A DEVASTATED wife has told of a tragic series of events which left her husband needing a double leg amputation and her brother dead.

After a break-up, Barry Harris, 46, bought a dog online to help combat his loneliness and moved to Greenstead in Colchester to be closer to his family.

Fondly naming the Japanese Akita Ted, as it resembled a “giant teddy bear”, Barry began to dedicate himself to taking care of the dog, paying for training and walking him every day.

On one walk, however, Ted went to pick up a bone from the floor but was foiled by Barry who was concerned for his welfare.

Gazette: Devastating - Barry Harris died after being bitten by his dogDevastating - Barry Harris died after being bitten by his dog (Image: Newsquest)

But in response, the dog bit him, causing Barry’s arm to swell up.

Three days later, on July 10, Barry died at home after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

His sister Pauline Day, 62, said: “He complained the bite really hurt. On the Thursday he didn’t feel too well and on Friday he cancelled work, which wasn’t like him at all.

Read more about this: 'It is a nightmare' - Man has legs amputated after bite from dog

“My dad went to see him and he was in bed with his work clothes on. His feet and legs were like ice. I didn’t want to bother him as it was my birthday meal and I didn’t want him to feel bad.

“The next day his neighbour told my dad he had gone to hospital. He had had a massive cardiac arrest and was dead before he’d even got into the ambulance.

Gazette: Dog bite - Ted who bit Barry Harris and Mark DayDog bite - Ted who bit Barry Harris and Mark Day (Image: Newsquest)

“The paramedics said he was having trouble breathing, lost consciousness and that was it, he was gone. At the inquest, the coroner said his death was unexplained, they couldn’t find a reason.”

Following Barry’s death, Mrs Day’s daughter-in-law was checking the dog’s paperwork when alarm bells began to ring.

The dog was actually 15-months-old, a different age to what they had been told, and there was nothing recorded about its injections. The family doesn’t know where it actually came from.

Following the loss of her brother, who Mrs Day said was like a son to her, the family had to face further tragedy.

“I was so upset, my brother was trying so hard with the dog so my husband, Mark, and I took it on,” she added.

Gazette: Husband and wife - Pauline and Mark DayHusband and wife - Pauline and Mark Day (Image: Newsquest)

“On the morning of Barry’s funeral, Mark took Ted out for a walk and he was nipped by him.

“The next day he didn’t feel too well but put it down to one too many drinks at the funeral.

“During the two days that followed, he was quiet and began to deteriorate. It was when he said his legs felt like blocks of ice that I thought: ‘We’re in trouble here’.

“This was exactly what had happened to my brother.

“His body was purple and coldness was travelling up his arms and legs. The ambulance service wouldn’t send anyone at first as they didn’t think it was serious enough.

“I told them: ‘I’m watching my husband die in front of my eyes’. When they did arrive, he went on to have two cardiac arrests.”

Since the incident, Mark, 61, has had seven fingers amputated and is due to have both of his legs amputated from below the knee.

Gazette: Uncertain future - Mark and Pauline before the operation in hospitalUncertain future - Mark and Pauline before the operation in hospital (Image: Newsquest)

Ted has been put down as the doctors described the bacteria inside Mark as “incredibly severe” and “100 per cent from the dog”.

Mrs Day fears her husband will not make it through the operation.

“It would’ve been kinder for him to go like my brother,” she said. “He called me to say he doesn’t want to be here anymore.

“You read about these things but it actually happened to us.”

She added: “We were looking forward to retiring together.

“He has gone from a burly man who never had a day off as a builder and loves fishing, to someone who needs a wheelchair and can’t answer my FaceTime calls because the part of his thumb which works can’t click the phone properly.

“It’s just so awful. I feel guilty for helping to keep him alive. It might have been better for him to have died.

“I’ve lost my brother and now I’m watching what’s happening to my husband. The past three months have been something out of a nightmare.”