Discussing a Pet's Death

Discuss the September 2016 Book of the Month, A Spiritual Dog: Bear by J. Wesley Porter.
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Re: Discussing a Pet's Death

Post by CzechTigg »

Death is part of life. I was very impressionable seeing Disney and Japanese animated movies with tragic deaths from the age of 2 onwards. Awareness of the reality that is mortality is a good thing to have, even if it can be a burden too. The first time I lost a pet was hard, but it was also a relief as he would only suffer with a terminal condition otherwise.
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Post by jessejaiden94 »

I don't think the discussion of a pet's death in a children's book is extreme in any way.

In my North American culture, we have been known to shelter our kids from death, because we ourselves are fearful of death, in turn making them fearful of death. Then they teach their kids the same behavior and the cycle continues on into eternity, perpetuating ignorance.

I think that death should be familiarized and integrated into society. Death is sacred. Death is implied by life. Children should be taught about death and sex and love and hate and all the other things humans do that we hide from even ourselves.

Writers! Write about death!
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Post by lolashoes »

Death is not a foreign concept to children but I do think they just need a sugarcoated version of the story when explaining to them the death of a family pet.
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Post by Diving doc »

I think a lot of our misconceptions and awkward behaviour as adults towards death and grieving stems from the fact that we frequently try to protect children from this, thus making it a taboo subject.
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Post by CataclysmicKnight »

I don't think it is, as long as it's not something gruesome (sickness as opposed to, say, barbaric slaughter). Death is a sad reality that everyone has to come to grips with eventually, and the death of a loved pet can be as heart-wrenching as the death of a family member. It's an interesting way to approach the subject of death and may be particularly relatable to children who have already lost one.
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Post by rvenkat »

Agree with many posters that the details of the death can be avoided since one won't be sure about who would be reading the details. For some children, it could be very new, and might need parental guidance. Exposing it when they are not ready is not healthy.
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Post by angelbeats1 »

Although it may be a not so cheerful topic to include in a children's book, it should not be avoided. Naturally, pets will die and it should not be considered taboo to talk about them. Children need to understand their own feelings and seeing that topic will help them relate.
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Post by csimmons032 »

I don't think it is a bad thing for children to learn about death through these books. I think it could help them understand a little better and it could help them cope with this type of situation later in life. As long it is dealt with in a good way, I don't see anything wrong with it.
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Post by interrupted_girl »

Illness and death are part of life. Best if the subject is discussed with kids by parents first, not through a book first!
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Post by Cinnamon-Paige »

Since I work with children on a daily basis, I agree with others on this forum. The book would be a great counselling tool for a child who has already lost a pet but for those who haven't experienced that type of loss yet, it may be distressing especially due to the graphic description that the author gives of Bear's illness. However, one can argue that the book can be utilized as a preparatory instrument in the case of a child who is attached to a pet that is perhaps in the winter of their life or that has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness.
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Post by JUNAFE21 »

It's not easy losing someone whom you ever loved. Its not just about pet but the fact that pet gives you so much joy and a kind of love that is eternal. Pet is not like us humans but they have a big heart that they can give to us. They give us so much trust that and comfort that's why they called a pet a humans bestfriend. But when the time comes and they bid goodbye to us. Its so painful to see those pets dying. How i wish they can have an eternal life no farewells just forever. But its more painful to see that your children missing your pets. Just comfort them and explained everything and they understands why pets are just passin by and leave marks unto your heart with a good memories to treasure .
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Post by NikkyT »

Books can really help to explain to a child in the right way for them to process the information. So if it's written in the right way I think it can work on most situations, not just the death of a pet but anything sensitive.
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Post by IsabelMay »

I think it's a bit tricky, due to the audience the book is for, but it's still an important theme. I absolutely hate talking about my own pet's death, it's painful to remember and live through that again. Still, it can unburden your mind. Children should be taught how to talk about it and deal with it, sooner or later they will be faced with it again. It's sad, but it's a part of living.
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Post by eelavahs-jay »

Death is definitely not too sensitive a topic for a children's book. It's important that they learn to come to terms with loss as it's a natural part of life.
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Post by vaz222 »

I honestly think that this kind of thing would make my daughter cry. That is why I would have to say that no I don't think it is appropriate for a children's book. But that's just my opinion.
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