How to Write About Losing a Pet in a Children’s Book.
I recently received an email from a lovely woman asking about The Duffy Chronicles. She bought the book in 2009 and recently read it with her nine-year-old son. She told me she had searched high and low online for the next two in the series and couldn’t find them. Could I help?
Well, if I had written them by now that would have helped but, I had not. Sometimes life gets in the way of our loftiest goals and between a couple of moves and elder care, the time flew by.
I thanked her profusely for reading the book and wanting more. It was the best encouragement I could have ever asked for.
One of the reasons for my procrastination was trying to figure out the best way to write about the death of a pet in a children’s book. It’s a daunting task, to be sure. But, I got through it and felt it was safe and kind and loving, so it would not be too painful for a child and, perhaps, helpful.
Then I decided to share it with you, my faithful readers, to get your opinions. As I copied and pasted into the blog post it *poof!* disappeared! I thought I would lose my mind! WHY???!!!
A couple of friends told me it was meant to be and the next version would be even better. Thank you, Daisy and Bob, for sharing that advice. I believe this is better but, I’ll open the floor to everyone and look forward to your thoughts about this difficult subject.
Duffy is the narrator.
Thanks in advance! b
“Where is Benson now?” Cosmo asked.
I hadn’t expected that question to come up. Maybe I thought the puppy knew Benson had passed away. Now I wondered how I could explain it to him.
“Benson got very sick around Halloween last year,” I told him.
“What’s Halloween?” Cosmo asked.
I’d forgotten Cosmo wasn’t even born then. Or, maybe he was born when Benson left us. I wondered if that was how it worked. One best friend leaves us and another is born to take their place.
Where should I begin, I wondered.
“Well, Cosmo, Benson got a really bad stomach flu and he became dehydrated and…”
“What’s a stomach flu?” he asked.
This wasn’t going to be easy at all.
“The stomach flu makes you have to throw up and go outside to poop a lot,” I said, “and it makes you tired and weak and thirsty.”
“Mom took Ben to the Vet and he told her Benson was very sick and might not make it through the night. But, mom told him our brothers were coming to visit that night and she really wanted them to have some time with Benson. So the Vet gave Ben enough fluids to keep him alive for at least another day. It was so important for the whole family to be together and share our love for such a great dog,” I told him.
“That’s so sad,” Mo said.
“It was very sad for all of us,” I said, “But, Jake and Craig got to spend the night with Ben and we all had a chance to let him know how much we loved him.”
“When I had some time alone with Ben that night he told me not to be sad.”
“Duffy,” he said, “I heard there’s a place in Heaven where dogs can run and play without leashes. Even if they’ve been sick they will be healed when they get there and have no more pain. And, when your time comes to leave this earth, I will meet you at the bridge to this beautiful dog park.”
“That sounds like a fun place to be,” Mo said. “Will we both get to go there? I would love to meet Benson.”
“We will all be together there some day, Mo. But, you and I have lots of time for new adventures before then,” I said.