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<p>Help Mamas,</p>
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<p>We have to put our 12 year old family dog to sleep tomorrow. He's mostly an outside dog, but our 2 year old loves him. She has a special nick name for him, calls him "my dog," loves to feed him, give him treats and his medicine everyday. Honestly she is the one who remembers to give him his meds most days :)</p>
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<p>I'm at home with her and I don't' have any one to watch her while I take our dog in to the vet. I really want to be there with our dog for his final moments, and that means our DD will be there too.</p>
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<p>Any suggestions about talking with her about this? We talk about everything before and while we are doing it. I don't know how much a 27 month old can understand about death and that we are doing this out of love. She has seen Grandpa fillet fish and was into it. She was into seeing what was in their stomach, etc. Not shy or squeamish. She's been to the vet quite a lot lately and is always having us bandage up her animals and give them medicine.</p>
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<p>Thanks Mamas <span><img alt="stillheart.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/stillheart.gif" style="width:17px;height:15px;"></span></p>
 

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<p>Oh that is hard. I'm so sorry you are losing your dog. I think I would just tell her the vets are giving her medicine to help him sleep. That he is sick and needs the sleeping medicine. If its something your family believes in I would also say that he'll be going to heaven where he won't feel sick anymore and he'll have other dogs to play with. I'm sure it will be hard on all of you.  Big hugs!</p>
 

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<p>That does sound very difficult. I'm not sure if I have any advice but wanted to send some hugs to all of you. </p>
 

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<p>I'm so sorry. I hope your dog's last days are super sweet.</p>
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<p>We recently had to put our beloved cat down, and while my son was 2.5 for the event, and didn't have to be home with us, it was still really important to us to handle it well for him. </p>
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<p>First of all, there was a local vet willing to come to our home, which made the whole thing soooo much better than at an office. If you can find that service near you, it's really worth the extra money not to have your child experience all this AND be in a clinical setting, with no way to distract herself if she needs to disconnect. If you can, I really would. And by the way, we found her at 8pm the night before! Your local emergency vet clinic that's open 24/7 might have that information for you, and sometimes your private vet is willing to make a house call.</p>
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<p>Second of all, the experience of the animal is often much more peaceful than we imagine, so I don't think you have to worry about your child witnessing her beloved dog's pain or trauma. If she hangs nearby, she will see some fiddling with veins, maybe a catheter, so you can let her know that Dog will have a kind of a shot, and sometimes more than one, and then he'll get sooooo sleepy, and then he'll be really asleep. Usually it's fine to keep petting and loving your animal up close during this so you could also direct her toward snuggling close by his face or brushing his back and she might then miss the whole shot thing.</p>
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<p>We chose to say, in a very very matter-of-fact tone, that "Cat has been having such a hard time being sick that she can't even enjoy her food now - and you know how she loves to eat. So she told us that she doesn't want to be in her body anymore. The way she loves us keeps going, and the way we love her keeps going, but the part of her that is a sick body needs to stop now, and that's called dying. She told us she wants to do that today." We said it like "Today we'll probably clean the shed while you are at school." (and in fact our hearts were breaking, of course.)</p>
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<p>Being a toddler, of course, he didn't even seem to have heard this, and he went off cheerfully to school. And, being a sensitive little dear, just after we'd finished letting Cat go, we got a call from school that he was having a really hard day, and they knew we'd rather not stress him. So we brought him home, and en route he asked "Is she dead yet? Is she still there?" So we did the explanation again.</p>
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<p>As soon as he came in the door he wanted to see her, and we let him pet her body and check her out until it seemed a little invasive (he wanted to touch her eyeballs...) Then it was clear that he was sucking up too much etheric pathos (while we tried to stay very matter-of-fact) so we moved on to usual activities. Later, he and I played in the near distance while his daddy dug a grave. Now usually, daddy + tool = total focus, but in this case I think he really needed the space. He didn't go anywhere near, but happily picked weeds/ flowers for the fun of it, and later was content to arrange them on the grave without discussion.</p>
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<p>So in all of this what worked well for us, spiritually, and as parents of this particular and super sensitive little boy, was to describe the process as only affecting Cat's body, and to keep him moving with plenty of ways to distance himself as HE needed, and with help when we saw him needing it. We still refer to the things we loved about living with her, and we playact being her just as we used to when she was alive. And we acknowledge missing her, and we have that moment with sincerity, but given who he is, it's important for us not to dwell on that or any sadness.</p>
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<p>Your daughter sounds very grounded, and loving. Perhaps some version of this?</p>
<p>"You take such good care of My Dog, the way you give him medicine for his owie. Unfortunately, his medicine doesn't work anymore. The next way we're going to take good care of him is by helping him die, so he doesn't have to have any more owies. I'm going to pet him quietly while he's dying. You could pet him also, or you could draw him a picture, or even just be in the carrier on me while you watch."</p>
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<p>My very very best wishes for you to find the setting and the rhythm and the tone for this passing that is best for all of you! And especially I'm sending snuffly doggy comfort for him.</p>
 

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<p>I second the pp.  Having personally had to put 2 of my dogs to sleep as an adult, I found being able to hold my dog and look them in the eyes so they knew I still loved them as the died was very important for me.  I was able to hold them and pet them the way I always did and it made me feel alot better.  As a young child, my parents had one of my dogs put down and were not honest about it.  To this day I wish I could've been there, wonder what happened, and am hurt by it.  Definitely bring your child with you, explain beforehand as pp have said, and let her hug and pet her dog as he moves on - personally, I probably would have my child in a sling while I do this and make it so that she could be in the sling with me and we could pet the dog together.  I would then go do something quietly fun - like go to a little ice cream parlor or snuggle up at home and watch her favorite movie or read her favorite book.  I highly suggest reading her the rainbow bridge poem - even as an adult, it still makes me feel better every time I hear it.</p>
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<p>"<span style="font-family:'Comic Sans MS';"><span style="font-size:larger;">Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.<br><br>
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.<br>
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.<br>
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.<br><br>
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.<br>
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.<br><br>
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.<br><br>
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.<br><br>
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....<br><br>
Author unknown..."<br></span></span></p>
 

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<p>Thanks so much for the experiences, suggestions and support.</p>
<p>Fate took over and I took our dog to the vet yesterday. Dad an DD went shopping (dad didn't want to be there) It was obvious it was best not to wait till today, so I got to go alone. I am glad. I could cry and hug our dog and pet him. DD would have been fine, I was just glad for the space and that she didn't have to witness the event.</p>
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<p>Before we we all left I talked with her about what we were doing. We had looked thru all the old pictures throughout the day, and we talked about how he is old and he hurts and he was sick and it was his time to go to heaven. How I was taking him to the vet and he wasn't coming home. Grandpa died over a year ago. She knows Grandpa is in heaven with the angels. Grandpa loved Gus, and how Grandpa would meet Gus with a box of dog treats. Today was Grandpa's birthday, my Mom reminded me. So afterword at home we talked about how we gave Grandpa a birthday present.</p>
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<p>I won't know till years from now how much she understands, but thanks for your input. I will be honest and open with her. We will have a ceremony at some point when we get his ashes and I appreciate the poem very much.</p>
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<p>Blessings</p>
 
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