I know that there is a better way to help your child through the death of their pet. Many of us don't know what to do when our child's dog dies. We often react and take the first action that comes to mind. Instead, may I suggest, that there is a better way. Planning for such a life changing event can help your child learn to deal with death. Learning early to face the passing of a pet will help them face the loss of a grandma, or parent, or sibling.
First recognize that the pet is gone. Avoiding the trauma by replacing their dog with another puppy is not the answer. He is not ready for a new puppy, and this will bring on more confusion. Let your child know that the pet has died. Explain that it is okay, and that we can say goodbye to their beloved pet. Let the child see the dog and know that life has left its body. Explain that their pet has died and is not coming back. If you believe in heaven, let the child know that the dog has gone to heaven, and that everything is okay. Reassure your child that it is not their fault that the pet is gone. Many times children will make it their fault that something bad has happened.
Second give your child time to say goodbye. Having a funeral for his pet will give your child a chance to come to terms with what has happened. This will allow him to go through the grief process. Don't rush your child in how he should feel about the death of his dog. It might take some time for him to get over the loss. Time spent missing his dog will allow him to learn to deal with death. This is a lesson that he will take with him throughout his life.
Third, allow time to pass before introducing another dog into the family. Avoid rushing into the relationship with another pet. A rebound effect, such as rejection of the new dog, or not bonding with the new dog, will occur. Causing a strained relationship with the new dog.
Finally, accept the way that your child wants to mourn the loss. Projection of your feelings on how your think a child should morn will prevent your child from learning to sort through his feelings. If he is happy that their dog is in heaven, let him be happy. Tears can always come later when he is ready.
Visit our website and blog for all the helpful dog hints you need to keep your dog and children healthy and happy. Gina Dawson is the owner of dawsondogs.com the one stop source for all your pets needs.
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For more information, you might enjoy reading my book, More Than Meets the Eye True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife. Purchase paperback on Amazon.com. It's also on Amazon as an e-book for those who have Kindle or Sony Readers. The audio book is now available!