There’s been a lot of dying on N’s mind at the moment. From discussions about the war in Syria (anyone got any tips on how to talk to 5 year olds about it, feel free to let me know), to closer to home and animals on the farm.
The first was when I arrived home from my 40th weekend away, to see N upset and cuddling Granny at the farmhouse. Their dog had had to be put down that morning, so he was upset at that, having come home from school to find her gone.
She was pretty old at 15 years old, and had been hobbling in and out of the house for the past year. She’d had a great life, lots of strokes and love from all the people coming onto the farm, and from all 7 of the grandchildren. N did spend a lot of time with her when at the farm though – he liked to give her a dog biscuit every day, and would sit stroking her for ages.
A few days later he seems to be over the upset at her being gone.
‘Mummy, I’ll show you where she’s buried in the garden. It’s a nice place. I know and you don’t’.
Although he has told me off because he doesn’t understand dog years and why she would only be 15 years old. I’m not sure we’ve got that one clarified yet, but he’s been talking about her to me, to his dad and probably to people at school. Hopefully he understands that she was very old and got poorly, and it was better that she was put down to avoid any pain and hardship at the end of her life.
We’re now on to cows. Or more precisely his cow. It’s not boding well for his future in farming – I should be pleased as that might make him realise that there are other jobs outside of farming. I don’t think the OH is impressed though.
‘Mummy, I don’t want my cow to die’
‘Well, it will have to at some point, all animals die eventually’.
‘I don’t want it to die to take the beef out of it’
‘Well, if it’s a mummy cow it’ll be kept to have calves so it won’t be beef for a long time’.
‘But I don’t want my cow to die’.
‘Well, that’s your investment for the future so if you want a cow pet, you’ll have no money in future, no meat and you’ll have to pay out for food and vets bills with no return’. Thankfully N gave up asking me the questions and tried his dad instead.
At least there was one positive out of this week’s animal stories…’Mummy, I think Fern (Labrador) will have to make friends with Belle (spaniel) now’.
And he’s decided he’s buying Granny and Gramp a new dog for Christmas.
Explaining the death of an animal to children isn’t easy. How have your children dealt with the death of a pet?