Manchester Veterinary Clinic

156 Spencer Street
Manchester, CT 06040


Not All Goodbyes Mean The Same Thing

Publish Date: 6/28/2018 1:49 PM

By Erika Collier, CVT

Co-written by Alexis Soutter, DVM


Crystal, Erika's Pomeranian, relaxing on a stolen pillow - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

Several years ago I was fortunate to be adopted by a most amazing little dog, a Pomeranian named Crystal.  My family and I became very fond of her and she of us.  She had a number of medical issues when she joined our family, including diabetes, and though I expected her time with us would be short, I did not consider how I would explain her passing to Mason, my young son.


Mason was 3 ½ years old when it came time to let Crystal go. I struggled a great deal with how to explain everything to him.  Ultimately, I decided it would be best to be direct and even blunt so as not to cause confusion about things like the meaning of “going to sleep.” I didn’t know how he would react. I gave my son the opportunity to say goodbye and he seemed to handle that with little emotion. He just said, “Goodbye girl.” When I came home later that day without Crystal, I again had to explain why she was no longer with us and in a matter-of-fact way he said, “Okay.”

Several weeks later I stopped in at the clinic when Mason was with me. He immediately asked if he could see Crystal.  I started to explain the she was no longer there and that she was dead but Mason interrupted me, impatiently saying, “I know. I want to see her bones.”

Crystal, Ev and Mason posing for a picture - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT


Mason, Erika's son - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

We had just visited the dinosaur exhibit at the Connecticut Science Center and Mason had been fascinated by the bones and fossils.  He was interested in her bones, not her.  I was taken aback by his youthful indifference and realized that my concern over how he would grieve was misplaced.  He did not need my protection. And in that same moment came the realization of how much I was still grieving.  I missed that little dog more than I expected I would, and I was not yet over her loss.  I also learned that not all goodbyes mean the same thing.

Crystal, sitting next to a pile of Rin-Chen's fur!!! - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

Crystal playing at the park - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT

Crystal and Mason walking at the park - Manchester Veterinary Clinic - CT


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