10:16 AM EDT, April 4, 2013
One family's lovable dog was at the center of a heartbreaking tragedy.
The dog named Sassy bit off the pinky off a little boy and swallowed it.
Animal lover Luis Brignoni and his family raised Sassy, a malamute-wolf mix, since she was a puppy.
"This was not an aggressive dog. She was a really nice dog," Brignoni said.
The horror started when 11-year-old Fernando playfully put his fingers through the wire of the enclosure that Sassy shared with another dog at the family home in Bradenton, Florida.
"She bit my whole hand. She almost swallowed it," Fernando said.
"She was playing with him. By accident, she thought she was grabbing the watch and she grabbed his hand instead," Luis Brignoni explained.
Fernando said, "She chomped harder and then it just snapped."
Fernando's frantic brother called 911.
"We have a wolf and it bit my brother's finger off. And he's screaming in pain right now, there's blood everywhere," said Fernando's brother.
The 911 operator asked, "You said that his finger is off, right?"
"Yes, totally," Fernando's brother said.
Luis told INSIDE EDITION, "The only thing that was sticking up was the bone."
You could hear Fernando screaming in the background of the 911 call.
"Where is the finger?" the operator asked.
"I think the wolf ate it," Fernando's brother said.
Luis, a hunter and outdoorsman, knew what he had to do. "I have no choice, I have to get the finger," he said.
"I walk inside, grabbed a gun, then I shot her. I put the gun inside, and I got my knife and I start cutting her open to get the finger," Luis explained.
He killed the beloved family dog and cut open her stomach.
"I think my dad just killed the dog," Fernando's brother said to the 911 operator. "My dad shot it like four times."
"I was devastated. I'm having to sit there and cut open a family member, basically," Luis said. "But it was either my son's health and well-being or the dog, and my son takes priority over any animal any time."
Fernando was airlifted to the hospital, along with the finger his dad had removed from the dog's stomach.
Unfortunately, despite the dad's efforts, surgeons were not able to reattach Fernando's finger. There was too much damage to the tendons.
Fernando is now recovering at home, and the family is mourning for their beloved Sassy.
Fernando's mother, Milly, summed up the whole family's feelings, saying, "I never thought that this would happen."