‘The horror of the situation was just overwhelming, and it hurt, obviously, like hell. I didn't really have a plan of attack. I was just numb…’
When the bear bit into her eye and began to spit out her teeth, Allena decided she was not going to just lay there and accept her fate.
‘Do you know who I am, bear? Do you have any clue who you are eating?’ Allena thought.
‘I woke up, and I heard this screaming, and growling, and grunting, and fighting. I had my Irish Wolfhound, who was huge, and my English Mastiff, who's also huge, and the bear were all on top of me, and there is blood, and fur, and screaming, and teeth, and claws, and me underneath all of this bleeding out,’ Allena told How I Survived.
Taking advantage of the dogs’ brave act, Allena managed to escape and find her way back to her car. Driving herself to the local fire station, she was then airlifted to hospital.
The bear had partially eaten the orbit of Allena’s eye, destroyed the bridge of her nose, much of her upper gums and palate, torn off her ears and lips and broken her jaw. She’d also lost 14 teeth and a segment of her left cheekbone.
‘There's pictures all over the internet of what I looked like. You can't even tell that's a human being. It looks like a lump of hamburger, pretty much,’ Allena said.
Surgeons managed to put Allena back together. ‘I looked like nothing so much as this exquisitely executed patchwork quilt with thousands of little tiny stitches all over my face,’ she told the podcast.
‘Even just a year or two after the attack, I could pass in public, and nobody would really notice unless I drew attention to it, or mentioned it,’ Allena said.
Her dogs, RK and Deke, survived the attack.
Now nearly 70, Allena has a message for others who find themselves in a traumatic situation.
‘You'd be amazed what you can do if you have to, but you have to do something. The key to surviving is it doesn't matter what you do, just start the ball rolling. Do something, and then improvise as you go along. You never know where it's going to end up but it's better than lying there, and letting something eat your head off!’