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Dog lick survivor stays positive through surgeries, amputations

Posted at 10:09 PM, Jul 24, 2019

Doctors say it's a miracle Greg Manteufel is alive.

After dozens of painful surgeries and months of therapy, it's his strength of character that got him through it all.

"The doctors told me I had three hours to live," said Manteufel. "If I wouldn't have come in for another three hours I wouldn't have made it."

What started as flu symptoms quickly escalated. The dog lick infection he has is so rare you're more likely to win the lottery five times in one day than get it.

The bacteria is in 75% of dogs, and for them, it's healthy. But, in certain cases like Greg Manteufel's, it can be a deadly mix for humans.

He was around a lot of dogs in the days before getting sick including his own, which he still has.

"I think what happened was I might have rubbed my eye or touched my mouth or something and I think that's how it got in my system," Manteufel said. "Because normally they say you have to get bit, scratched or an open wound for this to affect you, and I didn't have any of the three."

His infection led to sepsis, the amputation of his limbs and part of his nose, but he never considered giving up.

"At the time, I was just happy I was still alive so I didn't even think about that," he said.

His nose has been reconstructed and he's already walking again.

"I want to walk without the walker so bad that I just push through the pain every day."

He'll have full-size prosthetic legs soon and is now learning how to use prosthetic arms.

His wife, Dawn, is his biggest supporter.

"We take one day at a time and push through," she said. "I help him physically. He helps me emotionally."

She took a leave of absence from her job to care for him. The medical bills are overwhelming.

"It's been a hard journey," she said.

But through it all, they choose to be thankful, pointing to the help they've received from loved ones and total strangers.

"I couldn't even believe how generous people were," Greg said. "I get letters in the mail from people all over the United States."

Greg does want to work and drive again. It will just take time.

There is an active GoFundMe page for him and his family if you'd like to help.