How to talk to your kid when their pet is dying

Okay, so I should probably look this stuff up online and see if the professionals have any suggestions, but that would take time and honestly, this all kind of happened spur of the moment and I had to talk to Zoey about it right away. So here’s what happened.

ZOEY: Mommmmmm!!! MOMMMMMMMMM!!!!!

I could hear the panic in her voice. This was not her screaming because Holden was trying to amputate her American Girl Doll or put her toothbrush down his pants again. This was the kind of scream you hear when something is wrong. Really wrong.

So I immediately dropped what I was doing and sprinted upstairs. Was her head stuck in the bannister? Did the gecko escape from his cage? Did she step in poop? Nope. Worse. Much worse.

ZOEY: What’s wrong with him?! Mommm, what’s happening?!!!

And there he was. My 19-year-old kitty was on our bed having a seizure. One of those awful violent ones where every muscle in his body was freaking out and he was writhing all over the bed and Zoey just happened to be sitting with him when it happened. Let’s just say she put her iPad down without pausing her show, so you know it’s serious.

I held my little kitty trying to comfort him while he went through it (I didn’t know you’re not supposed to that), and I just kept telling him it was going to be okay. It took what felt like forever.

ZOEY: Mommm, what’s wrong with him?

ME: I don’t know honey. He’s getting old. Nineteen is pretty old for a cat.

ZOEY: I don’t want him to die.

ME: Me neither, sweetie.

It was his second seizure this month and we’d already taken him to the vet, so we knew if it happened again we’d need to put him on anti-seizure medicine. I really wanted to tell her everything was going to be okay, but I knew that was a lie. Most likely everything was NOT going to be okay. And I needed to prepare her a little.

ZOEY: But is he dying?

I didn’t want to lie to her.

ME: Not yet.

ZOEY: When?

ME: We can’t really know, but he is REALLY old. How about I make you a promise? I promise I’ll tell you whatever I do know. If I know that he’s dying, I’ll tell you. 

ZOEY: Yes, so I can say goodbye.

I think you could literally hear my heart break when she said that.

ME: I want you to remember something, Zoey. He’s lived a really long and wonderful life. He’s had like the best life a cat can have.

ZOEY: He’s the best cat in the whole world.

ME: He is. So we have to love him a lot and cuddle him while he’s still around and make sure the end of his life is just as good as the rest of it.

So she has been. Every day.

And my husband and I have too. We’ve been carrying him with us to every room because the anti-seizure medicine makes his bag legs collapse a lot, and we took the box spring out of our bed to make it lower so he can climb up there easier…

And I’ve even been letting him eat cheese and Goldfish crackers because why the hell not…

We are doing everything we can to help him live life to the fullest.

But one day I know I’m going to have to give her the bad news. Probably sooner rather than later. And I’m dreading it. Because I know she’s going to lose it. And honestly I don’t know how I’m gonna hold it together to even tell her.

If you liked this, please don’t forget to like and share it. Have you ever lost a pet before? Have your kids? Feel free to tell me about him or her down below in the comments. Thank you!! 

There are 46 comments for this article
  1. Callie Davis at 7:41 pm

    When our dog died I had no idea what to tell my twins as we had to put him down. So I asked the day care director. (They we’re younger than Zoey at the time). And she said they understand taking turns. Death may be hard to grasp. Keep it simple. We said, “it was Lil Bit’s turn to walk through the door of Heaven. It is not Mommy, Daddy, or sister’s turn so need to worry. But it was his turn.” It worked for four year old age.

  2. SewGeekMama at 7:41 pm

    We just had to put our dog down last week and explaining it to a two-year-old has been interesting. He doesn’t quite get it and keeps asking for him. Not sure how I’d handle it if he could comprehend things better!

  3. Kim at 7:52 pm

    I had to make the decision to put our dog down three years ago when the kids were in school (4 and 7). We didn’t know she was that sick until I took her to the vet. She was only 9. We just told them, when they got home, that Wrigley got very sick and was in a lot of pain and couldn’t get better, so we had to be really good to her and let her go. We cried together and answered all their questions, and the kids made goodbye notes that we still have with her ashes.

  4. artwork234 at 7:54 pm

    I think it allways best to be honest as death is part of life .you can get a book for kids on it .
    my parents were always honest as possible .an kid apporite as I have autism an stuff .

  5. Monica at 7:54 pm

    I’m so sorry! We lost our dog right before Christmas, the best dog ever. My kids took it hard, but I’ve found that whenever I lose a pet it helps to get another one. It doesn’t replace the one you lost but it helps to heal the emptiness left in your heart.

