WARNING – GRAPHIC IMAGES: A Perth model said she struggles to look into the mirror after a horrific dog attack left her face torn open and nose hanging off.
Suzel Mackintosh had the world at her feet when she flew home from London to take part in a camping trip with 10 of her closest friends to bring in the New Year.
But just before midnight, while rummaging through a friend’s car, the 24-year-old went to pat the Staffordshire-pit bull that was inside, something she had done without issue the previous day.
But suddenly, the dog’s temperament changed, latching onto Ms Mackintosh’s face.
“It shook me like a rag doll,” she told the ABC’s 7.30 report, opening up on how drastically her life has changed since that fateful celebration.
“I fell back and I could feel all the holes in my face.
“I could feel my nose hanging off to one side. You can see through my cheek to my teeth. That’s when I realised that my whole life was going to change.”
While several bouts of plastic surgery and a week in hospital have helped heal her horrific facial wounds, Ms Mackintosh said the damage was more than just physical.
“I used to be quite confident and now I’m really insecure about how I look,” she said.
“I don’t see myself in the mirror anymore, I find it quite hard to get work as a model, now I’m working two jobs trying to make ends meet to cover all my costs and save up for future surgery.”
Now trying to rebuild her modelling career, Ms Mackintosh has started documenting her recovery on social media.
She told the ABC that she wants to see changes to Australia’s dog ownership laws, telling viewers “you might not think it can happen to you, but it can”.
Earlier this year, a 14-month-old girl was killed after being mauled by her family’s dog, leaving a small rural township east of Melbourne in shock.
The toddler was set upon by the German wirehaired pointer at the family’s Neerim Junction property in the state’s Gippsland region early on Thursday morning.
She died at the scene and the dog has since been destroyed.