My friend texted me a couple of hours ago saying that her 3yo dog died in the early hours of this morning she was poorly, something to do with her digestive system, not sure exactly what yet. My daughter is 2.8yo and her and the dog absolutely adored each other. We go to my friends house quite a lot and DD gets so excited when she knows we're going there. How the chuff do I explain to her that the dog is dead?
My poor dog will be terribly confused too, Pippin was his bestest friend ever, and he finds it difficult to make doggy friends
Explain that the dog won't be there anymore and leave it at that, at 3 years old they are too young to understand death, just answer any questions as gently as possible (maybe the gone to live on a farm technique?)
Actually I would say 3 years old is ideal time. The dog was old it's heart stopped working and it has died. Children tend to be very upset for 5 minutes and then move on remembering occasionally. I firmly believe that one of the reasons we have pets is to allow children to experience death before it is a family member. It allows them to explore their feelings it is okay to be sad etc. Younger children tend to accept and assimilate death really well in a very matter of fact way.
I agree with Lonecat. We lost one of our girls when dd was just a bit younger than yours. We told her that she was very old and poorly and there wasn't a medicine to make her better (dd tends to think Calpol cures every disease known to man) so her heart stopped beating and she died.
We explained that meant that we wouldn't see her anymore, but we would always remember her and think of all the lovely times we had together.
She was upset for a while and asked where she was again for a few days, but eventually got used to her not being around anymore.