Teaching kids life lessons through the loss of a pet

May 24, 2014 at 4:03 a.m. ET

For many, a pet is a beloved member of the family whose loss deeply affects the entire household.

sad girl with picture of a dog

Photo credit: Vstock LLC/Getty Images

Death is never an easy subject to broach, especially when it comes to children. For many, a pet is not simply "just a pet," but a beloved member of the family whose loss deeply affects the entire household. Moreover, oftentimes the loss of a family pet is a child’s first experience with death in general.

Although difficult for everyone involved, still it’s an opportunity to teach our children valuable life lessons about death, grief and coping with the sadness.

Observed on the second Sunday of June each year (this year, on June 8), is World Pet Memorial Day, a day when pet owners around the world are encouraged to celebrate the lives of their lost, beloved pets.

Although it can be difficult, this is a good reminder to think about how you and your family might best cope with the loss of a family pet. Here are some suggestions on how to observe World Pet Memorial Day:

  • Take time to reflect, and share favorite memories you shared with your pet.
  • If you buried your pet, visit the site and think about happy times together.
  • Consider a donation in your lost pet’s honor to an animal welfare, shelter or service group.
  • Find a unique way to memorialize your pet with a peaceful spot by planting a small flower garden or tree.

"Coping with the loss of a pet can feel, at times, impossible," says Ben Riggan, managing partner of Paw Pods, a company that provides all-natural, affordable pet burial pods. "A day like World Pet Memorial Day is a positive reminder to all of us that taking some time to remember a lost pet is therapeutic and healthy."

With the belief that all good things come from the earth, and shall return there, Paw Pods offer a unique solution for pet parents who wish to bury their lost pet at home.

Available in six sizes, and two urn sizes as well, the entire Paw Pods product line is constructed of 100 percent biodegradable, all-natural materials such as bamboo and rice husk. Additionally, each pod and urn comes with a sympathy card and seeded leaf that can be planted with the beloved pet and will bloom beautiful wildflowers year after year as a living memorial. The sympathy card can be kept a cherished keepsake for the family.

"We are committed to providing families with a comforting and meaningful way to say goodbye and teach children about death," Riggan adds.

Most recently, the company has introduced two new styles including the Fish Pod and Heart Pod. Paw Pods range in price from $10 to $200 depending on size, and can be purchased online at www.PawPods.com.

Wishing you and your family a meaningful, memorable World Pet Memorial Day.

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