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Pet Talk - Pet Health

Death of a Child's Pet
by Dr. Fran Good, DVM


October 22, 2003
Wednesday - 12:50 am

The hardest reality pet ownership has to offer is the fact that we live longer than these amazing animals that agree to share their lives with us. We often get our children a pet, and then are faced with the horrible situation of our child losing their best friend before he's out of childhood. People ask me whether I think they should get another pet to replace the one that died.

Bill Bailey - photo by Mary Kauffman

Bill Bailey
Photo by Mary Kauffman

While I am no child psychologist, I think the idea of getting him a new pet is a great way to soften the hurt. I think a better way of dealing with this issue is to anticipate it. When your child's pet, or your own for that matter, reaches middle age, I think that's the perfect time to get another, younger pet. With the proper, careful introduction, the two pets should bond, and the younger one will keep the elder more active, healthier and younger-at-heart.

More importantly, when the older pet dies, the young owner will have a companion to soften the loss of his first buddy. If a young child's only pet dies, he is sometimes so wounded by the loss, he'll say he doesn't want another pet. That's because all he can see is Death, the pain of losing his best friend. In that case, bring him a new, adorable, wonderful bundle of fur to love him, and pretty soon the vision of the Grim Reaper will fade. But it's always easier on the little guy if he's got another little buddy he can hug while he cries.

In fact, if we're talking about feline bundles of fur, you might want to consider two kittens. Two kittens are not that much more work than one, and they can take all their aggressive biting and clawing energies out on each other, as opposed to on you or your child You do, after all, want him to like the kitten. And get different sexed kittens for fewer cat-cat-aggressive problems when they grow up. You want the kittens to like each other, as well.

Whatever you get, you won't be replacing the one that died. Each and every one of those cute fuzzy balls of fur, grows up to be a unique and amazing fount of different ways to make us laugh, and love, and ultimately, cry. But they grieve the loss of a friend as we do. Having someone share your child's loss of a beloved buddy, can only make it easier.

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& questions to Dr. Good



©2002 Dr Fran's Pet Health


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