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End of life and children(8 Posts)
Hi. Please bare with me. This is weighing on my mind an awful lot at the moment. We have an old dog. He's 14 and a half, has lived a long happy and mainly healthy life. The last 6 months have been tough. He has arthritis and has slowed down very quickly and has been losing condition since the end of last summer. He's still happy, enjoys the walks he can manage, his meals, cuddles etc. But I know deep in my heart he is approaching the end and it could happen in a couple of weeks or months. He is my rock and now I have to be strong and do the best for him.
Whilst I think when the time comes, I will cope with what has to be done in my own way... Being who he needs me to be, I am worrying about the kids. They are 4 and 7 and he's very close to our 7 Yr old. We talk about him being old and unwell, and death and the vets etc. But when the time comes how do I manage the end with the kids. Does anyone have any advice that could help me feel a big stronger in dealing with this. The 4 year old is very matter of fact, but with the older one, do I tell him in advance the time has come. Doesn't seem right to send him off to school knowing. How do I make sure he has been able to say goodbye without upsetting him unnecessarily so. I guess I tell him after? Dh will help but... I'm completely stuck. It's like a big mental block I'm trying to unpick. I'm hope i'm not being stupid and don't mean to upset anyone. Can anyone provide any pearls of wisdom? I'd like to think I have a few months before we go through this but I know it could change quickly. We have another dog who will help us as a family, but this old boy is my no 1. Predates the husband, kids... All of it... Xx
When I was a similar age, I was told after the event that our beloved dog 'died at the vets'. It was years til the penny dropped that she had been PTS. I am still angry about it, because I wasn't given the chance to say goodbye.
Be honest with your kids. You have time to let them know it's coming and to talk about how they would like to be involved.
My GC adored my sister’s dog but we told them gently that he was very ill and very old and gave them updates when they asked. In the end even the 8 year old understood that being PTS was the kindest Thing that could be done for him. My sister’s dog was her last link to her husband (she was widowed 11 years ago) but she too realised that she had to let Him go.
PS She got a rescue puppy from Battersea a couple of months later and both she, and the GC, are very happy. So is the puppy.
Dealing with the death of a family pet is part of growing up and I am sure your children will be fine .
I agree be honest and let your children say goodbye in a very matter of fact way,
We lost our beloved Molly aged 18 in November last year and our 10 year old was especially close to her we let her say goodbye before we took her to the vet but she also wanted to go to the vet and see her the next day (already passed).
I struggled with that decision but it was best for her she seemed a lot more at peace and able to cope afterwards
Enjoy these last few weeks and months I wish you all the best.
Be honest. Children are often better at coping than we give them credit for.
My children have always had the option of being with a pet at the end. From a young age.
- this is the last kind thing we can do for our friend
- it's really important that the pet feels no fear and lots of love, so at least one of us must be there who can stay calm and give lots of attention to the pet
- if you don't think you can stay calm and not cry then it's ok not to be there, because we are making the choice that's best for the pet not us.
For me it's a vital part of having pets that you are able to deal with their death.
We've had a lot of pets so been through this multiple times. It doesn't get easier - some are harder than others - but on the whole the old pets have been easiest as it's very clear when their quality of life is going.
Good luck on managing this difficult process
Thanks for all the advice. We're always honest and talk openly as a family.
@Maddiemoosmum0203 I just want to check... You let your daughter go to the vets as she wanted? Thanks
@Catsrus thanks for the words... Helps me get my words straight.
I appreciate its me who's probably going to struggle the most. I just want to get it as right for the kids as I can.
It is hugely important (I think) and kids see and understand death as a part of life and pets are a great, though sad, way to do that.
Honestly thought - how much are you worrying about your kids because it is easier than thinking about yourself and what you will need??
My preference would be to have the vet come to the house if possible.