  6. Shannon at 7:55 pm

    My daughter is nine and we recently had to put our cat down, telling her was probably the most heart breaking thing I’ve had to do. All she kept saying was “ she was my best friend” it’s been about a month and she still cries when we go into the pet store. I think the best advice is what you are already doing, talk to her about it and let her say goodbye. We unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to let our daughter say good bye and it was very hard for her. It is such a hard thing to do 💔

  7. Laurie Lewis at 7:58 pm

    It sucks. It sucks royally. 2 years ago (on my anniversary, no less), we had to put down our 17 y.o. boy. Coolest cat in the world, for real. He literally took a turn around 10pm and I knew that it was our last night with him. I woke my daughter with my sobs. It was awful. But you get through it because you have to. You have given him an amaze b***s life, filled, FILLED with love. And this is what you tell them. And should you choose to get another at some point, it’s important for them to know you aren’t “replacing” him, you’re filling the hole in your heart that is left. Good luck and lots of love from MA.

  8. Isabelle at 7:59 pm

    I am in the exact same situation with my 19 year old cat. My kids know that she is old and that she is not in the best health but that we’re doing everything we can to keep her comfortable and enjoying the last part of her life. I’m not quite sure what will happen when she’s gone but I do know that all of us will struggle. And I think that the only way to get through it is to acknowledge our feelings and let grief take its course.

  9. Shelley at 8:03 pm

    the only thing that makes losing a pet more painful is watching a child lose theirs. We have gone through it a few times. Never gets easier. So sorry.

  10. Stephanie at 8:11 pm

    We just did this with our dog about two months ago. I was just as honest as I could be, the day we took him to the vet I told the girls where we were going and I told them that Pudge was very sick and that I didn’t think he would be coming back home with us and that I thought he was dying. They had the chance to say goodbye and give him hugs, and as soon as the weather gets better we are going to bury his ashes and plant some flowers to remember him. I have one daughter who talks about him everyday and the other one who leaves the room anytime someone brings it up. I am just tying to let them deal with grief however they want and let them know it’s ok to talk about it if they want. Good Luck babysideburns, it hasn’t been easy but not as horrible as I had imagined.

  11. Kelly Coughlin at 8:13 pm

    We had to put our dog down last year. He was our 10 year old son’s best friend. Telling my son was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I knew I had to be blunt and not sugar coat it and I did it. While my baby sobbed in my arms, asking me why, I just explained that Roger(our dog) was suffering and would die soon. So we could either let him suffer longer and have him with us or we could put him to sleep and he would never hurt again and he would go keep Grandpa company in heaven until we got there. It didn’t make it easier. I made him a photo album with all the pictures I could find and he had a box with his paw print, a clipping of his fur, and his collar that sits on his nightstand. Hope this helps. Best of luck muddling through.

  12. Mara Corush at 8:18 pm

    Putting our dog down last year was the TOUGHEST thing in the world and having my kids (8, 5, 2) at the time made it more difficult.

    We went to her favorite part of the forest preserve to bury special things (a ball of hair, pictures, her favorite toy) and we go back and visit her often. We also read tons of books which helped but it is SO HARD!

    Cherish it all!

  13. Michele Y at 8:19 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about this for you guys! We have a lab mix who as soon as we got (6 years pre kids) I knew would make my husband a total mess whenever he dies. Now we’ve got 2 little girls (5 and 2 yrs old) both totally in love with that dog and he’ll be 11 this fall. I’m seriously dreading the day for the 3 of them. Luckily he’s healthy right now but time is nobody’s friend!

  14. Claire Black at 8:23 pm

    There is an amazing children’s book called Lifetimes by Bryan Mellonie which explains about everything living having a lifetime.
    It explains it well and helps with understanding what is going on but unfortunately it cannot take away the pain of losing a loved one!

  15. Nahdene Tanck at 8:24 pm

    It’s hard losing your furbabies, and even harder explaining it to your children.

    I’ve lost 2 of my cats in recent months; one just before Christmas, and the other just a few weeks ago. They were young in comparison, but still older kitties. I thought I had more time. Both times my 11 year old daughter wasn’t available to say goodbye (one died in the middle of the night, and the other while she was at school.) I was a wreck, because I hand raised these babies, and so I kinda just bluntly blurted out that they had died. She took the news well, all things considered. There were tears, and there were hugs. It was seriously one of the things I had been dreading, because how do you talk about death with your children?

