The Heaven at Home team knows that grieving the passing of your fur-baby is difficult and requires all the support you can get. On top of dealing with your own loss, if you have children, you also have to help them navigate what might be their first experience of losing a loved one. Books can play a helpful role in helping your child through the process.
The following are a few of the “gold standard” books written for children that are designed to help grieve a pet who has passed.
You’re Still With Me
By Lisa M. Algee, E.F. Tongson, 2018
For anyone who has experienced the depths of sorrow after losing a beloved pet, this true story helps heal the broken heart. Written and illustrated from a child’s perspective, it touches all age levels. The author chronicles the joy she shared with her dog; the feelings of loss and despair during the grieving process; and finally inner peace and acceptance after realizing the end is never really the end. It’s just another place where those who have passed take on a different form.
Snowflake in My Hand
By Samantha Mooney, Delacorte, 1983
In a book that reflects her years of work at New York City’s famous Animal Medical Center, Samantha Mooney creates a miracle of her own—the unforgettable story of dedicated professionals who, faced with sometimes incurable illness among the animals they care for, nevertheless find companionships and laughter in that caring. But above all, this is a story of cats: Clancy, a tiger-suited Irish rogue who refuses to be caged; gentle Oliver Cromwell, who summers in Maine and makes friends with his own personal sea gull; and one tiny black cat, Fledermaus, who breaks through Samantha’s own wall of frozen grief after her father’s death and shows her the rewards, and the risks, of loving again.
The Tenth Good Thing About Barney
By Judith Viorst, Atheneum, 1975
“My cat Barney died this Friday. I was very sad. My mother said we could have a funeral for him, and I should think of ten good things about Barney so I could tell them… “
But the small boy who loved Barney can only think of nine. Later, while talking with his father, he discovers the tenth — and begins to understand.
When a Pet Dies
By Fred Rogers, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1988
In this useful book from the First Experience series, the affable star of Mister Rogers Neighborhood helps children share feelings of the loss of a pet while offering reassurance that grieving is a natural, healing thing to do. “A sensitive and sensible first book about death,” according to The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books. “Filled with warmth and reassurance,…When a Pet Dies assures youngsters that no matter how badly they feel when they lose a pet, in time their hurt will ease, and they will be able to remember with fondness the happiness they shared,”said a Booklist review.
Fred Rogers and Jim Judkis live in Pittsburgh, PA.
West Michigan Pet Loss Support Group:
Do you need help navigating your own grief? Ginny Mikita hosts the West Michigan Pet Loss Support group here at Heaven at Home the second Tuesday of each month, 6:30 – 8 p.m. If you or someone you love would benefit from a grief support group, please feel free to join us by contacting Ginny Mikita at 616.460.0373 by noon on the day of the Group. Learn more here.