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Eplaining death of dog to 3yrs old

(6 Posts)
jimmysmummy Wed 21-Feb-07 11:23:01

Our elderly dog is going to be put down within the next week or so and we are wondering about how to explain it to our DD1 (3.5yrs). We have talked about how he is old for a dog and might die soon which she seems OK with, and we talked about burrying him in the garden with his bone and blanket. But then she said she didn't want him to be alone and cold under the ground. Is she too young to understand about the soul (or a bit of him) going to heaven and how would I explain that anyway?

ScottishThistle Wed 21-Feb-07 11:25:20

I've always found the simpler you explain death the easier it is for a child...I usually use the life cycle of a flower to explain how things live & die...I'm not sure if that's at all helpful.

scotlou Wed 21-Feb-07 11:53:56

OUr dog died last year when dd was nearly 4.
Both she and our ds (then 6) were at teh vets (in the waiting room) when it happened. I think it took a little while for dd to understand that WIllis wouldn't be coming back. Even now - 7 months later - she still occasionally asks when he is coming back. She is however very matter of fact about it all and did not really seem too upset. I do not think she would have understood about burying him in the garden.

katzg Wed 21-Feb-07 11:56:51

we had to do this a couple of years ago, one sage piece of advice we were given was to never ever use the phrase put to sleep! it can scare children about going to sleep and never waking up.

We also explained that our dig was going to heaven to be with her grandma and her daddy's dog from when he was a little boy. She liked that idea. We had our dog cremated and didn't get the ashes back which i think made this idea seem more real.

Gingerbear Wed 21-Feb-07 12:03:43

for your poor old dog.
We have a 13yr old dalmatian and I am dreading that day.
We keep fish and have had a few die, which DD understands happens and they go to fishy heaven, she cried over the first one that died, but is fine about the others now. But the dog means much more to her than the fish.
I think Katzg ideas about not saying 'put to sleep' and a cremation are good ones

jimmysmummy Wed 21-Feb-07 12:37:46

I like the idea of our dog being in heaven with another animal, her rabbit at nursery has died recently and they were told he'd gone to heaven so our dog could be with him. maybe we'll have to burry him (DH is adamant about burrying him) without her seeing as it's going to be too confusing for her to think he's in heaven but also in the ground.

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