Man’s best friend is usually a child’s first best friend. Children develop a special bond with dogs that teaches them how to be responsible and loving among many other things. That’s why losing your family dog can be devastating and is oftentimes the first serious loss a child goes through.
Dealing with pet loss is difficult for everyone no matter your age, but there are a few ways to make the healing process easier for your family.
This family guide to coping with pet loss from Bestow outlines a few ways to talk to your children and support them during this time of grief. Of course, grief looks different for everyone, but these recommendations may help you during the loss of your furry best friend.
1. Be open
Being honest with your children about how your dog passed is one of the best ways to practice healthy habits. Learning to deal with grief at a young age can help them better understand how to process those feelings. Older kids may have many questions about death that you should be prepared to answer.
2. Support your family
Losing your family dog is going to be hard on everyone. Use this time of grief to be together, reminiscing on your favorite memories with your beloved dog and supporting each other. Talk often about how you’re feeling and check in on others.
3. Set up a memorial
There’s no rush to move on from the loss of a pet, but when your family is feeling up to it, try to set aside a special place to celebrate your dog’s life. You can visit their favorite park, walk their normal route, or plant some flowers in their honor. For ideas, consider these 6 ways to honor a dog you’ve loved and lost.
We spend many years growing up with our dogs, learning and loving along the way. When we lose them, it can feel like a member of the family is missing but in some ways grief can also bring you closer together.