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Death of a pet

(8 Posts)
VerityPushpram Wed 30-Jan-13 12:49:27

It sounds to me like you handled this very well, and her grief (although distressing for you), is healthy and will resolve itself naturally. I have no idea how you would handle this differently for an adopted child, other than that if their grief seems to be manifesting as anger, or is lasting too long, you could continue to use acceptance and empathy?

I am the worst person to be giving out advice. When my baby girl bunny died last year I was absolutely devastated. I'm so relieved that I phoned about adoption the week before - I was so messed up I don't think I could convince my family that this isn't all a bunny-replacement technique!

Italiangreyhound Wed 30-Jan-13 11:22:50

Thanks Moomoomie two other people have said that pet death affect young children SOMETIMES more than people deaths, good to know I was not being totally crazy to think this!

Can you advise anything at all you did/would do differently with a child who had been adopted? You can PM me if you prefer. I mean how much so you allow the child to dwell on it, I kind of want to chivy her out of it but I also kind of want her to work it out for herself. She just keeps crying and her little face looks so sad but I know in a way she needs to process it herself.

Moomoomie Wed 30-Jan-13 11:03:51

My children have had to face many deaths since they have been home. Two great grandmothers who they were very close to. A wonderful Auntie. Their birth mother and our wonderful dog.
Guess which one hit them the worst? Our dog. People who are not animal lovers forget the importance of animals to children.
Hope your dd is ok.

Italiangreyhound Wed 30-Jan-13 10:40:38

Thank you Solid for the link. I cross posted with you.

Italiangreyhound Wed 30-Jan-13 10:39:55

What I did, having noticed the hamster was on his last legs, was to tell DD so that she could hold him and see him before he died. We decided to take him to the vet and I allowed her to have the time off school to come with me for our morning appointment. I didn't want to just say he had died and it was all over with.

So although it was pretty emotional going to the vet with DD and watching him prod the (now lifeless) hamster, I feel it was best. The vet confirmed the hamster had died, which it was a relief to hear. It sounds strange but it might be hard for a non-vet to tell because there is a chance hamsters can hibernate and also when they are on their last legs they look pretty dead but every now and then move!

After the vet had said he died (and that there was no charge, which was a relief as the cost of a consultation was about £24), I took DD to school and took the hamster home.

When I collected her from school she told me two other girls 'looked after her' at school, which was very kind.

After her dad was home we found two prayers on the Internet about the death of pets, which I printed off. We found a box and DD held hammy for the last time and then put him in the box while DH dug a hole in a large garden pot of earth (that contains my father's plaque). She was very sweet and we put bedding in with him and covered him like it was a blanket.

I suggested we bury him in a pot, so we could take it with us when/if we move house. DD was very concerned that if we move house we would take the pot, which I am now not sure was such a great idea, because what would be have done with a dog or cat!

We buried him and I read the prayers.

DD asked if hammy was in heaven. I have never really delved into the whys and wherefores of pet heaven. As a Christian I do believe in heaven and the Bible talks of the kingdom and of animals like lions and lambs. So I felt very confident to say yes Hammy would be in heaven. I recognise that for those who do not share religious faith they may choose to talk about it a different way. It was actually very touching because DD then went on to talk about the food hammy would be eating in heaven, and I said I was not sure there would be food. She said there will because she has heard heaven described (as it is in the bible) as a great feast! So I think it is me who probably needs to learn more rather than her!

After the burial we talked about the hamster and how great he was. We said lots of prayers he would be happy in heaven and we framed a photo of him and put it by her bed.

The vets’ surgery has a book of remembrance and we can put a photo and a bit of blurb about him in that if we wish to, which we might do later.

DD wanted to buy a plaque for him and I think I will let that one go and not mention it, if she is very keen to do it in the future we will.

We are also ordering a book called Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley

Anyway, is this something any parents who adopted their children have had to face, the death of a pet? What about the loss of a family member etc?

Please can anyone tell me how do parents help their children to deal with it and how much does the initial loss of birth parents play into the feeling children may have?

Many thanks and apologies if this is a sensitive topic. I won’t be offended if no one wishes to reply!

SolidGoldBrass Wed 30-Jan-13 10:12:49

This might be of use or at least of interest.

Italiangreyhound Wed 30-Jan-13 10:11:18

Sorry I mean, I really know how very lucky I am to be able to write that.

Italiangreyhound Wed 30-Jan-13 10:10:23

My 8 year old DD is not adopted but as you may know we are in the process to adopt. We have just had our beloved hamster die. He died of old age I think after 2 very happy years with us, having come from a rescue centre (so we don't actually know how old he was).

I have 'dealt with it' as I felt was best for my DD and I can honestly say that so far in her young life this is the most devastating thing she has had to deal with. In one sense I really how very lucky I am to be able to write that.

I know my friend from elsewhere in Europe was amazed that English people get so sentimental about pets, but I think we just do!

My question really is how best to deal with the death or a pet, or any bereavement maybe with a child who was adopted.

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