t's one of the most gut-wrenching things that I've had to deal with in recent years. It's how to deal with the loss of a pet. I've got some ideas for you. There's a lot of great reasons to have a pet. I'm going to approach from two perspectives because you might be considering how you're going to deal with the loss of a pet. You might be considering how you're going to help your kids deal with the loss of a pet. So, from a parenting perspective, there's a lot of great reasons to have a pet.

In the first place, some of those would include that they tend to give us an example of unconditional love and forgiveness. Pets are awesome that way and they don't tend to care about all the issues that we worry about. So it's really a great example that gives us a small perspective of our own life. From a parenting perspective, pet's given opportunity to learn responsibility as your kids learn to take care of those pets. There are a lot of really great payoffs to in terms of the lessons that can be learned from having a pet. Firstly, a pet gives you a certain, not a possible, but a certain opportunity to deal with death and loss. Now I say it a certain because I'm assuming that you will probably survive longer than your pet will. Dogs, cats, hamsters, gerbils and the kinds of animals that we might keep around as pets, tend to have a little shorter life span. So it's going to introduce a certain opportunity to deal with loss and death. This isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's a way to learn some important principles about how we're going to deal with those same losses with people. When we get into a relationship and we love someone or some pet, we set ourselves up for some pain. It is not a reason to not have the relationship. I think we just need to approach it so we're going be to be healthy. So, here are the tips that I promised at the beginning.

Tip #1 Think when not if. Think when not if, here's what I mean, is your pet going to die. I don't mean to sound cold or harsh. It's going to happen. Let's think when not if. This works for us personally as well as in a parenting perspective. It's okay to talk to our kids about when not if and that allows us to make some plans. So let's think when not if and it allows us to prepare for the undertaking that occurs when the loss happens.

Tip #2 Feel whatever you're going to feel. Give yourself full permission to have a full range of emotions. This is an important figure in your life. This pet has been a companion, someone that you have loved and shared experiences with. How are you supposed to feel when they die, when you lose them. You're human and allow yourself to feel those feelings. And let's give our kids permission to feel whatever they're going to feel. I don't think it's helpful for example to say don't cry. No, do cry! Feel whatever you're going to feel and let yourself feel the full range of emotions that are typical and appropriate for humans to feel when this kind of an event happens. This will also help to prepare us for other future experiences of loss and it's going to happen. So, let yourself feel whatever you feel and let that be a acknowledgement of the love and the relationship that you had. 

Tip #3 Create a season for the loss. All I mean by that is it's going to take a little while to adjust to this. There is a time that is necessary to grieve and to feel whatever you're going to feel like we talked about in last tip. Now this also includes having a funeral. Would you have a funeral for a pet? Maybe. Create a season for the loss and it might be that it takes a few days off work or you allow the kids to take a day or two off school to support the season of loss. We will rearrange our schedules to hold the funeral for those we love. How about we consider that was our pet's because they're just as important to us in many cases? 

Tip #4 Connect with loved ones. This is really an important way for human beings to process loss to get together with people who can hug you, to connect with people who are sharing that loss in her feelings similar things that we would get to use the support and resources of those around us to help us to adjust to this new phase of our life. 

Tip #5 To memorialize or to remember. This can happen in a lot of different ways. You might, for example, have some kind of physical reminder that you use to remember that dear pet. You can get a custom necklace or bracelet with your pet's photo and name on it, you can customize your pet's photo into a pet pillow, or you can buy a pet portrait wood slice painting which can be placed in your desk. In this way, you can still see your pet and always remeber the time you enjoyed with your pet. That's what I'm talking about. Find whatever appropriate ways you have to memorialize and remember that pet. That way it gets to be a continuing legacy for you and for your family, maybe for your kids.