When a pet dies.

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We had the unhappy occurance yesterday of the death of one of our turtles.     It had been poorly for a while and despite the extra time with the heat lamp and special drops, he just didn’t get better.

Hubby had always wanted a tortoise, but they are very expensive to buy and lets, be honest, not the most exciting of pets.       He therefore has an extensive collection of tortoise ornaments and cuddly buddies.   However, a collegue of Hubbys had a tank of turtles that she was having to rehouse for reasons that I am not suree of.     Hubby was very tempted, and managed to persuade me that he would clean and look after them.     I agreed.     This was maybe 4 years ago now.      We bought home our three neww family members and the boys despite being small were very excited by them.     Then about a year later, somebody put a friend of a friend in touch with us as they had a single slider, who they were having to get rid of, and wondered if it could come andlive with us.      We kept the new one separate for a while, just letting them play together for short periods, until we were sure they weren’t going to fight.       we then had a tank with 4 turtles.     They are beautiful creatures.     They have the cutest little faces that always look very superior to the rest of us!         Hubby renaged on his word almost as soon as I had agreed to letting us have them come to live with us, and I have cleaned them every week since they arrived.     It isn’t the nicest of jobs moving buckets of dirty water around, but as long as the water is refreshed regularly, they stay smelling fresh!        If they aren’t cleaned properly, the smell is unbareable, and I definitely would not recommend it!        They swim a little, but seem to enjoy basking under they lamps – hard life or what?!         The boys are just used to having them about, and we take them out and let them have a run around regularly.     They are both very good with them, and are gentle when tickling their chins, but they are aware they can draw blood if they nip you so always being wary of their mouths.    Both Hubby and Old person have had quite nasty nips from them.

M was particularly close to Tuck, the turtle that has died.     He was a lot smaller than the others, and far less adventurous.   I think this is why M like him.   When he was out the tank, he wasn’t so quick to rush off, so could sit on M’s lap for a while.   the others being much fast and more lively are off exploring as soon as they are out, so you have to be more vigilant to make sure they arenty getting themselves into trouble,    When I broke the news to the children, both of them burst into tears.    M was totally hysterical.     His friend was gone, and he couldn’t understand why.       He kept repeating “my friend has gone away” over and over again.        D put it into perspective by telling him, that Tuck had gone to live with Barney (http://jas2jar.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/sleep-well-barney/) and therefore their Grandads would be looking after them for them.    I thought that was a wonderful thing to say, as it really seemed to help M.

D has a death obsession.    He has had it since he was able to talk almost.     He is just fascinated by the whole subject.     It is a difficult subject to talk about while you are enjoying your evening meal, but one we often have bought up.        He though has been very level headed over this latest departure from our family.      He has said that because they have played with them a lot during the holidays, they had made the last few days of his life happy as he knew they loved him.    A beautiful, very grown up thing to say.     M has taken comfort from D’s level head at this point.

We will bury him in the garden and buy a plant to place over him.      The boys will find that hard, but they need to understand that death is the final chapter of our earthly existence.

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3 responses »

  1. Such a hard thing to learn. We had to get through the deaths of five different guinea pigs over the years, and it was traumatic every time. For the kids, that is. Quite honestly, by the demise of #5 I was awfully glad to see the end of the run.

  2. A hard life skill to learn. I know that although I have learnt this I still struggle with deaths. Our dog has cancer and for my son this is a hard thing to learn that her life is coming to a close. She has been there for my son for over 12 years and they have a special bond. We walk one day at a time with this and I hope that I am helping him to understand death is part of the life cycle. We just chat about death and the lose as and when we can. Loved the way you have shared this.

    • As adults we struggle with the concept of death so it is no surprise kids have a hard time comprehending it. We can only try and teach them it is part of life but it is always painful when it is someone (human or animal) that we love.

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