Goodbye, Scooby Doo {Death of a Family Pet}

Dealing with the death of a family pet affects everyone in your family — parents, kids, and even other pets.  It is never easy to say goodbye to our beloved pets or as I like to say, our children. Every family’s experience with losing their beloved pet is different, but I wanted to share a little about how we as a family said goodbye to our fur-ever loved Scooby Doo.

Scooby

I want to first tell you a little bit about our puppy, Scooby Doo. Scooby was a fierce “Great Dane” personality trapped in a Dachshund body. He joined our family when my oldest son was only 4 years old, and {you guessed it} in the Scooby Doo phase. Micah picked up the puppy and said, “This one and we will name him Scooby!” From that moment on Scooby was part of our family. He played with the kids, protected the new baby when his little sister came into the world and was my best snuggle partner.  Scooby’s life was short but was filled with a lot of love and attention.

A few months back, we were forced to say goodbye to our favorite little guy. By this point, my kids were 10 and 4 and had gotten used to always having Scooby around to play. When Scooby got sick, we had a conversation with our kids about how as the family of our puppy we sometimes have to make tough decisions. There were a few things that made this transition a little easier for us as well as our kids.

We talked very openly about what was happening to Scooby. Scooby woke up one morning and was paralyzed. He no longer had any feeling in his back legs, nor was he able to control his bladder or bowels. We immediately rushed him to the vet, and we were told that we needed to give him steroids for two weeks and see how he healed. Sometimes dogs come back from this. We came home and talked with our kids about what was happening, how we needed to treat Scooby and how the next couple of weeks would go.

Scooby & K

We told our kids that if Scooby did not regain feeling in his lower back and legs that we would have to decide if it was best to put Scooby to sleep. Micah, 10 years old, understood this. He is a science kid who is very literal, in his mind this made perfect sense. For Keilyn, 4 years old, this was a little harder for her to understand. To her, she just wanted her playmate back to feeling 100%.

Scooby did not recover from his injury, and we had to make the very difficult decision to put him to sleep after multiple weeks of giving his body time to heal. The final night he was with us, we were able to hold him and hug him; each of the kids said their goodbyes. This helped us a lot. I understand that this is not always possible in each situation but if it is, give your kids the opportunity to tell their pet goodbye. This helped Keilyn understand a little better and gave us all the closure that we needed.

There were a lot of tears that night but also a few laughs. We talked about everything that we had done with Scooby and the things he did to make us laugh … how he was the best heating pad and loved playing tug-of-war, fetch and loved special treats.

How you and your family choose to deal with the death of a pet is up to you, and I am sure it will vary by situation. Sometimes with young children it is best to just tell them that the animal went bye-bye or is sleeping forever. For us, we felt that our kids understood what was going on. We still talk about Scooby regularly. My kids did begin asking questions about when we could get another dog, and recently we decided Scooby would want us to give another puppy a home. So we adopted Sophie, named after Sophia the First because she is a princess. Scooby will always hold a special place in our hearts and with our family.

Have you had to deal with the death of a family pet? How did you help your kids to cope and understand?

Tiffany is happily married to her high school sweetheart, Desmond. Together they get to play the roles of Mommy and Daddy to Micah, a gifted Math Wiz of a teenager who is always making people laugh, and Keilyn, a spunky, flower loving, dancing girl who will stop and talk to anyone she meets. She was born and raised in Baton Rouge and has Cajun blood running through her veins. She works full time outside of the home in business administration. She started the journey of motherhood young but wouldn’t have it any other way. Her children have taught her to laugh, play and that sometimes it’s ok not to have a plan! She has a passion for teenagers and is an active mentor in her church’s youth group. In her rare free time she enjoys shopping, coffee, and date nights with her husband. She believes that everyone has a story to tell and enjoys meeting new people, making people laugh, and spending time with friends and family.

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