Best Children's Books for Loss of Pet

10 Best Kids Books for Loss of Pet in 2021

Adults take a difficult time coping with grief when a pet died, whether it is unexpected or expected. For children,  when their favorite pet dies, the grieving process is a little more difficult. This is because they struggle in expressing their feelings, putting them into words, and fully understand their emotions. 

How do I help my child grieve the loss of a pet?

This difficult time for children may lead them to develop changes in behavior. Hence, the parents should play a big role in helping them understand the loss of a family pet and how to process their grief properly.

Also - planting a memorial plant will help - see the best plants to remember a pet here

Fortunately, there are things that parents can work with to help their kids. One of which is books that are written to help children overcome the death of their canine companion. 

In this article, we have written down several books that you can choose to read with your child during his saddest time in life. 

1. Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corrinne Demas

2. Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

3. Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

4. I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm

5. The Rough Patch, by Brian Lies

6. Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen

7. The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen 

8. Paw Prints in the Stars: A Farewell and Journal for a Beloved Pet by Warren Hanson

9. The Rainbow Bridge…. a Dog’s Story by Judith Kristen

10. Jasper’s Day by Marjorie Blaine Parker

Child Pet Bereavement Books

1. Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corrinne Demas

This is a Montessori-friendly book that is best for pre-school to early grade school kids. 

It briefly displays realistic images about a dog, Lulu, who grows old, dies, and is missed extremely by a girl. The story dwells on how a dog changes his behavior when he grows old—hardly plays, moves, goes up the stairs, and runs. Until the girl comes back home and saw that her favorite buddy was dead. The book does not discuss the afterlife but it teaches the girl how to accept her pet's death and how her family buried Lulu in their backyard under the tree where Lulu liked to dig in. 

Takeaways for Kids:

The book is very straightforward and gives context that is understandable in processing grief or loss. It gives a clear picture of a dog's lifespan and how it will slowly change as it grows older. It also allows the child to open a new chapter in having another pet that isn't Lulu. 

As one of the best lines says, “You're not Lulu, but still I love you.”

Also, at the end of the book, it allows you and your child to have an open discussion about your ideas and beliefs about death. The book does not offer the idea of the afterlife or heaven, so it is up to you how you want your child to perceive death. 

The book is clearly relatable but not for very young kids or toddlers since it entails images to grasp. 

2. Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

This book deals with the emotional instability of a child in dealing with grief in a most realistic and logical way. 

“Find out where the angel cats fly. They will run past the stars and the moon and the sun. To curl up with God in the sky.”

 A place with God in the sky is depicted as the "purrfect" place for a cat that has gone forever. A cat that is already with God eats cans of tuna and fish. It plays all day, all night with its favorite toys. It endlessly runs around, climbs the trees, and goes up and down flying. 

Takeaways for Kids:

Teaching your kid about the "Cat Heaven" being a wonderful place for a pet is such a comforting thing to read about. The book also depicts a family member who has passed away will eventually be the one to take care of the cat. It also goes through the feeling of losing an animal friend and would make your kid wonder where his kitty would go. 

This book from Cynthia Rylant talks about God and the idea of what heaven looks like. This is a great book if you want to discuss theology with your child. 

3. Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant

This is a dog version of the previous book. 

It gives the story of the child's favorite dog who keeps running all day in a big open green field when it died. The dig eats a lot of his favorite treats and snacks like biscuits. When a dog dies, it can play happily with many children and jump all they want without getting feeling bad or sad. 

Takeaways for Kids:

 If your child's animal friend is a dog, then this would be better. The book talks about a better place for the dog when it dies—more food, happier playmates, and better toys to play with. And just like the Cat Heaven, it also mentions God and angels and how He gives a wonderful place for a dog who has died.

4. I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm

This is a story of a bog and her dog, Elfie, who were each other's best friends growing up. They do their daily routines together; they play together; stayed in the same bedroom; walk in the neighborhood together; and shared each other's food.

As years passed by, as they both grow old together, the little's boy observed how his dog changed. Elfie cannot go up the stairs on his own but it was not a big deal for the boy since he would take his dog up every night to the bedroom. One day, as the dog gets weaker and weaker, it did not wake up anymore. That is how the little boy had his first heartbreak.

Takeaways for Kids:

This is an emotional book that depicts a great love between a child and a family pet. It makes the parent and the kid read an emotional story yet ends with a hopeful note. Moreover, it helps children manage a very sensitive issue, giving practical ways to comprehend feelings. 

In general, the book takes the whole family who teaches a kid about empathy. This is a great context about having a family that shows care and compassion to everyone, which is a great example for a kid to develop his values. 

Lastly, the book teaches the children the importance of showing and saying "I love you" to everyone they love. 

 “I was very sad, too, but it helped to remember that I had told her every night, ‘I’ll always love you.'”

5. The Rough Patch, by Brian Lies

This is a gentle story about a dog and a boy named Evan. They were each other's best of friends and were inseparable. And just like what best friends do, they do things together most of the time. One of the favorite things they do is to look after a beautiful and huge garden, where colorful flowers and memorable moments happen. 

Until one day, Evan's dog dies. Even destroys the garden and everything in it, which is the result of his grief, disappointment, and anguish. He eventually abandoned the garden; weeds grew higher and bigger as time goes by. 

But the light shines the darkest place when a twisting vine turned an immense pumpkin. Evan has drawn out of his isolation and learned to do life as time passes by. He started making friends, reconnecting with old friends, ride the roller coaster, and ate loads of his favorite food. 

