The death of a pet is often the first experience a child has with loss. Children tend to grieve differently than adults do and they need lots of love, guidance and support. Parents often want to shelter children from death, which is understandable but honesty can be the best thing. Each child is unique and each age group and stage of development can have different reactions. We’ve put together a list of links as well as books that will help you explain your pet’s death to your children and provide you with things you can do together to help them through their grief and begin to heal.
Helping Children Cope by Moira Anderson Allen M.E.d
Grief Healing - Marty Tousley, RN, MS, FT, DCC (Distance Credentialed Counselor). The site offers a wide variety of grief healing related articles, a blog, discussion group and healing courses, including support for children
Colorado State University Argus Institute: Helping Children Deal with Pet Loss- How different age groups deal with death and developmental considerations for different age groups
Chance’s Spot: Pet Loss and Grief Support including support for children
Ohio State University Article - Helping Children Cope with the Serious Illness or Death of a Companion Animal
Psychology Today: Six Family Friendly Ways to Help Kids Grieve After Pet Loss
Kidlutions: Remembering a Beloved Pet - Memorial worksheet to do with children.
Children and Pet Loss: A Guide for Helping by Marty Tousley
Stay: A Girl, A Dog, A Bucket List by Kate Klise
Remembering Baymore by Peter Gollub, DVM
When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers
Cry, Heart, but Never Break by Glenn Ringtved
Healing A Child's Pet Loss Grief: A Guide for Parents by Wendy Van de Poll
I'll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst
Humphrey Was Here: A dog owner’s story of love, loss and letting go by Mark Asher
A Rainbow Bridge for Gus: A Story About the Loss of a Pet by Barbara Bareis Rigabar and Chris Sharp
Dog Heaven by Cynthia Ryant
Cat Heaven by Cynthia Ryant
My Pet Died: A Coloring Book for Grieving Children by Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
The Fall of Freddie the Leaf by Leo Buscaglia
Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Pet: A Workbook for Kids and Guidelines for Adult Caregivers Kidlutions.com by Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD
Don’t Say Goodbye, Just Say See You! by Patricia A. Brill, PhD
Always Remember by Cece Meng
The Heaven of Animals by Nancy Tillman
The Next Place by Warren Hanson
Pets grieve the loss of a companion animal or person in the home just like any other member of the family. They may experience grief and depression just as people do. And no two pets grieve the same. You may start to see changes in their normal habits such as eating, sleeping and playtime. Keeping to your pet’s routine and giving them extra love and support can help to get them through their mourning period. The following links and books will help you to understand your pet’s grief and provide helpful suggestions to get them through this difficult time.
From Sad to Glad: Helping Your Dog Survive a Loss by Phoebe Lauren