We lost our dog, Fizz last Thursday. Whilst I still can’t bring myself to blog about it, I did think it might help to share how we broke the news to Gibby, now just 4 years old and very attached to all our pets. We knew the vet was coming to the house whilst she was at nursery, and thank goodness he was in no distress that morning, just in his bed as normal. I explained to her that he was very old and very poorly now: a special kind of poorly that only old doggies get, and I encouraged her to give both the dogs a kiss bye bye before we set off. Of her own volition, she gave fizz an extra kiss on his head and said “love you” , but it was all very upbeat and normal.
When she got back home, we waited for her to notice. After a half hour or so, sure enough, “Where’s fizz?”
I sat her on my knee. “Remember we said Fizz was a special kind of poorly? And very very old? Well his body stopped working properly today and he died. And we’re all so, so sad because we’ll miss him, but it’s fine to be sad. Fizz has gone to be up in the stars, and that’s nice because he’s not poorly anymore, and he can run around again.”
I braced myself for the barrage of questions – she questions everything – and I had answers prepared for anything I thought she might come up with. Instead though, she surprised both of us and sobbed her little heart out. She said she wanted him back. She said she didn’t want him in the stars she wanted him here to play with her. We all cried. I didn’t say anything else, just let her talk. When she was calmer, I gave her the special job of looking after Badger, our other doggie, because he was missing his friend. Grace hugged and stroked him, and put her favourite teddy in his bed. Later that evening, I overheard her explaining to Badger what had happened in the same way we’d explained it to her.
God bless children.
After that night, Grace seemed to accept it really well, and after a day or two we made a memory box for Fizz. It has a christmas card she wrote for him, his collar and lead, a picture she made with all the words she could think of about Fizz, a star shaped dog treat and a photograph of them together.
Death is a huge concept for such a little mind to grasp. I hate to use the term “fell asleep” and was even reluctant to use “poorly” in case she worried every time someone was ill. I just thought I’d share how we handled in case it helps anyone else. Thank goodness she seems to have dealt with it in a healthy way. I’m so pleased.
Fizz – you were a special boy indeed. Thank you for being the best introduction possible for Grace to the joys of having a dog. Thank you for your patience with her. Thank you for never retaliating to any provocation, from having your ear pulled by a curios toddler, to those nippy little dogs that thought they could take you on. Thank you for your unfaultering faithfulness and love for all of us.
Out of our sight but never out of our mind, lad – till we meet again.
Night night. Good boy.