It is the sweetest thing but also the saddest thing.
The relationship between a child and their beloved pet is such a pure and beautiful thing.
However, there will come a day when they will part. How do we navigate the loss of a family pet?
For most children, it is their first encounter with death and they will need help processing what this means.
We are no authority on this, but we have observed how parents have helped their children through their loss.
They do not use vague terms that may confuse a child. Telling a child their pet has gone to sleep may make them fear going to sleep in case they don’t wake up. Instead, they are straight with their children, that the family pet is no longer in pain or that the vet helped the pet die without suffering.
They include the children in the process, they bring the children to the funeral and the cremation. They do not leave their children at home wondering where their pet has gone and when it was going to return.
They allow their children to be themselves, its okay regardless of whether the children dissociate or weep. It’s fine either way.
If the children wish to, they help them express their feelings, writing their feelings in a note to their pet, to lay a flower, to bring favourite treats.
Sometimes, they wait together to collect the ashes to bring the beloved pet home in an urn. Sometimes they look at the sea scattering photos together.
The children get to walk alongside their pet in the final chapter of their lives.
Standing With You. Standing By You.