Handling Saying Goodbye Without the Finality of Death

Updated on April 09, 2007
S.D. asks from Osseo, MN
11 answers

Recently we've been informed that our city ordinance does not allow nearly the number of pets we have in our household. As a stay at home mom and animal rescuer, we have more than the norm of course, but it is a huge portion of our lives and our world pretty much revolves around these animals and the causes we support. The city will be enforcing code which is a total of six small animals. That means getting rid of 3/4 of our pets within two weeks, all of which are extremely bonded to us and my children are extremely bonded to them. How do I work with my kids to make this the least tramatizing? I've already been met with the fears and the tears in just mentioning that we have to find homes for so many of our beloved pets. We also have to part with two of our family cats and two of our dogs. This is so traumatic to all of us, but, being a mom, of course my greatest fear is in protecting my children from as much pain and fear as possible. Any ideas? Their ages are 3, 6 and 7, also being special needs. Also, anyone looking for some child friendly pets?

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K.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Some ideas. Have them work on a booklet to send with each animal to their new home that has their likes, dislikes, routines, food, and exercise programs laid out. That way they can feel involved in helping the animal and the new owners make a smooth transition. It will also allow you discussion time to talk about how each animal will have a home where they can get a lot of love and attention.

You could also make memory books together before each pet leaves with pictures of the kids with them so your kids have something to look at and use to talk about the pet after they have left. I don't believe in trying to "protect" kids from pain and disappointment. I believe in honoring their emotions and providing ways for them to express them and giving them support as they mourn the loss of these friends in their lives.

I'm sorry that you have to do this so quickly and abruptly, it must be really tough for all of you.

3 moms found this helpful
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R.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

Wow! Suddenly my life seems kind of quiet!!! Unfortunately, I can't help with the animal portion of this letter, but I will suggest "parents without partners" as a resource if you do go through with the divorce. It is a great group of people! We have both support groups, and fun activities for adults and families.
-R.

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L.R.

answers from Duluth on

Hello there,
I have a daughter with the same issues. She is 12 with bipolar. If you need to talk email me at [email protected]____.com As for the pet thing, you can either cut it back and the kids will have to learn to adjust it will be a good teaching experience. Life is very hard, we want to protect our children but if not today someday they might have some disapointments in life and this will teach them how to cope. You could see if the county can designate your home as a habitat for pets and get them adopted out, we have one in our area and they get donations from all over, they also get a vet. so spade and neuter them and when they are adopted out that is what the fee is for that payment of the vet bill. I was in your shoes once with the divorce (almost) we worked thru it, but I understand how stressful it can be. Esp. with children with special needs. I can help in some ways email me sometime. Good luck and god bless. =)

A.C.

answers from Minneapolis on

Is there any type of lisence or certificate you can get to make your home certified as an animal rescue center? That is my best advice on the subject.

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T.A.

answers from Minneapolis on

First, I would like to say I am so sorry about your divorce. Its a long trying road, but the pay off for both you and your children in an unhappy environment to a happy one is all worth it! I am a 26 yr old single mother of a 2 1/2 yr. old son. I was engaged, never married. Altho the split was similar as we purchased a home togather after 6 yrs of an unsteady relationship. There are days that you may think... maybe I made a mistake, maybe it wasn't so bad. Have confidence in knowing you have make the right choice. I would be glad to talk you through the ups and downs of the road ahead.
As for the animals... I don't choose to have them. Growing up we always had one or two dogs at a time. We had a dog that my sister and I loved, but had to say goodbye to because we were not able to adiquitly train the dog.... pottying, barking, nipping, ect. My parents sat us down and told us that "Bandi" was a very special dog. A very special family had been waiting a very long time for a dog just like him. They would care for him and play with him and he would love his new home. Bandet was the name of our other dog at the time. They told us that since we had two, it would be nice of us to make some other families dream come true to let Bandi go with them. We had a discussion about helping others and how animals help and encourage others. Then we were there to introduce the new owners to our dogs. The new people seemed very nice, we felt good about making them happy. Of course we cried and had a bit of sadness about it. As you should. As an adult looking back, I still have fond memories about the times we had and the way we parted. I hope this helps?!

