When Glenys Richardson arrived in hospital after being mauled by a dog, a staff member told her the wound looked more like a shark had attacked her.
The 67-year-old must wear a large pressure bandage on her thigh for the next two years after the attack by a pair of pitbull-crosses near her home in Otaki in November.
She is still too scared to leave home on foot on her own, and wants to see all pitbulls and pitbull-crosses banned.
Mrs Richardson was at home in Moana St, Otaki Beach, on the afternoon of November 28 when she heard a neighbour screaming for help.
The woman had been attacked by two neighbouring dogs, and Mrs Richardson was also attacked when they came up the driveway on to the street.
"They did not look all that bad, were not barking, but all of a sudden one was gripping my leg and would not let go. You are beyond registering pain, you are just in a nightmare. I could see bits of me on the road."
Another neighbour rushed off and rang emergency services.
"I was in the middle of the road screaming for help with the dog horrendously hanging on. No-one came for a while; it seemed like a long time," Mrs Richardson said.
The dog let go when a ute drove towards it, tooting madly.
"I was very relieved but in a state of absolute shock," she said.
She was taken to Palmerston North Hospital with a major artery exposed in her thigh. She was told that, if it had been punctured, she could have died within three to four minutes.
The neighbour who was attacked first was taken to the same hospital with multiple bite wounds.
Surgeons removed a lot of dead tissue from Mrs Richardson's thigh and she was transferred to Hutt Hospital's plastic surgery unit, where skin was taken from her buttock for a skin graft.
After two weeks in hospital she returned home, and district nurses continued to dress her wound regularly until a week ago. She will wear the pressure bandage for two years and is about to start physiotherapy to help her straighten her leg.
Despite an injured finger, she is very relieved still to be able to play the piano at church: "The aftermath is huge . . . Our lives have been dramatically changed. It was a horrible sight. Even the police were ashen-faced."
She has just started going for walks again, but is too nervous to go unaccompanied.
She believes pitbulls and pitbull-crosses should be banned. "It is like having a lion or tiger in your street. They are wild animals. It could have been a child, or I could have died." she said.
Eight puppies found on the property from which the dogs had escaped had disappeared, she said.
"People are making money from them for breeding or fighting. We are living with wild animals in suburbia. They have to try and ban them."
- The Dominion Post