Our Family Pet Was Killed Unexpectedly

Updated on May 06, 2008
D.G. asks from Williamstown, NJ
11 answers

Our not quite two-year-old husky was attacked and killed by two pit bulls. Our children are all feeling the loss, this happened on Christmas Day. My 10-year-old is particularly feeling it not sleeping, eating bad dreams etc. I am unsure how to help him through this, we have lost other pets and relatives as well he never took it as hard as he is taking this.

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So What Happened?

Thanks so much for all the kind words it is greatly appreciated. I had my son write down the things that were important about his dog and that seems to be helping. I know it will take time. He didnt see the attack on our dog or the injuries the animal sustained. He does know how he died. Animal control unfortunately will not do anything we have tried. We are unsure of our next step but we are going to try and get justice for Justice (the dog's name)and have told our son we will try and make sure that at least these pit bulls will not hurt anyone or any other animal again. We will keep you posted.

More Answers



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi D.,

I don't have much advice for you, but I just wanted to tell you that I'm so sorry for your loss. What happened to your dog is terrible, and you all must be heartbroken.

There is a book called "Dog Heaven." It is written at a young child's level, but I think the sentiment is for both young and old. Maybe this could help your children envision your dog in a better, happy place. Here is the link to the book on Amazon.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Did u'r son see this attack? that could leave a bad mark with him forever.. he may need therapy after that.... but hoping the rainbow bridge poem helps him... here is the petloss website....http://petloss.com/

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i can relate to the death of an animial right now, however mine was expected..

first let me say, that i am so sorry for your horrible ordeal... my dog, died on new years day from lymphoma... she was 10 and it was a very sad day in my home... we had been telling my daughter that she was sick and going to be with god in heaven, so when the time came, she just thought that she went to heaven (like going to the store) she was probably looking at us so sad and wondering what the problem was. but its sad any way it happens and i am sorry..

on a side note, i dont know the specifics on what happened.. but my dog was a pit also.. and she was the best dog i had in my life.. smart, graceful, gentle, listened amazingly well.. BUT, she was protective and we were aware of her capabilities and by saying that, i mean that anyone that owns any type of dog that has massive strength behind it should hold that responsiblitly seriously, and should be held accountable should something horrible happen... i was very careful about her and who she was around etc. those owners should be dealt with.

good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Its never easy to lose anyone unexpectedly. I dont know how much your 10yr old knows about what happened to your husky, but I know that when I was about his age and my cat was run over my family had a small "funeral" for it. We each spoke about something that made us happy and after we gathered up all the pictures that we could find and made a collage to put up on the wall to remember him by. Maybe something like this would help. Unfortunately only time can truly heal the pain. Just offer as much comfort to you child as possible. Good luck.



answers from Philadelphia on

i might also suggest consulting you son's school counselor. they may be able to bridge the gap between the grief assistance you can provide in the home and that of a therapist.

we lost my husbands oldest cat when i was 6 mos. pregnant with my daughter to a fast moving neurological event. it was very traumatic since she had been with my husband through the death of his father, his mother's remarriage, high school, college, marriage, and our first pregnancy. she was 18 yrs old. the vet thought i was going into labour when we brought her in. during our second pregnancy our second cat developed lymphoma. we provided her comfort throughout because we believed she wanted to meet the baby. 4 days after ds was born she seemed to lose her will to live.

i sympathize with your family's loss. my dd was only 2 1/2 yrs when our second cat was ill with lymphoma, and she just wrote her "sad poem" about it in second grade!! our pets are truly our family. i hope your son finds peace with this sadness.



answers from Pittsburgh on

We lost our 3 yr old cat 2 days before Christmas in the carride to the vets about 6:00 am - my 10 yr old son was in the car watching the cat flail as he was gasping for breath etc. He screamed "NO" repeatedly and cried for 2 hours from the car thru the vet thru the funeral at home. I just go in and talk to him about how I miss the cat and specifically things I miss etc. and he ends up talking before he knows it... Talking things out can heal many things. We also drew a tribute picture and my son - he likes to write songs - wrote a song and now when he misses him you can hear him comforting himself with his own words to his song.



