I'm saddened by the responses to my previous blog post on helping your kids cope with the loss of a family pet, and troubled both by how it was misinterpreted and feelings that were hurt. I owe you all a better explanation and an apology.
It's terrible to be faced with the necessity of having to lose or separate from one's family pet, but what I wanted to highlight was the different ways of dealing with the loss, with grieving, and with helping your children heal. The last part in particular was the mistake I made as a young parent years ago—underestimating our son's need to grieve for the best friend he'd had for the four months that we had Apollo, before giving him to another family we knew (not a shelter.) I was more concerned about protecting my 6 year old from the harsh reality than I was in actually helping him confront it, and I wanted to help other parents not make the same mistake. Acknowledging loss and giving children a chance to say goodbye is a crucial to step in helping them recover from the loss of a loved one—and it's definitely something I learned the hard way.
Thank you all for sharing your heartfelt and passionate feelings on this subject with me and the rest of the Care.com community. Rest assured that we are passionate about pets and their wellbeing, and, as a team, we value our commitments to our dogs, cats, and other animals as a lifelong relationship not to be entered into lightly.