real life

Brooklinn Khoury lost her upper lip in a dog attack. The bill for her surgery was eye-watering.

It was November 2020, and pro skater Brooklinn Khoury, a rising model and influencer from California, was visiting her cousins in Arizona.

After popping into a local grocery store, Khoury returned to her cousin's place to have lunch. A few minutes later, her life changed forever.

While she was standing in the kitchen, the 24-year-old remembers reaching out to pat her cousin's dog - an eight-year-old pit bull she'd known since it was a puppy.

"I was like, 'You're such a good boy', she shared in an interview with PEOPLE

"He literally sprung from a sitting position onto my face. I was standing, and he was sitting... he was literally, hanging - literally like arms, legs hanging off of my lip. And my first instinct was like, 'Oh my God, get on the ground with him, hold his head, go wherever he goes'."

Watch: Brooklinn Khoury shares her story. Post continues below.

Grabbing the dog's head and attempting to push it back, she said, "Finally, I felt a release. And then, something flew and hit the wall."

Standing up, Khoury took a deep breath, sharing with Newsweek, "It felt like somebody had shoved dry ice up my nose".


"Because of the adrenalin, I didn't feel pain at all... When my cousin finally turned around to face me, she was in shock.

"I remember standing over the bathroom sink, watching blood leaking from my mouth. It was when I put my hands on the sink, and finally looked up at myself in the mirror, that I began to really process what had happened to me. I was in disbelief."

Khoury and her cousin drove straight to the emergency room. 

She told Newsweek that after a nine-hour ordeal (a specialist surgeon travelled six hours to operate on her), unfortunately, her upper lip couldn't be saved. Khoury was left with no upper lip. Surgeons revealed she would require at least five reconstructive surgeries to rebuild her lip and parts of her nose.

Following the incident, Khoury shared that the blue nose pit bull was put down. "Animal control had no other choice," she shared with Newsweek.


"I have seen pit bulls since my attack and I've not been scared of them; I've just been more aware of what they can do. I still genuinely love dogs, but I'm just more cautious of them in general."

In her article for Newsweek, she wrote, "Posting about my attack online has received a very controversial reaction. Although I have never spoken badly about pit bulls, I get a lot of hateful comments. I've had many messages on TikTok from people telling me that I deserve to die for sharing my story."

"It's such a mental battle going out in public every day, people sometimes look at me and point, or ask questions. But still, I'm happy to tell my story."

Since the attack, Khoury has shared her recovery journey on Instagram, candidly documenting her numerous surgeries.

The series of reconstructive surgeries involved doctors using a skin graft from Khoury's forearm and wrist (the skin on your arm has the closest texture to the upper lip) and transplanting the tissue to her face.


She also underwent a rhinoplasty procedure to repair her nose. The cost has been great though.

The reconstructive surgeries have totalled over $US400,000 ($AUD568,000) worth of facial surgery since the incident.

And while doctors have made significant progress with the surgeries, Khoury says she's not interested in achieving 'physical perfection'. Instead, she's redefining what beauty means to her.

"Just learning to accept yourself, and knowing that your imperfections are what makes you beautiful. The response has been so overwhelming, and honestly, I think it has helped with my healing process - knowing I'm not the only one going through similar," she said to Good Morning America this week.

"There's so much more to beauty than what meets the eye."

Khoury credits her girlfriend for helping her realise this. She is currently in a relationship with former Dance Moms star Chloé L - the pair met just one week before Khoury's attack. 


She recalls worrying about their relationship while she was in the hospital, sharing to PEOPLE, "I was like, "What if she doesn't think I'm pretty anymore?'"

In a previous anniversary post, Khoury wrote: "I can't even begin to describe what this meant to me, and how much you mean to me. There are no words to describe Y O U. You have taught me patience, you have shown me so so so much love, kindness, and compassion, and so much more. I will forever treasure the love we have for each other. I love you."

Now three years on, the 24-year-old has shared the progress on her reconstructed lip, posting a series of photos on Instagram.

On a recent post, she wrote: "Today I had to remind myself how far I've come since the attack. Looking back at photos and videos makes me feel a way I cannot put into words. But what it does is it shifts my perspective on how precious life is, and also time."

"Timing is so unpredictable, but it's also so divine. I would have never imagined something like this to happen, but I have learned so much about life, and finding happiness through this whole journey. Whatever you are going through it will get better, and it will happen the way it needs to."


Feature Image: Instagram; @brookhoury.

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