‘Miracle baby’ recovers from DC pit bull attack

It's been a miraculous recovery for a D.C. baby mauled by two pit bulls in November.

Family says doctors initially told them 7-month-old Sema-J would not survive.

Derica Souder says her son's heart stopped beating and his skull was fractured after he was attacked by dogs belonging to his caretaker.

"His nose also broke," said Souder. "His bottom eyelid is pushed in. He has bites all through his legs, back, arms and stomach. His ear was also detached, so they had to stitch it back together."

She said Sema-J's recovery since then has stunned hospital staff and even now when they go for appointments, everyone wants to see him.

"Everybody runs in his room and they be like, ‘Is that the miracle baby? Oh my gosh, that's the miracle baby!'" she said.

More than two months after the horrific attack on Dix St. NE, Sema-J is strong and curious and loves the camera. But Souder says it hasn't been easy. She says Sema-J gets upset in a way he didn't before and struggles to sleep, waking up screaming. She says he has brain damage and it's not clear yet how that will impact him long term.

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"I just pray and keep it in God's hands," Souder said.

She says her two older children often talk about how they wish they could've been there to protect their brother.

Family says their trusted caretaker left Sema-J with her daughter and then the caretaker's pit bulls went on to attack them both.

Souder says she had no knowledge her son would be around the dogs and hasn't gotten a clear story about what led to the attack.

D.C. police say no arrests were made, but both of the dogs were put down.

Souder says she's lost the trust she had before the attack and has left her job to care for her miracle baby full time.

Since this happened, the family has been tracking dog maulings in this region and across the country. They want to propose legislation to try to prevent such attacks.

The family started a GoFundMe page to help with their expenses.