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Social Stories for Pet Death

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Children are often very attached to animals and grieve tremendously when they die. This lesson offers social stories that help students with special needs make sense of the death of a beloved pet.

When Pets Die

You probably know how attached children can grow to their pets. Pets can play a particularly important role in the lives of some students with special needs, who may rely on them for assistance, love and understanding. When pets die, it can be really traumatic for children, who may not understand what happened or how to mourn properly. One way to help students process a pet's death is by using social stories, or scripted language that gives vocabulary for feelings and emotions as well as strategies for mourning. The social stories in this lesson help your students deal with the death of a pet.

Social Story Focused on a Pet Who Will Die

At my house, we have a dog. His name is Jojo, and he is golden and beautiful. My parents got Jojo before I was born, and I have known him my whole life. I love to pet Jojo, snuggle with him and play with him.

Now Jojo is really sick. My parents say he has a hurt deep in his belly, and he is sad a lot of the time. He cannot play with me anymore. My parents say it is time for Jojo to die. Dying means Jojo's heart will stop beating, and he will not be alive any more. His body will not be in our house, and I will not be able to snuggle and play with him.

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