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Helping My Daughter Say Goodbye To Our Dog

By cecilyk |

My daughter saying goodbye to our dog Bubba

Losing a pet sucks. There’s no way around it. But what sucks even more is losing a pet after you have a kid.

It was in 1999 when I found Bubba. I spotted him limping away from an unsuccessful foraging attempt in a dumpster, and he was the most emaciated dog I’d ever seen. I couldn’t stop myself; I pulled my car over, and he came right to me and got right in my car. Naturally, he ended up coming home with us.

He was a great dog. Sweet, loving, patient, and nearly silent (he barked when he was in the backyard and wanted to come in and that was it). He went on a million camping and hiking adventures with us, cuddled with me after a tragic pregnancy loss, and greeted my daughter with great aplomb when we finally brought a baby home.

I worried about introducing a child into our house with a dog, but Bubba took it all in stride. He hovered around Tori when she was sleeping as a tiny babe, provided an excellent assist when she began pulling up, let her use him as a pillow when she got older, and even suffered with dignity the occasional tutu around the neck. He continued to be the best dog in the world.

We noticed he was getting tired when my daughter was three. We took him to the vet and the news was grim: a large tumor was slowly killing him. We’d have to say goodbye. We took him home so his friends could come say goodbye (that’s how great a dog he was; sixteen people came over to say goodbye his last night), and we sat Tori down and told her the bad news.

We did it straight up. We told her he was sick, and that it was time for him to go to heaven (my atheist husband objected mildly, but we decided the heaven route was the right way to go), and that the doctor was going to help him die. We told her to spend some time saying goodbye, and that he wouldn’t be coming home from the vet (where we live we can’t bury him, sadly, so he was cremated).

Being honest was the right way to go; she took it in stride. She cried, a little, and cuddled with him a lot. She talks about him still, nearly three years later, and says she misses him a lot. Of course we ended up getting another dog, but she hasn’t forgotten her first dog. I doubt she ever will.

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About cecilyk



Cecily Kellogg writes all over the web, including here at Babble for Voices and Tech. She neglects her own blog, Uppercase Woman. Read bio and latest posts → Read Cecily's latest posts →

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5 thoughts on “Helping My Daughter Say Goodbye To Our Dog

  1. desireefawn says:

    Gosh, gives me chills. I still tear up when I think about my first best friend of a dog. Her name was Piglet and she was hit by a car when I was 11. It was just awful. <3 So hard to say goodbye to a friend.

  2. Melissa says:

    We too went straight up with our daughter and told her Colie went to live with Jesus. She was 2 when our lab of 12 passed away. However, we opted to let her die naturally than to put her to sleep. My daughter is now 3 1/2 and still asks for her. I’m amazed often that she remembers. Of course, we still have pictures up of her and she is buried in our backyard. (we live in the country.)

  3. Wendy says:

    Our dog had gone to live with my mom and then the dog got very sick and had to be put down. After about a year and one-half of dodging questions from my 4 yr old I told her daisy had died and was with the other dogs and fish (her preschool class had lost a couple of these!) in heaven. It was very simple and very touching as she told me she missed daisy. Tough subject and yet children can simetimes handle things better than we anticipate.

  4. brenda says:

    thank god my teenager (who was 12 at the time) could see how badly Alice, his calico cat, was doing and knew she was ready to go. after 6 months of very expensive treatment she’d had enough and he went with her to be put down. Snowy (my big fat white kitty)went a couple of months later. they were almost 17 and had grown up together so we knew one wouldn’t survive long without the other,

  5. Jeanette says:

    This story made me cry… reminded me of my lil princess Zoe….she was sick for two years and one day she looked at me….as if she was saying….mommy I’m ready and you have to let me go….less than two months later…it was time. That was 4 years ago on the pain of loss still runs deep for her. She was only 7 and that’s pretty young for a cat.

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