    I think you did a great job with Zoey. She seems like a great kid.

  16. Maya Lancaster at 8:27 pm

    We too have an aging black cat. The kids know that she is REALLY old, like you said. I keep telling them that sometime soon we are going to have to say goodbye. I also keep telling them to love her while she is still with us. Best of luck it is one of the hardest parenting hurdles imo.

  17. Brittany at 8:36 pm

    We had a 17 year old cat who lost a ton of weight so we all knew something wasn’t right. My husband took him to the vet and he had tumors throughout his body. He scheduled putting him to sleep for the following evening then brought him home for one more night of pure love. We asked the kids (6 and 4 at the time) if they wanted to say goodbye before my husband took him away or stay with him until the end. We explained that the doctor would give him medicine so he would go to sleep, then his heart would stop beating, and that was it. They both decided to go and comfort him to the end. Then we brought him home in a box, wrapped in a baby blanket and buried him under a bush in our backyard. We all cried and said what we loved about him and each told a story about him. This was a year ago before Thanksgiving. They both took it pretty well, every once in a while, even now, someone will come up and say the miss Ivan, breaks my heart every time. I definitely think it is important to be honest about what is happening. I remember when I was a kid, my dog just disappeared one day and my parents never talked to me about it – I didn’t get to say goodbye and I was crushed.

  18. Elisa Edgington at 8:36 pm

    I work in vetmed, and losing your pet is NEVER easy, and even harder to explain to your kids. It’s best to be honest about the fact that we outlive our pets most times, and that it is part of the life cycle. There are a few books that we recommend in our bereavement booklet, including:

    Forever in My Heart: Remembering a Pet’s Life: Acknowledge the human-animal bond and help your clients celebrate their pets’ lives with this journal.

    Good-Bye My Friend: This book is filled with personal stories to help deal with the loss of a pet.

    I Remember: A Book about my Special Pet: Help families grieve with this pet loss scrapbook for children.

    Loss of Your Pet: A resource for Pet Owners: Informational piece that discusses the grieving process.

    Special Place for Charlee: A child’s Companion through Pet Loss: Helps children with the loss of a pet with this book that explains grief in terms a child can understand.

    I hope that your special kitty lives for lots longer and feels healthy and has no more seizures. You guys have the right attitude about giving him lots of love and attention!

  19. Laurie at 8:42 pm

    My daughter was 10 when she lost her first pet to bone cancer. Our dog Ginger was my daughters best friend sometimes. We had the dog 5 yrs before we had our daughter. She was beside herself with grief even though we had a little time to prepare for the end. It’s never easy but a few months after Ginger Bear went to doggie heaven Sarah picked out another yellow lab mix, at our shelter, and named her Ginny Ginger Bear Grover. Now sadly Ginny (at 15) is having health issue and my daughter now almost 25 will have to grieve again. But now she can see the happy and the sad, and she can appreciate what a good friend she had for so long.

  20. Colleen at 8:43 pm

    4weeks and 5 days ago I had out 10y 7m old Siberian husky put down. Found out on a Monday morning when I took her into the vet to get some painkillers, thought she had pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve, that after some x-rays, she was full of cancer. Her lungs were full of tumours. They told me to take her home and say our goodbyes, gave some meds to make her comfortable for a few days. When I got home I had 4 hours to process and think of a way to tell my kiddos when they got home from school. It was kinda cold so when they got home I told them to put on their most comfy pj’s and I was making hot chocolate for them. I told them to sit next to her and explained what was happening. I also told them that if she wasn’t sick we wouldn’t have to make this decision but she was suffering and it was only right to let her go. They have done exceptionally well, we talk about Rubi and they just say they hope she’s happy and healthy in heaven. All they requested was to have pictures for their rooms. Tonight I was finally able to do so because I’ve been a wreck. It will be a nice surprise in the morning. Today I managed to move her leashes but her beds are still on the floor…have to move them soon I guess. We have Rubi’s urn/ashes in my room so they go in sometimes and say hi, she’s home with us…❤️
    It’s never easy but they were fine and understanding by that Monday night, Rubi died on the Thursday, they knew that the morning bus stop was the final goodbye… there were tears but they made it. My kids are a girl, 9 in May and a boy, 7 next month.

  21. Erica H at 8:53 pm

    I can’t even begin to think about it. All four of our fur babies we have had since before our daughter was born. Both dogs have slept in her room her whole life. Our boy cat lays with her every night and won’t leave her side when she’s sick.
    Unfortunately, my daughter has seen a lot of death in her 7 short years. So she knows what it is. We will probably do the same as you. Give our fur babies the most wonderful last days. You’re doing great mama!

