As a mom and a blogger I feel like it’s my job to use the successes and failures in my everyday life to hopefully help and encourage others. In most ways I am able to do so with ease.
This post has been extremely difficult.
I am not ashamed to admit my failures and fully accept that we have no good, horrible, very bad days. I love to share ways that we attempt preschool, explore nature, and I’ve even briefly discussed our super emotional twin pregnancy and NICU/Surgery journey.
And yet, this post has been extremely difficult to write.
The Loss of a Best Friend
There is absolutely nothing easy about writing this. In fact, I’ve put off writing this post for over a month because I just couldn’t deal. We lost our family pet, my first child, my first fur baby as an adult, and my daughters’ best friend on February 13th.
He was diagnosed with Cancer in September, with a rare tumor growing along and into his jaw bone. In no way was it operable or curable. They told us it could be a few weeks or a month at most. The cancer was eating away at his jaw bone and eventually he wouldn’t be able to eat. They told us to make him as comfortable as possible and spoil him rotten.
I spent that entire weekend a blubbering mess, trying to anticipate the holidays without him, the kids reactions, etc. As time moved on, we didn’t see any significant decline. We explained to the kids that he was sick and that we just needed to love and spoil him rotten. But again, as time moved on he seemed to be doing pretty good. It wasn’t until mid-January that things turned for the worst.
We eventually had to call our vet who is also one of my best friends and my sorority sister from college (Go Sigma Alpha) to discuss our options. The day we said our goodbye’s will forever hold a place in my heart.
We explained to our girls that he was very sick and would be going to heaven soon. We talked about what heaven was like for dogs and how much better he would feel. We talked about other pets that family members had lost and the girls decided that they would all be BFF’s in heaven. We talked!
That night Briar asked that we pray for him. So our last picture with our dear Rawley is of Briar and I snuggled around him praying.
I tell you this heart wrenching story, not to make you a blubbering fool like I am, but to show that as hard as it is kids can handle it. Rawley was Briar’s best friend. He slept at the foot of her bed, they have been besties since day one. She would have been more upset with a lie than knowing the truth and being able to prepare for it.
So whether you experience a sudden and tragic loss or more of a planned one, here are a few strategies that can help your kids cope.
3 Strategies to Help Your Kids Cope with the Loss of Pet
- Talk to your kids. Whether you believe that all dogs go to heaven or not, talk to them about it. There are amazing poems for kids that can help them understand and make peace with the loss of a pet. One of my best friends sent us this beautiful poem about a bridge and how the animals wait for us in this beautiful, rainbow filled meadow until we can all cross the bridge together!
- Encourage their questions. Be ready to answer a lot of questions. My girls still ask questions almost a month later, but I actually love that he is still on their minds and they still care. Mommy may need a minute to compose herself, but I love their will to know more.
- Get another pet ASAP! This is in no way, shape, or form to replace the pet you lost. Rather a new pet will bring joy, excitement, and fun back. It will help everyone heal.
Be prepared for some heart breaking conversations. Be prepared for some out of the box questions and totally random zingers. Tuna decided randomly in the car one day that she was going to be a pilot so she could fly to heaven and visit Rawley whenever she wanted! (insert sobbing mom)
This process was not easy and this was an extremely difficult post to write, but I hope that you can find ways to help your kids cope with the loss of a pet.
Have you experienced the loss of a pet with your little ones? What worked for you?