Helping children through pet loss

As adults and parents, most of us can say we have experienced the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives, human or pet family member and friend.  As adults, at some point we come to recognize the stages of grief and emotion that we work through to reach final acceptance of that loss.  But how do we relay this information to our children?  How do we prepare them for the grieving process they will experience when their furry friend crosses over Rainbow Bridge?

How do you prepare your child for pet loss?

How do you prepare your child for pet loss?

There is one book in particular that addresses this issue called “When You Have to Say Goodbye: Loving and Letting Go of Your Pet.”  Written for children between the ages of 5-8 years old, author Monica Mansfield, DVM, presents a straight-forward and unique approach to help children understand the end-of-life process with their pet.

The book is written in terms children can understand with illustrations to help them visualize the stage of life and the emotion connected to that life stage, which include:

  1. Bringing home a new pet and forming that all important human-animal bond
  2. The stage when the pet’s health begins to fail or the pet is seriously injured
  3. The end-of-life stage, when the family is faced with the decision to help the pet retire peacefully through euthanasia

The author feels teaching children to understand what the word “euthanasia” means is very important as well as teaching them positive ways to cope with the loss afterwards (planting flowers and drawing pictures, for example).

To learn more about the book, the author, and how to purchase, visit the author’s website page When You Have to Say Goodbye.

You can also learn more about the normal signs of grief after pet loss and where to seek counseling and support on our Belle Mead Animal Hospital pet loss support and grief counseling website page.  We are pet owners ourselves, and we understand and respect the need for empathy and compassion toward those facing end-of-life issues with their pets.

Have questions?  Feel free to call or stop by our office for personal assistance.

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

Joe Martins, DVM, Belle Mead Animal Hospital

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