You bit her again. You hardly broke skin, but your top teeth hit her eyebrow and your bottom teeth pressed and nearly pierced her cheek. For less than a second, my child's face was in your mouth. I could list all the dogs you have bitten, all the adults too and the other child. I could list all the positions of shame I have taken and all the places I have hidden with your body beneath my hands, my mind and mouth weeping frustration, excuses and worry.
My mind is working to quiet my heart, but I can't keep from crying and clutching and wishing that you would just be better and that these past nine years would have just been easier and happier for us and you, but you, you bark at everything now and you've bitten dogs and nearly everyone dearest to you. You are frightened of cats and dogs and squirrels, people, bicycles, and cars. You are scared of big trucks and small cars, doors that open suddenly, joggers, slow old ladies and wild turkeys, foxes, and thunder. We want you, but we can't have you because we can't have all of you. I want you hiking with me in the empty woods. I want you sleeping at my feet. I want your fur in my hands and your muddy body on my passenger seat, but I can no longer justify your teeth on the skin of anyone. So, my darling girl, it's time. Time we said our appointed goodbye. I don't believe I will regret this decision, but I will mourn for it and I will mourn for you for a very long time.