July 2008 Issue

Helping a Child Cope With Pet Loss

Here's how a parent can help children grieve and express their feelings in a healthy way.

Kids and pets are like peanut butter and jelly ó itís hard to imagine one without the other. They can quickly become the best of friends, playing for hours on end. A childís best animal friends seem to know to be extra gentle with him, and they are often endlessly patient ó calmly swallowing their pride and allowing themselves to be dressed in dollís clothes, take a bubble bath or just be hauled around on the childís whim. Regardless, the attachments between children and their pets can be very real and very strong, making it especially difficult when the pet dies. And, while we donít usually like to think about death, it is a part of life. Fortunately, there are several simple ways a parent can help a child understand and work through the grieving process.

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