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  1. #1
    Elite Member hazmat's Avatar
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    Default Explaining (pending) loss of pet to 3 year old?

    First I must apologize for not posting much in the last few months. A new baby & busy work schedule are consuming most of my free time. Anyway - I always find TBN is the best place for answers to tough questions so here goes:

    We made a very hard decision last night - We are going to have our 13 year old Lab Wilson (pictured in my avatar) put down. He has lost his battle with liver cancer that has now spread to his heart & we feel he is suffering (loss of appetite, gained 15 # of fluid in his belly & general malaise). I am waiting for the vet to call back to schedule his departure.

    Anybody got any tips on explaining death of a pet to a 3 year old?

    I figure we should skip the details regarding that he will be put down vs. passing on his own. We plan to have him cremated - we will spread his ashes at sea (he was an avid sailor in his younger days). I suppose we should skip the details on what it means to be cremated as well.

    Here is a picture of him with my old tractor.

    Hazmat

  2. #2
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Explaining (pending) loss of pet to 3 year old?

    Hazmat,

    Sorry to hear the news. We had to relieve Kelly's pain on Oct 21st of this year. She was 12.

    Kelly had been sick all year so we had been preparing the kids for Kelly's passing. We told them frequently that Kelly was sick and that one day they might come home from school and Kelly would not be here anymore. We called the vet to the house one day and where not sure if we would put her to sleep that day or not. We did not but we told the kids that Kelly might not be there when they got home....

    Our kids are 5 and 8. They asked questions which we answered as best as we could. They wanted to be with Kelly when she left us but we did not think that was a good idea. They REALLY were insistent but we did not allow it. Which was a good think since putting Kelly down took some time. The vet put her to sleep with one shot and then tried another in the vein. The second shot would stop the heart. We had to try four legs before we could find a decent vein. Kelly was in worse shape than we thought.

    The kids knew that Kelly was sick so that helped. They are a bit older then 3 but they can understand. Our oldest child was about 3 when we had to put down another dog. We just repeated every once in awhile that Chase was sick and she would not be with us much longer..... Then answer any questions they asked.

    D....n. I thought enough time had passed to ease Kelly's leaving. Guess not. I miss my dog....

    What you have to do is best for everyone but it still hurts.

    Later,
    Dan

  3. #3
    Elite Member RobJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining (pending) loss of pet to 3 year old?

    Sorry to hear about your dog man. You are doing the right thing. I see family members with old dogs that are in real bad shape and you can tell they are in pain. But they keep them. They should be put down sooner.

    But 3 yo have a short memory. Just tell them the dog went to someone elses house for a while. They'll forget in no time (unlike the older folks). If you replace the dog it'll be even sooner.

    I don't remember anything when I was 3. Heck I don't remember much from last week!
    L2500

  4. #4
    Veteran Member IH3444's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining (pending) loss of pet to 3 year old?

    Snopes.com says this is a true story. How wonderful of someone.

    Dog Lovers: Angel in the Postal Service

    (There is an absolute precious picture that goes here, but I can't get it to copy Haz, I miss the black lab whom was my friend also.)

    []
    This is one of the kindest things I've ever experienced. I have no way to know who sent it, but there is a kind soul working in the dead letter office of the US postal service.

    Our 14 year old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4 year old daughter Meredith was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey.

    She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

    Dear God,
    Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will know that she is my dog. I really miss her.
    Love, Meredith.

    We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to God/Heaven. We put our return address on it.

    Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to heaven.

    That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

    Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed, 'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand.

    Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope. On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

    Dear Meredith,

    Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away.

    Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart. Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

    Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and sending it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you. I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

    By the way, I am wherever there is love.
    Love, God

  5. #5
    Veteran Member IH3444's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining (pending) loss of pet to 3 year old?

    The best friend a man has in this world may turn against him and become his enemy. His son or daughter that he has reared with loving care may prove ungrateful. Those who are nearest and dearest to us, those whom we trust with our happiness and our good name, may become traitors to their faith. The money that a man has, he may lose. It flies away from him, perhaps when he needs it most. A man's reputation may be sacrificed in a moment of ill-considered action. The people who are prone to fall on their knees to do us honor when success is with us may be the first to throw the stone of malice when failure settles its' clouds upon our heads.

