Puppy Who Died and Kids

Updated on May 16, 2015
M.F. asks from Cleveland, TX
8 answers

Two weeks ago for my daughter's fourth birthday we got her a cute little puppy. I did have a puppy well check before we gave it to her and he had a clean bill of health. The whole family enjoyed him for about a week and then he became sick. Anyways after an emergency vet visit and spending a day there for some treatment we brought him home with instructions on how to care for him. A few days later he died. My question is now how do I help my kids deal? We have explained to them that sometimes baby animals just are too weak to fight off whatever is ailing them and we tried our best. We are all very sad and my stomach has been upset all week. I had wrapped the puppy up with a bow and surprised her with it and she has been asking for a cuddle buddy for quite some time and I know she doesn't understand. I am torn on if I should get another puppy or not? I am an experience dog owner so being able to take care of a puppy is not the issue. I am just wondering if you would get another puppy for your kids and why or why not? Thanks

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So What Happened?

*we will never know exactly what he died of. He tested neg for the common diseases, we wormed him, he was not injured and any further testing would have required a lot more money than we could have spent. He did receive a blood transfusion and a shot to bring up his blood sugar.

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answers from Boston on

That's so sad. There's no set time frame for getting another pet. You might want to start looking at puppies for adoption on petfinder to see what the kids say. If they want one then its the right time. If they look and talk about being sad about their puppy then you might want to wait a while.

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answers from Boston on

I'm so sorry you have gone through this. A pet's death is so painful, but this is inexplicable so there's the added uncertainty.

I do think it is important for kids to mourn in their own way and not to feel that a living thing can be replaced right away. So I would go through whatever ritual you need to that fits with your religious beliefs, and I would put away the dog's things (toys, crate, dish) to make it clear that the dog is gone and not coming back. Check with the children's librarian about appropriate books for your daughter's age. There's also a poem commonly read by those who have lost an animal - it's called "The Rainbow Bridge". I don't know if it's beyond her at this point.

If you decide to get another dog, do it after you have gone through the steps to say goodbye to this puppy. Kids may not need months and months to recover, but there should be a separation so they understand he's really gone.

Good luck. My heart aches for you.

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answers from San Francisco on

I am sorry you are going through this. It is so hard. Our dog died suddenly when my sons were 7 and 11. We had been taking him to the vet and had an extensive work up done, but they still missed renal cancer. When he was really struggling we took him to the emergency vet and were told he needed to be put down because he was in pain and dying. I was distraught and I can still remember cry and telling my husband, "I don't want to be the grown up." all because I did not want to go home and tell our kids.

I think you should get a picture book to help explain this to her. DOg Heaven is good. If your family doesn't believe in heaven, then it might not be a good choice, but it was great for my family. I would hold off on getting a new puppy before you know exactly what happened to your pet. Talk to the vet.

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answers from Wichita Falls on

I would do something to remember the puppy's by, plant a tree, donate to a animal shelter, volunteer at an animal rescue etc. This is a good opportunity to talk about life, death, and grieving. Then, ask your daughter if and when does she feel ready for another pet. All kids are different, some are ready to jump right back in with another pet, others need time.

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answers from Denver on

I am so sorry for your loss. It is not quite the same, but when our dog passed, I found that it helped, our then three year old, to read/hear books/stories about the subject.
With that, you know if your family is taking a religious approach to the puppy dying; e.g. 'God's Will.
The books that I found most helpful were; 'When a Pet Dies,' by Fred Rodgers (Mister Rodgers' Neighborhood), 'When Dinosaurs Die - a guide to Understanding Death,' by Lautie Krasney & Mac Brown, 'Lifetimes: The Beautiful way to Explain death to children,' by Bryan Mellonie & Robert Ingprn, 'the Tenth Good thing about Barney,' by Judith Viorst, and one of my top pick 'Goodbye Mousie,' by Robert H Harris, and then probably the best of all is 'I'll Always Love You,' by Hans Wilhelmina,

I would not necessarily recommend, 'I'll Always love you' or 'Goodbye Mousie' because they are built on a longer relationship/bond with the child and animal. Since you had a puppy then neither of these would hold true.

With that we allowed and continue to allow our son to talk about how much he misses, 'N.,' and what he thinks about getting another dog, etc.

Good Luck

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answers from Washington DC on

aw, i'm so sorry. poor little puppy and your poor family. what a tragedy.
i think the best way to help them deal is to let them deal. too many parents try to mitigate the sadness and 'make it better.'
loss hits people at all ages. i think facing it squarely, being there for each other, and letting each other be sad without judgment is the best possible response, and the best 'lesson' for your kids if indeed there's a lesson to be found in tragedy.
i know some disagree, but i'd wait a while on a new dog. pets aren't exactly like people, but they ARE family, and family members aren't replaceable. i'd certainly plan on another dog, but not as a bandaid for losing this puppy. you don't want your kids to get the idea that rushing to replace will help the mourning process. any being that is very loved deserves to be grieved over, and i think it's important for kids to learn this and not be distracted from their sorrow by a shiny new thing.

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answers from Washington DC on

Where did you get the puppy? And is it possible he got into something (as puppies do) that you hadn't thought would be dangerous?

I wouldn't get a puppy. I would wait a bit and get an older dog whose temperament and health is more certain. There are many older dogs who need homes and many shelter dogs who are great with kids and in the shelter through no fault of their own.

We read The Rainbow Bridge to DD and explained that the body was a shell and the cat was no longer living in it. We buried him and waited a few months before looking for a new pet.

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answers from Lakeland on

So sorry :-(

I would hold off on getting a new puppy and let her grieve. Mourning a loss (person or pet) is something we all have to go through so just be there to help her understand. Part of the waiting is to teach her that living beings are not replaceable.

I was reading about these the other day. Not to scare you but I just wanted to share this info since I don't know where you got your puppy from.



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