Helping children process the death of a family pet by MOLLY DICKSON, office manager at Blue Mountain Animal Clinic
The loss of a pet can be a traumatic and difficult time for adults; the same is true of children, with the added confusion of a lack of life experience to cope with the event. The loss of a pet may be the first time a child comes face to face with death. This is not a dress rehearsal; it is the real thing and needs a sensitive response to offer your child the tools to cope with the loss. When speaking to a child about death, be honest. Your pet is not “going to live on a farm” and hasn’t “run away.” Children are perceptive and are aware of when they are being told a fib, even if it’s a “white lie.” A true explanation may be in order, so be prepared. Involve the child with the preparations leading up to the event such as picking out a burial spot, clipping some fur, making a paw print, feeding a special meal or taking photographs. >> FAMILY PET continued on Page 7
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