  22. Jacque at 8:55 pm

    Parents think they have to be these perfect, emotionless things. I think kids need to see us “lose it” sometimes. I think they need for us to show them that it’s ok to cry, to grieve, to lose it, to have and express our feelings. The best advice I’ve ever heard about grief is we need to understand and accept that the depth of our grief is a measure of the height of our love. There is no grief without first having love.

  23. Katie T at 8:58 pm

    There are so many books and all that jazz but I felt my kid could see through that bullshit. It seemed kinda bullshitty. One thing our vet did prior to cremating our dog was plaster paw print, it’s a Christmas ornament now. So maybe an everyday ornament for you? Either way it’s pretty cool to have and it’s a nice memento of her first pet. You could make them now and let the kids decorate them as a way to prepare to have something forever.

  24. Alexandra Guay at 9:03 pm

    When our cat Max died suddenly one night about a year ago, I was like oh god what do I say to our 5 year old, Abby. My husband had to go to work so I was on my own. I remember hearing to explain it on their level, but don’t lie about it and to be sure they understand that the pet will not come back. So I told her that Max went to heaven and will not come back, but he will live in our hearts and memories. It was hard for a few days because Max was Abby’s best friend. (Sometimes she still uses the excuse of what she makes bad choices…ugh). Grief is hard and there is no right or wrong way to do it, so you just have to be there and comfort them. Most adults find it difficult to deal with grief, I find kids do a better job.

    • Jackie at 2:31 am

      When I was in elementary school, it was my responsibility to take/let our dog outside to go potty after my Dad left for work. Dad had offered to take Misfit outside since I hadn’t woken up but she wasn’t interested in leaving her warm bed of blankets and pillows and Mom had already turned on my bedroom lights & yelled for me to get up & get ready for school. When I walked into the kitchen, Mom instructed me to take Misfit outside since she didn’t go out with Daddy before he left. I went into the living room and thought that she had fallen back to sleep; instead she had closed her eyes and slowly passed away in the 15-30 minutes from the time my Dad had left & I walked into the living room.
      Definitely not something a 10 year old wants to wake up to & have to deal with prior to going to school; yet a MILLION times better than finding your pet on the side of the road after having been hit by a car.
      I’ve had so many pets & too many losses.

  25. Carrie at 9:04 pm

    I had to put my daughter’s favorite cat and dog to sleep within a couple of months of each other. I knew they were sick in advance so I borrowed books from the library and online on pet loss. She was there with them when I put them to sleep. She talks about them and how she misses them, but also says how they no longer hurt anymore. She was 3 when we lost them.

  26. Lisa at 11:14 pm

    Love you and your fam, lady. Lucky kids, lucky parents. Huge hearts. Thanks for sharing your lives and your learnings with us. Pretty sure if I was younger, still lived near Chicago, and still drank wine, we’d probably be best friends. <3

  27. Jamie at 11:19 pm

    My poor kitty threw a clot and pretty much seized and died in my 9 year old son’s arms. It was incredibly traumatic for all of us. I told him it was the best way he could have gone- in the arms of his best friend. In some ways, I’m happy I didn’t have to choose to put him down (he was suffering from kidney failure), but I wish we had him longer. We still miss him every day and cry about him often. Hug that kitty often- and buy your kids a beanie boo that looks like your cat! My son sleeps with his every night! Reminds him of Scooter.

  28. Renee at 6:10 am

    This post really pulled on the heart strings. Especially the pictures of your daughter with the cat. My son learned what death meant when he was 3 because our cat passed away. Here we are 4.5 years later and he will always say when asked if he has pets, “yes I have 2 cats, I had 3 but one died”. It’s never left him, and it is so hard to watch their little hearts break and not be able to fix it. It’s so special to see children love animals so much, but I sure wish they could outlive us!

