Losing a Family Pet

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Jade has been a part of my life for the last 15 years. A big part. I’ve known her since she was just a day old left on the back porch of a pet store with her malnourished mom and 5 other siblings. She was the runt and the only all brown pup. She came home with me as soon as she was able to leave her mom and has been there waiting for me to walk in the door every day since.

As an almost 15 year old medium-large sized dog we knew her time with us here was going to be coming to an end soon enough. My husband and I had discussed what we’d do when the time came. I guess I always thought that we might have to be the ones to make the decision and then would we take the boys? Would we tell them when? Would we tell them to say goodbye?

So many ways to go about it so which was best for our family?

Well early morning June 27th I had to leave to buy a new router because ours was completely dead and we both work from home. My sweet girl passed away between the time I left and the time I came back.

Jared hadn’t told the boys yet so we told them through tears together and asked them if they wanted to see her. They both did and asked a few questions (her eyes were open) pet her, cried and let us hug them for a long time.

We called a service (PALS in Phoenix) that came and picked her up for us. I didn’t want to deal with THAT part of it. Too hard. So during that time the boys walked in the room and said a couple more goodbyes. My youngest wrote her a letter and had put it inside her blanket. He told her she was the best brown dog there ever was and to be good in heaven.

It was one of the hardest things I’ve done to say goodbye to my sweet girl. She’s been a part of the boys’ life since they were born and was their little nanny always looking out for them. That being said, them saying goodbye to her (a few times throughout the morning) I think has made the process SO much easier on their part. They were able to see that her spirit was no longer there and have a definite closure.

They wanted to make something for her right away so we made up this print to put up (that is her actual paw print just shrunk down a bit)

Have you had to deal with the loss of a long term family pet with your kids?

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Allison Waken is a wife, mom of boys and Phoenix, AZ native. She has been creating inspiring content for All for the Boys since 2011. Allison loves travel, movies and spending as much time as possible with her family while she can!


  1. OH my lord, how horrible:( It's the worst agreement when you get a dog…you know this won't end well.

    I pray that your family will be able to heal from your loss:(

  2. Tears and lots of hugs! I'm so sorry to see her go, but clearly she was blessed having all of you.

  3. They truly give so much to a family. I'm very sorry for your loss and think your boys were very lucky to experience death in this manner and it was great that you allowed them too.

    I still remember when I was 17 and we had to put our dog down. I had her for 9 years (she was a rescue) and it was so hard. Pets give unconditional love and are there for us whether we are happy, sad or mad.

  4. Man…having followed you for years and having similar families. (3 boys & their big yellow lab/husky mix here) My heart aches for all of you. Dogs are truly little boys' best friends and that bond is deep & true & untouchable even to moms.
    May it make the memories of her even sweeter.

  5. Losing a pet is so hard. They really are part of the family. How sweet that your boys got to say good bye.

  6. I'm preparing myself for the same fate. Our sweet companions are 11 and 11 1/2, both large breeds. We can see their bodies declining as they take great effort to sit and stand, they slip more often, and sleep more. One of them, who used to sport a beautiful black face is SO grey. I'm not sure which will be worse… having to take them in and put them down, or discovering them already gone. And then there's the inevitable depression one who was left behind will go through. And do we get more, or do we go dog-free for a while? Losing our furry babies is so heartbreaking… Sorry for your loss. 🙁

  7. So very sorry- I have faced this also and I would never say it's not worth the time we have together. Take care!

  8. So very sorry to hear you lost such an important member of your family.

  9. Oh no, I am so, so sorry. I have not been through this since I had kids yet, but I did lose dogs when I was younger and it is horribly painful. Peace and healing to all of you.

  10. Having lost our beautiful girl, Kierska almost a year ago this August, I can relate. She was our first addition to our family and was with us for 8 wonderful years. I struggled with those same questions preparing myself for the end as she got older and more frail. But in the end, all of a sudden she went very peacefully one morning with family all around. No last trips to the park or the vet. And no final decitions to be made. I like to think it was her gift to us, and it was beautiful. My son is too young to understand, but he remembers her and I hope to teach him of the beauty that can be found in the mists of loss. As I found mine with my baby girl.

    Truly sorry for your loss.

  11. I'm so sorry you and your family had to go through this. We love our pets because they're a huge part of our families lives. We have a medium size 13.5 year old dog that's my 4 yo son's best friend. I know when this day comes, which it will eventually, it'll be the hardest day. Thank you for letting us into your grieving process. It gives me an idea of how we too can handle this loss. So sorry for your loss.

  12. It's been almost a year since we lost our dog Jake. He had just turned 10 and it was a horrible experience. The kids handled it way better than I did. They made him a head stone since we buried him in our yard and they wrote him letters for weeks. I am so terribly sorry for your loss, I never thought it would be as hard as it was.

  13. I am so sorry for your loss. No matter how well prepared one is, it is never enough to get through the pain of the loss of such a loved one.

  14. I was a teenager, probably around 16 or 17, when we lost our very first dog. He's been with us since I was 7. We played a lot with him and did many fun things with him. We've seen him pick fights and make his own turf every time we moved to a new place. We've also adopted stray cats and dogs along the years but all of them either got lost or died too early (ate something poisonous). Poochie, our first dog, was the only one who remained throughout the years.

    In my home country, a lot of men like to eat dog meat while drinking beer together. One day (I was 16/17) our dog. who was still pretty young although on the way to getting old, came home with his head bent sideways and it hurt him when we tried to get it straight SLIGHTLY. We didn't even force it or do it too hard. One of our neighbors said one of the guys in the neighborhood hit him on the neck with a bat (possibly in hopes of making a meal out of him for that night's beer party) but our dog got away.

    He didn't eat, he started hiding in the pig's den (which was left empty by the landlord) and wouldn't come out, and started drooling uncontrollably after 3 days. We've taken him to the vet on the day we found him hurt but they couldn't do anything for him (3rd world country -__- ) and so we took him home and that's what happened.

    3 days after we took him to the vet, it was time to say goodbye. We could tell he was just waiting for us to let him go. I cried a lot during the process. It was the most painful loss I've ever had to go through. My parents took him back again to the vet that afternoon to see if it's really hopeless. Our dog stayed the night there hoping to recover. The next day my dad picked him up and came home with a heavy box on his lap where our dog was curled up like he was just sleeping. We buried him in our backyard – that one I didn't watch. It was really sad. I haven't felt the same way towards new pets after him, even when we got another dog exactly like him (color and all) but it was a girl. Of all the pets that came and went away, his death was the most painful for me.

  15. So sorry for your loss as well. Hugs to you all and your kids too!

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