Thalia lost her arm in a savage dog attack as she played in a family friend’s backyard.

Thalia was visiting family friends in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Valentine when the dog, an Alaskan malamute, stuck its head through a gap in the fence no bigger than 20 centimetres and grabbed her by the finger, and pulled her arm under the fence.

“She sat there for two or three minutes by herself, pinned against the fence, while the dog ate her arm,” her father, Randall Standley, said.

It is believed Thalia sat on a retaining wall, her back to a neighbouring fence, hands resting behind her, waiting for her two friends. When the dog poked it’s head through the fence and grabbed her hand.

“She said that she had to keep quiet and still, because then the dog would sit on her arm and be calm,” Mr Standley said.

“It just sat there and chewed.”

“If she moved her arm, it grabbed it and ripped and tore and pulled.”

“At first she screamed, but she said she had to stop because that was so much worse than when it went back to eating her hand.”

Thalia said “If that fence wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be here,” she said.

Thalia’s friend ran to tell her dad that Thalia had caught her hand on something.

“I expected to see her hand caught in the car door,” Mr Kidd said.

“She was sobbing, and I went to pick her up and something sort of pulled her back,” he said.

“I thought, ‘What the bloody hell is that?’ I couldn’t hear growling or anything.”

He looked under the fence and saw that the dog had her hand in its mouth.

“I’m punching it in its mouth, just trying to make it let go, but it wasn’t,” he said.

“I had my arm around her as I’m doing it, and I felt her sort of come back towards me.

“I thought, ‘You beauty, it’s let go.’ I picked her up, and realised it hadn’t let go.”

“At the beginning you wake up and you hope every day, you know, that it will get better, it will get back to what it was,” Mr Standley said.

“But it doesn’t. There is no back to what it was … this is now our baseline, and this is what we work from.”

All three of the Standleys’ other children, including Jacob, 16, have been affected emotionally.

“I’ve told them to be angry, to be sad, to be confused; it’s all normal,” Mrs Standley said.

“You won’t find another person who lives in suburbia where they’ve had their sister’s arm chewed off by a dog.”

Thalia’s positive attitude is helping the family through their grief.


“She’s guiding us,” Mrs Standley said.

“You let her guide you, you don’t try and wrap her up in cotton wool because she was a really independent, determined little girl anyway [but] she’s become even more independent as far as ‘don’t tell me I can’t do something’.

“She’s a very special girl, with a lot of pride, and a great sense of humour.”

“If you’re a dog owner, for God’s sake, check your fences, because it doesn’t take much of a gap,” he said.

The Standley family are seeking support to help with the financial burden associated with the cost of Thalia’s medical bills which include the cost of of a prosthetic arm.

The online fundraising campaign can be viewed on the Reaching Thalia website.

Share your thoughts below.

Images via Facebook.
  • What a amazing little girl, such a brave thing


  • what an amazing clever little girl


  • I wonder how old the dog is? I am in no way excusing the dog, but if it was only a young pup that was given large raw bone it may have thought that that is what her arm was.


  • gosh this is so sad! infuriating to me, I work and listen to people discussing dog attacks – they happen a lot!


  • What a terrible experience for this young girl.


  • Oh my god! I honestly don’t think I would have been as calm if I was her. What a smart little girl. Terrible that she has had to go through this :(


  • What a terrible terrible story. Poor little darling. I can only imagine pain and then loosing her arm. Her strength and courage is amazing.


  • that seems so horrible! poor child! i hope that she recovers as much as possible. poor brave child!


  • I always read these stories and would love to be able to comment on all aspects but when you only get one side of the story (and yes it is the sad side) – then truly it is hard to pass any sort of judgement – based on actual facts.

    These “trigger stories” often result in people getting on the unsafe dog bandwagon. Only earlier today I read a story of a staffy attacking another child. Yes my thoughts go to the familes of the victims but I also think that the pet owners are being judge unfairly.

    Where can you draw the line at which dogs are unsuitable to be kept as pets, – all dogs have the ability to do harm, it’s not breeds that do harm it’s dogs pure and simple.

    I hope that there can be some lifeline offered to victims of dog attacks from the dog owners in the form of medical compensation or something that relieves the burden of the expenses – but who enforces this and who makes this legislation pass through govt?


  • That poor little girl. What a traumatic experience. I can’t even begin to imagine the pairn she went through and is probably still going through


  • What a terrible thing to happen. Thooughts and prayers with the ittle girl for a speedy physical and mental recovery, as best as can be expected anyway.


  • I’m in shock just reading this story. I cannot imagine the horror of seeing a dog chewing on your daughter’s arm. I really do believe that some breeds of dogs should not be allowed to be kept as pets.


  • Oh my goodness how awful. I hope that the owners of the dog were fined or help the parents out financially or something.


  • Little girl! It’s the first I read her story. Unbelievable what happened to her. :-(


  • How utterly tragic for the family and little girl! Everyone ought to be safe in their own backyard. Some dog owners are oblivious to the natural instincts of their dogs and inevitably say “it never did anything like this before…”. Some dog breeds are simply not suitable for small gardens. I know this may be viewed as an unpopular comment, and some will say “its the owners, not the dogs”. I don’t agree. I am glad the little girl survived.


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