Last month we lost our Guinea pig Jacque. He was five years old. I knew he would probably be Sharkie’s first heartbreak, but I thought we had a couple more years with him.
It’s hard because she’s old enough to know he is gone, but not old enough to really understand death. She’s had a hard time time with it, but here are some things that worked for us.
1) If you can let your child say goodbye. I took Jacque to the emergency vet right after Sharkie’s bedtime. I had a feeling he wouldn’t be coming back home from the emergency vet, so I made sure she said goodbye and snuggled him before I put her to bed.
2) Don’t hide the truth. I didn’t get back from the vet until after 1 am. Sharkie had been restless so she was up when I got home and asked about him. It would have been easier to say let’s talk about it in the morning, but I couldn’t lie to her. So I told her the truth.
3) Decide what you want to tell your child before talking with them. Try to deal with your own emotions first if you can. This way you’re calm when talking with your child. We decided to tell Sharkie that Jacque was very very sick and the doctors couldn’t help him, so he went to Heaven to be with his brother Gus Gus (our other Guinea pig who died in 2018). That he loved her and he’s watching over her. No matter how many times she asks to talk about Jacque we tell her the same things.
4) Be prepared to have the same conversation over and over. Try to be patient. Even though they’re asking the same questions over and over, they’re just trying to deal with their grief.
5) Help them heal. We sent Sharkie flowers from Jacque. We got a couple books on dealing with the loss of pets. Now a month later we’ve worked up to going to look at Guinea pigs at Petsmart. She wants another one, but I’ve been explaining just because it’s a red and white pig it’s not him. For now she just enjoys going to see them.
Losing a beloved pet is hard for anyone. Really the only thing that helps is time. But these tips helped Sharkie. If you’re in this unfortunate position. I hope they help you too.