My Son's Dog Died :(

Updated on July 16, 2010
L.J. asks from Valdosta, GA
17 answers

My son, who is 18, has a dog that we were watching while he visited family out of state for 3 weeks and it DIED yesterday on our watch (nothing we did wrong--long story). He loves this dog like a child and is going to be devastated, as are we. He has 2 weeks left on his trip. Do we call and tell him about the dog now or continue to say the dog is fine when he asks (he will) and break it to him gently when he gets back home so that he can enjoy the rest of his trip? My husband and I slightly disagree about the right thing to do, so I thought we'd get your input....
My husband thinks my son will be mad that we "lied' to him.

Additional info:
The dog died yesterday and we buried him on our property next to our kitty who died years ago...we are sure that's where our son would have wanted him...

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thanks for all the great advice...there was enough to convince us that we should tell him. My husband called him and explained what happened. He cried and is very upset of course, but doesn't fault us at all. He is just broken up about it. We were all crying by the end of the call. Hopefully, his heart will heal over time...
He thanked us for telling him now instead of waiting so I'm sure this was the right decision. He is still grieving...he only had the puppy since May, but they were constant companions and he loved him so much.
thanks again...

Featured Answers



answers from Hickory on

This is not like he is 2 he is 18. My vote is easy tell the truth about what happen. Life goes on no matter how much we may not like it death is a part of life.

Added, I have received an e-mail stating my post come across the wrong way. I thought it best to say I am sorry to anyone it made upset. That was not my intent at all. I was not clear it seems on that point. I just mint that it was best to tell the truth because he was older and would understand.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

That is a tough one. Would he be mad at you for keeping a "secret" Hopefully he would understand why you waited if you choose to do that. For me personally, I would want to know sooner than later. Not that the situation could be changed, but I would just want to be prepared before I came home and be able to make decisions about his remains.
Good luck--hugs to you!

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Nashville on

I would tell him. Yes, it will be hard and it might take away from his trip some but to lie to him for 2 weeks would be much worse. I would want to know. I know I worry every single time we leave town and leave someone with our animals.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think I'd want to know if it were my beloved pet. This would be like losing a best friend, and well-meaning adults won't tell you because they think you can't handle it. That would have infuriated me in my teens. He may also want some say in how/where you bury or otherwise dispose of the body.

So sorry.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I would want to know if I were him. Thinking back to days when I was 18, I was very mature and responsible. I get the feeling that your son is as well due to the fact that he is away and has his own dog. I recall my mother keeping several "secrets" from me to "protect" me and I was always disappointed with her decision not to tell me something.
I think he would be hurt that you didn't tell him, and that he didn't get to decide what to do with the corpse, where to bury, cremate etc... Personally, I understand your why you don't want to tell him, but he may not see it that way. Like you said, he loved that dog like his own child, and if it were his child you wouldn't wait two weeks to tell him about it.
I'm so sorry for your and his loss.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

The 3 of us here have all agreed, we would want you to tell us..
(Our daughter is 19)

We would not want you, to have to lie to us, because we could not handle the truth.. That would be too stressful for you.

This was a good conversation here. Our daughter says if our cat dies while she is in college she wants us to tell her right away, even if it is finals and she is already stressed out.. (We wondered how we should handle this)

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Fayetteville on

I think you should definitely tell your son. Bad news is not like wine and cheese, it does NOT get better with age. My parents had to tell me that my cat had been run over and killed (right after she had kittens) while I was in my first summer as a cadet at West Point. It broke my heart, but that was far better than them telling me all was well with her and then coming home to no cat.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Huntington on

No question in my mind...tell him. I have been on the other side and it is a horrible feeling to think that your parents knew this secret and didn't tell you, perhaps even talked to you like nothing was wrong and when it was.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

If he is going to ask, you have to tell him. You shouldn't lie to him.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I see you already made a decision. I believe you did the right thing and I send my heartfelt condolences to you. We dearly love our pets and so understand. I am so sorry for your loss.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wheeling on

I see that I'm writing 'after the fact', but here's my input, anyway. I know everyone has their own ways of processing grief, but dishonesty shouldn't even come into play, or the grief is multiplied.

You can break it to him gently, and the sooner the better. Everyone also has to learn to process mishaps in life along with the good. It should be his decision as to whether he comes home now or later. Personally, I would have let him know before I buried the dog and would've asked his input. Now he may feel that he had no say, and if you lied to him, he'd feel even further 'put out' of the scene and the 'closure' would be all the more difficult.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

YIKES! That is really a tough one. I think I would wait and tell him after the trip. It would just ruin it if you told him now. I'm sorry...good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wilmington on

I agreed with your did the right thing by telling him. My parents lied to me about the death of my first cat when I was 6/7 yrs. old. The gig was up after about 2 weeks and I had to learn the truth. The truth will come out eventually so you needed to tell him. He would have been angry with you maybe for the rest of his life and wondered what else you hadn't been truthful with him about. He is 18 and can handle it, however, he will never forget his dog. My son is 19 and he still misses ours that we lost many years now. It is a member of the family and we had the dog before our son, so he grew up with her. Technically, your son will be leaving "the nest" and would be away from the dog anyway so there would be a separation anyway. That happened when I went to college and left my cat. My mom was pretty much in charge of his care. I still loved him, but I wasn't with him all the time. Maybe you can have a little memorial service when your son gets home. Even though he is 18, it will give him time to grieve. Gather around the burial site, tell a favorite story, and maybe place a flower. This will give you all a chance to grieve together at the loss of the family member. I am SO sorry for your loss. It is never easy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Antonio on

I am truly sorry to hear about your son's beloved dog. We can truly sympathize. On April 6 we lost our beloved pet of 12 years and there is just no easy way of dealing with it. Additionally, my husband and I have also been in your shoes and have had to tell a loved one of the passing of a furry friend while away on travel. Till this date I don't know if we did the right thing or not, but we waited until she returned home from a business trip but she CALLED all the time while away which made it soooo hard to lie each time and then we started avoiding her calls-ugh! It was a terrible time for us. Anyhow, when we did break the news upon her return, she reasonably became upset with us and mourned the loss of her dog for several months, but finally came to the understanding of why we kept it from her for so long. I hope your son will too see the reasoning behind trying to protect him from being hurt during his trip. Wish you the best.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I would tell him now. I would want to know immediately, and I agree with your husband. I believe he is old enough to handle it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I say tell him when he gets home. The dog is already buried so there's nothing he could do anyways. Let him enjoy the rest of his trip. If he's a mature young man, he will understand.

My husband says you could tell him now, but if you choose to tell him later, then wait until the last day or two of his trip and tell him. That way he's already enjoyed most of his trip, but he's prepared for his dog being gone when he gets home.

This is a part of life and to be honest, the death of a pet is in NO WAY as big as the death of a family member. Dogs aren't people. Some people lose sight of this. Your son will grieve and then will move on.

I hope you're happy with whatever decision you make.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Nashville on

wow, that's awful. The only thing you can do is tell the truth. If you do not tell him and wait till he gets home, he might get really upset with you. You will have to tell him what happened and tell him that you wanted to let him know but that you will talk more when he gets home.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions