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Video: Anchor bitten by dog on air recovers

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    >> now to the latest of a recovery of a popular news anchor from kusa. she was bitten by a dog live on the air. we'll talk to kyle dyer in a moment. first a look back at the morning she describes as life-changing. it was the kind of feel-good story kyle dyer looked forward to sharing with viewers.

    >> a critical moment but we got him home safely.

    >> reporter: kusa cameras caught the dog being saved by a local firefighter.

    >> we put a blanket on him and he was good to go.

    >> reporter: with everyone re reunited on the set.

    >> he's excited.

    >> the interview was going great. everybody was thrilled. the dog was happy, wagging his tail.

    >> reporter: as kyle was wrapping up.

    >> have a great weekend.

    >> reporter: the segment took a turn when she leaned in to say good-bye to max, the 85 pound argentine mastiff .

    >> it was a bite and a little bark. i moved back. i knew i had been bit.

    >> reporter: nbc news is not showing the bite.

    >> i felt the blood and i felt my mouth opening up. it was severe. my doctors say it was major surgery.

    >> reporter: before kyle was out of the o.r., the video went viral. kyle was frantic to reach the girls in school.

    >> he wanted to let them know mom would be okay before they saw it.

    >> reporter: seconds before she was attacked, the anchor known for her segments about zoo animals was within inches of the dog's face.

    >> whether it's conscious or unconscious provocation, still, she created that incident by coming too close to the dog's face and created a dangerous situation.

    >> reporter: kyle needed two surgeries that required 90 stitches. her mouth was even sewn shut for a time. she kept a positive outlook.

    >> it could have been worse. it could have been my cheek, my nose, eye, throat.

    >> reporter: max was quarantined for ten days and released to his owner, no charges filed. meanwhile kyle is getting stronger, spending time at home with family.

    >> the letters are amazing.

    >> reporter: grateful for the support.

    >> i love the cards from the kids.

    >> reporter: for a moment in her career that changed her life forever.

    >> this has been such a really positive experience for me. just the way people have made me feel loved. i know everything will be okay. i'll be back.

    >> kyle joins us now for her first television interview since she was bitten.

    >> good morning, ann.

    >> you look remarkable. i saw when you were initially bit that he got you on the nose a little bit. you can't tell.

    >> you can't even see on my nose now. he got on the outside and inside of my nose as well.

    >> on the lip, what are doctors telling you? it looks swollen. it's been less than three weeks.

    >> three weeks tomorrow. everyone says some day there may not be anything there at all. it's fascinating what they did. this whole area was gone. my doctor took part of my lower lift, flipped it up and sewed my mouth together. then the cells regenerated. it worked.

    >> what are they saying in terms of how long before you go back, what it may look like when it's healed?

    >> they don't know. the way the body heals, the doctor doesn't know what it will look like. so far, every day it looks better.

    >> and you mentioned earlier before we started the interview you're missing the cupid's bow, but you said it could be back.

    >> that could be the next surgery down the road. it could be six months at least. in the meantime i'll lip liner well. i didn't put it on today so you could see. but i'll get good at that.

    >> you have a sense of humor.

    >> it was a bad morning but in the hands of my family and friends i have never been freaked out, worried or scared. i knew it would work out. i see the dog on tv and the dog served his time as ordered and he's back with his family. we are all moving on.

    >> you say being somebody on television you didn't wonder, oh, my gosh, have i been permanently disfigured in a way i can't be on television again?

    >> it sounds weird, but no. i didn't think about that. i just knew i was in god's hands and i was going to be okay.

    >> you had to think about the moment when you got close. did you make a mistake?

    >> what do you think? yeah. i got too close. i think everybody has learned what to do around dogs. i have received so many letters from people who were bit by their own dogs. i never knew that many people got bit by dogs. i thought i was a dog person. i have lived with dogs all my life. i thought that dog seemed to love my nails and my rubbing. you don't know. they're animals. it was a freak accident . it was just a perfect storm . me too close. maybe he was unsettled. we think we know what dogs are saying, but we don't know.

