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Thread: Pet dying (how to prepare 4 year old)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Default Pet dying (how to prepare 4 year old)

    We have 3 chickens, 1 is adored by ds more than the others.. A few weeks ago we noticed her to be quite lethargic and unwell, and took her to the vet. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to talk to talk to ds about the chance of her dying, so when it was an abscess in mouth (and nothing contagious), we decided to try medication, rather than have her put to sleep. She got better for a week after medication ended, but has gone down hill again. I really think if she makes it to Monday, she won't be coming home from the vet. Ds is devastated..

    I have told him that it is not his fault, and it is more than likely his love for her that has kept her alive so long (they sit outside together and watch the clouds).. But how do I help him? We have been fortunate enough to have not had any loved ones pass away since we had children, so they have never really been exposed to death.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    SE Melbourne
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    Default Re: Pet dying (how to prepare 4 year old)

    All the things you are already doing. They are helpful. Comfort and love.

    You cannot protect him for sadness and grief. It will happen and this is one example that helps him learn and be prepared.
    There is a great children's book called "lifetimes" which I think is a beautiful way of describing death. Strongly recommend it. Perhaps you local library has a copy.

    It talks about death as being a normal part of living. For every living thing...even the tiniest ant.

    But mostly. He just needs your love and comfort.

  3. #3

    Join Date
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    Default Re: Pet dying (how to prepare 4 year old)

    Exactly what you are doing. I've just done this twice in the past 7 weeks with a 4.5 year old. It is heartbreaking The first was a shock so very confusing and tricky. The second time it was planned ITMS. Our dog was 12 years old and became very unwell. I don't know if what we are doing is right but we explained how much pain she was in how we didn't want her to suffer anymore. We love her so much and she will always be in our hearts and our memories. DD was given the option of helping to bury them, which she did both times. We buy a tree to plant and DD will go and have a chat and update our pets that have passed about the current going ons in her life.

    Answer his questions as best you can. IMO their pain is deep but DD's doesn't seem as negative as mine itms. She is devastated but doesn't see death as a horrible thing. We explained that the pet goes to a happy place, a place where they can so much fun and not be sick or in pain anymore. She talks about both of them daily still and certain things will trigger it. I always make sure that when she brings it up we talk about something that we loved about each pet not just that they died.

    I'm sorry you have to do this, it's hard be as honest as you can. We say things kindly and protectively but we don't shelter her from death. That said, she has been exposed to a lot of in her short little life.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    1,794

    Default Re: Pet dying (how to prepare 4 year old)

    Thanks.. Glad I am on the right track. I think she will slip away tonight. DS said goodnight/goodbye to her. She has lost strength in her legs, and was shivering a lot, when we put the hot water bottle in beside her, she had moved herself onto it when we went back out to check on her. The other 2 haven't ventured too far from her this afternoon.


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