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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What do I tell my child when he asks where his pets go after they die?

For as long as there have been kids, there have been kids asking questions. Psychologists would argue that inquiries are a very fundamental part of child development. It serves as an informational gathering method and allows children to attempt to make sense of the world around them. Which is great, but you know what? Sometimes I don’t want to hear it. And don’t think for a second it’s because I don’t have an answer to any question a kid can throw at me. Unless that question is “Why do you drink so much?” That’s a tough one.

Drunken escapism aside, it’s very possible your son or daughter may want a pet. If that’s the case, and you grant their request, it’s inevitable that pet will, at some point, die. This may prompt the child to ask where animals go when they die. This question may lead to the child to ask where people go when they die. Then, finally, the child may ask where Grandma went. At this point, you tell him you have no idea what you’re talking about and demand he ignores the screams coming from the pantry. Tussle his hair a bit and send him on his way by telling him to take care of his daily chore: pushing a bucket of fish heads through the small hole at the bottom of the pantry door.

Anyway, parenting is an adventure filled with limitless possibilities. So choose one of the four following methods:

Deny the pet's existence.
Your daughter had a golden retriever but sadly, it died in its old age. Guess what? Your daughter never had a dog. Ever. Remove all evidence, this includes pictures of the dog, any toys, the puppy cage, everything. If she asks where the hardened dog feces in the backyard came from, just tell her that was your doing.

Tell them a lie
Tell them all pets go to a special place in heaven. This is obviously untrue because animals lack a comprehension of language and are forever doomed to pit fight in the ninth circle of hell in a blood sport to end all blood sports.

Tell them the truth
Or, you can tell the truth. Which could include hell and blood sport or you could just drop to one knee and put your hand on their shoulder, look them in eye and tell them the other truth: hotdogs.

Show them that dead animals float
Fill up a bathtub and let physics go to work. That’ll keep the little fuckers from asking questions ever again.

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