Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Missy Dog

I was really hoping this year would not bring any bad news (wishful thinking, I know), as last year had a bit too much for my liking. Unfortunately, we had to euthanize our family dog today, after learning it was a brain tumor that had been keeping her from being able to walk straight or even stand unassisted for the past few days. I write this not for sympathy--her passing was very peaceful and quick--but, I hope, as an aid for other parents who may be suddenly faced with the same question I was today:

How do you explain euthanasia to a not-quite-four-year-old?...

Only knowing that I wanted to be honest and not tell her we were taking her buddy to a farm, I consulted the web and found these very helpful sites that gave me some key words and phrases to use while we had our heart-to-heart chat about what was going to happen:

It was very difficult, and I even began by telling her "I don't really know how to explain this to you." A lot of tears were shed. But, she knows the truth and is making up little songs to help express her grief and the way that she understands what has happened. I hope that you do not need to reference these sites now, but will remember where you can find them when the time may come.


  1. I am also glad you didn't go with the "farm" story (Mom!), as it would be painful for a future sibling to have to break that to her in her 30s.

  2. I am so sorry. I know exactly what you are going through. We just recently had to have our dog put to sleep as well. My son is 4 too. We told them that she was dying, in a lot of pain, and the vet was going to help her pain go away while she died. He handled that very well. He knew she was suffering for a while.

  3. I'm sorry for your loss, it must have been a difficult time for you and your family. I went through it last October with my dog of 16 years.