For children, the experience of losing their life-long companion can feel overwhelming
Pets play an important role in a child’s family – a best friend, source of comfort and bring happiness to the entire household.
For many young people, the loss of a pet may be their first experience of death. For parents, there may even be some difficult questions to answer.
How can you help your child to say goodbye to their pet?
- Involve your child in choosing a special casket, urn or ash keepsake – if you choose a cremation service for your pet.
- Bring your children to a local pet cemetery or crematorium to lay a memorial. The team will have completed bereavement training and will be able to support your family with their questions and concerns.
- Encourage the whole family to get involved with sharing their feelings through making a scrapbook or memory box with treasured photographs, special toys or written letters to their much-loved pet.
- Your child may wish to be involved in the scattering of ashes in a special place, or planting flowers or bulbs around their grave if you choose to bury them.
Start the conversation about pet loss
It may not always be possible, but sometimes speaking with your child before the time comes can be helpful.
- This gives you the opportunity to explain to your child, in a way they can understand, what saying goodbye means.
- There are many helpful resources available to support you in having these conversations – you could ask your vet, your local pet crematorium or a Blue Cross pet bereavement advisor.
- Talking to your child can help them feel safe to share their emotions or concerns with you.
Our aftercare team suggest that:
“We always encourage families to bring their children during visiting, attending’s or even when they bring their pet to us for their cremation, as it sometimes helps children come to the sad realisation that their pet has died, but is going to be carefully looked after by our team.
“We also encourage children to write or draw in our Remembrance Book, which can be so comforting during this difficult time. The following quote has always stuck with me when it comes to facing the loss of a pet – ‘How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.’“
There are many helpful resources available that can help youngsters through the time of losing a pet, including the ‘Goodbye, My Friend’ pet loss booklet, which can help with processing the passing of a much-loved companion. The Blue Cross has also produced a ‘Children and Pet Loss Guide’, which you can download and print.
“Collected Charlie today and was so pleased to have him back home. The presentation was so sympathetically done. Care and compassion shown with arranging all the details. Thank you to Stephanie for all she did. Would highly recommend this first class service.” – Ann