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Kristin, Mental Health Professional
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Licensed Mental Health Counselor. 11+ years specialist in mental health. Expertise and insight!
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I have two boys ages 6 and 7. Our family dog is very sick and

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I have two boys ages 6 and 7. Our family dog is very sick and will be euthanized this Friday. My ex wife believes the boys should "be there for the dog" and witness the whole process. I think they are too young? What do you think?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kristin replied 5 years ago.

Hello and thank you for your question.


Have the boys expressed a preference either way about what each of them would like to do? Meaning, have they said they would like to be there? Also, how long have they known the dog? Thank you for this additional info...

Customer: replied 5 years ago.


They have know the dog their whole lives. The boys mother and I have been preparing them for his passing but not the method.


The only reponse they have elicited is that they sure want a puppy after this dog dies.


I don't think they get it.

Expert:  Kristin replied 5 years ago.

Okay, so I would advise that they boys definitely be informed BEFOREHAND that you are going to putting the dog to sleep and give them some time to process this information. You can tell them what that means, who will do it etc.... help them with their feelings or questions and so on. Witnessing euthanasia is traumatic for kids of this age. They are still quite young for such a thing and are not really ready emotionally for this at all.

So, again include them in the passing of the dog as far as talking with them about it, allowing them to say whatever they want to say to the dog before he/she dies. Allow them to be present in the burial of the animal for example and be there for them about the loss afterwards etc. Also, don't rush out and buy a new puppy right away. Allow them to have enough time to process the loss of their dog and be sure everyone is ready for a new pet, before getting the next one. Best wishes. Please click ACCEPT button for this answer. Also feel free to continue the discussion even after clicking accept. Thank you.

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