The loss of a pet for your child will be an emotional time - and a time that they will turn to you for guidance and love. A time when they will want to grieve for their little friend and to know that they can openly mourn their loss.
While your first instinct may be to protect your child from the pain of the loss, a child will want to have that time to mourn. As a parent, you will be the barometer for how your child will perceive that it´s okay to grieve the loss. I encourage you to openly mourn with them and to ask them how they would like to honor their little pet friend.
Children are very open and honest when it comes to grieving and mourning. They are organically natural in this area. It´s adults that interrupt what comes natural to them as children. Therefore, encourage them to pay tribute to their pet in a way that makes sense to them. Guide them with these ideas:
- Talk about the pet
- Draw a picture of the pet
- Plant a flower for the pet
- Have a memorial service
- Do a drive for a shelter to honor the pet
- Create a Tribute Table to hold special memorial items of the life that was shared together
If you need some guidance, download these letters to help you and your child remember the life that was shared with a special pet.
Creating a Tribute Table
The creation of a Tribute Table is a wonderful and healing way to get the entire family involved in honoring a life that was shared with a precious pet.
The Tribute Table consists of important memorabilia that the family and pet shared together. On the Tribute Table, family members will recollect their own special memories and how to depict these times through the items placed on the table.
As our family remembered our precious Big Boy, Mike The Dog, there were numerous items that we selected to go onto the table to honor him. Things to honor what he liked, such as his favorite:
- Food bowl
- Photos of him with our family
- Music CD´s - he loved Secret Garden
- Tennis ball
The Tribute Table also included the many flowers and cards that we received as well as a candle that stayed lit to shine in his honor.
Follow me as I take you through Mike The Dog´s Tribute Table on this touching video.
Get your family involved in creating a memorial to your precious pet. Some other ideas for the Tribute Table process are:
- Have each family member write a letter to the pet.
- Have each family member write a letter about the pet - stating what they will miss and the lessons they learned from the pet.
- Show awards and honors the pet has received.
- Display their adoption paperwork or AKC papers.
- Write a poem in honor of the pet.
- Have an evening where every person tells why they put a certain piece of memorabilia on the table.
- Leave the table up as long as each family member needs - wrapping up the process with a memorial service in honor of the pet.