The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: When a Pet Dies...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

When a Pet Dies...

Recently, a friend said that she had to put down their cat, which devastated her son who did not know life without the cat.  That brought be back to the MANY animals we had in our house while my girls were growing up.  Don't laugh too much at this list we had over the years (not all at the same time): Assorted hamsters, several guinea pigs, many rabbits (what happens when you put the boy rabbit with the girl rabbit, Mom?) 3 ferrets, 2 goats, 4 labrador retriveers, several chameleons, parakeets, fish, and a pot-bellied pig.  Most are buried out in a designated area in our wooded back yard.  My favorite memorial is the two sticks which form a cross on which one of my girls wrote, "Here lies Hammy.  He died of wet-tail."  What a testimonial!

Here are some Internet resources with tips for dealing with pet loss:
http://www.pet-loss.net/
http://www.pet-loss.net/children.shtml
http://www.griefhealing.com/article-explaining-pet-loss-to-children.htm
http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/pet_death.html

To help your children deal with the death of an animal, whether at home or in school where you might have a classroom pet, consider creating an album or collage that your child can return to when he or she misses the beloved pet.  Have the children draw pictures or write memories of that pet.  Although devastating at the time, dealing with the loss of a pet helps your child accept the inevitibility of life and makes him or her stonger for the experience. 


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