Unfortunately the joy of owning a pet means the pain of losing it, for old age, illness or accident. After all pets are often the first to greet the morning and children returned from school. They are their playmates and pampering.
It is impossible to protect our children from the loss of their pet, but we can help them deal with it. Often the death of a pet may be the first time that they lose a “loved one”, and the grieving process can help children to learn to cope with other losses they will face throughout life.
One of the hardest parts of losing a pet is like giving the bad news to the kids. Try to do it face to face in a place where he feels safe and comfortable and not easily distracted. As you would with any difficult problem, try to compete with them giving him the news using words appropriate to their age, level of maturity and life experience.
If your pet is very old or has a persistent disease, consider talking with children before death occurs. If you have to resort to euthanasia explaine them that the vet did all he could, you have done everything possible, that is the kindest way to avoid further pain to the animal, which will die peacefully, without feeling bad or scared.
The age and maturity level will help you to understand if offer a simple and clear explanation for what is going to happen. If so, use words like “death” and “die” or say something like “the vet will do to our pet a sting that before it will sleep, then my heart stops” Many kids want a chance to say goodbye in advance, and some may be emotionally mature enough to be there to comfort the animal during the process.
In the case of euthanasia be careful in saying that the animal “went to sleep” or “I put him to sleep”. Kids tend to interpret it literally, and events like this can evoke misconceptions about sleep, surgery and anesthesia. If the death of the dog is more sudden, explain calmly what happened. Let yourself be guided by your child’s questions.
Avoid overflying the event with a lie, tell a child that “Buster has escaped” or “Max went on a journey” is not a good idea, not alleviate the sadness of loss and if the truth comes out, your child will probably be angry about such a lie.
If asked what happens to his friend after the death, if applicable to the point of view of your faith, an honest “I don’t know” certainly can be an appropriate response, as death is a mystery.
As anyone who deals with a loss, they usually feel a variety of emotions beyond the sadness after the death of an animal: loneliness, anger, frustration and …Help the children understand that it is natural to feel all the emotions, which is right at the moment when they are ready to talk about it.
Don’t feel obliged to hide your sadness for the loss of a pet. Show how you feel and talk about it openly is an example for children. Show that there is nothing wrong to feel sad when you lose a loved one, talk to him about your feelings and cry when you feel sad. It is comforting to know that teens are not the only ones to feel sad. Share stories of pets that you lost when you were young and how it was difficult to say goodbye.
After the shock of the news has faded, it is important to help your child overcome the pain and move on.
Can help the boys find special ways to remember their friend. A ceremony to bury your pet or just share the memories had fun together. Write a prayer together or offer thoughts about what your pet meant for each Member of the family.
Share your pet’s stories, funny moments, do an album with his photos. Keep in mind that the mourning for the loss of a pet, especially for a child, it is very difficult. For children, losing a pet that offered love and companionship can be much more difficult than losing a distant relative. You may need to explain how to approach even to friends, family or others who do not own pets or who do not understand.
But perhaps the most important thing is to talk about your pet, often and with love. Tell to the child that pain eventually will go away but happy memories will remain forever. When it’s time, you might consider adopting a new pet, but not as a replacement, but as a way to welcome another friend in your family.