  29. Elizabeth Jester at 6:22 am

    When she was 4, my niece had a pet rat that died. Her name was Coconut and she had a tumor on her side. Luckily Coconut wasn’t living with my sister and her family when she passed but they still had to tell my niece about it. She was too little to understand cancer at that point so all she knew was that Coconut went to
    Heaven forever and that she’d had a bruise on her side (at least that’s how she interpreted the situation to me). When she was six I bought her some Guatamalan worry dolls. I explained to her that each night she was to tell her worries to her dolls and then sleep with them under her pillow so that while she slept, they would take her worries away. She thought for awhile and then decided to tell me that she was worried about her great nana because she was 90 and if she lived to be 100 that wasn’t long enough. She precisely said “Coconut went to Heaven two years ago and I’m still sad”. I suddenly found myself in a profound conversation with my six year old niece about death. I explained to her that it was okay to be sad when someone goes to Heaven and it’s okay to talk about it with family and friends because we are all sad together and we can support one another. I told her the important thing is to enjoy our loved ones while they’re here and not worry about what the future holds because we truly never know when they will leave us. If we spend the time we have left worrying about what’s going to happen, it takes away from the time we do have with them while they’re still here. Little did we know, a year and a half later we would lose her 56 year old nana and that as of this day her great nana is still going strong at almost 94.

  30. S. Cohen at 6:24 am

    The book The last good thing about Barney is a gentle way to help explain and deal with the death is a pet. I have offere this book many time to the families of the young children so have taught.
    A difficult life lesson.

  31. Amie Margolis at 8:35 am

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. I lost my beloved Benson, a grey and white tuxedo kitty, 2 years ago almost to the day. He was living with my sister, and then a friend, for the last two years of his life because I couldn’t have pets where I was living. My (now) four year old only met Benson once or twice which made me sad since B had been there the whole time I was pregnant, laying on my belly and being a comfort to me.
    He was a wonderful kitty and I think of him often. We have also gone through losing our family dog, who was with my sisters early on in their childhood (the are much younger than I).
    There is no easy way to say goodbye to a beloved pet, but you seem to have handled the conversation with Zoey well.
    Much love to you and your whole family, I know how much this hurts.

  32. Erin Hines at 9:26 am

    In my family we have many pets, and kids, and aging grandparents and great-grandparents. I talk a lot with my kids about quality of life versus quantity of life, and that we need to give our pets and loved ones the best life possible, but that one day we will have to say goodbye. But just because we can’t have them here with us doesn’t mean that we can’t talk to them and remember the good times. I also talk to them about how it’s the kinder act to let them go than to keep them around just for us. My kids seem to understand that.

    Also, I strongly feel that it is ok for them to see you cry about the loss of your pet. It lets them know it’s ok to be sad, but it’s not ok to wallow there. (sometimes that has to be a separate conversation).

    As with anything there are a million different ways to handle every situation. You’ve already started this one with much grace and calm. You and your family are in my thoughts.

  33. Diane H at 9:56 am

    My daughter is 6, almost 7, and has seen more loss than any kid her age needs to. When her favorite cat got sick last year, we picked her up from school and gave her the choice to go to the vet with us or to go home. She wanted to go with us, so we watched the entire process. Then we brought him home, made a nice box, put notes in with him, let the other cats say “goodbye” and buried him under “the climbing tree” and made a head stone for him (it was a make your own stepping stone kit). The process of that seemed comforting to her. Also, I don’t know that you have to hold back when you talk to her. I think it’s good for kids to see us upset over big things. Finally, I’ll say this….my husband and I were sad for weeks after “meow meow” passed, but our daughter seemed to have closure after we buried him. She bounced back in just a few days, with only a few moments of sadness since. Good luck!

  34. Kate Cooke at 11:52 am

    My heart breaks for you and your family. We have had to do this too. 🙁
    I think you are taking the right approach. You are being honest and open with your kids even though it’s a tough thing. You aren’t trying to pretend it’s not happening and you aren’t hiding it from them. That is respectful of your human kids and your furry “kid”. You are teaching gratitude and compassion. Life is ever changing – some parts are fun and some parts are hard. BTW, I’ve never had a bed with box springs – so the dogs can get on and off the bed without excessive impact on their joints!! Hugs to you and your family.

  35. Courtney at 12:03 pm

    In 2016, we lost 3 out of our 4 pets in about a six month time frame. Worst. time. ever. I think it was almost worse that by the third one, my kids had sort of become immune to it and didn’t really get emotional. Note to new parents: don’t get pets that are all the same dang age . . . . certainly didn’t think about that when I got the cats before I even knew my husband!

