MICHIGAN CITY — A paramedic turned policeman got the chance to see and talk to the girl whose life he saved from a dog attack with a smile on her face after five surgeries.
Winter Morgan, 12, broke down reliving the experience but quickly perked up after her mother, Ruth Hall, stepped in to shed light on the nightmare and express a whole lot of gratitude.
''Officer Combs is an angel in disguise,'' Hall said.
Scott Combs was given a lifesaving award during a Wednesday news conference along with a pat on the back and firm handshake by Michigan City Police Chief Mark Swistek.
Winter was presented with a new bicycle and gift card as early Christmas gifts from the department.
She revealed her first ride on the light blue and purple bicycle will be to her grandfather's residence.
Winter almost bled to death Nov. 10 when she was attacked by a 140-pound bull mastiff at Dunewood Trailer Park along Ind. 212.
According to police, the dog belonged to a friend whose mobile home she walked to so they could wait for the school bus together.
The girl broke loose and ran inside her friend's home but the dog followed and resumed the attack.
Combs was first to arrive.
He wrestled the dog off her and locked it inside a room then started applying towels given to him by Winter's friend to slow the profuse bleeding from the gaping wound on the victim's left bicep, police said.
Only the girl's face and left leg were not bitten.
Combs was an emergency medical technician with LaPorte County Emergency Medical Service prior to entering law enforcement several years ago.
''It's amazing. It's really awesome,'' said Combs on seeing Winter giggling and so full of energy.
The dog has been euthanized, said Swistek, who did not disclose the name of the owner because of the ongoing investigation.
He said criminal charges are possible.
Winter said she can't open a two liter bottle of pop right now but her mother said after a year or more of physical therapy she expects her daughter to regain full use of her left arm.
''She's a very strong little girl. She does what she needs to do,'' Hall said.