Skip to comments.help with a young child and loss of a pet (BIG TIME VANITY)
Posted on 04/17/2007 6:30:34 PM PDT by randyclark
I am much more of a lurker than a poster, but I have always respected and appreciated the thoughts of fellow conservatives here. I had to put down my German Shepherd recently, and my son of 2 1/2 years has been looking for him from time to time. I ask for any advice, as I try to keep this calm and reassuring for him. My son referred to him as the "black dragon" due to the size, jaw, and tail. The dog was 100 lbs of absolute loyalty, teeth and fur to my family. Thanks in advance to you all.
Tell him the dog died, maybe get him a new one.
Sorry your dog passed, but losing a child is unthinkable.
At his age, I would distract him by getting a new puppy. This doesn’t mean you can’t still talk about the old dog—just reassure him that Fido is in doggy heaven, and this new puppy is his, now. It worked for me when our kids were small.
I think the title is misleading...why don’t you ask the mods to change it. It sounds like you lost our son as well. But I don’t think that’s what you meant, right?
Teach him how to lurk with you, that’ll take his mind off the dog.
Get a new puppy and allow the child to pick the name.
Did you read the body of the post?
Tell him the truth.
The immediate introduction of a new pet helps tremendously. Been there, done that sorta thing. If you dont want another dog for a while, time is the only answer. Just explain that his best friend went to heaven and he can still speak to him in prayer. Worked for my son. Hope this helps.
oh gosh—not what I meant to post—loss of pet and coping with that loss as a father of a two year old. I never even read the topic as that—more proof that one shouldn’t proof one’s own typing. Many apologies...
Sorry to hear of your childs passing. Prayers up. < /s - OK I read the post but it seems like a sick thread is about to commence>
The death of a pet is a great way to teach children about death. You can explain to him that his dog died and will be gone now. Children have a very different time sense than we do and do not have a concept of forever. He may ask from time to time when he will see his dog again. Depending on your beliefs, you can simply say he is gone and will not be back, or you can say youwill see him in heaven. Since he is so young, you can expect him to ask a few times.
It will be a great reference for him when a person he knows dies later. He will have a concept of death being permanant.
At age 2+, he's probably still young enough that you can get a new puppy for the family and tell him that "big dogs go to the Happy Hunting Ground to be watchdogs in God's house" or something like that. A young puppy today will likely live through most of his childhood, so this might be a good time for a new dog anyway.
Use this as a life lesson for your child...that life is precious, but not predictable. Reinforce the notion that people should treasure the blessing they have while they have them.
I’d suggest that you not get another dog right away, as that would indicate that precious lives are easily replaced. Give him the truth as you teach, allow him to learn how to mourn the loss, and heal for a while.
If you want to replace the dog, do it after the grieving process has passed.
Best advice is to explain that the older pet has passed on, and get a new pet.
I’m in favor of Basil’s #4 posting. Sorry for your loss
and perhaps you need a new little puppy to help yourself
Boy, that is a hard one. A two and a half year old will not understand death. Maybe if you let him know your dog won’t be back, or that he won’t see the dog again (gently and matter of fact like). When you are ready to get another (and I hope you will—every kid needs to grow up with a pet), you can tell him that your gs sent your family a friend to help you to not miss him so much. Good luck
We had to put our beloved 8 year-old dog down last year, and it was very hard on both myself and my 16 year-old. I can imagine how hard it is to handle this situation with someone as young as yours, that is too young to quite grasp death.
I would recommend another pet of some kind, initially...perhaps a hamster or fish. This will allow him to not feel that you simply “replace” something that dies with something similar...but at the same time will give him an outlet for his affection for pets.
Later, getting a new puppy or dog might be a good idea. I agree with being honest with him about death, but even so...it will be hard to get a 2 1/2 year old to understand.
This story could be about me. When I was two our family German Shepherd (no lie) passed away. My father ended up getting me a golden retriever puppy.
I also agree with any suggestion that “death” should be explained to a small child in a manner that allows them to understand that it is only a temporary separation.
My God, I am so sorry for your loss!
The loss of a beloved dog is unbeleivably traumatic that takes a long time to recover in the grief.
You may want to go to the bookstore and ask them if they have any books on loss of a pet ( children’s book).
I would tell your son that the ‘Black Dragon” is now a doggie angel and is with lots of other doggie angels with God in heaven. He is having a great time and is still “guarding you and watching over you “. He may want to pray to or talk to the Doggie Angel Black Dragon and that would be ok.
Your son will be most comforted by your love of canines and will learn much compassion from your grieving. You will be able to communicate-—even to a young child—that love does not die when the person ( or pupster) dies ...but that they are also special spiritual beings who are in our care.
That makes it a lot easier, actually. The little ones get over it very fast.
