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Old 03-24-2006, 10:36 PM   #1
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kierrasmommy HB User
Unhappy Helping 3 year old overcome loss of a pet

Hi,
My DD is 3 1/2 years old now, but last summer (July 2/05) we had to put our dog (Ebony) to sleep due to numerous health issues she had. We explained to DD that Ebony was too sick and the Dr's couldn't help her anymore, so she went to Puppy Heaven where she now is happy because she can run and play with all the other dogs in Puppy Heaven.

The first month was tough and she told me often that she missed Ebony and wanted her to come back, I would say we all miss her and she can't come back but she is always in our hearts. One particular day that answer wasn't good enough and she started crying, (((broke my heart))), and I remembered a friend of mine had given me a cute black stuffed puppy that resembled Ebony a while back, so I went and found it and told DD that when she really missed Ebony she could give her stuffed puppy a big hug. Since then DD sleeps with her stuffed toy "Ebony" every night and will panic if she can't find her through the night. It has become a sort of bedtime security toy for her. But my main concern is that DD still...after almost 9 months...seems to be quite affected by the loss, she still tells me a few times a week that she really misses Ebony and wants her to come back. We have had several fish go to Fishy Heaven since losing Ebony and she isn't at all bothered by them being gone, I know Ebony was a pet she played with (well, sort of, Ebony kept her distance and ran before DD ever really got close enough...I assume Kierra thought they were playing tag)

Any ideas or suggestions on what I could do to help her through this...I thought for sure she would have forgotten about Ebony by now, but it seems so fresh in her mind, and because Ebony was with DH and I for 10 years...(she was our baby before we HAD babies)...the sense of loss hits me as well each time DD asks for her.
__________________
Joanne
Mom to Kierra (born August 9/02)
and Kaden (born August 19/05)

Last edited by kierrasmommy; 03-24-2006 at 10:37 PM.

 
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Old 03-24-2006, 11:26 PM   #2
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hayley0610 HB User
Re: Helping 3 year old overcome loss of a pet

i was wondering if u have considered getting another dog? im sure ur not going too as u prob would have already but if u have i think now maybe the right time. other than that my ds who lost his much loved hamster last summer was crushed! we made him a headstone with concrete, and had a mini funeral to which he collapsed to the ground sreaming why God why!!!! we thought it was a bit over the top but to him it really wasnt. we dont bring up "spot" anymore because he was so hurt by it but now he has a new pet, a hedgehog which he adores. He is quite quiet so we never know if he still cries about him or not but i think time is the only thing u have with this. i think uve done all u can about explaining it to her and she prob knows he isnt coming back. sorry cant be mush help cause she is so young but i think time is all u have.

 
Old 03-25-2006, 12:07 PM   #3
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kierrasmommy HB User
Re: Helping 3 year old overcome loss of a pet

Hi Hayley,
How old was your DS when he lost his hamster? I'm sure the hedgehog has lessened the loss of Spot. We don't plan on getting another dog for a looong time. Because we had Ebony for 10 years, it was quite hard for DH and I as well. To make the adjustment a bit easier, we took down the dogrun and got rid of all her belongings (except her dog collar which I kept for sentimental reasons), we found seeing all those items only reminded everyone of what was missing.

And due to allergies I can't have most other pets, I'm actually supposed to be allergic to dogs as well, but my sister had this type of breed and I never had any problems, so we bought her and never had any issues. I would have loved a cat but they seem to be my worst allergy. After the fact, although we miss Ebony with all our heart, DH and I actually enjoy the freedom of having no pets any longer, we can come and go as we please and not have to worry about taking the dog or arranging puppycare.

I thought about getting a small caged animal like a hamster but friends of mine said due to my allergies it's not wise, and a hamster isn't playful like a dog. So we will wait a few years and then contemplate getting another dog, but until then I just have no idea how to make this any easier. I may check the library and see if there is any books geared toward youngsters about losing a pet.

Thanks for replying.
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Joanne
Mom to Kierra (born August 9/02)
and Kaden (born August 19/05)

 
Old 03-25-2006, 10:39 PM   #4
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hayley0610 HB User
Re: Helping 3 year old overcome loss of a pet

u said a lot of things that make sense. he was a little over 11 when his hampster died. im not sure if hampsters cause allergies but to be honest even though theyre small they are a lot of hard work! and i understand the respons. that comes with owning a pet as well, so i would just give it time.

