DENVER — A Denver man says he's lucky to be alive after a terrifying dog attack outside his home that put him in the hospital for weeks.
Will Joseph said it was a typical morning. He was walking his dog before work on Feb. 15 around 4 a.m. in the West Colfax neighborhood, when he was approached by two pit bulls.
"It still brings tears to my eyes to talk about it," Joseph said. “I laid right here and they just mauled me. It was the worst thing that ever happened to me.”
He said he tried to fight the dogs off and ended up falling to the ground. During the attack, he did what he could to save his dog. Eventually, the pit bulls were called off of him.
“I crawled all the way to my house and I crawled up and lifted myself up. I saw my leg. My hands were just shaking. All I saw was blood," he added.
A few of his neighbors woke up to the sound of the attack and called 911. He was rushed to the hospital where he stayed for two weeks and had to undergo several surgeries.
"This was the most painful thing I've ever had in my life," Joseph said.
Now, he and his dog are both back home and resting but he is having to deal with physical therapy, trauma and reduced income.
Joseph said it's been a difficult few weeks but his neighbors have stepped up to help, saying they've become more like family. They've made sure he and his dog are taken care of and launched a GoFundMe fundraiser since he has not been able to work.
“I didn't know what kind of community I had until I actually needed them," he said.
His neighbor, Matt Bowen, is one of the people who have stepped up to help.
"He's made us feel so welcome since we moved here a couple of years ago, and he's just been a real gem of a neighbor, friendly guy, good person. And that's part of what makes it so tragic," Bowen said.
But that tragedy, Bowen said, has made their neighborhood stronger.
"If there's a silver lining, it's that we at least get to know each other a little bit," he said.
Joseph filed a lawsuit against the owner of the pit bulls.
That man was charged with ownership of two dangerous animals and has pled not guilty in the case.
The two dogs have been placed in a shelter. A judge will decide what will happen to them.
Joseph said he couldn't be more grateful for those who saved him.
"I don't have words for you. All I can say is, I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you,” Joseph said.
Bowen said he's thankful that Joseph is recovering.
"I'm just glad to hear he's on the way to feeling better, and he's getting healthy,” Bowen said.