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Oregon Family Magazine

Saying Goodbye to the Family Pet

03/29/2010 ● By Anonymous
Saying good-bye to a dear friend, and family member, is always hard for little ones.   Actually, it can be quite difficult for grown-ups too!  But, teaching the circle of life can provide helpful insight and make the process easier to understand and accept, even to the youngest of young.

This month our family faced this very situation as our blessed "Tomi" (To-me) was laid to rest at the age of 14.  He was a special part of our family and a special animal, in that he was over 80% wolf.  By his very nature, he commanded great respect from those around him - and was the gentlest of souls.  He loved being around people, but also appreciated his space.  Once you were in his "pack" you were family too.  His most prized companion was my youngest son, Brandon (age 4)... they shared a special bond.  I think Tomi saw him as our "pup".

Brandon was witness to how Tomi's health was declining.  We talked about it openly, and he understood there would be a day where Tomi would go to "Rainbow Bridge" to be with Grandpa.  I elected to have Tomi put to rest here in our home - on his own bed, where he was comfortable, and not distressed by strangers and a foreign environment.   I was (at first) concerned this might be difficult for the boys to witness - but after further consideration, and talking with them about it, I decided it was better for them to be part of the process rather than being sent away, and coming back to a "void".  The procedure was very peaceful - in fact, Brandon held Tomi's head after he laid it down to sleep.  He said to me... "you were right mom, that was very quiet".   He's a wise little soul.

Helping your children understand that death is not always traumatic, and can in fact be a peaceful process, eliminates some of the drama and fallacies they are exposed to.  Granted, not every child could handle this situation - some are better off away.   Each situation should be carefully weighed and considered - but if that time is in your families future, keep an open mind, and heart.