Hi. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I would be happy to help with your question.
I am so sorry to hear about your dog. Pets are such an important part of the family.
Can you tell me what you have decided to say to your child about the dog?
OK. I think that's a great place to start. I think that it is important to emphasize that he will not be coming back.
The good thing is that at the age of two a child's ability to comprehend many thing is limited. They are still very self centered (in a good childish way) and she may barely even notice.
I think that addressing it minimally and on an as needed basis is a good idea.
At this age it is more important that there are some things that you don't say that may be more important than what you do.
I think that either way is fine, as each child will respond a little bit differently. There is no harm in bringing it up, simply with the words that you used. She will either then want to know what passed away means or will simply go on and not be troubled.
If there are further questions the thing to emphasize about death with children are the basic facts and important points. 1.)Death means that the body has stopped working. 2.) The deceased will not be coming back. 3.) Any religious beliefs that you have. 4.) You will be OK.
I think that it is healthy for her to see the grief process. Too often we teach kids and people not to grieve rather than showing them that it is OK. She will likely not understand, but will be able to relate to mommy and daddy feeling sad because the doggie is gone. She may even try out some of tears or sadness of her own and this is OK.
The only real sign that I can think of would be a prolonged expectation that the dog will be back. Or, a fear of death or the "going away and not coming back of other people or animals.
If this happens, the thing to remember that at this age kids generally only have concerns about this as it relates to them. Continue to emphasize the points above, especially that she will be OK and she should be able to move through this. I really wouldn't expect her to get stuck though, unless there is a really prolonged grief process from mom or dad.
Exactly. That's perfect. That is the idea to not bring in terms that she can relate to and will create fear; bye bye, sleeping, sickness, etc.
Keep the emphasis on the old dog. When dogs get old eventually their bodies stop working and they pass on or die. After this they don't ever come back but go on to live in doggie heaven, or whatever you are comfortable with.
or not "live" but "be" in doggie heaven or whatever words seem to make the most sense to you. Whatever you can be consistent with. I think you guys have a really good plan with this and are handling it appropriately.
My Masters thesis was on grief and loss in children and I really wish that all parents could think it through as you have.
I think that talking about Cassius and how people may feel about him dying is a good thing. But just remember that she will likely "get over it" a lot quicker than you guys will and at a certain point bringing it up to her randomly will make it stand out to her as something that should be a bigger deal or something that should be concerning to her. Be available for her questions and allow her to bring it up if she needs to, but after a certain point she will likely get on with two year old things and the other dog and will begin to move forward.
As long as you avoid the types of words that you mentioned you will do fine.
It will. I know how difficult it is to have to make a decision like this, so I wish you the best and encourage you guys to look after yourselves as well and allow yourselves to grieve.
You're welcome. I will close out the window unless you have anything else.
take care. bye
The plans changed, and we just recently put Cassius to sleep (yesterday). So today is day 1. So far this morning (and yesterday evening) she has not asked about him. We think that when a situation arises where she is used to seeing him, she will ask for him. We are still settled on, "Cassius passed away and he won't be coming back". At which point I know I'm going to cry, so if(when) that happens, I'm thinking I have to say something as to why I'm crying. What do you think? I'm thinking I need to tell her daddy is sad because Cassius won't be coming back...
I'm sorry to keep this going. Today has taken a turn for the worse. She is constantly asking about Cassius now. She says "Cassius coming back?". Then we tell her no, he is not coming back and that he passed away, and today we added he is in doggy heaven. She is really starting to "listen" to us now when we tell her about him.
She normally doesn't sleep well for her naps (she's always been a fighter :)), but today, she's almost been asleep twice and then she hears a noise and says "Cassius"... like today, her door was closed, and my wife and her were in there. I was out in the other room, and she heard me walking around and says, "momma, cassius is outside, let him in". We are just staying consistent and on message. She is a little obsessed with where he is right now. She must have asked 10 - 12 times today. She's telling her stuffed animals that Cassius passed away and won't be coming back... My wife and I are getting worried!