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Hi all, I haven't been around in a (long) while, but I wanted to talk through an issue that's bedeviling me at the moment. In some ways the Help/Advice forum seemed more appropriate, but the rules governing discussion over there are pretty tight and what I really want is a more freewheeling kind of exploration.
So my family dog is at the end, and I have a four year old daughter. I'm kind of at a loss for how to explain the need to put the dog down to Maisie. Just laying it out seems a bit too heavy for a four year old, but we're not religious so the sort of inviting evasions about the dog going to heaven aren't really going to make sense to her. Complicating this is that she often sees her great grandparents who are in a nursing home, and I'm intensely conscious that how we handle the dog's passing is going to condition her ability to make sense of the much heavier stuff surrounding their passing sometime in the next few months/years.
So any reflections on your own experiences with the death of childhood pets, parenting advice, explorations of honesty with children issues etc. are welcome. How should these things be handled?
Being walkers with the dawn and morning,
Walkers with the sun and morning, we are not afraid of night,
Nor days of gloom, nor darkness -
Being walkers with the sun and morning.