Why do we have pets and children?

We had a hard weekend here at the James house. Our bulldog, Maggie crossed the Rainbow Bridge and left a hole in our little family. She was still just a puppy, she was only two years old. She had a congenital kidney problem that we didn’t find out about until a few months ago. In her short life and the even shorter time we had that we knew we didn’t have very long with her, she taught us why you need pets with children.

Kaden is a very normal six-year-old and loved Maggie a bunch. This weekend was filled with some very intense sobbing, but I learned a lot from him. You see the dog loved us unconditionally and Kaden loved her back. It is a great lesson to a young child that love can cause pain when it leaves.

This weekend gave us a chance to talk about death and dying and that it happens to everyone. It taught him how to handle grief and probably more importantly taught me how he handles grief and how to help him. We drew pictures of Maggie, he wrote her sentences, we had a funeral and he decided where she would be buried and how we would mark her grave. Then came the questions about life after death, the concern for his other pets, and then his concern for his family.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t wish my weekend on you, but I will tell you that just like I didn’t like some classes I had to take along the way, I did learn some valuable lessons and so did he. Pets are here to teach us to be better people. They are here to help us love unconditionally, they teach us to deal with loss and grief and they help us teach our children those lessons as well.