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6 Questions My Toddler Had About Our Dog’s Death

Long before kids, we had dogs, and they were our children. Yes, I was a crazy dog person who dressed them up, baked homemade treats, and got frequent remarks that I should just have kids. Well, we did just that, and each of our child then developed a fond love for their furry siblings.

Last year, we lost our oldest dog, Bobo, and then this past week we lost our beloved pug, Animal. Animal was 13 years old and was frequently sick. Each visit to the vet, we anticipated the worse, but each time the vet seemed to have a positive outlook on his health.  A month ago, we really thought it would be our last vet visit. We took a few photos with our beloved Pug, then found out it was only an ear infection. We had a few great weeks with Animal and then this past week, his body just couldn’t do it anymore and he passed away.

This time, explaining to our older kids that our dog was gone was much easier.  Preparing them in advance helped the situation. There were still a lot of tears, but we just knew that Animal had lived all that his body would let him. We explained as best as we could to our toddlers, but to a 2- and 3-year-old in the whirlwind of the news, they seem unfazed.  I told myself, they are still young, and death is hard to comprehend. 

Fast-forward a few days, and the house is somewhat adjusting itself to life without Animal. The older kids are accepting of Animal’s death. My husband and I are crying a little less. But now, our 3-year-old seems to have realized that something in the house is missing: Animal.

We had just gotten home; it was late. We were trying to get the kids in bed when Izaiah started inquiring about Animal and his whereabouts. He asked these 6 questions about our dog’s death, 6 questions and reactions both funny and sad that we will never forget.

  • Talking About Death with a Toddler 1 of 7
    toddler-talking-death

    This is the ah-ha moment of my toddler when he realized that our beloved pet was no longer with us.

  • Animal Go Bye Bye? 2 of 7
    doganimal 1

    No, Animal didn't go bye-bye. He's with Jesus. 

    Of course to a toddler, someone isn't there - they must have gone bye-bye ...  right? Well, kind of, but not the way you are thinking, buddy.

  • See Doctor? 3 of 7
    doganimal 2

    The doctor couldn't help him baby. Animal was very old and now he's with Jesus.

    The questions were so honest and raw. Why didn't the doctor fix him? The doctor always fixes Izaiah when he is sick.

  • With Jesus 4 of 7
    doganimal 5

    No, he's not at church. He's up in heaven.

    We had just gotten home from church, so maybe Izaiah had just not seen him in the chapel with Jesus.

  • Elevator to Heaven 5 of 7
    doganimal 3

    No, sweetie: Animal didn't take an elevator to heaven.

    Of course, to go up you have to take an elevator — or the stairs. *Cue Stairway to Heaven*


     

  • Animal in Cage? 6 of 7
    doganimal 6

    We had taken Animal's cage down. We walked him out to the garage and showed him that we had put his cage in storage.

    His cage is gone from the place it has been since we moved in here. Where is it, maybe Animal is in there!

  • Animal Hiding? 7 of 7
    doganimal 7

    No baby, he's not playing hide and go seek. He isn't hiding. He's no longer with us here on Earth.

     It all makes sense that he is playing hide and go seek, right?

The thoughts of my toddler trying to comprehend death are so literal.

animal 4

As I was writing this post in my typical style – write, pause and do something, return writing, repeat - I had this photo of Animal open in Fireworks. I didn’t think anything about it. Izaiah came up and started screaming “There’s Animal!! Animal asleep mommy in the compooter.” I wish he was sleeping in the compooter, Izaiah — then we would be able to check in on him whenever we want.

We Skype and FaceTime with all of our family. The poor boy is probably thinking we can just Skype with Animal. Unfortunately, as of right now, heaven doesn’t have a webcam.

God, can you work on that?

Have You Explained Death to Your Toddler?

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Molly blogs technologyparenting and geekery at Digital Mom Blog. Follow her on FacebookPinterest or Twitter.

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