    >> in sam ways this has been a positive experience? it's hard to believe that.

    >> it has.

    >> in what way?

    >> i have received so many letters, e-mails from people saying, we love you, you're beautiful inside and out. we can't wait to see you back. my family is wonderful. i have had down time with my family. it's been very reflective and i feel a lot of love.

    >> good.

    >> thanks for having me.

    >> thank you so much. keep healing.

TODAY contributor
updated 2/28/2012 9:36:13 AM ET 2012-02-28T14:36:13

Long an animal lover, Denver television news anchor Kyle Dyer was doing a story right up her alley — the rescue of a dog from an icy river. But during a live interview with the dog’s owner and the firefighter who rescued the animal, what should have been a feel-good story turned horribly wrong.

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Dyer stroked the 85-pound Argentine mastiff named Max on air, but when she leaned in to nuzzle the dog, Max bit her on the face, nearly severing her lips. The shocking incident went out live on air, and video of the attack went viral.

Story: Rescued dog bites TV anchor during broadcast

But two surgeries and 90 stitches later, Dyer is on the rebound, and is set to return to her seat at NBC affiliate KUSA in Denver. Speaking in her first national TV interview since the attack, she told Ann Curry on TODAY Tuesday there are plenty of lessons learned, but the key one is the outpouring of love she felt during her recovery.

"I have received so many letters, e-mails, from people just saying, 'We love you, we love you, you're beautiful inside and out, we can't wait to see you back,' " Dyer said. "My family has been wonderful ... it's been very reflective. I just feel a lot of love."

Story: TV anchor recovers after being bitten by dog during broadcast

‘Instantaneous bite’
Dyer has been the station's go-to person for animal stories, hosting "Kyle's Kritters," a regular feature spotlighting local zoo animals. So it's not surprising that on Feb. 8, Dyer doted on Max the mastiff as the rescue story unfolded on air. "I thought (Max) really seemed to love my nails and my rubbing," she said.

But when she leaned in at Max, "it was kind of an instantaneous bite and there was a little bark," she told NBC News.

The station quickly cut away from the attack, and Dyer knew pretty quickly her situation was serious. "I just saw all the blood and I did not look in the mirror," she told NBC. "My mouth was kind of opening up, so it was pretty severe."

Dyer had only begun receiving hospital treatment when video of the attack spread like wildfire. Her husband made a frantic run to notify their two daughters at school, fearing they would see the attack before they heard about it from him.

Video: News anchor bitten in face by dog on live TV (on this page)

And while Dyer was flooded with get-well wishes, she faced an uphill battle to repair her face. Her upper lip area was ravaged by the bite, and her physician employed some novel methods to reconstruct her face, including sewing her mouth shut.

"It's really fascinating what they did," Dyer told Curry. "They took my upper lip ... took a part of my lower lip and kind of flipped it up, and then they sewed my mouth together."

Story: TV anchor got 70 stitches after on-air dog bite

Dyer still bears the scars from her attack: She's missing the "cupid's bow," the double curve of the upper lip, which may require another surgery. But she's ready to go back on air just the same.

"That could be the next surgery down the road, but that will be six months at the least," she said. "In the meantime, I'll have to work the lip liner really well — I'll get good at that."

Video: Anchor bitten by dog on air recovers (on this page)

Meanwhile, Max escaped a harsh fate as a result of his attack: After being quarantined for 10 days, he's back with his owner. Dyer freely admits she likely made a mistake leaning in on the dog: "Maybe I was too close; maybe he was unsettled." And dog behavior expert Ron Berman agreed that the well-meaning Dyer erred.

"Whether it's conscious or unconscious provocation, she still created the incident by coming too close to the dog's face and created a dangerous situation," Berman told NBC News.

Video: Anchor recovering after dog bite to the face (on this page)

Still, despite the scars, Dyer believes that it's all's well that ends well.

"I just knew it was all going to work out," she told Curry. "I see the dog on TV; he's back with his family, and we're all just healing and moving on."

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