  36. Kimberley Hlina at 8:52 pm

    My 18.5 year old kitty is dying right now. This is an incredibly hard read, and I totally feel you. May they be with us as long as they can, without strife, and then pass gently wjen they can’t hold up anymore. <3

  37. Allison at 9:04 pm

    When my daughter had just turned three we were told that our chocolate lab had just weeks. My son was almost 5 and both kids fiercely loved Bailey. I rapidly tried to prepare the kids – talking with them and ordering books. Jasper’s Day was an excellent book and a favourite of ours. We created a ‘bucket list’ for Bailey and kept it on the fridge and checked things off as we could. Bailey was 11 at the time and we finally had to say goodbye a couple of months before he would have turned 13. Every time we thought it was time to make ‘the appointment’, he rallied. I have no doubt he rallied until the kids were ‘ready’ and able to handle losing him. When the time came, the kids were prepared because of our long talks, reading books and we made a grand plan for ‘the day’. It was Bailey’s day. Everyone skipped work and school. Breakfast for everyone including Bailey was pancakes and bacon. Bailey gave each kid a stuffed animal chocolate lab with a red collar like his and a little tag like his that said Bailey (one had a C and the other an S on the back to prevent fighting). A little walk through a favourite park. Lunch for all was hamburgers and ice cream. Some quiet cuddle time for all and then we all (kids included) made the short drive to the vet. In a small room, Bailey sniffed it out and then lay down on a blanket with his smile which seemed relieved. He knew it was time and he led the way. While eating a pile of cookies from the vet, Bailey received the shots and slowly stopped breathing. To the kids, he just went to sleep while eating some favourite treats. And while the memories still bring tears, 3.5 years later, the kids have processed his death well and were part of the process. They got their goodbyes and they know that he isn’t suffering any longer. In moments when they greatly miss their first four-legged friend, they hug their Bailey’s and remember the good times. We got a new dog only 2 months later. There was no rush, but the perfect 6 month old puppy came our way and was in need of a new home. We all believe that Bailey finally stopped rallying because he knew that there was a puppy that was headed our way and that that puppy was the right one to take over ‘guarding’ the kids. Molly has been with us almost 3.5 years later and makes us laugh every day. While the kids had an ‘old’ four-legged friend in their first years, Molly is young and spry. She challenges them on playground equipment and wants to race to the front with them. Bailey was right. She is the perfect dog for them in their lives now, just as he was the perfect dog to guide and protect them when they were just little.

  38. Dawn Deinema at 7:24 am

    Read this with tears because it hit very close to home. Back in the 90s we had a pound puppy that we all loved. Dusty looked like a Rasta version of dust mop of a Shizt Tzu. He started having seizures about a year after we got him and had to go on meds. He was difficult to administer meds to and after more than a year without any seizures we stopped the meds. Then just before Christmas 1999 he started having seizures again. By then even the meds wouldn’t help and the day came that the most humane thing to do was have him put to sleep. It was a heartbreaking but awesomely peaceful experience. I held him in my arms soothing him as the Vet gave him a shot in one leg. He gently went to sleep and was gone. I was allowed to hold him as long as I wanted to. I am so thankful that I decided to stay with Dusty through the end. Prayers for your family.

  39. Jackie at 1:53 am

    I lived through this three times with three different cats. One lived to the ripe age of 19 before a stroke took him, one to the age of 22 before blindness and old age took her, and one to the age of 3-4 when kidney blockage resulted in his death. Each one’s death felt like my own death and I still morn their passing.

  40. megpils at 2:17 pm

    I was 10 when my first childhood pet died, and I think that the best thing that my mother did was to acknowledge and not minimize my pain. I was reassured that it was OK to cry and feel sad and that she and my father cried and felt sad too. I was also introduced to the “mental health day”, where she let me stay home from school the next day and we went and got lunch together (this was a BIG DEAL in our house) because “sometimes we just need to take a break when hard things happen” (yes, I do remember my mothers words 2 decades later). In my opinion, it sounds like you are doing things exactly right!

  41. Deanne at 12:00 pm

    Wow, that brought a tear to my eye. My beloved Vickie, miniature pinscher was just about 16 years old when I had to put her down. She had been declining health wise, and she too had a seizure. That day I just knew in my heart it was time. There was no life in her eyes anymore😥. I wasn’t planning on getting a dog so soon after but I just had to, and hubby and I didn’t think we were ever going to get pregnant. We had been trying for a really long time. So, life was going to be about a new dog to care for and maybe trips for us. Well, a few short months after getting Gizmo, we found out boy #1 was on the way. Gizmo is now going to be 8 years old and my oldest is turning 7, youngest turning 6. I dread having to one day go through the death of Gizmo with the boys. It is such a heartbreaking thing. They’ve been through the death of pets before, my sister cat, and hers and my moms dog (they live in the same house). But it’s different when it’s your own pet that you’ve grown up with. Thank you for sharing your story.

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