Sunday, December 12, 2010


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Dear Mr. Morton- Our daughter, age 9, is grieving because our long-suffering family dog will have to be put to sleep. The dog has been her faithful friend, sleeping companion, and hiking buddy for years. Do you know of any books on the topic of family pets dying? I might have to read one myself! - Heartbroken, Fremont.

Dear Heartbroken
- Contact the Children’s Services department at Birchard Public Library, in Fremont. Years ago, Melinda Bay headed the dept. and sent me a bibliography compiled by their staff. It listed books geared toward young adults and children, which dealt with stressful events. Brief annotations with a synopsis of the crisis are provided to identify the sex, age, and problem of the protagonist.

They also have the reference book, “Books to Help Children Cope With Separation and Loss”, fourth edition. Melinda Baty mentioned this book is much broader than the title indicates.

The Children’s Services department at Birchard Public Library contains many inspirational stories which offer positive choices for young people to make when coping with life’s stressful events, including: adoption, anorexia nervosa, child abuse, death of a family member or friend, divorce, drug abuse, emotional problems, homelessness, parent in prison, poverty, prejudice/race relations, single parent family, suicide, teen mothers, etc.

Hopefully, you’ll locate a relevant novel. “Jasper's Day,” by Marjorie Blain Parker, is a picture book about a beloved dying dog's special day before he is "euthanized" by the vet. A little boy's love for his dog and the whole family's sadness comes out as they say goodbye by giving Jasper a last day filled with his favorite activities.

Mark Twain often remarked on how attached we become to our canine friends because of their unwavering loyalty. He once said, Heaven goes by favor and unfair preference. If it went by merit, we would stay out and our dogs would all go in.”

Robert Morton, M.Ed., Ed.S. has retired from his positions of school psychologist and adjunct professor in the School of Leadership & Policy Studies at Bowling Green State University. Questions, comments, or concerns about family, parenting, educational or personal concerns? Contact him at the secure Bpath Mail Form. Also, visit his national Family Journal column.