Discussing a Pet's Death

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

Post by godreaujea » 20 Oct 2016, 19:22

Like everyone else, I agree with everyone else. I think this part of the book is too graphic, but it could be appropriate for a child who is grieving a loss of a pet, or even a family member. There are not that many books that come to mind that deal with this issue for children, and learning how to grieve at such a young age is very important for future development. Children, especially boys in today's society, need to learn that it is okay to grieve, to cry, to hurt, over a loss of a loved one.
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Post by Witty_Read » 21 Oct 2016, 20:34

While Bear's illness may have been perceived as too graphic for a children's novel, I personally feel it is a good discussion starter for parents to address the events and feelings of the death of a loved one with their kids. It allows the parents to aid their children in appropriate coping mechanisms for sudden and extreme sadness in an artificial scenario, instead of having to confront it for the first time in real life.

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Post by Kdonegan91 » 25 Oct 2016, 11:53

I think the author describes the details of Bear's illness and death in a lot of detail. I would not recommend a child that has not experienced loss of a pet to read this but I think it would be fine for children who have lost a pet. I believe the author goes into so much detail to make sure there are no unanswered questions for the reader on such a sensitive subject. The only thing worse than a heartbroken child is a heartbroken and confused child.
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Post by DancingSouls » 26 Oct 2016, 00:56

Death can happen anytime. Children can learn the concept at their own pace. If a family does have an animal(s) then there is the possibility of death of a pet. Everyone has given valid reasons.

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Post by Jennifer Allsbrook » 26 Oct 2016, 21:56

bookowlie wrote:Bear's death is discussed in detail in the story. Is the subject matter of a pet's illness and death too sensitive for a children's book?
I believe that this topic is very appropriate for a children's book. Children will be exposed to death whether it be a family pet, a friend, or a family member. These types of topics in children's fiction or nonfiction help to provide coping skills and ways to deal with grief that may not be easily conveyed in any other way. Children are inquisitive and perceptive and are much more capable of dealing with death and grief than most adults realize. It can be sad and confusing for a child at first when dealing with a pet's illness and death, but when strategies are used that help the child relate to what is happening in his or her life, the outcome of overcoming the grief can be very positive. If nothing else, this can help open a dialogue between the child and his or her parent, teacher, or some other adult.

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Post by Rachaelamb1 » 26 Oct 2016, 22:53

I agree with the others that said it depends on the age of the child. I would add that it depends on the individual child as well. Some children handle certain topics better than others. Some children may be very frightened by death. Only parents are really able to judge if a topic is suitable for their child or not.
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Post by Camogirl217 » 28 Oct 2016, 14:06

It's definitely important for kids to learn about death, but I don't think graphically. If you traumatize a kid with a book, then they won't ever want to read again. And they might be afraid to have a pet in the future, or maybe even be terrified that their current pet is dying. It's a slippery slope.
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Post by Mannie913 » 29 Oct 2016, 21:14

I do not feel like a pet's death is too sensitive for a child to read. They are going to have to go through the loss at some point if they have a child. I even think it helps the grieving process when they do suffer the loss of an animal. If they read this before or after the loss of their pet, they might relate to character and remember how the character was able to cope through it. It is a sad moment but kids need to understand that happiness isn't always the outcome in life.

-- 29 Oct 2016, 21:14 --

I do not feel like a pet's death is too sensitive for a child to read. They are going to have to go through the loss at some point if they have a child. I even think it helps the grieving process when they do suffer the loss of an animal. If they read this before or after the loss of their pet, they might relate to character and remember how the character was able to cope through it. It is a sad moment but kids need to understand that happiness isn't always the outcome in life.
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Post by Swara Sangeet » 31 Oct 2016, 09:00

I lost a pet when I was a little kid; I think it was in the second grade. It's true that it brings tears to a child's eyes, but I still don't think that it is a sensitive topic to reveal in a book. There are many stories relating death of loved ones and other fellow beings, so I don't think losing a pet (in a story) would be hard for a child to bear.

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Post by stoppoppingtheP » 07 Nov 2016, 11:36

The death of a pet (or even a person)is an inevitable part of many children's lives. There is no problem with writing about death, but the way in which is approached is important. This book was written in a graphic way and is not very sensitive at all. It should have been written with more euphemisms.

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Post by ebeth » 08 Nov 2016, 19:18

The death of a pet can be hard on anyone. I remember the first death of my pet and it was pretty hard to get over. So when I think of my niece or my nephew learning about the death of a pet first before their pet dies I would want it to be a sensitive subject not one that is graphic.
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Post by Paliden » 09 Nov 2016, 17:02

I believe it is great to discuss this issue in a children's book. It makes it real on their level and something that they can identify with when/if they lose a pet.

Of course, it needs to be handled delicately, depending on the age group you are targeting. And then because it is kids we are talking about, everyone has a different opinion of how graphic/real they want their child to see.
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Post by Mune » 11 Nov 2016, 20:19

Discussing a pet's death is always a delicate topic. Though the author was a bit too descriptive for what might be acceptable for younger children, sometimes they face situations where they see this first hand and need to know that they are not alone and that it is a normal process in life. I faced this myself when my son was six years old. He had gotten a cocker spaniel puppy for his 5th birthday. A year and a few months later, Binx was hit by a truck but didn't pass instantly. I am disabled and my son had to help me load him onto the golf cart and get him to our house. Binx was crushed and fading fast. It killed me that my son had to witness that and yet he was stronger than me at the moment, as I was heartbroken that he had to see it. Later, though, it hit him pretty hard. Unfortunately, a year later we would experience a bigger loss with the death of my father. My son witnessed his papa in the end stages of cancer. I sent him to stay with another family member during the last week of the home hospice, but when he returned, he knew. They are stronger than we give them credit for, but we have to give them credit in being able to handle these things. That being said, there is a limit on how much a certain age should have to experience.
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Post by lucymn11 » 14 Nov 2016, 18:10

Mune wrote:Discussing a pet's death is always a delicate topic. Though the author was a bit too descriptive for what might be acceptable for younger children, sometimes they face situations where they see this first hand and need to know that they are not alone and that it is a normal process in life. I faced this myself when my son was six years old. He had gotten a cocker spaniel puppy for his 5th birthday. A year and a few months later, Binx was hit by a truck but didn't pass instantly. I am disabled and my son had to help me load him onto the golf cart and get him to our house. Binx was crushed and fading fast. It killed me that my son had to witness that and yet he was stronger than me at the moment, as I was heartbroken that he had to see it. Later, though, it hit him pretty hard. Unfortunately, a year later we would experience a bigger loss with the death of my father. My son witnessed his papa in the end stages of cancer. I sent him to stay with another family member during the last week of the home hospice, but when he returned, he knew. They are stronger than we give them credit for, but we have to give them credit in being able to handle these things. That being said, there is a limit on how much a certain age should have to experience.
Thank you for sharing. This hit me hard, as my grandmother died of cancer when I was young. I remember my parents trying to explain it to me, and they still tell me how it was hard, when I was at the measly age of 4, to tell me what happened without really telling me what had happened.

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Post by Guppy » 17 Nov 2016, 03:22

I don't think the subject matter of pet death is too much for a children's book. Reading about death is easier than losing a pet. But I do see how this book might not be a good choice for some kids.
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