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 Post subject: Death of a pet
PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 1:31 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
We are all struggling this week with the death of our 15 yr old dog. DD would have liked to paint a picture or write a poem and is not getting round to it. Then feels guilty. I am trying to keep both children busy to avoid dwelling on it. We do have another dog to spoil. Any advice to help them through this please.


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 2:38 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2006 6:09 pm
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Location: groombridge, e.sussex
Perhaps you cou;ld allocate some time over the weekend when DD could do her picture or poem. You could tell the family in advance when the time will be so that she or they can have a think beforehand what they want to do. Then you could spend some time talking about the dog and maybe look at pictures. I'm no expert but maybe by talking about it, no doubt with some tears and hopefully some laughs (can you bring up some funny stories ?) you'll all be able to share and progress. I won't say "move on" as it won't happen quickly. Remember the DC probably haven't had a time without the dog wheras adults have.
Whatever you decide will be right for your family.


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 3:44 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 5:00 pm
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Location: Wales
Moving, so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear dog.

As breeders we have faced this a few times. The year before last we lost an older dog and a 6 year old female to kidney problems which was completely out of the blue! I know how hard it can be!

As a family we all cried together and talked about our feelings. We had both dogs cremated and went all together to scatter the ashes in a place the dogs loved to run free. I think this put some closure on it for the children.

Perhaps your DD is not getting round to her picture or poem because she finds it too painful at the moment. Sometimes keeping busy and avoiding dwelling on it only pushes feelings down instead of letting them be expressed and getting them out.

Maybe it would help to do something like planting a rose or a tree in the dog's name - something that gives a bit of finality. You could read a poem after planting it, either one your DD has written or below is a nice one.

Friend, please don’t mourn for me
I’m still here, though you don’t see.
I’m right by your side each night and day
and within your heart I long to stay.

My body is gone but I’m always near.
I’m everything you feel, see or hear.
My spirit is free, but I’ll never depart
as long as you keep me alive in your heart.


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PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 7:15 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 10:47 am
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Location: Warwickshire.
Ah. That poem made me cry.

I still remember the first pet of my daughter's that died - a much-loved goldfish. It took quite some time for her to recover from the loss.

The second pet death happened last year - the first of her 3 rats (1 down and 2 to go). We read poems, looked at photographs and had a humanist burial in the garden. I wept buckets. Daughter still visits the grave now which has been marked with stones, plastic flowers and a laminated (well, I AM a teacher!!!) paper gravestone.

Talking about the departed pet, at times when she wanted to talk about her, seemed to help.

We lost our 15 year old dog when I was 12, I looked out of my bedroom window every night for the next 6 months (until we moved) to say goodnight to her - the same words every night. I can understand a little of what you and your daughter might be going through.


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 8:06 am 
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Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:31 pm
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moving's post made me cry, then the poem made me cry even harder. We lost our 5-year-old dog 9 months ago. I miss her every single day and I still cry every time I think about her. Part of the pain I feel is guilt that I could have done something more to help her, noticed her pain and symptoms sooner. It does get easier, but it is a sign of how much our beloved pets mean to us that it takes time to heal. I'm thinking of you moving.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 1:10 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:42 pm
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Location: Chelmsford and pleased
Thank you for your suggestions and support. We are leaving the poem until we get his ashes and then it is going to be burnt and scattered with him on the beach.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 1:27 pm 
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What a lovely thing to do, moving.

Our cat of 18 ( came as a job lot with my DH) died a couple of years ago and we buried him in my parents garden because we knew they would never move house. My second son has a beautiful photo of Bozo lying across his back when DS2 was about 5. He has it as his home page photo even though we have ended up with three replacement cats :shock: (don't ask) one of which goes to bed with him every night.

Unfortuantely the dogs I have lost were buried in my brother's garden, used to be my Nana's, and as we have parted ways I can no longer visit them so will think of them on the beach like yours moving.

Time is the only thing that really helps and you must try not to think of the negatives Tipsy. We had a dog stolen because she escaped from our garden I tell my boys that she is now happy with a new family and try to believe that myself.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 2:07 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
Posts: 2125
Tolstoy wrote:
We had a dog stolen because she escaped from our garden I tell my boys that she is now happy with a new family and try to believe that myself.


That's very sad. :(

One of the things you are never prepared for as a parent is having to help your children through the loss of a beloved pet. The thought of breaking the news and knowing the reaction you are going to get, especially when you're also missing the little friend of whatever species. :(

Hope you all feel brighter soon, Moving.

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Marylou


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 2:09 pm 
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I am in no way belittling the grief felt at losing a much loved pet but maybe its worth considering how the experience can be used in a constructive way as a part of children's 'education'.
Hopefully it is the first experience they have had of bereavement but unfortunately most children have to deal with the loss of a person close to them at some point.
While the loss of an animal cannot equate with the loss of a person it could be an opportunity to learn how to deal with grief - how to talk about feelings, that life does go on (however difficult) and it is possible to come to terms with the pain, that its OK to talk about the one who has died .....
Again - no way am I suggesting the loss of an animal can prepare one for the loss of a friend or family member, just that some of the lessons learned from dealing with one kind of bereavement could be used in different circumstances and might be a way of using a sad event to help the children in the fututre.


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PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 4:04 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:21 am
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I agree completely, KB - I think all children should have the opportunity to keep a pet of some kind (even if only a goldfish in a bowl!) for the very reasons you mention. It's just so hard as a parent to see the children so sad.

I remember spending what should have been a fun day out with the family dreading what we would find when we got back - i.e. that their hamster really wasn't hibernating and had reached the end of its natural lifespan. The kids had no idea anything was wrong as they enjoyed the day we had been planning, but it was so hard watching them running about and laughing as we knew what was coming later. We were better prepared the second time, but still sad as we tried to make the little creature as comfortable as we could.

Obviously the death of a person is different - but I'm sure you are right that learning to deal with feelings of grief through the loss of an animal can help children learn that death is part of life and will prepare them for losses they will inevitably face in the future.

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Marylou


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