Takeaways for Kids:

This is a hopeful and positive book that tackles love, loss, hope, and the healing power of friendship and nature. One of the major things that it taught is how people surrounding us could greatly help us move on during a difficult time in life.

Also, it referred to death as an "unthinkable time". It is u to the reader or you, as a parent, on how to explain to the child what unthinkable time is. It will lead you to an open conversation on what and how should someone cope up with death. Importantly, this is book is best for all ages. 

6. Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen

This book explains the cycle of life including death for all kinds of living things—animals, plants, and humans. It shows a story about how to live in beginnings, in-betweens, and endings. It generously depicts a story that death is part of everyone's life as much as how everyone starts being a newborn, including animals. 

Takeaways for Kids:

This book is great for all ages. It shows different illustrations for the child to be informed at every stage in life. The idea of death may be too much for a child but the straightforward content that “each has its own unique lifetime”. 

In other words, the book does not just tackle the death of a family pet but including the child's grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, brother, sisters, and friends. If your child is still sensitive to talk about his pet's death, then it would be best to read this book afterward. The thought of having someone close to him would die soon might trigger the feeling of anguish. It is still up to you, as a parent, on how to let your child get into the knowledge of losing someone. 

7. The Day Tiger Rose Said Goodbye by Jane Yolen 

Jane Yolen, the author, focuses more than the death of a pet on this book. It talked about life on the last day of an older cat named Tiger Rose. In the story, it narrated how Tiger Rose's kitten days are long gone and she's grown too tired to stay, so she says her goodbyes to all the creatures and the joys of her natural world, including the dogs, chipmunks, children, and a piney bush.

The death of Tiger Rose was conceptualized as taking one last leap into the blue sky and becomes one with air, sun, and earth.

An excerpt from the book says: “into the luminous blue sky. She never once looked back as she climbed away from life, leaving her old and tired body behind. Up and up and up she went, and then she was gone, now part of the earth, the air, the sky, the sun – and all.” 

Takeaways for Kids:

This is a nice book for children if you want to show how to understand that being alone is a normal thing for an animal to do when it dies. It shows how the cat says goodbye to her animal friends before she died, so it may sound unrealistic. But it has a lot of truth about the animal's behavior when it is dying. 

8. Paw Prints in the Stars: A Farewell and Journal for a Beloved Pet by Warren Hanson

It tells a beautiful story about getting over the pain of losing a beloved pet. The book also tells on how to reflect on the emotional relationship between an owner and a pet that is creatively written through a poem from the dog to its owner. It does not only tells about grief but it celebrates the love that was shared between the dog and child. 

Takeaways for Kids:

The most amazing thing that this activity book has a journal. It gives space for the child to write down all the feelings towards the loss of a pet, as well as their memories together. It can allow the child to add pictures and put the dog's favorite belonging, as a personals pace for him to remember his favorite buddy. In that way, it would be easier for the child to express his feeling and understand his own thoughts. 

9. The Rainbow Bridge…. a Dog’s Story by Judith Kristen

The rainbow bridge is a common term for parents to describe a pet who has gone through life. This book tells a story about an unpleasant start in life as a doggy factory dog, Henley was saved and afterward embraced into a caring home. His new home is a place of many young children who accepted his story and his central goal to discover joyfully ever-afters for all our creature companions. 

On March 13, 2010, Henley's life came to an end tragically after its 12th birthday. He was remembered as a cheerful dog who had gone through extreme struggles during his puppy life. 

Takeaways for Kids:

This book helps a child visualize the pet who is watching him from above. It is somewhat like a fanciful story, so it needs more explaining to do from a reader. It would be good for older children who can already understand well the concept of death. It contains a long story with cartoon images, which might be a struggle for a preschool's attention and patience to read it. But overall, it is still great for kids in assisting them in facing the reality of a pet who has crossed the rainbow bridge by visualizing their memories. 

10. Jasper’s Day by Marjorie Blaine Parker

This book tells a story about Jasper, the dog, and Riley, a little boy who has the chance to say goodbye to his best friend.

Riley's family is busy celebrating Jasper's birthday and has planned to dedicate the special day to their beloved family pet. All they plan to do is to give appreciation to Jasper, just like his old birthday celebrations. But in any case, it was another special day for Jasper, not a birthday either. It was a special day to celebrate Jasper's life as the family saw that the dog is already getting weaker and about to die. Riley realizes that it cannot allow the dog to endure any more but he knows that giving up his favorite buddy will be the hardest thing he would face in his lifetime. 

Takeaways for Kids:

The book teaches acceptance and remembrance. It portrays gentle grief and putting importance on the memories, which is a good practice for children to gently deal with emotions and be free with remorse. 

Moreover, it also teaches acknowledgment, recognition, ad the importance of everyone's life surrounding us, including the pets. Overall, it develops the child to the delight of exceptional recollections of beautiful memories.

Takeaway

Since from the very beginning, books are always a good idea to help children develop value and characters. More so, it helps them in developing their thoughts and emotions in several ways. 

Losing a family's pet is definitely a hard moment for everyone to go through. A child who has this kind of experience can surely tell how devastating it is.

But these books about death will surely help everyone to recover from such pain, as they have been to some who have used the books above during their grief. Still, parents and guardians play a significant role to help every child cope up with extreme feelings. 

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julia
Julia is an animal volunteer and a Vet Tech she helps us with research and product evaluation. She also have worked in technical roles that help her sift through the marketing smoke screen. She is passionate about all animals and often helps out at shelters. 
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