Click here to learn more.
A couple of weeks ago, I went on an odd house call in which I was quietly led through a side yard gate to a small, well-appointed pool house.
The purpose of my visit, as with so many of my house calls, was at-home euthanasia.
The point of all the surreptitiousness, however, was more to do with ensuring that the kids — a 4-year-old and an 8-year-old who were busy watching TV in the main house — weren’t exposed in any way to the death happening across the pool from them.
This struck me as rather strange. After all, death is a part of life, one that we all have to face at some point. And, frankly, it seemed odd that people who are enlightened enough to want their pet euthanized at home would hold out on their kids when it came to something so, well, life-altering.
For many days afterward, I kept kicking it around in my head: How were the kids informed — if at all — of how their pet died?
If they had remained oblivious, it seemed to me as if they’d been cheated somehow.
Of course, that's not to say that I’m challenging anyone’s parenting skills. As the single mom of a teenager, I’m sensitive to the intrusion of others’ best intentions.
Nonetheless, I do hold strong opinions on the subject of pet death and the underage set — and my clients will occasionally ask me to reveal them. Here’s what I tell owners:
Just as I believe that every owner deserves to know the entire truth of a pet’s condition — no exceptions — every child has the right to know if their pet has died or has been euthanized.
Why some parents wait is a mystery to me. The fact that a vacation is coming up or a violin concert is looming aren't good excuses.
Case in point: I’ll never quite get past the fact that my mother waited until my final exams were over during my first semester at college before telling me that my childhood Lab had died. I totally get why she did it, but I don’t believe that it was the right approach.
Although the words you use will doubtless vary with age, any child old enough to have a relationship with a pet is old enough to be informed that a pet has passed.
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank You For Signing Up
for the Petwire newsletter, sending you all the pet news each week directly to your inbox.
Get the latest pet news, tips, tricks, and expert advice sent right to your inbox!
With the help of a modified fishing net, 12 broomsticks and a cable, rescuers were able to pull Rapunzel to safety.
Mikkel Becker recommends sticking to daily routines, feeding with food puzzles and maybe even hiring a dog walker.
We talk with an aquarium expert about this awesome organism, which, as it turns out, can actually be quite violent!
Experts think pups bolt out the door because they want to explore the outside world or need more stimulation at home.
Pugs Ainsleigh, Peggy-Sue, Audrey, Fez, Eugene, Percy and Pavare will instantly get you into the holiday spirit.
We searched our database of 925,000 pups born since January 1 to declare today’s top monikers for dogs.
The Russian Blue won’t mind if you have to go to work (to earn money for cat toys), as long as you're back…
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.