Pet Cremation Urns: Helping Children Grapple with Pet Loss
It is difficult to explain the demise of a family pet to your children. Let’s face it, nobody does death well. Children may not understand the concept of dying; that their precious pet is gone forever. There are things we can do as parents to help children grapple with pet loss.
Have a Pre-emptive Talk
If your beloved pet is aging or ill, a pre-emptive talk with your children is of particular importance. Even if your pet is happy and healthy the talk will stand on its own merit. At some point, children should be given tools for coping with deaths of family members, friends and/or pets. In fact, the death of their pet may be their first encounter with dying and death.
Young children can’t comprehend their relationship with a pet coming to an end. Parents should speak truth and explain that death is permanent. We shouldn’t sugar-coat the tragic event by saying that Fido or Fluffy went to live with a relative. We should reassure them that just because their pet dies, it doesn’t mean we will die soon.
When a family pet dies it is beneficial to involve your child in memorializing their friend. After all, their animal companion was a source of unconditional love and a loyal playmate. Likely, your child was responsible for a portion of the care and feeding of their pet. They deserve an opportunity to honor them in death.
Participating in a ritual, such as a memorial service will provide immediate comfort and help children understand the finality of death. Take them with you to select a cremation urn that reflects the personality of your unique family pet. A large variety of pet urns are available from the personalized cat figure atop a basket to a traditional styled urn with painted paw prints.
Encourage your child to invite several close friends to a pet memorial service. Ask the guests arrive at the service prepared to share a poem, story or letter about reasons their pet is important to them.
It is becoming a custom for parents of deceased pets to plant flowers or even a tree as a living memorial. You might end the service by having each guest plant flower seeds in a pre-prepared flower bed.
The idea behind a pet memorial service is to soften your family’s grief, while sharing with others the blessings the family pet brought into your lives.