How do you deal with having your dog PTS and telling your DCs?(6 Posts)
We've just about reached the decision that out 15 yr old Lab is struggling too much to be getting a good quality of life - daily accidents, sickness incidents and weak spine etc meaning he doesn't go out most days now and can't easily get up the step from the kitchen to the garden and often falls over. DD is 5 and we have spent the last few months talking about him being old and the need to enjoy him as long as we can so she aware to a certain extent . We lost the cat before Christmas and because it was sudden DD knew the cat was going back to the vets and wouldn't come back so she got to say good bye and we took some pics with the cat which we later made into a photo book. DH took cat off to vet and I stayed at home with naturally distressed child. She was upset but we talked about it in the coming weeks and she helped scatter the ashes.
Now it's looking like more pre-planned with the dog (which does feel odd but we can't keep hoping he will slip away in his sleep) ; I don't know how to deal with it whether to take him off when she is at school and as usual make her say goodbye to him and then he isn't there when she comes home, but this is then a real shock. Or whether to tell her he is going to the vets as we are not sure he is very well and then tell her when she comes home the Vet couldn't make him better. Or we tell her and she gets to say goodbye before he goes . Also need to plan to take him when she is at school so DH and I can support each other and I don't think it fair to leave her with friends and then pick her up without the dog and the ensuing tears and grief.. But then it won't be easy for her to go to school knowing the dog won't be coming back.
Anyone willing to share ideas of things that worked for them?
We always took the DC with us, yes from that young. It just became part of their lives to know that part of loving and owning a pet was being able to support them at the end. They were only allowed to come if they agreed that being there was to support the pet - which meant holding back on tears and sobbing until after the animal was dead. My dd2, aged about 6, talked to and stroked her best friend (our golden retriever) until she stopped breathing. She really did put the dog first, keeping her calm and happy. I appreciate not everyone would agree with that policy but I think it was the right thing for us. The DC have been more upset when they've not been able to be there to be honest. One dog had a severe back injury and had to be pts when one of my dds was on a school trip. She was devastated at not being able to say goodbye.
I've very much brought them up to believe that it's part of the deal. If you choose to get a pet, and that pet is bonded with you, then you have a responsibility to see it through to the end and be there with them. This means not all children were there at the end with all pets - but if they had a special bond with an animal then they would be there.
One morning last October we made the decision to have my 12 year old lab PTS. I took the children (DS11 & DD 6) to school and didn't tell them as I didn't want them to have it on their minds all day.
My DS had become increasing upset in the weeks leading up as he understood she was old and not very well. I was dreading telling him more than anything, when they came back from school I sat down with them and told them that she had gone to the vet and was very poorly, it was one of the hardest things I have had to do, utterly heartbreaking.
Anyway sorry for rambling on!! I'm not sure there is a right or wrong way to deal with it but sending you lots of hugs and love xx
Thank you both for your replies and sorry to hear about your Lab, Taylor. Ours has been with with us since 2001 as newly weds so it feels like such a loss...
Sorry you are facing the loss of your friend. There's some good advice on Blue Cross especially their leaflet on Children and Pet Loss which you can download.
We took our children with us when we had our old boy PTS. Everyone held a paw (sob). It was so peaceful and they knew what was happening. Death is a part of life. We didn't think it should be shusshed. we felt it was important to celebrate his life and the privilege of knowing when it was time to euthanise.
They were 5&7 and I really don't regret it.
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