    The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man's dog stands by him in prosperity and poverty, in health and sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, when the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master's side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master, as if he were a prince.When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its' journey through the heavens.

    If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him to guard against danger to fight his enemies; and when the last scene of all comes, and death takes the master in its' embrace, and his body is laid away in the cold ground, no matter if all other friends pursue their way, there by the graveside will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in watchfulness, faithful and true even in death.



    Wizard's Note:

    I have had the above piece for years, but never knew the exact origin of it until recently. It is attributed to Senator George Graham Vest during the 1870 Burden v. Hornsby court case in Warrensburg, Missouri. Sen. Vest's oratory (Above is only a portion of Sen. Vest's speech; the latter half of it has been lost to history.) won the case of Charles Burden, whose favorite dog, Old Drum, had wandered onto the property of Burden's neighbor, Leonidas Hornsby. Hornsby made good his promise to shoot the first dog that wandered onto his property; that dog being Old Drum. He did this even though he had previously hunted with the dog and acknowledged him as one of the best hunters he'd ever seen.

    Burden sued Hornsby for damages. Following several appeals, the case reached the Supreme Court of the State of Missouri. Burden received an award of $50.00 in damages for the loss of his canine. The Warrensburg Chamber of Commerce and dog-lovers around the country had erected a statue of Old Drum on the lawn of the Johnson County Courthouse lawn in Warrensburg on September 23, 1958. It is said that this speech provided the origin of the phrase, "A man's best friend is his dog."

    If you can... (anonymous)

    ... start each day without caffeine, ready to greet the world,
    ... get going without pep pills,
    ... always be cheerful, ignoring aches & pains,
    ... resist complaining & boring people with your troubles,
    ... eat the same food everyday & be grateful for it,
    ... understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,
    ... overlook it when those you love take it out on you when through no fault of yours, something is wrong,
    ... take criticism & blame without resentment,
    ... ignore a friend's limited education & never correct him,
    ... resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,
    ... face the world without lies & deceit,
    ... conquer tension without medical help,
    ... relax without liquor,
    ... sleep without the aid of drugs,
    ... say that, deep in your heart, you have no prejudice of any kind,
    Then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog!

  6. #6
    Veteran Member IH3444's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining (pending) loss of pet to 3 year old?

    Found the pics Haz......
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -dog_girl-jpg   -dog_girl2-jpg  

  7. #7
    Elite Member hazmat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining (pending) loss of pet to 3 year old?

    Thanks for the thoughts guys & the wonderful stories. We got the Mr. Rogers book out of the library. Wife & I have read it, but not yet to my daughter, we will after he has passed.

    I will use the concept about not needing our bodies in heaven & spirit lives on in our hearts.
    Hazmat

  8. #8
    Epic Contributor MossRoad's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining (pending) loss of pet to 3 year old?

    Sorry to hear about your dog.

    We've had several dogs and cats that lived to ripe old ages. When they are suffering, and cannot be cured or made comfortable, it is time to do the right thing. We explained to our children that the animal was very sick or very old, depending on the circumstance, and that we and the vet did everything we could to make them better. Sometimes, however, our bodies just wear out or the sickness was too much and the animal did not survive. No point in telling a small child that you had the animal put down. They do not understand that and it also scares them. We let the kids see the animals after they have died. We usually take off their collar and put a favorite toy and a blanket in with them. We usually put them in a box and then seal it inside plastic. The kids watch as I dig the hole and we all bury the animal and help cover it up with dirt. It puts some closure on things for them if they know where they are. We have a pet cemetery that currently has three dogs, a cat, a toad and probably a hundred fish.
    MossRoad

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  9. #9
    Elite Member blueriver's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining (pending) loss of pet to 3 year old?

    Thats always a hard thing to do, sorry your going to have to deal with it. I suggest the simple truth ... children are very smart.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member CinderSchnauzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Explaining (pending) loss of pet to 3 year old?

    2007 JD CAB 3320 eHydro, 300CX FEL, GX720 Back Hoe, 72" 7-Iron MMM, 48" Horst Pallet Forks
    Lucknow 60" Rear Snow Blower, JD Box Blade 2065
    2013 JD X739 - 60" HC Deck with Auto Connect

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