In England a mother looked on in horror as her 4-year-old daughter was shaken like a rag-doll in the jaws of their massive new pet dog. She didn't stand still for long. Jodi Hudson, 40, grabbed a knife and repeatedly stabbed the dog. It eventually dropped the young girl, but it was too late. Little Lexi Hudson was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
The dog was a recent addition to the family. But in the few weeks it had lived in the home, it had shown no sign of violence. Lexi and the dog had grown close and often played together. Surely this was a little incongruous to watch, the dog being a huge French mastiff.
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Young Lexi's mother must be absolutely devastated. Her neighbors who came to her aid in the street the day of the accident are also in shock. None of them ever foresaw anything like this happening. There had been no warning signs, which is part of what makes this story so terrifying -- and sad.
Even in the face of such sorrow, I think Jodi's bravery should be applauded. She could have frozen with fear, but she didn't -- she took action to save her little girl, even if in the end there wasn't anything she could do. It's easy to go ahead blame the dog when things like this happen, but they are simply animals and can't be viewed as acting intentionally, let alone with malice.
But the question remains: If you're adopting an adult dog and you've got a family with kids, what sort of checks and protections can you put in place to keep everyone -- including the pet -- safe from harm? It's almost impossible to know everything an animal has been through before they get to your home. You don't know what scars they bear. It's this sort of story that starts prejudices against breeds. This is just such a terrible thing for everyone involved. My heart breaks for a young life taken too soon. Our thoughts are with Jodi and the rest of her family and community.
Have you ever had a close call with a family pet?
Image via gwire/Flickr