www.thegrievingheart.info

Children and Pet Loss

Top

rainbowbridge.gif
The death of a pet is often a child’s first experience with grief and loss. Children need to know that it is OK to feel sad and cry. They also need to be encouraged to share their feelings so that worries and anxieties can be brought out into the open.

Children perceive death differently at various ages. Toddlers believe that death is a temporary separation and the pet is gone a while but will be back. From ages three to five, children view death as reversible, meaning they can play dead for a time but pop back to life. Not until about age six (ages five to nine) do children sense the permanence of death, but they aren’t yet convinced that it comes to all living things.

Children around the age of ten have the emotional and mental capacity to understand the finality of death. All children handle honesty better than deception. Telling a child that the deceased dog is “asleep” may make the child afraid to go to sleep for fear that he, too, will die.

After losing a pet that they love, children may experience the same sorrow as adults but be unable to express it. Children need honesty from adults, reassurance that they are loved no matter how they feel and opportunities to express their feelings through creative outlets like drawing, stories or scrapbooks. They also need the opportunity to say good-bye and to know that they were in no way responsible for the death of the pet.

You can most help your grieving child by talking about how fortunate your family has been to have such a special pet. Nothing can take away the loving memories. They will be yours forever.

Replacing a pet too quickly sends a message to your child that losing something you love is of no great importance because you can always replace the one you have lost. If they see that a much-loved pet is easily replaced, they may worry that they are replaceable, too. When children have time to grieve the death of a pet, they learn that although losing something they love is painful, sorrow passes and joy becomes a part of their lives again.


Resource and Recommended Book:
 

From Vetstreet.com: How Should We Help Kids Cope with Pet Loss?

 


Go to next page, Blessing of the Animals

  August 2017

 


 

Why can’t I find a page or link that used to be here?

Over the last nine years, The Grieving Heart® meandered into many topics and lost its purpose. I have deleted 40 pages to bring it back to the original focus of grief and helping grievers.

Web addresses come and go and I cannot guarantee the accuracy, safety or longevity of third-party (external) sites. Adding links by request, or finding and fixing broken links are massive time consumers, so I have deleted many outside sources and will limit additions in the future. The external links that remain are checked on a regular basis and related to grief, helping grievers and pet loss. 

I will continue to honor and remember veterans and fallen soldiers because it is the least I can do for those who have given so much.

I hope that my renewed attention to grief information will make The Grieving Heart® a better experience and comfort for you. Thank you for visiting. CJ

 


 

 My E-mail:

Christine@thegrievingheart.info 

A Word About E-mail: One way to decrease SPAM e-mail caused by Internet bots is to deactivate the live address link. You can still contact me by copying and pasting this address into your own e-mail program. Thank you.

 
Note to Visitors:
 
I read and respond to grief email at the end of each month when I update this site. If you need a more timely response, please visit a well moderated grief healing discussion group. It is free to use and requires registration to participate. I am not part of this group, but certified grief counselors are there to help, support and comfort grievers and those who love them. Because the counselors lost funding for the site, they are grateful for voluntary donations.
 
 
Why no links to Facebook and other social media? Click here for the answer.   
 
 

 
 
dove.gif


How complicated and individual mending is, the time required for healing
cannot be measured against any fixed calendar
. Mary Jane Moffat
 
© Copyright 2008 - 2017 Christine Jette. All rights reserved.