You don’t mention how long ago it was that your dog died, but you might check a library for children’s books on the subject. At 2.5, though, even that might not have much of an impact, as far as an explanation goes. The doggie was here just a little bit ago, and now he’s gone. The concepts of death and time are difficult for such a little mind to comprehend. I wonder if maybe a German Shepherd stuffed animal might be something he could cuddle with and even name after your pet.
It was almost a year ago that we had to put Chase, our beloved Basenji, to sleep. My kids were almost-7 and 4.5 years old, and they became very, very upset, but there’s a big difference between a 2.5 yo and even a 4.5 yo.
It’s hard to comfort a grieving child when you yourself are grieving. When Chase died, we all just sat on the bed and had one big cry-fest, dh included. Best of luck to you.
LOL! Here, I think you'll need this "y".
Tell him that his dog went to be with other dogs in heaven. You won’t need to elaborate too much. I say this as the parent of a slightly older son and as an atheist. The important thing is to put your son’s mind at ease.
I was honest about what happened with all three, but had to simplify the details since they were so young. I don't know any cosmology/theology on departed pets, but I told them that our dog joined their grandpa in heaven.
After my mom passed away, I tell them about grandpa and grandma walking the dog around heaven and that all of them can watch over us. We've had a lot of discussions about being sad over the lost pet, and I just try to listen to them and explain what I can.
After about six months, my four-year-old stopped specifically wanting our old dog back and began asking if we could get another dog. After she repeated this a couple of times, I began looking and adopted a new dog. I let them help me choose a name and help out with some minor pet chores.
As you can see, I don't recommend immediately trying to "replace" your lost pet. Every pet is very different, even when they look the same on the outside. If you find another great dog, adopt him/her when the time is right. We waited about six months, but do what you think is best for your family.
Best of luck during this painful time!
Time to go to the SPCA and get a new dog, Be honest with your son, They really do understand if you tell them the truth!
Are you sure he really miss's him, or is concerned he might show up again? Sorry about your loss, but big doggies can be disconcerting to small children.
Identical situation, with a dog and a child of an identical age.
I told her that the dog died and that I think she went to doggie heaven (which is what I believe to be the truth).
I note that three years on my daughter still remembers her beloved doggie in doggie heaven when she says her prayers.
This opened up a whole discussion about life, death, what happens after we die. And everything we talked about came to the fore again when her uncle died a year later.
Simply put, the dog’s death was the entree into the Greatest Story Ever Told.
Spirituality is so mysterious. I truly believe that if we have love here on earth it does not “dissapear” upon death.
If I knew how love transcends...well, I don’t and that is ok. there ae many things I believe that I just may not be able to articulate.
You may want to put such "Doggie Heaven" talk on the back burner as it runs counter to Scripture.
I know animals don’t go to heaven when they die.
But, since they can become so special to us, I hope God makes an exception for dogs.
Sorry about your situation. I feel sorry for your kid.
My advice is first to comfort him if he’s showing signs of grief. Comfort doesn’t need to supply a lot of answers, it just needs to be there grieving with the child and assuring it of your love.
I really can’t say what an appropriate age is to talk about death with a little one, even that of a pet. 2 1/2 seems a bit young to me, but you know your child better than I.
I would not necessarily get another pet right away, but eventually. The wait may give your child a chance to understand what happened a grieve a bit.
Thanks for posing your question here. We all want to help. Sorry you have to deal with this. Sounds like an incredible dog.
I tend to agree with most of the other posters in you should consider getting a puppy. Not sure 2 1/2 is old enough to really appreciate a new puppy and all that it entails, but I’m sure you’ll be teaching him how to gently treat the new “baby”. Good luck. It’s a sad time, but a 2-3 year old is young enough to forget.
I am so sorry for both of you. Maybe take a trip to see puppies, and see how he reacts, and go from there?
Yes, I echo this.
That really would be a nice touch. :)
This was due to auto traffic and males running off to be with females and the problems involved with the mix of cars and canine hormones. We didn’t spay and neuter like today. So which ever kind of dog you had they weren’t likely to be around more than two years.
When a dog ran away or was killed by a car we would tell the kids that, “Spot is gone and we will miss him.” When the kids looked for Spot we would say that, Spot isn’t coming back and remembering the good times what was important.” But you know with anyone passing you should use the same advice to remember the good times.
Can I not point out how tragic it is to lose a child?
Losing an animal is a terrible experience. I feel for you — but agree with others that it’s a good learning experience for your child.
And never mind the Bible police here. One would think they might have compassion for your situation rather than lecture you about “doggie heaven.”
Enosh...hate to break it to you..but there is Doggie Heaven!
The book “There is Eternal Life for Animals” by Niki Shanahan is based on bible scripture. This book takes you through the bible and proves through the scrptures that there is life after dealth for all the animals.It covers, in scripture, God’s relationship with animals, the current animal kingdom and the future life of the animals and its restoration.
Then, get your child a puppy and be happy again...
The truth; gently.
Sorry, now I've been labeled "Bible police", so I think I'll go have a pork chop.
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