BATTLE LAKE, Minn. — It's been nearly a month since 14-year-old Dion Bush died after an incident involving the family dog. While there are still unanswered questions, the family said the German shepherd did not maul Dion.
The Bush family lives near Ottertail and has been breeding German shepherds for years. On Dec. 10, Dion Bush took one of the dogs outside. Seconds later, the family's life changed forever.
"He was so compassionate, sweet, funny, witty," said his mother, Jennifer Bush.
Early pictures of Dion reveal an adorable toddler who was fond of puppies and the outdoors. A young man who, his mother said, thought of others first. She recalled a time when he noticed people without dates at a school dance.
"There were three or four girls lined up at a school dance and there up against a wall, looking so sad," Jennifer Bush said. "And he asked them all to dance and he says, 'Oh mom, they were so happy, and they were laughing.'"
Last month, Dion was home and took this German Shepherd outside for a walk. Dion was not dressed for winter.
"He had thin gym shorts on, like those polyester gym shorts, and sandals," Jennifer Bush said.
While there is no witness, it appears Dion, who was wearing just sandals, may have fallen on the ice and somehow spooked or shocked the dog. Dion, wearing only thin shorts, suffered a puncture to his leg.
"We don't know if he tripped and maybe grabbed Ully (the dog) and landed on him or his mouth was open. We don't know if Ully got startled, and it took just that one tooth."
Dion died from one tooth puncture to the femoral artery. The family asked law enforcement to put the dog down after the incident, but said the dog was never aggressive before and was even friendly with strangers.
"That is what happened, and the coroner says there is nothing anyone could have done," Jennifer Bush said. "I just don't understand how this happened."
While the family has received a lot of community support from classmates and strangers alike, others have attacked the family for raising German shepherds. Posts on social media accuse the mother of unspeakable things. One person claimed Dion's mom provoked the dog to kill her son.
"They don't know how hard it is to keep going, to continue breathing and surviving because a part of me died with him that day," she said.
Dion's mother said the trauma of losing her son is hard to describe. She suffers from sleepless nights and nightmares, she said, and wakes up to realize her 14-year-old son is gone.
The Bush family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for the costs incurred from the loss of their son. To send prayers and support, the family can be reached at:
Battle Lake, Minn.