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O/T - breaking bad news


Mad as a Hatter
:cry:I know that this is a diet forum, but I need your help..

I have had to make a very difficult decision to have my little westie put to sleep this afternoon... and I don't know how to tell my boys...

They do know that she is very ill and wont get better, but they went to holiday club this morning expecting her to be there when they get home tonight - and she won't be.

How do I tell them... ?

Any advice will be greatly appreciated !

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I would do it gradually, tell them when they come home that she is in "hospital" being looked after for a little while, let them come to terms with that first, and the fact that she is not at home, then you can tell them a little bit of info each day, and hopefully they will accept her death a little easier x x x hope this helps hun x
Oh babe, I really don't know how to help but I do offer hugs to you. I've lost doggie before and it is heart breaking so I know how you feel.
All I can suggest is telling them that she was so poorly that it wasn't fair for her to suffer any more and she's gone to a happier place in doggy heaven.
Thinking of you hun. xxx

Mrs V

Loves Life!
Hi Hun...I'm really sorry to hear about your dog.
How old are your children firstly??
As they are aware that your Westie is poorly, you could just tell them that you took her to the Vet and she/he went to sleep and didnt wake up and is in heaven now (depending on religious views). If you have a family member that is no longer with you, you could say that your Westie is being looked after by that person.
You will be surprised at what children do understand Hun...yes, they are going to be upset and that is natural, but just use your instincts as a Mum.



Mad as a Hatter
Thanks all of you - she has been hospitalised several times over the last few months so they are used to that ..
My eldest - 6 kept poking her this morning as he thought if she went 'to sleep' at home she wouldn't wake up... bless.... I think he will be the harder one to tell than the little one...

Mrs V

Loves Life!
I would just explain the sleep bit Hun and give lots of cuddles and be prepared for any questions that may follow from them.

Please don't use the term sleep, use died I know it sounds blunt but sleep causes problems when we sleep we wake up, therefore the dog will wake up when they realise it won't wake up then they can develop a fear of going to sleep.

Personally I have been through this a lot we have lost 2 pets 2 grandparents and 2 babies in the last few years .

This is how I deal with illness, X is very very ill, the doctors/ vet is doing/ has done all they can but sometimes they can't make everything better and although its very sad people and animals die. When someone dies they can't feel anymore pain, they are not sad or hurting but we do but that is ok because we loved x. when we hurt we can cry, talk about them or draw pictures.

Give each child a sketch book and write on the cover memories of x. they can then jot down how they feel or draw pictures as they need, I have some wonderful pictures my dd did of her sister and brother with all of us.
Oh hun :( Never a nice thing having your pet put to sleep.
How old are you boys? Anyway you tell them then they will be upset, bext just to say something along the lines of that he has done to sleep in doggy heaven.
oh bless, when my dog died last year my children were older and knew what was going on, but my 8year old niece adored my dog and ttelling her was as hard as telling my aduolt children.

We told my niece that she had been very poorly and had died and gone to Jesus to be with her uncle (my brother), and that it was better for the dog to be there than with us when she was so ill.

My niece sobbed, but understood.

Big hugs to you all,



Mad as a Hatter
The boys are 6 and 3... so she has been around all the time since before they were born - in fact I have had her longer than I have known my OH ... LOL

Thanks for all your help and there are some really good comments coming through

I think I will handle it worse than them when the time comes for me to take her in - I'm at work now trying to take my mind off it but it's not working too good...

Thanks again
aw my heart goes out to you, its never an easy decission and hard to tell the kids.

My friend new her daughter (then 6)would take it badly so they told her that their cat had died in its sleep on her favourite spot on the sofa, whilst she was at school.

I was less lucky, my cat took a turn for the worse duing a half term hols and to be honest i told them the truth, but in terms they would understand-that the vet gave Rosie an injection to make her go to sleep and she would die in hersleep because she was too ill to get better ( am welling up now jujst thinking aboiut it)

I actually think it is better to tell them the truth,but as gently as you can!!

Wil be thinking of you later


Slow but sure....
There has been so much good advice given already, and I agree that maybe you should break it to the children when they get home and just be honest with them.

