Irish tenor Paul Byrom has told of his horror and upset after his girlfriend was mauled by pals’ dog at the weekend.
The singer’s girlfriend Catherine McKeown is recovering after sustaining horrific facial injuries after the frenzy attack.
Paul told The Star it was a “hugely traumatic experience” for everyone involved after the dog had a “moment of sheer and utter madness”.
He said: “Obviously this was a hugely traumatic experience for her but not just for us but for the couple who own the dog and for myself.
“Four families have been affected by this and we’re very aware of that and we’re very sympathetic towards the family who own the dog. They’re distracted. They’re incredibly good people.
“They’re close friends of ours, we knew the dog since he was a pup, so it was really just a moment of sheer and utter madness that took him because as soon as I wrestled him off her, he snapped back into being himself .
“He sat there thinking ‘what’s happening?’
“I used to go running up Ticknock Hill with the dog and his owner.”
Paul said that while he was apprehensive about naming the breed of the animal, he described him as a “big dog” who was a “loving dog” with “responsible owners”.
The dog has since been put down since the shocking incident.
“It was a big dog but a loving dog.
“The owners took that matter into their own hands the following day and they said goodbye to the dog the next day, which we didn’t ask for.
“We’re huge dog lovers and I would never ask for that, but we didn’t have to, and they knew immediately the poor thing couldn’t be trusted because as soon as I took him off her he snapped back to himself so there was obviously just a little twinge in him that wasn’t right.
“And although he was trained to within an inch of his life by really responsible owners so based on that, they couldn’t… I mean if it was a kid or a child, they would’ve been killed so they’re very responsible people and are now going through that themselves.
“And our hearts are very much with them. We’ve seen them a number of times since the incident, and we are as close to them now as we have ever been but it’s just a tragic circumstance for all involved.”
The Dubliner recalled what happened – saying the dog just “snapped” before it went back to normal after Paul pulled him off Catherine.
“We were just visiting them. We were all hanging out. It was a very relaxed environment, and something snapped within the dog, and he went for her. Unfortunately, it was the face that he went for. The emergency services arrived within six minutes of the incident, and they were incredible.
“They calmed her down and they cleaned her up and then because of Covid I couldn’t go with her in the ambulance or go into the hospital.”
Paul revealed his girlfriend had to undergo facial surgery in St Vincent’s Hospital in Dublin on Sunday after the incident.
“The following day, waiting for her to go under the procedure and all that was extremely difficult, long waiting for news and updates so she got surgery on Sunday in St Vincent’s Hospital, and they did a remarkable job on her.
“I’m optimistic that although there will be some scarring, it’ll be ok and hopefully mentally everything will be good as well.
“We’re just taking it day by day as well. We slept well last night for the first time.
“She’s doing alright as best as she can at this moment in time.
“We’re terribly upset for them, for the dog and now Catherine’s journey is beginning. She’s going to be great; she has a great positive attitude about it and she’s a very strong character. It’s unfortunate I’m heading to the States tomorrow on tour and it comes at a worse time.”
Paul first revealed the horror accident in an Instagram post, writing: “You may have noticed that I have been quiet here the past few days. Especially after all the tour and album posts recently.
“The reason being, was because Catherine and I had a rather traumatic weekend.”
He recalled the traumatic incident to followers and said “I have loved Catherine for some time, but this incident has brought us closer than ever before. She is an incredible woman, who was beautiful before the incident, and even more beautiful now.”
Among the hundreds of well wishes to Catherine included Rosanna Davison who wrote: “So sorry to hear it, sending lots of love to you both”
TV star Lucy Kennedy said: “Jesus guys, that’s awful. Sending you both lots and lots of love Xxxxxxxxx”
Maia Dunphy said: “Jesus, what a horrible thing to happen?? I hope Catherine makes a full recovery.”, while fellow singer Chloe Agnew said: “So sad & sorry to hear this Paul- thinking of you and Cat and sending you all my love and strength xxx”
Paul is returning to the States today to go on tour until April – but he said he hopes Catherine can join him while he is in America.
“We get a little emotional at times but all I can say is we thank our lucky stars because it could’ve been a lot worse and I’m lucky that I was besides her to limit the damage.
“We move forward and that’s it really. I’m hoping she comes out to visit me in the States on the tour in a couple of weeks. I’ll be gone until the beginning of April. She had planned on coming out and visiting me and that’s not going to change, we’re going to get out there and see people.
“We’re not hiding. There’s no talk of hiding until it heals, and we’re hoping people respect that and won’t be too intrusive when they see her and ask too many personal questions.”
Paul said he loves Catherine even more since the accident happened, adding: “All I’ll say is I thought I loved her before now but, Christ, it is gone to a whole other level now.
“To me she is as beautiful as she was the day before it happened.”
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