Series: Children and Pet Loss, Part 1
Going through the journey of pet loss is difficult enough when we have only ourselves to be concerned about, imagine having to take on the additional pain and confusion of our children. Children process loss differently. In addition to dealing with your own grief, you are also helping your children navigate through their grief. Please be honest with your feelings; It is okay for them to see that you are sad. Having an open and honest discussion with your children about your pet being ill or having to make a decision to euthanize is important. As well, please note that the “loss” of a pet can have many faces such as: the pet running away, having to give the pet away due to life circumstances (financial, illness of the pet parent, moving, fostering). Each child as each adult, develops their own and unique bond with the family pet. For some children, especially for an only child, they may view their pet as their closest friend, confidant, or even as their sibling. Be aware of your children’s relationship with their pet and what the impact of the loss may bring. I cannot stress enough that honesty in an age appropriate way, is very important to your children’s journey of loss. You are building the foundation of how they will cope with future loss, whether it be another pet, a family member, a close friend, a job, a relationship/marriage or a dream.