Helping a Child Cope with Pet Loss Part 1 Saying Good-bye
How do you know when is the right time to say good-bye to you dog or cat? I have learned that there are 3 things to look for to help you make that difficult decision. I have always rescued dogs. This is my checklist.
Your pet stops eating or taking medicine.
Your pet begins to isolate themselves from the family
Your pet can no longer do the things they love to do
Let’s look at Max our Golden Retriever…
Max was 10 years old. He was full of life and love. Max loved to go on walks, play at the dog park with Oddie and be with the family. I took Max to the groomer to shave off his fur because he was panting a lot. I did not think too much about it because the weather had been in the 100’s in our area.
When I picked him up I noticed there was an area on his leg that had not been shaved. It looked like a small baseball. I took him to our vet. She told me the baseball was actually a tumor and Max had only a month left to live. The PANTING was actually a sign of pain, not heat. She also told me the tumor would get bigger every day and to stop walking Max. Our vet put Max on pain management and an anti-inflammatory medicine.
After 1 month of being told that Max was going to die, he stopped eating and refused to take his medicine
Our family noticed Max began to sleep in the corner of our dining room by himself. He had always slept in the living room or where the family was.
Max began to limp and did not want to play with Otis our other dog or go on walks.
My final sign was when he looked up at me there was a tear in his eye.
We knew Max was telling us he was ready to cross over Rainbow Bridge.
Losing a pet can be very traumatic for a child. Many members of the family have a difficult time explaining death to children. Below are some helpful tips when you loss a pet.
If possible have your vet come to your house so the family and other pets are present… or bring your other pet with you to the vet.
Bring a soft blanket for your dog to lie on. Most vets already have them available.
Make you pet comfortable on the blanket. Your vet will administer a shot that will relax your pet. He/she will leave the room. During that time talk to your vet. Have every member of the family tell your pet what they loved about their companion.
Stroke their fur
Remove your cat or dog’s collar.
After about 20 minutes the vet will return to administer the final shot. Your pet will go to sleep and cross over Rainbow Bridge.
If your other pet is present, allow them to smell the dog. They will know he/she is no longer their. Some dogs will not want to leave their companion.
Stay as long as you need to say your final good-byes.
When you get home place your dog or cat’s collar on your nightstand. It still has the energy of your pet in it. Many people report their dog or cat will come to them in their dreams.
Plan a memorial for your pet.
Take as much time as you need to grieve.
In Part 11 of my series (Helpful tips for a grieving child) I will write down ideas that will help your child understand that their pet will not be coming back. I will leave you will a beautiful poem you can Google and read to your children.