You could tell them their doggie has died and gone to live with the angels, and one of the star's that shine at night will be her and she will be winking a good night kiss to them, that will maybe help them get over the first sadness of losing their pet.

Good luck with it, and I shall be thinking of you this afternoon, unfortunately I have been in your situation too - love to you and your children. X


Mad as a Hatter
Thanks MommyB - been in touch with Fuzzy and she has sent some touching words too...

I think that honesty is the best policy, and I definately do not want the boys having trouble sleeping ! they are bad enough as it is..

This is the first death that they have experienced so I'm just not too sure how they are going to react. We are going away camping at the weekend, so hopefully that will take their minds off it all but then again the doggie would normally have been going with us.... another hurdle to cross eh ?
So sad to hear this and my heart goes out to you all. Tell them the truth, I'd say. They'll be upset but then they'll recover and you'll be like "How tough are kids?!".

This is one reason that having pets is useful; it creates the possibility that children find out about mortality, before a person they know dies.

But it is still very sad and I am sorry for your loss. *hug*


I will succeed!!!
Losing a pet is really hard, to all the family. But for kids it's the understanding and realisation that will hit hard.

I'd be honest, but gentle, and explain that she was poorly and though it's hard for the family, it's best for her. And remind them that she's always in their hearts and memories. I remember my Mum saying that our pet cat would never truly die because we would always remember her and love her. It helped. I was about 8 at the time that happened.

Good luck and sorry for the loss :-( xxxx
Sorry about your dog, its a horrid thing to deal with.
I have always found that being totally honest with my children over the years has always been the best policy, be it over family members that have died or the childrens pets. They are far more resiliant than we give them credit for. Sometimes there have been tears, in which case you are there for them with the cuddles, but sometimes they just want to be alone with their feelings and thats ok too. Just follow your children and they will show you how to deal with it but please be honest with them. XX


Grappling with life
My heart goes out to you. I lost my beloved mongrel a few years back when my son was about 3, i explained very matter of factly that the vet was going to give her an injection that just made her body slow right down and then gently stop, I was mindful not to say "put to sleep". Naturally he was upset and we cried lots, I let him keep her collar which he still to this day has. Last year we moved and our cat ran away - he took this really badly, far worse than the dog. He saw a lady at school (play therapist?) who got him one of those little sand kits - you know with a little bottle and coloured sand? She made this with him and each colour represented something of that cat to him, his eyes, his collar, his fur, his miaow etc and he did a little drawing of the cat with all the colours - this really helped in some way. So a memory book or something of the like may help their grieving. As it was I got a phone call some 10 weeks later and my cat was found, but none the less he grieved for the cat in the same way.

I think its also important to explain to children that different animals have different life spans to people as they also worry about family dieing.

I hope you have been able to work out the best way to explain to your children? This may sound silly also, but my dog was cremated and knowing we were "getting her back" in the little casket was a comfort to me & my son. I will always have dogs in my life despite saying that I could not go through the heartache after my first one.

Hugs to you and your boys x


Grappling with life
Just to add, I had had my little muttley since I was 15 and longer than my OH, in fact she outstayed my 1st husband. When it came to it I couldn't take her in, so my ex husband did it. I am not sure if I regret not taking her but it was the right decision at the time. I feel quite strongly that when the time comes for my 2 dogs now I will take them. Just give your westie a cuddle and take in their smell and feel of the fur and know there is no more pain and suffering.



Mad as a Hatter
I am sitting here booing my eyes out, I have done the deed and am now back at home, trying to pluck up courage to go get the boys...

The nurse at the vets was lovely - she has been one of the main ones looking after doggie since she has been poorly, so doggie was really excited to see her which made it worse for me.

I didn't want to stay while they injected her, so I can now remember her as being a fantastic little mate who has seen me through the bad times as well as the good ones and not a poorly doggie on the vets table.

She is going to be cremated and her ashes are going to be scattered across the Garden of Remembrance in Lancashire...

Thanks to you all but I cant type anymore - can't see through the tears...

Bless you. I'm in tears too and I bet a few of us will be. A lot of us have been there hun and know exactly how you feel.

Sending you my love and thoughts. xxx

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