Do you children have pets? I grew up with dogs all over our house – my dad loves animals and we grew up loving them as well. Yet some of the saddest times in my life are linked to the times when one of the dogs would die. Some died of old age, some of illness, one of an accident, another of poisoning. Looking back, I realize how parents can have a hard time explaining the loss of a pet. More than having to deal with the loss of a treasured companion, parents have to explain the concept of death. How do you deal with the loss of a pet?
I found some practical information in an article written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend in Christianity Today. They point out that:
They’re not sure what dying is all about. They don’t have a clear idea if it’s like sleeping or if it’s a trip to another dimension. They don’t know if it’s good, bad, permanent or temporary. Your basic task is to help your child see that the death of a pet is real. And yet it’s a reality that’s bearable because he has a mom who will help him understand and deal with it.
So what can we do as parents? They outline some tips:
-Help your children understand that death is part of life. It is not something to be scared of.
-God loves pets and is in control of whatever happens to them.
-It is ok to feel sad – grieving is a part of life.
-Create a positive memory – remind your children of the happy times they had with your pet.
-Get back into life’s activities. As the saying goes, life goes on.
Losing a pet is indeed a difficult situation but it is a good opportunity to show your children that death is not something that we should fear.