…More Than Sweet Potatoes

How a Lawyer Lost to a 14 Year Old

Spring Break 2003 I went to Panama City Beach with two friends.  On the way driving there (and back) we stopped in Nashville to stay at one friend’s house.  The over-night stop on the way back was slightly tumultuous.

...but but but... look how cute!

…but but but… look how cute!

While playing with the two Lhasa Apsos in the house, one of them got jealous of the other and jumped to bite at it.  It’s aim, however, was pretty crappy because the dog snagged me right on the left nostril and partially on the upper lip.  It hurt, for sure, but the fact that I had a complete melt-down had nothing to do with the pain.

It brought up memories I hadn’t realized were so emotional for me.  In the summer of 1996 I went to sleep away camp.  After we got back I went to my friends house to play.  I hadn’t been to this friends house in a while and I was excited to see her 1 year old dalmatian.  Mrs. Friend’s mom opened the sliding backyard door, walked me outside, and turned around to close the door.  While she was turned around, I called for the dog.  Once.  He came bounding up to me excitedly, pushed off his hind legs and landed with his front paws on my shoulders… and his mouth snatching a good chunk of my face.

I'm adorable, now let me nom nom nom on you!

I’m adorable, now let me nom nom nom on you!

So 11 year old me was standing there with a dog’s jaw fiercely attached to my face.  In a feat of super human strength I shoved the dog off of me and [in shock] turned around to alert the family of the situation.  It went a little like this:

Me: Mrs. Friend’s Mom, your dog just bi…


My adrenaline stopped me from feeling any pain or fear; even when my friend’s mom was screaming and crying.  I sat in the bathroom on the closed toilet seat with a towel pushed onto the entire right side of my face.  When they went downstairs to get my mom’s number and call her I decided to remove the towel and look in the mirror.  HORRIBLE IDEA.

There were little scratches everywhere from my forehead to my chin, but more horrifying was the large open gash on the side of my nose/cheek area.

They drove me to the emergency room where my parents met us.  The staff took me back to the exam room and immediately decided I’d need stitches.  My parents insisted that they be done by a plastic surgeon and specifically by the plastic surgeon who had recently done my sister’s nose surgery after her relatively recent car accident.  Luckily he happened to be a resident at that hospital.  We waited a few hours for him to get there, they novocained me up and stitched up my face.  19 stitches.  3 dissolving ones inside and 16 outside.  I recall being very calm.  I asked (and my mom confirmed this was a good idea) that the doctor tell me each thing he was doing as he was doing it.

My “control enthusiasm” started very young you guys…


Fast forward a bit to having to pay for this injury and care.  There was a claim that I provoked the dog/scared him and that a plastic surgeon was not a requirement.  Naturally my parents hired a family friend (or a distant cousin or something) who was a lawyer and we sued for medical costs as well as pain and suffering.

Lawsuits take years – in case you’ve never been part of one – in many cases.  So at 14 (I think) I was in mediation for this case.  I was in a board room at a lawyers office (I think.) I was in the middle on one side of the table.  My parents flanked either side of me and my lawyer was to the left of whoever was on my left.  Across the table were two people from the insurance company (I think) and their lawyer.  At the “head” was the judge/mediator person.

It seemed to go on forever.  We were just reliving the events of the “dog bite day” when the possibly-insurance-company-lawyer leaned forward in his chair, put his elbows on the table, looked at me, and directly asked me the question that lead to a 14 year old single-handedly winning a mediation case:

Lawyer: You have braces, right?  Those are embarrassing and on your face.  How is this any different?

Me: Yes.  I have braces.  But braces come off.  I don’t think this works the same way.  At least not without a lot of money.


The lawyer sat back.  I could hear my mother smirk.  We were dismissed shortly after where my lawyer applauded me and my mother cried.


As a follow up, the Spring Break 2003 dog bite didn’t cause any damage and there was no fall out or hard feelings on either end.  Also, in spite of apparently having a bacon flavored nose that doggies like to eat, I am still obsessed with all doggies.  Doggies are the best.  There are no bad doggies, just bad/lazy/do-nothing doggie owners.

3 comments on “How a Lawyer Lost to a 14 Year Old

  1. Aussa Lorens
    March 24, 2014

    Wow. That’s pretty freaking horrifying that you’ve been attacked not-once-but-twice by a dog. I’m glad you still like them though– my boyfriend retains a fear of pretty much every size and type of dog due to past bad experiences. And I love that you bitchslapped that lawyer with wit and common sense. What a DBag to have even said that to you in the first place!


  2. r/b
    March 26, 2014

    W.T.F……Aussa pointed me here, and I gotta say….sometimes I have no idea how lawyers sleep at night, and I am not really known for being squishy and warmhearted myself. Who the HELL talks to a 14 year old girl like that? Who talks to anyone like that? Glad to hear that a bright and logical YOU wsa able to do a complete BOOYA!……./…shakes head…why do I read stuff like this and get all RAAAGGGGGEEEE at 2:00 a.m.?)
    (loved the Brosh…..you clearly have good taste…Now following you.)


    • Deborah Ilene
      March 26, 2014

      Haha. Your rage is welcome anytime. Even looking back the whole thing surprises me. It’s nice to win though. That’s a good feeling at any age. Welcome!


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This entry was posted on March 24, 2014 by in College, learning about me, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .
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