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May. 21st, 2010 @ 10:58 pm Oh do I have a problem.
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Within the next few days or weeks we will probably have to euthanize 2 of our 4 pets. The two most kind and gentle, the two oldest, the two my 2.5 year old daughter has the closest relationship with.

Our 20 year old Siamese cat hasn't eaten in at least 3 days. She was only 5lbs to begin with, so she is down to almost nothing now. She stopped being able to jump up on the bed two nights ago, and while she's always been a noisy cat (Ceebee is for Chatter Box), her cries have changed and you can tell she's in pain. She will drink if I bring the bowl up to her face, but will not eat. This cat has snuggled with my baby since the day we brought her home. I'm well used to waking up to hear V explaining, 'No THANK you Ceebee, you can't sleep on my head'

Her sudden decline is a shock to us. I mean, we've known she had medical issues (partial kidney failure) for a couple of years, but she has been acting normal and healthy until this week.

And our poor sweet Sasha is now no longer able to walk around the block without a rest. There are days when we've only walked her once. It doesn't help that our home is a highranch bungalow so she has to go upstairs to get inside, and our entire home is hardwood flooring. I've actually found her bambied on the kitchen or livingroom floor and I often have to help her up the stairs. Our one consolation is that she isn't in pain. The issues are neurological, so she is losing feeling and sense of her legs. V knows that she's not well. I tell her that her legs are 'owie' and that V has to be careful with her. But she's still 'Sasha-bear' to her. V runs up and hugs her (very, very carefully and gently) easily 20 times a day. The amount of concern she's showing breaks my heart.

Speaking of broken hearts, I have no idea how I'm going to address the death of these two pets with her. I do know they won't be going to heaven, or waiting for her somewhere, or taken by angels, but how does one introduce the concept of death and its permanence to a toddler? I can barely comprehend life without these two, they have been part of her family her entire life. I hate the fact that this will become part of her life so early in her life.
Who does she think she is?
angel
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From:moo
Date:May 22nd, 2010 03:29 am (UTC)
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I am so very, very sorry you have to through all of this. Losing a pet is so terribly hard. I can't imagine losing two at once. Take comfort in knowing you've given them the best home and more love than they could ever have asked for, and know that you're doing what's best for them. As for what to tell V, I'm not sure. Is there a reason you don't want to tell her they've gone to Heaven? She's so young still. I don't think it would hurt to tell her something along those lines right now and explain things better once she's a bit older.

You'll be in my thoughts.
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From:n_decisive
Date:May 22nd, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
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I ache for you on this one, especially because you're grieving yourself but must focus on making the transition as easy as possible for V.

I know there are people who don't agree with me on this, and that's fine, but I'm a big believer in being child-led in difficult situations. Some kids won't comment much on the absence of a pet at her age, but you know she will. It helps that she's aware of what's going on with them- it's great that you've worked with her on that.

Consider telling her that they were feeling so sick, or were in so much pain, that they were miserable, and it was your job as a pet parent to take them to the doctor. The doctor said they couldn't make them better anymore, and helped your pets go to sleep so they wouldn't be miserable. She's likely to ask if they'll wake up like my son did. I told him that this was a forever sleep, where there'd be no more pain. Mine accepted that, although I was prepared for him to ask about kissing them to wake them up because we were big into fairy tales at the time. He didn't ask.

Later, when he was 4 or 5, my grandfather died and in discussing it, he asked if he'd gone to sleep. His questions at that point led to him connecting the "sleep," death, and people, and it went pretty well. His sister didn't register death- even when it happened- until she was four. When she figured out that we all would die one day, including me, she sobbed off and on for more than a week. Ultimately, I'm glad things went a different way with the second one.

I'm very sorry that you're dealing with this, though, and I know it's hard. Hang in there.
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From:jkolovos
Date:May 22nd, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
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I wish I had a good answer for you about explaining it to toddlers. Biz still asks about Nikta and says things like "Nikta go to doctor?" She just doesn't understand. I wish you peace.

About the kidney failure. This is what ultimately did Nikta in as well and she took a sudden turn as well. She was not really as active for the past 2 years or so but the week we put her down she just went down hill really fast.

My thoughts are with you.
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From:neeroc
Date:June 1st, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
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Thanks very much. V is still wondering about the doctor visit too. I've tried to explain that the Dr. helped when Ceebee's body stopped working, but she sometimes asks if that's where the 'real' Ceebee is.
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From:running5k2day
Date:May 22nd, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
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I am so sorry to hear about your two companions decline in health. It's always hard at the end.

My greyhound was walking, peeing and eating one week and the next...she stopped. I carried her for a week, I put the fresh bowl of water under her mouth to drink. She too stopped eating and I knew her time with us was at its end. I explained to my daughters that Gracie was old and had grown tired and it was time for her to go cross over the Rainbow Bridge--because that is where the pets go after they pass on. For a week the girls stroked Gracie, they kissed her and said their good-bye's every night just in case. Well, when she did pass-they walked out and again--said their good byes. We placed her on her favorite blanket, the girls put her favorite toys between her legs and we wrapped her up. She is buried in the back yard underneath her favorite tree where we can visit her & talk to her. The girls like to pick up pinwheels for her or pick flowers for her. I think having a little burial service helped us all say goodbye and helped them understand that she was gone.

When their "grandmother" passed away next door, she too had gotten ill. She was ill & on hospice for that last month of her life. We visited her and gave her kisses before she got really bad. Then, one evening...the neighbors told us their mother had just passed away. I went over and said my final good-byes. The girls didn't go as it would have been especially hard on our neighbors as Grandma adored "her little babies". The twins understood that Grandma was old and had grown tired and she passed on. We did say she went to heaven & is with God & his Angels and they found comfort in that.

I think that children understand a lot more than we think. I really do believe that your little one will understand what is going on, what had to be done and will not be traumatized.

((Hugs))
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From:redgemini
Date:May 23rd, 2010 06:33 am (UTC)
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Big hugs- so sorry for this.

M's first experience with death was a dead squirrel in the alley behind our house. I just told him in basic terms about death. He also saw a funeral procession in New Orleans (they do jazz bands there) and we talked about it again. I didn't use any angel metaphors or heaven, etc.
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