SATSUMA, Fla. — Ruben Josey has been to Hell and back. He's currently at UF Health Shands recovering from a vicious dog attack in late January.
"It's a miracle I am alive," he told First Coast News from his hospital room.
On January 30, while walking his dog in a friend's neighborhood in Satsuma, his life came close to ending after seven dogs from a nearby home mauled him.
He calls it an unprovoked slaughter.
"I got a whole bunch of stitches on my hands, on my arms, fingers," Josey said. "I lost half my left ear. I got so many staples on top of my head."
He was life-flighted, undergoing several skin graphs. He lost a lot of blood and doctors told him he has some nerve damage.
"I was close to death. I mean there was no doubt about it. I was ready to hang it up," Josey said.
Josey wanted to meet the heroes who got him help so he asked the Putnam County first responders if he could meet them in his hospital room.
They paid him a visit and posted about their encounter on Facebook, writing, "Many times our dispatchers never get to meet the people they help save. Being able to meet Mr. Josey was truly special."
"If it wasn't for them and the professionalism of the Putnam County Sheriff's Office, and the dispatchers as well because they coordinated life-flight, life-flight itself and the staff here at Shands, I wouldn't be here," he said.
Josey hopes to be discharged by this weekend. His friends are planning to fundraise for his medical expenses.
The dogs were surrendered to animal control and the owners are cooperating with investigators. Police have not had any previous complaints about them.