 
Old 03-26-2006, 07:31 PM   #5
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kierrasmommy HB User
Re: Helping 3 year old overcome loss of a pet

Thanks Hayley, you made me feel better knowing now how much work hamsters are...I actually had contemplated getting one until a friend said it wouldn't be smart with my allergies/asthma, geez, even the fish we had seemed like alot of work, and I couldn't seem to keep them alive! Dogs and cats are so much easier. I just feel bad, like I am depriving her, and that if only she had a pet she may get over Ebony easier, but that is the wrong reason to get a pet, I think we may walk to the library this week and see what we can find for her to read.
Thanks for your support.
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Joanne
Mom to Kierra (born August 9/02)
and Kaden (born August 19/05)

 
Old 03-28-2006, 01:31 PM   #6
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alleycat2 HB User
Re: Helping 3 year old overcome loss of a pet

Maybe it's time for another dog and DD might like it if she can be ther one to pick it out. There is no way to replace a beloved pet but this new dog might be a good distraction from DD asking and crying for Ebony. Plus it might be easier to get the stuffed dog away from her after that because she can't sleep with it and carry it around forever and what happens one day when you can't find the stuffed dog or it gets old and falls apart? You will be taking Ebony away from DD all over again.

 
Old 03-28-2006, 02:30 PM   #7
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mjewell HB Usermjewell HB Usermjewell HB Usermjewell HB User
Re: Helping 3 year old overcome loss of a pet

I understand what you are saying about the ease of not having a pet. They are a lot of work, but honestly, the void in my heart after my past dogs died was never filled until i got another one. I still tear up when I think of my dog that died when I was 15 and now I am 27, not to mention the two I've had since that have died.

Do you guys live near an animal shelter? If you really don't want to get another dog, maybe you and your daughter could go to the shelter and volunteer? I volunteer at the one in my town and we can take the dogs out and play with them and walk them any time we want. It's great for the dogs and great for the people too!

 
Old 03-29-2006, 11:25 AM   #8
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kierrasmommy HB User
Re: Helping 3 year old overcome loss of a pet

alleycat2,
Thanks for responding, we have considered getting another dog, and as much as we'd love another one, we recently added a new baby to our family that takes up alot of my time and attention, and this summer I may be going back to work, so we just don't have the time and attention to commit to a new pet, it wouldn't be fair to the poor thing. And because Ebony was such a great dog I doubt I'd be blessed to get another one just as good in all aspects ...we had Ebony from 8 weeks old, but because it was my sisters dog's litter that she came from, we were able to start bonding with her from birth.

We just aren't ready for that step at this point. I think in 4 or 5 years when the kids are both in school and are old enough to understand how to treat and care for a pet it will be different, beacuse then we all can help with caring for it...but right now it'd be all me, and with a baby I just don't have the time or enegy to do that.

mjewell,
Yes! We do have an animal shelter fairly close to us. I think that's a great idea, I wonder though if that would make DD want one even more? I think may give them a call and see what we can do...I think it's worth a try and if I notice it's making things worse, we can always stop for awhile. Thanks for the suggestion.
__________________
Joanne
Mom to Kierra (born August 9/02)
and Kaden (born August 19/05)

 
Old 03-30-2006, 12:54 PM   #9
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mjewell HB Usermjewell HB Usermjewell HB Usermjewell HB User
Re: Helping 3 year old overcome loss of a pet

Quote:
Originally Posted by kierrasmommy

mjewell,
Yes! We do have an animal shelter fairly close to us. I think that's a great idea, I wonder though if that would make DD want one even more? I think may give them a call and see what we can do...I think it's worth a try and if I notice it's making things worse, we can always stop for awhile. Thanks for the suggestion.
LOL, that's the problem, I cannot bear to put them back in their kennels when I leave, but you guys could help out at mobile adoption events if they have them, like our shelter does somehting at Petsmart every weekend where you take 4 or 5 dogs out and try to get them adopted. There is no better feeling in the world than seeing a shelter dog go home with a family who really wants them. It makes it all worthwhile!!!

 
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