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Don't know how to tell DD.

(8 Posts)
bert74 Wed 23-Sep-09 22:33:36

After reading some of the threads on here, not sure this is the right place to put this, but here goes anyway
My parents have today had their dog put to sleep, my DD (2 3/4) adored him and the first thing he always says when we go to their house (every Saturday) is 'where's Joe'.
How do I begin to explain that he wont be there and also wont be coming back. We have just started the 'why' phase so I know one question will lead to another.
Any advice will be very welcome......

pippel Wed 23-Sep-09 22:35:11

that his body was very old and didnt work any more
dont say he was poorly
dont say he went to sleep

paranoidmother Wed 23-Sep-09 22:39:37

Tough one to call but you'll probably find that your dd doesn't quite get the gist of it to start off with and may ask questions at odd times. Mine did and still do ask questions about death. Have had to explain about pet dog and donkey and numerous animals found in the garden/field outside.

Find the best way is normally that they are very old and that he couldn't carry on. Difficult to explain but they'll probably ask the question 'When will I die?' as well to you so be prepared.

TimothyTigerTuppennyTail Wed 23-Sep-09 22:40:00

Tell her the truth. That animals and people get old and they have to die because no-one can live forever. Explain that death is just part of life and that it's sad for you (not for whoever's died), that it's OK to be sad and that you won't forget about her.

It worked when I had to explain to my DS about a dog he loved.

exexpat Thu 24-Sep-09 01:06:14

If you can find a copy before you next visit, you could try reading "Goodbye Mog" by Judith Kerr, a book about a cat who dies. Your DD may be a little on the young side for it, but might get the general idea... Amazon page here.

exexpat Thu 24-Sep-09 10:37:26

...but meant to say you may be surprised at how matter-of-fact toddlers can be about death. They don't really get the permanence aspect of it. Be prepared for either not much reaction at all, or lots of questions (some of which may be repeated ad nauseam...). And of course, if you or your parents are upset, DD may pick up on that.

bert74 Thu 24-Sep-09 20:05:55

Thank you for all the helpful tips, think we are going to say he was old and has gone with the other old dogs!!

Will pop to the library tomorrow and see if I can find the 'Goodbye Mog' book.

Umlellala Thu 24-Sep-09 20:12:36

Another vote for 'he is dead, darling' and 'no, he is not coming back'. Told dd (she was 18mths iirc?) that our cat had 'gone away' (thinking I never saidthat) but she then got upset when we left her - heartbreaking reading owl babies 'away! away!' (that's how we realised). Realised we had confused her more.

truth but keep it simple IMO - as exexpat said, she might not react as you'd expect. It is sad but he is dead, we can remember him. Dd asks a lot of questions even now but is satisfied with a lot of her own answers.

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