LEWISTON — Confined to a hospital bed, both arms still in casts, Constance Veilleux nonetheless manages a smile as she poses for a photo. She’s in a lot of pain, her family says, and there may be more surgeries ahead.

Constance Veilleux smiles Wednesday from her bed at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston where she is recovering from dog bites suffered in an April 15 attack at her Lewiston home. Submitted photo

Yet the 71-year-old is grateful.

The victim of a vicious dog attack at her home last week, Veilleux remains at Central Maine Medical Center where she will likely undergo further surgeries to repair damage to both arms injured in the attack.

Veilleux also suffered wounds to her thighs, neck and face when a neighbor’s pit bull attacked her as she was raking leaves in her backyard on Helen Street the morning of April 15. The attack went on for several minutes and did not end until a police officer shot and killed the dog.

The owner of the pit bull, 35-year-old David Davis, of 12 Myrtle St. was charged with keeping a dangerous dog, failing to license and vaccinate the animal and allowing it to run at large

Veilleux’s family said Wednesday that they are “extremely grateful” to the police officer who shot the dog and for the “awesome care” she has received at the hospital. Veilleux herself is likewise thankful for the support she has received since news of the attack spread across the community.

“I saw mom this morning, she is trying her best to remain positive,” Veilleux’s daughter, Angie Gallucci Connor, wrote in a Facebook post Wednesday. “The second surgery set her back a bit but she’s strong and she’s determined to fight. She asked me to post this picture of her, she wants to say thank you to all who are praying for her. Your prayers, cards and flowers brighten her spirits so very much. Mom knows she has so much to live for and she’s fighting hard.”

The people who know her best describe her in similar terms.

“Your mom is a fighter,” a family friend wrote on the Facebook post, “and a very brave woman.”

“She’s definitely a strong woman,” said Veilleux’s niece, Cynthia Lizotte.

Those who witnessed the dog attack described the viciousness of it. Police said the pit bull, which had slipped through a damaged portion of fence, continued to attack Veilleux even after it had been hit with a taser. After it was shot by the officer, the dog managed to bite her one more time before it stumbled away and died, police said.

The dog was taken to a state laboratory where it was tested for rabies. The tests came back negative, according to Animal Control Officer Wendell Strout. He was continuing to look into the dog’s history as part of the the ongoing investigation.

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