One of the hardest things I have had to deal with as a parent is explaining things to my kids that I, myself, can hardly explain to an adult.  And no matter how much we think kids can understand and instinctively know, they are still kids.  Naive and innocent and looking to us for concrete, black and white answers.

Last night, our beloved black lab, Lexi, attacked our other wonderful family dog, Bud for the second time in 6 weeks.  This was not a puppy scuffle over who gets to eat the last morsel of food.  This was a full on death match with Lexi throwing Bud around like a rag doll, locking her jaws around his neck and shaking him within inches of his life.

My husband and brother in law were in the yard when it happened and, even with 2 grown men kicking and shoving her, they could not get her off of little Bud.  Only when my husband finally got her in the soft spot between the rib cage and back flank did she yelp and let go.

Bud laid in a mud pit screaming and shaking so much that I thought he was dying.

I picked him up and took him inside shaking and crying myself.  He yelped in my arms as I looked everywhere for blood.  By the Grace of God there was none and except for being very sore and and a possible dislocated shoulder – or just a really bruised one – he seemed outwardly OK.

I knew that now that she had attacked him twice in the same manner, both unprovoked, that something had to be done about Lexi.

The vet and I have been in close contact since the last attack.  He had summed that one up to be the result of a new puppy we thought we would keep that was in the house.  We gave the puppy back not long after the attack to prevent any more issues but have talked to the vet over the last weeks about her growling when the kids come to close to her.  Or even turning her head like she would snap at them if they came near her while she is asleep.  Both new behavior just in the last 6 weeks.

He has been clear that she could have something in her that will make her an aggressive dog that is starting to show now that she is growing and that we needed to watch her very closely, especially around the kids.

This attack last night was the last straw.

After calling several shelters, only to be told that they were full or that they would not take dogs with aggression issues, I called the vet.  He, as I predicted, told me that my options were very limited and that she has shown incredible sign of aggression and if it were his dog {he has 5 black labs} he would put her down.  Both for our families safety, and for hers.

This is an incredibly difficult, heart wrenching, anxiety inducing decision to make.  And I will second guess it for the rest of my life.  People will ask me why I could not do more for her and save her life.  People will judge me and hate me over making this decision.  I know this.

But the worse part of it all will be explaining to my wonderful girls, who just had their other dog, Ali, put down due to old age a few months ago, why we took their 2 year old lab, a healthy, fun dog to have, and sent her to Heaven too.

How do you explain to a child that the dog was bad so you sent her to Heaven?  How do you do that when you know they might think that if they are bad, you will send them to Heaven too?

I could say a family took her so that Bud would be safe.    But when I tried something sort of like that with Katie this morning she said, “Nooo, Mommy, she is our doggy!  We promise we’ll just keep her in her kennel and she won’t hurt Bud!”

And then she cried and begged that we keep her doggy.

I suppose I could say nothing and see if they notice her gone.  But that seems sort of chicken to me and of course, they will notice.

How do I tell them that I am choosing their safety and other people’s kids and pets safety over her life?  How do I explain that I even have the right to choose whether she lives or dies?

I can barely understand it myself?  I am on an emotional tightrope with a razor blade net ready and willing to catch me if I slip!

And how do I do it without crying and scaring them with my own tears?

Being an adult sucks.  I want to run and hide and let someone else handle this.

But I can’t.  Because I am a mother, a protector of my children, their feelings, their emotions, and the information that they are exposed to.   And it is my job to make everything OK.  To make my home safe for my kids and my other dog, to make them comfortable with the tragedy of this situation, and to take care of everyone, despite my own pain.

And to explain the unexplainable to my children.  Even when I can not explain it to myself.