To the rescue: 9-year-old boy takes swift action when his 10-year-old friend is attacked by a dog

By Dick Mason The Observer July 27, 2012 12:54 pm


Like many heroes, Reilly McLean, 9, speaks like he did not have time to be afraid.


Reilly was riding his bike
recently with his friend and
neighbor Marie Anderson, 10,  at First Street and Grandy Avenue  near Pioneer Park when he heard her scream. The boy turned around and was horrified by what he saw. A boxer-mix type of dog was attacking Marie after jumping up and knocking her off her bicycle. The canine was biting her right  arm and leg.

“I was freaked out…,” Reilly said. “All I could think was ‘I have got to get the dog away from her.’” 

Moments later he did, courageously grabbing the dog’s collar and pulling it away. It was only as Reilly was pulling the dog away that he thought he was in a
perilous situation.

“I realized he could turn around and bite me.”

Fortunately the dog did not harm him and almost miraculously Marie escaped life threatening or permanent injuries, although she does have some minor scarring.

“I am really grateful for Reilly. If it wasn't for him I don't know if anyone else would have helped her,” said Marie’s mom Lori Anderson.

 The dog inflicted seven puncture wounds, most of which were on Marie’s right arm and leg. She was treated at Grande Ronde Hospital but did not need any shots because the dog, which was quarantined by law enforcement officers, was found to have been vaccinated for rabies.

Marie’s mother was home at the time but did not know that her daughter had been attacked until she walked into her house on First Street. 

“She was crying and said a dog attacked me. I said 'What?’” 

Lori Anderson said the attack, which occurred last month, changed her daughter.

“She's a lot more cautious around dogs.”

She even gets nervous around her family's dog when it gets excited, her mother said.

Marie will be a fifth-grader at Island City Elementary School this fall, Reilly McLean,  will be a fourth-grader at Central Elementary School. 

Shirlette Kenworthy of La Grande, Marie Anderson's grandmother, said Reilly McLean’s act of bravery was truly heroic. 

“He could have done lots of things but he stayed by her side,''  Kenworthy said. “He put himself in harm’s way and didn’t think twice about it. It is pretty amazing that such a young man would do such a thing. I’m proud of him. It says a lot about his character.”