Children and their experience with loss usually begins with the death of a pet. Helping a child understand the finality of death but also allowing the child to express grief is key to this learning process, albeit, as painful as it may be to the entire family.
The article, “How to deal with the death of a pet when you have kids” by Mel Ritterman looks at this difficult and painful process. He states,
“Having to say goodbye to your dog is like losing a family member and your best friend all in one. It’s heartbreaking and so incredibly emotional. Then throw kids into the mix and it is just so much harder. How do you explain this to your children? How do you grieve when you have to be the parent? How do we explain death to kids?”
Pet loss and children enter into types of loss. One the loss of a pet and second the particular loss from the view of a child. These things make the loss no easier and require parents and caregivers to mourn but also teach their children the nature of loss in life.
Dogs grieve too over the loss of a loved one or fellow pet. They are creatures of habit and the loss of a regular pattern or the lack of a particular face can leave them confused. They will pine the missing person and need to be monitored during these times.
The article,”Pets grieve too – here’s how to help them cope after the death of a loved one” by Karen Rockett states,
Dogs may experience anxiety when a person they spent a lot of time with no longer comes through the door at the same time each evening. Comfort your dog if they come to you for a cuddle.
Great article that looks at the nature of pet bereavement and the affects on a person. Some warrant that the loss should be treated as a family loss and that bereavement days may even be needed. Please also review our Pet Loss Grief Counseling Program
The article, Does the Death of a Pet Warrant Bereavement Time? A Scientist Weighs In, by Yasmin Tayag states
“In 2015, Chantal Dumais arrived at her home near Montreal to find her cat’s body on the floor, smeared with blood. Deeply upset, Dumais asked her employer whether she could work from home the next day. When her request was denied — her employer argued that a pet’s death didn’t warrant bereavement time — Dumais filed a complaint with the local labour tribunal. This July, the tribunal announced the final verdict: Only human deaths justify time off to grieve.
University of Colorado, Boulder professor of sociology Leslie Irvine, Ph.D. would disagree.”
Pets grieve like we do. They grieve the absence of a friend or owner. The love between pet and owner is like family. So while we grieve, we must also be aware that our pets can grieve in their own way. Please also review our Pet Loss Grief Counseling Certification. To review the program please click here and see if the program matches your academic and professional needs.
The article, Do Pets Feel Grief? Here’s What To Do If Your Pet Seems Especially Down, by Brandi Neal states
“Pets are a lot like humans, and just like their human counterparts, pets feel grief when they suffer a loss. If your pet is acting differently after a human or animal companion disappears from their life, you might not realize at first that your pet is in mourning. However, a study published in the journal Animals found that pets exhibit specific behaviors when they’re grieving, some of which mimic the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.”
Good article on the importance of introducing your child to the reality of death via a pet. Whether a goldfish or rabbit, or even the family dog, it is important to teach your child the reality of death. Of course, within a sensitive way!
The article, I Refuse To Lie To My Kid About The Death Of A Pet, by Kimmie Fink states,
“In the grand tradition of lying to our children, is the whopper we tell them when a beloved pet has died. Even before I became a mom, I never understood why parents would tell a child that their dog or cat went to live on a farm, ran away, or took a trip, instead of just telling them the truth.”
Pets to many of us are more than simple possessions or legal property but are partners in life, with true dignity and family status. They are loved like children and respected with the same integrity any human being has. This is why such a loss is so painful
The article, Are dogs part of family or just property?, John Wilcox states,
“For Adela Lopez, the death of her dog, Simon, was more than simply the loss of property.
“That was her child. That’s why this is so hard,” said Lopez’s attorney, Bernard Klimist. “People forget: For a lot of people, their pets are their children.”
Great article on Pet Loss Grief. Losing a dog can be a painful time especially with how close one can become with his canine friend.
The article, “Of grief and renewal, raising and losing a great dog”, by David Jones states
“Grief is an emotion that’s hard to define and even harder to understand. There are levels of it depending on the loss, the depths of some I can’t fathom. But the pattern of healing, I imagine, is the same in each.”
To some this is amazing, but for those of us who understand the bond of love and the value of our pet as a family member, then we can truly see the long lasting effects of losing them.
We as a species are so callous to non sentient beings and look at individuals who see the true spirit of our friends as odd. The reality is love of all creation and equality is key. Losing a pet can cause long term pain because we understand the value and uniqueness of that friend
If you would like to learn more about pet loss grief then please review
The article, “What People Don`t Know About Losing A Pet”, by Stan Popovich states
“I read the Bible and I talked to many people regarding this subject for a long time. Based on all of this research, I would say there is a 99% percent certainty that our pets will be there when we die.”
American Institute Health Care Professionals‘s insight:
A comforting commentary on pets and you in the afterlife. How do you feel about the thought of pets experiencing an afterlife? Do you feel they have a soul similar to ours? Pet Loss Grief like regular grief is somethings combated by the reassurance that we will see our loved ones again.
It used to be the only choice you had was to euthanize your pet if it was terminally sick or injured. Now pet hospice provides another alternative. Pet hospice has slowly been gaining acceptance in recent years, even though it has been around for a couple of decades. Based on the successful model that has been used with humans, pet hospice allows for animals to die as comfortably and as painlessly as possible in the home.
Hospice for pets can be a volunteer organization working with a veterinarian or it can be members of a vet staff that provide the education and care of terminally ill pets. Taking care of a dying pet can be very demanding and can add to your pet loss grief. If you decide to take on this challenge, you will need to set aside time so that you can provide the necessary support to your animal. You are taught to understand the body language of your animal so that you will know if it is in distress or discomfort. Pet hospice helps you deal with the loss of your pet by educating you in pain management so that you will know when the appropriate time to give medications is. Usually meds are given before the pain becomes a problem. They also provide grief counseling for you and the family as you prepare for your pet to die.
If you don’t have a pet hospice near you, you can talk by phone or contact online organizations that can work with you. You always have the option to euthanize if you can’t manage the animal’s pain or if you can’t handle your pet’s suffering. Pet hospice is just another alternative that will allow your pet to die with dignity and in a peaceful environment surrounded by loved ones.