Childhood pet loss, finding closure for children

Husky Pet Small Outdoor Memorial Statue

When Betsy was ten years old her very first dog passed away of a chronic condition in its hind legs.  The death was preceded by severe pain in the old Dachshund for three weeks.  Although it was the dog’s time, his sudden illness gave the ten year old little time to prepare and did not offer her parents much time to discuss the Dachshund’s death.  As a result, Betsy took the loss of her best friend very harshly and was depressed for days following his death.

It is hard to lose a cherished pet at any age, but for a young child dealing with the grief of pet loss can be very traumatic.  For most children the death of a pet is the first death that they will face making it hard to explain the process of grief and healing.  Oftentimes the death of a pet will hang over a child’s head for many weeks because parents do not accurately realize just how devastating such a loss can be to a child who still believes that everything in the world can be fixed.  For this reason it is helpful to address the situation with a great deal of sincerity.

Faithful Feline Sitting Cat Cremation Urn

Betsy’s parents realized that in order to help her get over the death of her beloved pet she needed something she could remember him by so that she did not feel guilt over forgetting him.  They also realized that purchasing an item such as a pet memorial would help bring closure to an event that was still haunting her, as she had never seen such pain or felt so sad before.

The child’s parents decided to purchase a pet memorial stone to place in the backyard underneath the Dachshund’s favorite bush which he marked faithfully every day.  With something to regularly visit Betsy found a place she could go when she felt sad and remember the better days of her dog’s life. The pet memorial was the best way for Betsy to deal with her pet loss, and for many others a similar memorial can be the best way to deal with the loss of a pet.

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2 Comments

  1. Claire
    Posted August 12, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    When our pet golden retriever was hit by a car and died 2 months ago, my 7 year old daughter Stephanie cried for about 2 days, non stop. We went and bought a small memorial in the shape of a marble golden retriever puppy, with a personalized brass badge. She started feeling better, and now we play around the yard with her, and she always stops and looks at the statue. She feels better about him, and she thinks he’s in a better place now.

    A memorial really does help ease the pain.

  2. tomsbabyjenna
    Posted September 16, 2010 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    I babysit for two young girls who recently had a cat die. They are devestated still as its their first pet. I could sense they wanted to talk about it so we did and I helped them explain the good things they remember about the cat, the fun times with it so they felt better instead of just dwelling on the sadness. We then made a picture to “give” to their princess after which I buried it near the resting place of the cat. The girls are so excited that they made something for their pet, its their own way to memorialize their cat.

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