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<p>I'm not sure if this is the appropriate place to post, but I really can't take the mental energy to figure it out right now.</p>
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<p>Our dog is 14.5. He is already dealing with a collapsing trachea, and over the last couple of weeks it has become obvious that he has joint weakness/pain. He has trouble with stairs, so I pick him up/carry him a couple times a day, and I am sure that is painful for him. This morning he struggled and fell as I was putting him down and hurt one of his legs. I am going to call the vet when they open, but if they want me to bring him in, I don't know if I'm going to put him through the pain of bringing him all the way home. Especially since that would involve bringing him down to my parents for Christmas, which would also involve a lot of extra pain and hassle for him.</p>
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<p>Anyway, regardless if we're talking today/tomorrow or a month from now, he clearly won't be with us much longer. How do I prepare DD for this? The first obstacle is that there is pretty much no way I can talk about this calmly with her. I've had my boy longer then I've known DH. I am barely able to type this right now. I guess if they want me to bring him in I can ask to do it tomorrow, and then DH can talk to her this evening. Still, DD is still very attached to me, and when she is upset, she still wants Mommy. I don't know how to help her when I'm already having a  hard time.</p>
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<p>The second is that DH has dealt with some pretty serious illness lately and has been in and out of the hospital (and is still recovering, so she knows he is still not feeling completely well), so we have to be careful what to say in that respect. We don't anticipate DH having any further issues in the near future, but DD is really good at making those connections, so it is likely she will immediately put two and two together.</p>
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<p>The third thing that makes this harder is that neither DH nor I believe in any sort of afterlife, so a lot of the usual explanations/phrases (at least for the culture we live in) won't work. I don't want to scare her, but I feel like since we do know in advance, it might help her if we can warn her. We have talked about how, for example, leaves/flowers die and new ones grow, and we've talked about how if she squishes a bug, it's dead, and isn't alive/can't move, but I don't know how much she really understands that.</p>
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<p>Anyone have any tips?</p>
 

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<p>My kids were about that age when our very beloved cat had to be put down.  I explained that kitty was very old and sick and that the kindest thing to do was to have the vet give him a shot that will make his heart stop and then he would be dead and not in pain anymore.  I said that he will be buried in a horse pasture and will become part of the earth again so that that he can help the grass and flowers grow.  They accepted it with a bit of crying and questions but they recovered from it much quicker than I did.  I overheard DD telling a friend that "kitty is a flower now" but I explained that it would more like the backyard composter.  Both DD's seem happy to know that kitty is helping flowers and grass grow and that other animals will eat the grass and flowers meaning that part of kitty will live on forever.</p>
 
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