The death of a childhood pet isn’t just a rite of passage; experts now say the experience may help prepare children for the inevitable passing of you, their parent, which will come sooner than you think. Here are a few ways to help your kids understand what happened to Fluffy and Rover:
* Be frank with your children. Instead of letting them believe their pets will be waiting for them in Heaven, be sure to hammer home the fact that their pets are surely rotting for eternity in Animal Hell.
* Tell your kids that it’s important to remember the good times they shared with the animal, rather than remembering unimportant little details like “Daddy ran over Mittens with the push mower.”
* Swear to your offspring that their pet will never be forgotten, then prove it by building a closet shrine to the deceased animal. Force the kids to pray and pay tribute at the shrine several times a day, lighting candles and leaving blood sacrifices to keep the pet’s spirit alive in this realm.
* Don’t heartlessly flush the pet fish down the toilet; instead, eat the thing in front of the children, then croak, hoarsely, “Circle of life, kids! Circle of life!”
* Show your young some sad movies about pets to better prepare them for The Day. Try such tried-and-true favorites as Old Yeller, Marley and Me, Deep Blue Sea, and Last Tango in Paris.
* Teach your children about the pain of death by carving a mark into their arms with a hunting knife with the passing of each pet; if they’re lucky, your kids will look like serious Tough Guys by the time they’re adults.