BRENDAN "Bear" Clark says he went into "survival mode" when he was mauled by two large dogs while working on a property in Coonamble less than two weeks ago.
The 43-year-old mechanic was flown to John Hunter Hospital after the attack, which left him with an amputated right arm, as well as cuts, scratches and bite marks on his left arm, his cheeks and his neck.
Mr Clark said he had been working alone in the yard of the property, and did not realise the dogs were there until he went to get something from the shed.
The owner of the property was in the office in the house, "a bit further down the road", at the time.
"One of the dogs sort of looked at me, and he's had a bit of a bark, and come towards me," he said.
"I didn't think much of it. I told it to piss off and get back on the ute. It wasn't until he was right next to me... He launched at me and got a good grab at my shoulder. And as I went to reach around to try to rip him off, that's when the other one got the other arm, and I realised, 'You're in trouble boy'."
Mr Clark said the dogs, "mongrels" bred for pig hunting, would have weighed about 50 kilograms each. He had one dog hanging off each arm as he tried to get away.
"They got me on the ground fairly quick, and as soon as I hit the deck I went, 'Righto. You're going to have to fight now, they are trying to kill you'," he said.
"One went for the face - he was heading for the throat, but he got a good bite on the face. I realised he was the main aggressor. I grabbed him by the collar and gripped my fingers in to keep him away. He started chewing on my arm, and I thought - 'You can have my arm, but you're not having my throat'.
"I grabbed the other dog as well. I had both hands locked in their collars and at first I was trying to choke them a bit to get them to let go. But it didn't take them long before both arms were not much use, and all I could do was hold them at bay.
"I could hear the bones breaking and the meat being ripped off... They were eating me alive."
A third dog had approached during the attack.
"Whether that dog was coming to join in or defend me, I'm not too sure, but the big one tore off and killed it, and they left me alone for a bit," Mr Clark said. "Then they came back for a second crack at me. I tried to stay face down. I buried my face in the dirt and pushed my throat down to try to stop them from getting to my vitals. It was instinct."
Mr Clark said the time frame from when the attack began until the property owner found him was somewhere between 30-to-90 minutes. The two dogs were put down immediately.
Doctors had taken skin grafts from his leg to try to repair his left arm.
"You could see bone in both arms," he said.
Flashbacks since the attack tended to elicit a physical response.
"I've been convulsing in bed when they happen," he said. "I looked up at the TV here the other day, and in one of those nature documentaries a big cat was tearing a beast apart, and it sent me straight into one. But they are getting better.
"But remembering the two dogs on top of me, stripping the flesh from the bone, hearing the bone snap, and feeling the rush of blood down my body... That's the worst part of the flashbacks."
He said the nursing and medical staff at the John Hunter Hospital were "dead set some of the best."
"One of the doctors sat here the other morning, and there was no holding back.
"He said, 'We're fighting for your life here with this infection' - because the infection - which could have come from the dog's mouth, or even the dirt, is the big battle. Especially because it's all so close to my chest. That sort of sent me for a trip over the fence. They've got the best antibiotics in the world running through me, and I've been having surgeries every second day to clean it all up."
Mr Clark would likely move to Scone to live with his father after his stint in hospital.
He had worked as a mechanic - on properties, in garages, in the mines - all over Australia.
"I was a mechanic," he said. "I was right handed. This has really thrown a spanner in, but all we can do is wait until we work out what range of movement I have and what ability, and what kind of independence I'll have. But I'm learning, by the hour, how limited life is going to be. Even going to the toilet... what a nightmare."
He said his mate "Jimbo" - James Everitt - had set up a Go Fund Me account to support him while he recovered and worked out what to do next. Visit gofundme.com/f/lost-arm-from-dog-mauling to lend your support.
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