CEDARBURG, Wis. – A man who lost limbs from a rare infection linked to his dog's saliva is home from the hospital and adjusting to a new life – but his love for his canine companion Ellie hasn't changed.
"I couldn't wait to see her when I got out of the hospital. We don't want people to be scared of their dogs because of what happened to me," Greg Manteufel said.
Manteufel said the experience was "pretty rough, but ... " also "uncommon," his wife Dawn finished for him.
"I think within, what? Twenty-four hours? Our life was changed immediately," said Dawn Manteufel.
More than a dozen surgeries and the same number of weeks later, Greg Manteufel was released from the hospital. He and his wife, Dawn are now staying at his parents' home in Cedarburg, as their home isn't suitable for Manteufel's wheelchair.
"I just wanted to stay alive, you know?" said Greg Manteufel.
In late June, Greg Manteufel became violently ill.
"That's pretty much when his son realized there's something majorly wrong," said Dawn Manteufel.
Doctors say he contracted a rare blood infection they linked to bacteria found in dog's saliva. As a result, he lost parts of his arms, legs and nose. The Manteufels said after all they've been through, and all that Greg has lost, they've actually gained something, too.
"When we leave each other now, we make sure we say 'I love you,'" said Dawn Manteufel.
Greg Manteufel, who is taking part in physical therapy, said he hopes to gain enough strength for prosthetic limbs. He also said he hopes to one day ride his motorcycle again.
The Manteufels said they are grateful for a community that has been so supportive.
"He had an afghan that was made for him from someone in Colorado, just to give him warmth. It was so touching," said Dawn Manteufel.
On Saturday, Oct. 6, Greg Manteufel's friends and family members will host a benefit ride in Slinger.
There is a GoFundMe account set up to help the Manteufel family.