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How to explain to a child....


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Guest Anonymous

The death of a dog.

I ask because a friend of mine approached me with the question. His dog got hit by a car and his son is at achool he is 6 years old and he doesnt know what to tell him. the dog was his best friend... any ideas?

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Tell him the dog died, explain how it happened and than explain what death is. I don't know his son, but most kids are old enough for this conversation at that age.

It will probably take a while for the child to understand that the dog is never coming back. It will probably be an ongoing conversation. Children that age don't understand the permanance of death.

Honestly, I would not mention anything about the "rainbow bridge" this is WAY too abstract a concept. The child will think it is a real place.

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I would say tell the child that the poor dog got hit by a car, and died.
That the driver did not mean to hurt him, that it was just an accident and sometimes accidents happen. Tell him how sorry you are that the dog is no longer with them, and how much they loved him. Tell him how much the doggy loved him, and make sure to say how sorry they are that if happened. Then get him another dog. That last sentence is the most important. You dont want a 6 year old dwelling on death for long. He's just too young to understand...

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I agree completely with the above with two additions:
Do not get the same breed or a very similar breed or call the new dog by the old dogs name or some variation of it. The child needs to know the new dog is not a replacement of the old dog and that dogs are not [i]replacable[/i]. And if the parents are not ready they may need some extra time so it may be a good option to visit shelters or breeders for a bit, this way the parents get their time and the child is placated, part of getting the new dog can be discussing ways to keep it safe, this will help with any fears about this the child may have, reinforce that dogs or not replacable household items and address any issues of safety.

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Guest Anonymous

That was kinda my idea... to just tell him. I mean he was going to try to find the same breed of dog, but that is a very good idea to teach him that, that dog is irreplaceable. I really like that.

Thanks to everyone... very good ideas all around

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I don't have any two legged children, but wouldn't it be appropriate to explain to the child that the dog has died and it is now up in heaven playing with lots of treats and bones. That is what we tell children happens to people after they die, right? Or am I out of touch? So that the lasting image of the dogs death in the childs mind isn't a mangled dog who got hit by a car.

And they can have a short little ceremony out in the yard and plant a tree or flowers with a bone or the dogs favorite toy and tell happy stories of the dog.

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[quote]but wouldn't it be appropriate to explain to the child that the dog has died and it is now up in heaven playing with lots of treats and bones. That is what we tell children happens to people after they die, right[/quote]

I suppose it would depend on your religous beliefs what you tell the child. I personally don't believe animals go to heaven as they don't have souls. So I would not tell a child that the dog is in heaven playing. Again, this would depend on the person's religous beliefs.

If your point was to paint a happier picture of death, I think reality would be the best way to go. That's not to say that you should describe in detail the horrible accident, but you should not try to sugar coat it. It's a sad thing, the child should be sad, so should the parents. There's no getting around the fact that the dog is gone forever. I say let the child feel the pain of losing a loved one. It's part of life.

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I...kinda dont agree...
Yes tell him the dogs died of course!!
But i know a 6 year old(just turned 7 actully ) And youd be suprised what he knows. I mena no he isnt a geniouse but still. When you say hes only six. You mean that like, hes still a lilt kid(they are) and he wont fully understand death. I dont know this kid, but i know Gage is smart. Hes had a few deaths in the family. And he fully understands death. It may be differnt here thasn there but he understnads death and everyhitng. I am not getting mad Im just explaining that yes there young but they aint stupid! lol really. Just tell him ____ our dog___ Is gone now. He was hit by a car, and he died. And just expalin to him that the dog wont be here anymore, and that hes not going to be aroung the house hes dead. And then a lil while like a week or 2 later get a new dog so he kinda of gets a lil happier.
Sorry if iv offended anyoe... :-? I don't mean to I jsut mean tell him strait out the dogs dead cuase he will understnad. But agian i dont know this kid..

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No offense taken at all. But I think knowing that the dog has died and is gone and won't be back is pain enough for the tiny shoulders of a six year old. We speak of the bridge all of the time. Why? For one reason only. To ease our excruciating pain and fantasize that the dog is in a better place, pain free and frolicking. I guess I just think a six year old is entitled to the same compassion. I haven't read Dr. Spock's recent addition so I will admit that I don't really know what is appropriate to tell. I am just speaking from my heart.

