Tootsie has been our dog for 14 years! Our whole family loved this dog! It’s hard to loose a pet, even though we knew it was coming. My kids were very involved in coping with the death of a pet.
Meet our good dog Tootsie! Justin and I got Tootsie in September of 1999. We got her when she was just a baby. Justin picked her out and named her after one of his favorite treats, “tootsie rolls”. I will do the math for you, Tootsie lived with us for 15 years! I guess you could say she is like part of the family.
Tootsie and Carson used to play together all of the time. I loved knowing he wasn’t outside by himself. I knew the dog would warn me if Carson was ever doing anything dangerous. She was also very good to let us know if someone was at our house. (Only about 10 cars a day drive by our house.)
On this particular day, Carson wandered outside in his pajamas and started picking my (few) tulips. I explained to him how flowers die when they are picked off of the stem. We decided it was probably a good idea to not pick any more of them. The next time I came back he and Tootsie were trying to put them back on the stems! How cute is that?
Tootsie has always been so good to the boys. She lets them ride her, pet her, comb her hair, paint on her and lots of other things.
Carson came home the other day and noticed Tootsie was breathing harder than usual. He dumped cool water on her to cool her off. She seemed to like that. A few minutes later she was laying in the sun breathing really hard. Carson has a very kind heart. He picked Tootsie up to move her to the shade. She bit him. At that point I knew she was going to die. She has never bit anyone, ever. At that point I also knew Carson would have a hard time coping with her death. He was much more sad about her not doing well than about him needing a tetnis shot, or having his finger bleed.
Tootsie died late one night. We were watching a movie as a family. Carson insisted he go look at her. All of the boys (in their jammies) wanted to dig a hole and bury her. I know not everyone has the ability to bury their pet in their back yard. Just behind the garden fence was a good choice for us.
Men have to stand around and discuss things like this. The boys chose to wait until the next day to bury the dog. They planned a funeral for Tootsie and each of them took turns saying something about our dog.
Payson told us what a good dog Tootsie was. Apparently she went to dog church every Sunday. She invited her friends to church with her and was kind to everyone. But she did not like to have her tail pulled!
Branson talked about how grateful he was to have Tootsie be part of our family. He also said he was grateful she gave him and opportunity to serve by cleaning up dog poop off the lawn so Mom could mow! (Thank you!)
Carson just started in on his little “talk” when Grandma and Grandpa came over. The dog spent lots of time at their house too. Carson quit talking when they came. Although that might have been best because he is a very tender hearted person. I know he would have been emotional. Which is okay too!
After everyone said there peace, they boys buried our good dog! We will always remember Tootsie! I’m not sure if all dogs go to Heaven, but I know Tootsie did.
This story included some simple things you can do in helping your children cope with the death of a pet.
1. Inform your children the animal is old and may die. It’s better for if they aren’t completely surprised.
2.Explain to them death is a natural part of our experience on Earth. It happens to every living thing.
3. If you can, choose a place to bury the pet. Decide if it is best for your children to be involved.
4. Arrange a time when the family can remember and talk about the pet. It helped my boys to start talking about the funny things Tootsie did.
5. Follow up with your children a few days later to make sure they are doing okay.