Usually, when I talk about pets, I like to talk about happy things. But, the sad reality is that animals don’t live forever. What’s even worse is that most family pets will have far shorter lives than human beings. This means that you will inevitably have to deal with the loss of a family pet at least once in your lifetime.
Needless to say, this loss can be hard to bear even when you’re an adult. Even if you’ve gone through many pet losses before, the grief still comes. Then, think about how it impacts your children. They will be hit hard by this loss, so you need to know what to do in the aftermath. That’s why I’ve put together this guide to help families through this dark and difficult time when your family pet dies.
Note: This is a contributed post. Some links in this post are affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase. Affiliate relationships include, but are not limited to, Bluehost, Amazon Associates, Walmart.com SM, and Etsy.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”b04fc” via=”yes” ]This is a guide to help families through the loss and grief when your family pet dies to help when that inevitable day comes.[/ctt]
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Don’t lie to your kids about what happened
It’s common to see parents lie to their children when a pet dies. Instead of telling them what happened, they explain that the pet went to live on a farm or got taken to a special place. While this might soften the blow and save your child from grief, they’ll eventually figure out what really happened. Plus, they’re always going to ask about the pet and how they’re doing. Sometimes, this can be a lot worse than just telling the truth.
So, sit down with your kids and explain to them what happened. Give them time to grieve and help them through the process. Make sure you tell them that your pet is in a better place and is happier now than ever before. If your pet was sick, then explain how you’ve helped them by putting them down as they were in too much pain. Your children might not grasp what you’re saying, but they will appreciate your honesty when they’re older. For me, it’s much better if you’re open and honest with everyone in your family.
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Give your pet the send-off it deserves
For me, losing a pet is like losing a member of your family. So, I don’t think it’s unfair to say they deserve a suitable send-off. Some people find it strange when families hold funerals for pets, but I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s a sign of respect and shows how much the pet meant to your family. Plus, it’s a chance for your kids to say goodbye and know that your pet is finally put to rest. If you are unsure of the process and cost of cremation, you could read this article, https://www.gofundme.com/c/blog/pet-cremation-cost.
Obviously, there are two paths you can go down. Some people choose to bury their pet in a cemetery, others bury it in their garden. Then, you could use pet urns to keep their ashes in. The choice is entirely up to you – there’s no right or wrong answer. It all depends on what you think is the right way to say goodbye.
Take some family photos
This is only relevant if you’re in a situation where you know your pet is going to be put down on a specific date. Sadly, this is the case for many families when a pet gets sick. You take them to the vet, and they tell you there’s nothing they can do, and that it’s better to put them down. As devastating as this situation is, you can take some positives from it. Namely, you get to treat your pet like an absolute king during their final days.
Personally, I think you should take as many family photos as possible. Shower your pet with all the attention in the world as you take pictures with every member of your family. It’s a great way to spend so much time with them, but also to ensure you capture everlasting memories. If you do have the opportunity to do this, then I highly recommend it.
Get a special photo made to memorialize them
Of course, you can’t forget about your pet when they go. Even if you get a new one, you’ll always remember the ones that came before. As I said earlier, they’re like a member of your family. So, memorialize them with a special photo that you can put in your living room. It can hang on the wall or sit on your fireplace and be a constant reminder of the beloved pet that meant so much to everyone.
You can choose any photo of them for this special picture, or you could use one of the family pictures you took before they were put down. In my opinion, I think a collage works really well. Combine lots of photos into one big image that shows your pet at its happiest with the people who loved it dearly.
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Support your children
Kids will be hit hard by the death of a pet. Especially if this is your first pet, then they will feel like their world has come crashing down on them. Children become so attached to pets, it’s a special bond between two beings. So, you have to realize that your kids will be devastated when the worst happens.
As a result, you need to support your children during this period. Put an arm around them, spend as much time with them as possible, and make them feel at ease. If you have to, book some time off school for your child to grieve. Some kids really struggle if they have to go to school straight away. Give them time to go through the grieving process, but be with them the whole time.
Post A Good-Bye on Social Media
This helps everyone in your extended family as well as your friends know about your loss. This is very important and often not spoken of. Many times extended family members absolutely love your pets and would be hurt if they didn't know. Sometimes they even want to give money for burial, which helps them through their own grieving process. They feel like they are doing “something,” which helps them feel better.
After you have posted on social media and someone offers to help or asks, “what can I do?”, then can put a funding link in the comments. This also helps anyone else reading about your pet to easily find it and donate if they feel like it. You will be surprised to know all the people your pet has touched in his or her life.
I understand that this is a sensitive topic that you’d rather not think about. But, if you’re reading this, then the chances are you’ve suffered a grave loss in your family. It’s important to understand what you should do when your pet dies. If you don’t, then the whole situation can be a lot worse than it already is.
There’s one final point I’d like to make; it’s okay to get a new pet straight away. It doesn’t dishonor the memory of your last one, and it’s often the best way to help your children get over the loss.
This is a contributed post.
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