Man who lost limbs due to bacteria in dog's saliva says he 'couldn't wait' to see his dog Ellie

CEDARBURG -- A man whose life was altered in an instant spoke out for the first time since he was released from the hospital. FOX6 News sat down with Greg Manteufel on Thursday, Sept. 27 as he adjusts to a new normal.

"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.

Greg Manteufel

Dawn and 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

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.

Greg Manteufel

Dawn and Greg Manteufel

"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.

While doctors said it's possible the infection stemmed from his own dog, Ellie, Greg Manteufel said he'll always be a dog lover.

"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," said Greg Manteufel. "Pretty rough, but..."

"But very uncommon," finished Dawn Manteufel.

Greg Manteufel

On Saturday, Oct. 6, Greg Manteufel's friends and family members will host a benefit ride in Slinger. CLICK HERE to learn more.

CLICK HERE to access a account set up to help the Manteufel family.