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Aibu to ask for help explaining dead pet to Dd

(11 Posts)
Onlyonce Tue 10-Jan-17 21:03:34

Not our pet but a close relative has had pet put to sleep. DD is 3 and always asks to see pet when we visit. I want to tell her before we go there again but want to broach it carefully. I want to be honest with her but avoid 'gone to sleep / heaven/ sky. I know she won't fully understand but I feel it is important to get it right. I know some will say it's just a pet but this is the first time something like this has happened. Any advice on how to use a good form of words would be massively appreciated!

PrincessHairyMclary Tue 10-Jan-17 21:10:04

I explained it as a circle of life type thing. DD was aware of graveyards where we can go when we die and things as there is a big very old one in town that we go to feed the squirrels in and we'd talk of how the trees grow really well there because when we die we can turn into plant food and help the plants grow.

This worked fine when the hamster died and we planted a little bush above where it was buried. Wasn't quite so great when my nan died and she bounced happily over to my dad and informed him it was ok because great nanny was going to grow a big tree now.

SumAndSubstance Tue 10-Jan-17 21:11:37

Do you have a copy of 'Goodbye Mog' about the death of Mog the Cat? It shows Mog watching over the family etc. Might help her?

JsOtherHalf Tue 10-Jan-17 21:14:21

At a similar age I told DS that the animal's heart had stopped beating, and it wasn't breathing any more. It wouldn't move ever again, and it couldn't feel, or see, or think, etc.

TeethDrama Tue 10-Jan-17 21:15:14

I would say that the pet got very old and tired and sometimes when pets get very old and tired they die, which means the thing that made them run and jump and bark and be them has gone, so we won't be able to see Pet any more because Pet has gone.

If she asks more technical questions about where she has gone I might say her body is put in the ground because she isn't alive any more, but she had a happy and long life and she was very old and tired and sometimes this is what happens when some pets get very old and tired.

Then encourage her to remember the fun times she had with the pet.

booellesmum Tue 10-Jan-17 21:16:11

I would take her lead.
If you just say before you go that the pet will not be there because it was poorly and has died. You could add that relative may be sad because they will miss the pet but they know now the pet is not in any pain.
Then see what she says and answer her questions.

DailyFail1 Tue 10-Jan-17 21:19:54

I told my dd that when we die we turn into stars. It's technically true enough (space dust etc) but poetic enough that she could search for the person in the sky if she wanted.

TeethDrama Tue 10-Jan-17 21:20:05

Also, bear in mind that you don't have to give an explanation for all deaths at the same time etc, e.g. some pets die when they are babies because they are ill or some people die when they are old and tired and so on and on...I would just keep it to this specific example.

If she wants to expand or when she's ready to expand e.g. if she hears of a person dying (not a pet) or a pet that dies when it's young, that's the time to expand it yourself. If you try to say too much about life/death etc all in one go, it'll be confusing because there are so many variables.

emmab250 Tue 10-Jan-17 21:21:01

*At a similar age I told DS that the animal's heart had stopped beating, and it wasn't breathing any more. It wouldn't move ever again, and it couldn't feel, or see, or think, etc.*

This is similar to what I had told my DD when we've lost (and grandparents sad). We've also explained that all living things die buts its not scary and it's ok to be sad or cry or miss the pet or person who has died.

Onlyonce Tue 10-Jan-17 21:21:18

Thank you. This is really helpful. Think I will make sure to mention that this is what happens sometimes. I will answer her questions as simply and honestly, I just don't want to mess it all up! I was going to tell her tonight but she had a tired toddler tantrum so I left it. It's given me more time to think.

soontobemrsmckeown Tue 10-Jan-17 21:26:41

We have been though this twice in two weeks one her 1st fish and the other a family dog. We explained that they were both very poorly and the vet tried really hard to make them better but she couldn't do it as the pet was hurting that much but once the pet had died it wasn't hurting anymore and then reminded her of happy times with that pet. She coped better with the dog than her fish. Now she is OK with death and talks about the pets remembering happy times

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