I looked on the internet for stories of kids accidentally killing puppies. I was shocked how many stories there were. While I don't have kids, I know a ton of kids and, yes, I know most little kids are not naturally gentle with puppies or cats or little animals. They need taught to be gentle. My sweet 3 yr old niece is an example. She tries to carry mom's huge cat around (much to his dismay), she wants to help feed the fish and will dump the whole container of flakes in the aquarium, and while she was very good with the puppies when they were tiny, as they got bigger she would try to carry them. She's just a bitty thing, so carrying anything more than a few pounds is way too much for her to do safely. She just doesn't understand that an accident can happen - it does not mean that she's a mean kid. She's a sweetie. So, we don't let her off a chair or the couch when she is puppy playing - and she is NEVER unsupervised.
You all might be wondering what I said to the woman that called me. Well, perhaps a surprise due to my love for puppies and dogs, but I was nice to this woman because I felt it was a sad, bad accident and she wanted to make it right. Of course, I had to lecture her that puppies are babies - they are not resilient and able to handle kids' rough housing. They haven't seen anything of the world yet. Everything is brand new. The first things they learn of humans shouldn't be rough handling. They are fragile, they have tendons and bones that are growing, and they also need gentle handling so they don't think kids are toys and learn rough habits that are dangerous for all (and not fair for the puppy who is being hurt and defending itself by snapping). Their mouths are their hands. They don't know what is toxic and they shouldn't eat. They don't automatically know to stay off roads away from traffic. They don't know the kitty is not a toy, or that not all humans are nice (and some are just outright dangerous). They don't understand why we put a collar on them and why we keep them tied with a leash. It is our responsibility to introduce them to the world, to show them how to walk and run on a leash without pulling, one step at a time - and give them the same consideration and gentleness and patience that we would our human kids. Puppies are babies!
So when people call me and ask, "are your puppies good with kids?" - I'm going to ask them, "are your kids good with puppies?". All of my puppy owners are so good with their puppies - but no matter how good everyone's intentions are - Accidents do happen to good people and good kids (and good puppies)!
I don't judge good people on accidents (but, that doesn't mean I won't lecture and if you've made a mistake - like I have many times - be big enough to stand for the lecture and learn from it). When I was in college, my stepdad accidentally ran over a puppy as he was backing out of the driveway. He's been tortured about that forever.
Of course, this doesn't mean we're going to allow one of our puppies go to a home that has questionable supervision and consideration. This woman is going to take awhile to heal and she knows that she's not going to be able to get the dog of her life that she's been waiting forever for until her home and kids and life are 'puppy safe'. She's taking the right steps and having a dog trainer come over and teach them about animal care BEFORE they ever consider getting another, and she's going to wait until they are older and get an older puppy/dog (probably one over 3 years old). A very hard lesson to learn, but the horizon is bright for her and her family!