Read This Before You Lie To Your Kid When The Family Dog Dies
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Is it okay to lie to my kids and say the dog ran away instead of telling them he died?
Actually, that’s not him. That’s just a random photo of a doberman I found on the internet.
When I saw this question, I immediately rummaged through the old family albums for a photo of good ol’ Blitz. There isn’t one. There were photos of other dogs before him, but of the cheeky old bugger who grew up with us? Not one. His memory was purged.
Our dad brought him home in a 2×2 cardboard box. We looked at him; he looked up at us. He stuck out a tongue in that lopsided grin of his. It was mutual love at first sight.
We’d play catch in the garden. Our dad would unfailingly take him out for a walk every day, and one of our favorite childhood past-times was picking the ticks from his fur (they were humongous) and squishing them with a delightful pop. He was a member of our family, an ever-willing playmate, and our vigilant guardian.
In his later years, he suffered from cancer. It was an agonizing process to see him deteriorate from that lithe athlete who once leapt a fence to mate with a poodle, to an old dog who winced in pain every other step.
We came home one day from school, and my dad took us aside. He told us gently that he had to put Blitz to sleep. We were shattered. As kids, it was the first time that a loss had hit so close to home.
We put him in a cardboard box, a far bigger box than the one he came in, and we buried him in his favorite stomping ground. We laid his favorite chew toy next to him, lit 3 joss sticks, said a few prayers and left.
I grew up with Blitz. He was my brother. If our dad had told me he ran away, I would’ve felt betrayed, angry even. By letting us say our goodbyes, my dad allowed us to honor our brother and have some closure. We learned to deal with the loss of a close family member, and we learned that life is ethereal, and that we must value it.
So no, you should not lie to your kids.
Give them the gift our father gave us.
The irony is that my dad, the rock that he is, never let on about how much he had been affected by Blitz’s death. Only now do I realize why none of Blitz’s photos remain, and why he refuses to have another dog to this day.
Ryan Chew is blessed with 2 daughters, a loving wife, and a string of successful businesses. I write. Find more Quora posts here: