VeggieBoards banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My in-laws border collie, Jake, is not doing too good. He's 10 years old and has problems with his hips/legs. His one leg left him limping and on pain medication,and he injured his good leg leaving him almost immobile. There is a surgery, but the cost is too much, and he would have to be in a cast for 2 weeks and crated almost the whole time.

My in-laws have opted to put him to sleep (please don't judge them, this is a very difficult decision, and they love their dog very much ). I am not sure how to explain this to my 3yr old son. Jake has been his best friend. They would constantly play together. Jake would actually talk to my son, making a low, drawn out vocalization which sounds like, "I love you". I'm not joking. My son is also the only person Jake will lick ( he's just not a licker-dog). We're not religious, but I don't have a problem saying, "Jake's in heaven". I just don't know how he will react, and how to explain this in a way that's not scarey. This will probably be happening soon
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,374 Posts
You have to do what's right for you and Jake, but I wouldn't say the "heaven" thing, personally.

I don't know. I've never had a 3 year-old before, but I'd certainly read up on Dr. Spock and all the other experts to make sure 3 isn't too early to bring up the concept of death...

Man, being a parent is complicated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've tried to explain death to him before, when explaining why we're vegan. He's a very smart and understanding little boy, I'm just dreading seeing him upset by this. When I say heaven, I just want to have him think of Jake's spirit being safe, I'd like to have a better term then heaven (I try and stay away from religious connotations).

Maybe I'll put together a scrapbook of pictures, so that if he gets sad ( or if my husband and I do ) we can look through it and remember some fun times. Maybe find him a little stuffed animal that looks like Jakey.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,090 Posts
I'm sorry to hear about Jake.. I don't know what I would tell your son, it's such a hard situation. You might want check out www.petloss.com they may or may not have anything that helps, but they also have a pet loss message board where people in similar situations have asked advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,785 Posts
When I had to tell my little girl that her hamster had died, I said that I had something sad to tell her. She came over to me I hugged her and told her. She cried and ran to his cage, then she ran to her room and sobbed...after a little while I went back to her and we talked about how everything has to die and what a special hamster he was and how he is not suffering now etc.

Then she seemed comforted by the ritual of burial. She decorated his grave. She was sad & quiet all day...but after a week she was talking about getting a new hamster.

You have advance warning, which you can use to prepare your child. I would talk about what a good dog Jake is and how much he loves your boy, but I would then bring up his sickness and pain and say that sometimes dogs can't get better and the vet needs to help them die, so they don't hurt anymore. Then explain that is what is happening to Jake now...

Personally, I wouldn't say anything about heaven unless that is what you honestly believe. I would tell the truth as gently as possible...so for me that would mean saying "I don't know" to some of your son's questions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for your kind words, advice and the petloss link. I've been trying to prep my son, but I get so emotional.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
428 Posts
My oldest daughter is 3.5 and we have had to explain death to her as two of our older relatives have died. I have told her that sometimes when people get old they get sick and their bodies and hearts don't work any more. We are not religious either but she did ask me what it is like to be dead. I told her that some people believe it is like having a nice dream where you don't have any pain any more. I told her that some people believe when you die you get to see people you love who died before you in your "dream." I told her this because my husband's grandmother (who was 92) died and she had talked earlier about how she was looking forward to seeing her husband again who had died 15 years earlier.

I know she doesn't understand it all though. She can't understand eternity and never being able to see that person (or in this case, animal) again. Best wishes and hugs to you. This is hard to deal with!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,374 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by mushroom

Then she seemed comforted by the ritual of burial. She decorated his grave. She was sad & quiet all day...but after a week she was talking about getting a new hamster.

You know, this is an excellent point. I always said I don't want a production made out of my death, but that probably isn't fair to my loved ones. I'm going to have to work out something in the vein of my wedding, a kind of Secular Humanist "ceremony."

Gives people a chance to mourn, process the info, and move on, hopefully.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
878 Posts
aw sorry about jake punkmommy

im not sure how to explain it but i guess the best way is just to tell him the truth and do it gently

let us know how it goes
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
I'm not a parent, I'm a teenager, so take my advice with a grain of salt.

Perhaps it doesn't have to be so emotional or sad when you explain it to your son. Say that the dog just doesn't exist anymore and that the dog is not sad or happy and that it just vanished. Tell him it happens to everybody eventually and it can make us sad because we want to play with the dog, but that the dog is not sad, and that in order to comfort ourselves we take the dog's body, which is actually no longer the dog, and we have a special ceremony where we put it away in the earth, because that's where it came from, and we talk about how much we will miss the dog.

I don't know maybe that's stupid but I think it's a good idea and it will be less hard for you and for jake to hear/say it that way.

-Eric
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,907 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Jake is being put down today. I tried explaining to my son that Jake is very sick and that he's in a lot of pain. I told him the vet ws going to give Jake medicine to make him feel better, but Jake would be gone, we'd never see him again. I told him that Jake will feel better when he dies and his legs won't hurt him anymore.

Sebastian (our son) was very mad. He started saying "no", crossed his arms and was mad at my husband and I. I don't think it will sink in until we go to my in-law's house and Jakes not there. I made sure he spent some extra time loving Jake the last time we were there,as that was his last time to see him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,090 Posts
I'm so sorry to hear about Jake. Putting an animal you love to sleep is so hard. It sounds like you've explained things well to Sebastian--he'll just need your support and time to grieve. Hugs to you both.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
okay, i need a kleenex now


i'm so sorry - you talk about your son reaction, but i know this must be hard on you as well.

there's been lots of great advice here and as i have a house FULL of furry family members, i know i will use it when (NEVER) our sad time comes to explain to our sweet, sweet son the loss of those we love.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top