answers from Scranton on

because of the violent nature of your pet passing it may be having a worse effect on him i would suggest talking to a doctor to see if he has any suggestions he may consider therapy but i think that may be best because this could have been vey tramatic for him



answers from Philadelphia on

I can only suggest that you talk to your son about his feelings on this situation and try to help him understand that this was situation out of his control. Let him know that it is ok to talk about it.
Death is a real hard thing to understand when you are an adult, and unfortanely I know how hard it is on a kid. My husband passed away 18 months ago and my children and I still struggle with it. But the more you talk about it the more it helps. I would not suggest talking about it everyday, but rather bring up happy memories of the time you and your family spent with your dog. It will take time for him to get pass this, just be there for him. I hope this has helped.



answers from Harrisburg on


I am new here but felt I needed to write. I am a big time lover of animals that would have most people laugh at me for things I have done to help an animal in need. I am so very sorry for your loss. Especially the date it occurred. It will probably be remembered for years to come.

A few suggestions I have are:

1) He is most likely feeling anger towards the pitbulls. Grief has many steps that your body will go through and anger is one of them. If everyone is trying to keep him calm and not allow him to release the anger, it could be harmful to him emotionally. One thing that a counselor taught my daughter that worked really well (yet at first I will admit that I doubted his advice) is to take a paper bag...(two in this case) and have your son draw the pitbulls on each one. Allow him to hollar, scream and say whatever he wants to them. Then let him destroy the paper bags any way he wishes, but remind him that this is NOT saying he has a right to really hurt the dogs, this is just so he can let go and forgive. I bought a package of bags and leave them in her room. Next to it is a box of crayons. Whenever she gets angry she will go upstairs and just grab another bag, then later come back down in a much better mood.

2) Next Christmas is going to be the hardest for him, then the following. I lost my son on December 10th 1990 and it's hard even today to be as happy as I know I could have been, but I try each year to do something special to help me cope. Perhaps you can make a stocking and he can write a letter inside letting out all of his feelings of missing his dog or whatever. You may not even know this but perhaps your dog was his secret pal that he could tell everything to and now feels a loss so great to not have your dog to talk to anymore. The letter is not to be read by anyone and get a safe box with a lock. Let him hold the key. Keep the safe box with the Christmas things so he won't keep reading them and become depressed. Also, this way it can't get lost. He can write letters anytime and keep them somewhere special and then put all of them in the stocking. One thing is....he HAS to end the letter on a good note. It's hard, but it helps. Something positive needs to end the letter so he won't continue to be sad.

I am sorry this is so long, but I connected with your request due to losing a son and other children through miscarriages and then the animals that I have lost and yes, I will still tear up over them from time to time.

Good luck and I pray that he does ok. I do have a 13 year old daughter that actually saved up her money and bought a memorial stone and we put it in our backyard so she feels she can visit her pet she lost at any time. I did this for my son due to us moving so she wanted something as well and it seems to help her.

Take care and God bless,



answers from Pittsburgh on

I am so sorry for the loss of your dog- and the effect on your family.

My first question is about the pit bulls that attacked. Were they neighborhood dogs? Will they be removed from the home? How awful.

It's totally expected that your son would take it so hard. Children love their dogs!

Have you heard of Rainbow Bridge? This is the website. www.rainbowbridge.com It might help him to create a memorial for his beloved dog.

If/when you are ready for another dog, I highly recommend a rescue in Fayette County. They can really help you to find a puppy or dog that is a good match for your family. They get to know the dogs' personalities and match you up well. They have tons of puppies, as well as full grown dogs.

The name of the shelter is "Faithful but Forgotten" and the contact person is Paula. She is wonderful. I will look up the number and get back to you with it.

Would you be interested in goldendoodle puppies? My neighbor bred her golden retriever with a standard poodle and the puppies are gorgeous. The parents are both really smart and calm dogs. There are 2 puppies left and they are 12 weeks old. I think she is willing to almost give them away because she is getting overwhelmed with the extra care. They are gorgeous pups!

Anyway, my condolensces again and best of luck to your family- and especially your son.




answers from York on


I am so very sorry to hear about your companion, this experience has to be extremely difficult to got through. I don't know if you have ever heard of "Olivia's House" in York. Olivia's House is a grief and loss center for children. They have a special program for children who have lost a pet called "Barkley's Gone." It might be worth it to give them a call. Here is the web address www.oliviashouse.org and there phone number is ###-###-####. Hope this helps. Take care.

E. Fleming
York, PA

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