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T.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Just out of curiousity what kinds of dogs do you need to find new homes for?

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B.H.

answers from Minneapolis on

My daughter is 5. My landlord is ridiculous. They had no problem with our pet ferret. It's considered a "caged animal" so it was fine. Then everyone in my complex was being a real pain and stretching the rules claiming their cat and dogs were caged animals which was so not true. So they made us get rid of our beloved ferret. We found her a good home a half a block from our home. We visit her frequently. We got rid of our ferret 6 mos. ago and my daughter still get's hysterical and crys every once in awhile. I just remind her that we can go visit our ferret etc. I tried to replace the ferret with a fish. It's just not the same. It totally stinks. It's actually been harder on my daughter losing her pet than losing her father 2 years ago when he stepped out of her life. She talks more about the darn ferret than her daddy. It's weird how it effects children. I on the other hand grew up with a ton of differnt dogs. My dad is a dog person but the minute his life is to busy or the dog doesn't behave perfectly he gets rid of them. (I know horrible huh) So I got used to it and never got attached to animals because they never stayed around long. I guess my only advise is to maybe take picutures of the animals for memories, talk with the kids as much as possible and reasure them they are going to a good home. That's what helps my daughter is that she helped pick who our pet went to.

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M.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

It sounds like you've done a real noble thing here in taking in all these animals because you believe in the cause. But, you've got to feel a little releived over the lightening of the load that giving up these animals will mean for you! With three special needs children and an impending divorce, maybe this "loss" could be a good thing for you and your kids, freeing up some time to spend together. It might not be a bad idea to look at it that way with your kids. Research why laws like this exist and think about the benefits to your family. Present it to your kids that way. Maybe they will even feel recruited to help find homes for the animals with friends or classmates. If you know the people the animals go to, you can keep in touch. However you view this, your children will pick up on that and will feel the same way. If all you feel is sadness, so will they. Recognizing the sadness is good, but wallowing in it will only make this harder for you and your family. Try a positive spin-- more time together, less work on animals, more time to enjoy the animals you do have, less "chaos" (as you put it), more money for other things, maybe even better, more attentive care for the animals that get new homes.
Good luck.

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S.J.

answers from St. Cloud on

Wow,
Thats a tough one. What city do you live in? Do you live in the country or a town setting? Are your children getting therapies for their needs? You appear a little overwhelmed!
I would love to converse with you, and I promise we wont talk about elmo!
Let me iknow how I can help
S.

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S.B.

answers from Janesville-Beloit on

Are any of the pets going to anyone you know? We just had to get rid of one of our dogs and we asked our family if anyone was interested first. My mother-in-law actually took him in! We were so grateful, because our oldest son was quite attached to him! Now, he gets to visit him whenever he goes to Grandma's. Of course, we go over there a little more often now, but it is worth it to know that he is well taken care of and we still get to see him!

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M.M.

answers from Milwaukee on

I would like to respond not really knwoing what to say but i was a child of where my mother was an animal rescuer and we too collected many of pets. My mother worked for an organization called animalov back in the late 80s early 90s i think it was they worked with animal adoption so we would take home cats and dogs and take care of them until we found homes for them. I remember that it was quite heartbreaking and i really dont think there is much you can do to make it less heartbreaking. It would be great and something that i really appreciated was that if possible give them to someone that you at least vaguely know where you can get pictures of them afterwards so you children can see them or even if they could go visit them once and awhile. The day of saying goodbye is going to be tearfilled and they probably will grieve for some time but if they have the chance to see them again it gives them some closure so they know that they are okay. It's really hard even now i can get a little sad thinking of when we would give our animals away but I realize that we couldnt keep them and your children will too but it doesnt mean they have to be happy about the situation and they should be allowed to be angry and sad. I dont envy your coming 2 weeks I'm sorry and i hope in the end all goes well. I wish i could help you out more.

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