December 7, 2023
When one woman and her kids spotted an elderly neighbor with dementia wandering down the street, they did the right thing: They kindly escorted her back home. And they almost...

When one woman and her kids spotted an elderly neighbor with dementia wandering down the street, they did the right thing: They kindly escorted her back home.

And they almost paid for that act of kindness with their lives.

Bethany Hastings was with her two kids — 4-year-old Lainey Bayles and 2-year-old Wesley Bayles — at their rural home in Bonneau, South Carolina, on the evening of April 26.

They had just had dinner and were getting ready to spend a little time outdoors when they spotted an elderly neighbor in their driveway.

Hastings, her two kids and the neighbor got into Hasting’s golf cart, and Hastings drove the woman back to her house. When they arrived, the house door was wide open — and the woman’s pit bull was loose.


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The mother told “Today” that they had met the dog before and had had no issues, but this time, something was different.

The dog approached them, sized them up and immediately lunged for the toddler.

“At that time, my son was sitting next to me in between me and this lady, and my daughter was on the backseat,” Hastings said. “He kind of looked at me, and then my son, and then he lunged at my son twice, and I got between them. Then my daughter screamed, and he went around to her and pulled her down to the ground.”

“And then first he got my brother, and then second he got me, and then third he got my mom,” Lainey said, according to WYFF.

Hastings lost no time pinning the dog, but then she had to wait for at least ten excruciating minutes before someone passed and was able to assist them. The whole time they waited, the dog continued to act aggressively and lunge at her, leaving her no choice but to hold on for dear life.

Finally, someone else stepped in.

“He took the children into his truck and then about five minutes later, another neighbor showed up and took the dog from me,” Hastings said, “Today” reported. “At that point, all of EMS and Animal Control and them showed up.”


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While Hastings and Wesley needed some treatment for their minor injuries, they’re doing well. Lainey had to spend several days in the hospital, and her face is covered in lacerations.

“She’s feeling well,” Hastings said of Lainey. “Every day she gets a little bit more facial control on her left side … They were worried about nerve damage on the left side. That is still something that we’re going to have to over the next year keep an eye on and keep track of that may require difference procedures and possible muscle grafts to get her to be able to smile and have control of her face on her left side.”

While Lainey is healing and cautiously learning to enjoy the outdoors again, Hastings is still flummoxed over the unexpected nature of the attack.

“I didn’t even know what was happening, and I looked at my son, and I’m like, ‘Did you just bite my kid?’ And that’s when he lunged a second time,” she said.

“There’s no telling what provoked him. I literally still have no idea. I’ve thought about it a million times, and I can’t think of anything that we did that would have caused him to react.

“I wish that I had looked up and noticed her doorway open sooner, but even then the dog was not tethered, so he would have come out to the road. There wasn’t much that I could do on that end.”

The dog was euthanized.

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she’s strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she’s had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children’s books with her husband, Edward.


Austin, Texas

Languages Spoken

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

Topics of Expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking