By Ed Brock
When a dog viciously mauled his friend, it just came naturally to 9-year-old Kevonte Slaughter what to do.
Just after 8 p.m. Sunday 12-year-old Josh Loyd was attacked by a neighbor's pit bull terrier on River Park Drive in Riverdale and the injuries to his head and shoulders were severe. Kevonte took off his shirt and quickly wrapped it around his friend's bleeding head.
"I just figured it out," Kevonte said. "We didn't have any bandages so I had to think fast."
Josh, who Kevonte said he'd only known for a couple of days, is still recovering from his injuries, but was home from the hospital on Tuesday night. His rescuer visited him that same evening.
"He came by earlier and I thanked him," Josh said.
On the day of the attack Josh had previously played with the dog, with the owner present, and had not been harmed, Riverdale Police Department Officer Debra Johnson said. He returned to play with it again, thinking it was friendly, but this time the dog attacked.
The dog pulled him down and started biting his head until the owners of the dog grabbed his feet and pulled him away.
"My head was still in the dog's mouth and they pulled," Josh said.
Josh required nearly 50 surgical staples on his head and shoulders and also suffered two fractured fingers, said his mother, Lisa Thompson.
"His fingers got fractured from where he put them in the dog's mouth to fight him off," Thompson said.
Josh may still be facing re-constructive surgery.
While Kevonte's brother ran into the house of the dog's owner, Kevonte tied his makeshift bandage tight.
"I had to hold his head together," Kevonte said.
The boys went to Kevonte's house, where Kevonte's mother, Kina Slaughter, was shocked by the sight.
"He said, ?Mom, I've got it. Go get the first-aid kit,'" Slaughter said. "I said, ?Baby, this needs more than the first-aid kit.'"
Slaughter said her son's dressing of the wound was "amazing," and Johnson said the Riverdale Police Department plans to honor Kevonte with a good citizen's award in May.
Kevonte, a student at Riverdale Elementary School, said he was "a little nervous" after the attack.
Thompson said the Slaughters told her that Josh was very brave after the attack and did not cry.
"I am very grateful for what (the Slaughters) did to help my son," Thompson said. "That family, I owe them a lot. If they hadn't been there Josh could have bled to death."
Slaughter said she was told that the dog involved in the attack would be killed by Clayton County Animal Control.