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GRAPHIC: Toddler needs prosthetic ears after dog attack

Posted at 9:14 AM, Apr 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-27 09:14:20-04

CASSOPOLIS, MI (WWMT/CNN) - A 3-year-old girl who miraculously survived a vicious dog attack last year still has a long way to go.

Arial Canen lost her ears and her family said insurance won't cover the procedure she needs for new ones.

The community has stepped up to pay for the special operation.

"We've had a long year," said the little girl’s mother, Kendra Canen.

In that time Canen has worked to rebuild her daughter's life after the dog attack changed everything.

Arial lost her ears and most of her head is a skin graft.

Canen said last April her daughter was playing on the trampoline at her grandma's house when the neighbor's pit bull attacked.

"I'm guessing the dog had snatched her by her head, her hair or something," Canen said. "We're grateful that she's alive. Moving forward, we live day by day so we have good days and we have bad days."

Canen believes there can be better days.

She wants to have prosthetic ears made for her daughter before she starts school.

"You know, we're just sitting there thinking, she doesn't have ears, and kids are bullies,” she said.

The operation comes at a steep price, nearly $12,000.

Canen said Medicaid won't cover it, because the procedure was deemed cosmetic.

And that's where police and businesses throughout Cass County are stepping in.

Lt. Oliver Fiala with the Central Cass Fire Department has organized a fundraiser for Arial in May, hoping to raise the money needed.

"All of the areas in this community do a great job of coming together in a time of need," Fiala said. "And so, this just happened to be a time of need and we came together and hopefully it works out flawlessly." 

Canen has a good attitude and remains hopeful of giving her daughter back what she lost.

"She knows she doesn't have them because we were talking about headphones the other day and she said 'I don't need them,' " Canen said. " 'I don't have ears. ' "

The fire department is providing food and entertainment for Arial's fundraiser.

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