son. The horrifying thoughts of the pain and fear my son had to go through and the fear and pain my daughter had to experience trying to save her little brother. All because of a danger that I didn’t know existed. I never dreamed that this dog that I cared about and nurtured, who showed no aggressive behavior, who knew us well just changed one day and killed my precious son. I’m sure associated with the loss of my infant son, I have always been what my family and friends would call over-protective of my children. The fear of something happening to my children was constant worry for me. I felt that I could never put my children in harm’s way, always vigilant about things that could be dangerous to them. Like a swimming pool that is an obvious danger to my 4 year old son who couldn’t swim, but a dog that we had loved on and played with never entered into my mind as a danger. We tend to think that we can spot a dangerous dog by its behavior. But unfortunately, it’s the ones that we trust that pose the most danger because we never see it coming.
I am not telling Christians story because I want to make pit bulls look bad or because I hate them and want them all dead. I don’t feel that way at all. I love all dogs including pit bulls who I have owned in the past. There truly are some dogs that are more dangerous than the other, not because of their name but because of their actions. Because of the lack of warning that we expect to see. I promise you that if you were to be able to hear from 9 out of ten victims stories, they would say “I never thought that dog would ever hurt anyone.” Please don’t ignore the facts. Please don’t learn what so many of us have learned in the most painful way possible. Thank you for reading my son’s story, I pray that his precious life will have not ended without saving your child’s life. Knowledge is power, please inform yourself and those you know and love. God Bless you and your family. Be safe.
Sources for the death of Christian Gormanous: