Discussing a Pet's Death

Discuss the September 2016 Book of the Month, A Spiritual Dog: Bear by J. Wesley Porter.
psychopathycathy
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Re: Discussing a Pet's Death

Post by psychopathycathy »

No, I think it's better for children to understand what it's like to lose a pet to prepare them for the losses they'll have to experience as they grow up - it also helps them learn how to cherish the time they do have together, instead of sheltering them.

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MarisaRose
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Post by MarisaRose »

I don't think the discussion of Bear's death was too much for a kids book. I actually think it's a great topic because a lot of children experience the loss of a family pet at a young age. I always found books helped me process grief at different stages in my life and I would imagine children would also find some comfort through books dealing with a very traumatic event.
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Post by Momlovesbooks »

I agree with many of the above posts. Children need to be made aware of certain issues, but in a less detailed way. They process things differently than adults.

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Post by Rachaelamb1 »

I think there is nothing wrong with a children's book discussing death. However I do not feel like this book handles that aspect very well. I do not see how it offers any consolation to someone who has lost a pet. The story is very distant to an outsider though I am sure to those that knew Bear it is touching.
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Post by srm628 »

I think it depends. The subject itself is a touchy subject, but if approached in the right way, it is actually a good thing to include in a children's book. It can help children understand that death happens and possibly how to handle it.

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Post by AishaTBN »

The extreme details in the book might not have been helpful to every child. I think it will enough for the child to know that the bear isn't what it usually is.
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Post by CaitlinE »

I agree with many other posters on here. Books can definitely help children cope and learn about their feelings, but going into too much detail could affect the child even more negatively than if they hadn't read the book.

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Post by Rachel1019 »

Kia wrote:I agree with everyone here. It is important to have books like this to help children to understand their own feelings. It certainly did seem a little graphic in terms of Bear's illness though, especially as the book seems to be written for very young children.
I agree that the illness of the dog was pretty graphic. I had a dog when I was growing up that had seizures a lot. And when I started driving, I never wanted to be the first person home, because I was terrified of finding the dog dead. I think that it was very reminiscent for me to hear about someone else's experience with an ill animal. I think this book could help children who were confused or scared for their animal. If the kid doesn't have a pet, then it would be really hard for them to understand, and I would not recommend it in that case. But I thought it would be a good book to forewarn a child who has an aging dog and who needs to learn about what could happen, so that it isn't surprising or upsetting when it happens.
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Post by MerryLove »

I think that it is important for there to be children's books that discuss things that children actually go through and experience, and that includes the illness and death of pets. However, that does not mean that all children's books are good for all children.

There are books that are intended for all children in general, and then there are books about more specific instances, where a parent or teacher should determine first if it is appropriate for that particular reading audience. I definitely think that is the case with this book as well.
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Post by StephThyng »

When I was 10 years old I lost my best friend. She was an 8-year-old black Labrador retriever mix that died of Lymphoma. At that time I was reading any type of story that related to my experience. I remember crying so hard after reading Where the Red Fern Grows and A Dog Named Kitty. Both books deal with the loss of a pet and I was able to get all of my emotions out by reading these stories and connecting with them. I don't think it's a bad idea to have stories that depict real lie scenarios, as we all have to live through them and learn how to deal with them accordingly. Having books that depict characters dealing with similar situations allows people to find different ways to heal.
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Post by t-michelle »

I think discussing death in a child's book is a no-no. If the child were to check this book out from a library and the parent had not read it, being able to stop the child from reading it is impossible. Death is a sensitive subject matter and one that a parent should have, not a story book for little kids.
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Post by StephThyng »

t-michelle wrote:I think discussing death in a child's book is a no-no. If the child were to check this book out from a library and the parent had not read it, being able to stop the child from reading it is impossible. Death is a sensitive subject matter and one that a parent should have, not a story book for little kids.
I think the most important piece we are forgetting is that it depends on the age group for a children's book...if it were a children's book for a pre-teen it would be more acceptable I think than for a child in kindergarten who doesn't necessarily understand the emotions that go along with losing a pet.
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Post by ebeth »

For me I think it would be as losing an animal can be a hard thing for a kid.
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Post by cwoodfin »

Same here, I agree that books are important to help with the process of understanding because sometimes it's hard to look into your child's eyes and tell them you can't fix what's wrong.

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Post by missy1234 »

I agree with many of the post concerning how children should deal with the death of a pet.

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