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excatly! this six year old may be a lot doffernt from GAge and probably is, totally doffernt. But i still think you should tell him, Not tell him to forget about him, jsut tell him, the dogs gone, he had to go, and hell never be back, but that doent mean we cant get otehr animals, everyhitng will be fine.. kinda thing.

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excatly! this six year old may be a lot doffernt from GAge and probably is, totally doffernt. But i still think you should tell him, Not tell him to forget about him, jsut tell him, the dogs gone, he had to go, and he'll never be back, but that doent mean we cant get otehr animals, everyhitng will be fine.. kinda thing.

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I believe that it's best to tell a child as close to the truth as you think they can handle. This is always going to vary depending on the age and the personality of the child.

Also, I do think we are best not to get into a religious discussion on what people believe and why. People's ideas on religion can be very personal and it's very easy for feelings to get hurt and for people to get their noses out of joint. I think we are asking for trouble if we go down that path.... just my 2 cents :wink:

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In one sense I agree Malamum, but in another we have always aired our
views here (I mention God all the time, and I know there are non-believers here. That doesnt upset me, or apparently them either) so I gotta agree with "to each his own".

personally, I feel that dogs do have souls. and I'm going to mention God again (LOL). To me (and it;s just me, no one has to agree) a soul is
the dividing line between just living, and caring...caring enough to give of oneself, caring enough to make sacrifices to help others, caring enough
to believe that all life is precious....what better personifies that, then a dog?

God gave us dogs, I firmly believe that, to teach us what real caring is all about. Humility, sacrifice, giving of oneself....unfortunately, alot of us havent learned the lesson yet...

Just my take...


:D

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I wasn't trying to stifle anyone voicing their opinion I was just trying to keep the peace as I know some people can take what they believe very seriously and get easily offended when others contradict or discount thier views.

Now me.. I'm very hard to offend and am a firm believer of "each to their own" and I fully respect everyones right to believe what they will.

I personally am not religious at all and don't believe in god or heaven. I just try to live my life the best as I can and treat others as I would wish to be treated and believe that when my times up then that 's pretty much it. I don't really know what defines a soul but if I have one then I do believe that all living breathing things (cat, dog or otherwise) have one too.

Ignore what I said in my earlier post - I do like the freedom of everyone airing their views I was just a little cautious as I know it can be a very sensitive topic.

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I'm torn! This sounds like a fun topic to get into (maybe for the debate section) but it is pretty emotionally charged. I think it might be ok to get into and if it gets too sketchy, the post can be closed.
Abker, I PM'd you before I posted this time.

Here's my take: God (I said it too!) put animals on the earth for humans to use (companionship being a form of use). Animals do not have any responsibilities. They cannot do "right" or "wrong". They do not understand the concept. When a person dies, his or her soul is judged and deemed worthy for heaven or hell. An animal cannot have a soul because there is no way to judge them. Could you send a dog to hell? No, and by the same token you can't send it to heaven either.

Those are my thoughts and beliefs. Take'em or leave'em.

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[quote]Quote:
I wasn't trying to stifle anyone voicing their opinion


and I never thought you were..I'm just VERY opinionated... [/quote]

me too and sometimes it seems that my opinions are the ones that do the offending so again I was just being cautious. :wink:

I think this is going to be very intersting reading...as I don't believe that there are right and wrong views (in regards to religion) - just different ones.

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[quote]I think this is going to be very intersting reading...as I don't believe that there are right and wrong views (in regards to religion) - just different ones.
[/quote]

I agree. And Kendlyn, as far as I am concerned, voice your views.
I am going to go "Karma" on all of you...

You know I believe in soul..anyone who disagrees is welcome. by me, to voice their views. I wont hold it against you. because I truly believe in
"to each his own".....

I believe that there is a reason, including dogs. for eveything. And in my
opinion,God is trying to teach us to be better people..by the use of our dogs. They love unconditionally.....why cant we?

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