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Pets bring joy, structure, and endless love to our lives. It’s only natural to experience tremendous pain when the time comes to say goodbye. 67% of households in the US have at least one pet and 90% of these pet owners consider their pets to be family members. 


Dr. David Schonfeld, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, says that “if a pet dies, not talking about it isn’t going to make our child feel better, it would just leave them more confused and require them to grieve by themselves without the support we could provide.”  


Dr. Erica Dickie, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, mentions in her interview that as hard as it might be, it’s important to use the words “die”, “dying”, “death” when explaining the passing of a pet to our children, because it helps them to understand the finality of the situation. It is also important to explain that death itself is not painful and once our pet is dead, they will not feel any pain.    


Author Patrice Karst wrote a book, “The Invisible Leash,” as a way to cope with the death of her dog Coco. This book shows children that the connection with their beloved pet exists after their passing through their love and memories. We share additional ideas to help cope with the passing of a pet.  


People around you may not understand your pain, yet it is very important to share with teachers, friends, and colleagues that you’re going through a hard time. Some may respond in ways that could be interpreted as insensitive but remember that we all have different experiences and views. Author Esmeralda Isehouer shares a touching story of how her relationship with pets has changed throughout the years and the lessons she has learned from her journey. 

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