They un­der­stand they will have sev­eral pets in their life

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

DAVID and Julie Pear­son loved the idea of their sons Sam, 12, and Jonny, 10, grow­ing up with pets. They re­cently got a St Bernard puppy called Susie. She says: “WE had two Jack Rus­sells, Tonto and Jebby, who passed away pretty close to one an­other when the boys were just two and four. As they were so young they weren’t re­ally af­fected by their pass­ing. Even so, we did tell them Tonto had died and he isn’t with us any­more. They didn’t re­ally un­der­stand what was go­ing on, they just got on with life, one day the dogs were there, the next they were gone. But they did see us be­ing re­ally sad, I think that’s what af­fected them most. We buried them in my mum’s back­yard and there’s still a plant there to mark the spot.

“While the boys were grow­ing up we chose not to have any more pets, life was busy enough. But re­cently we de­cided to get a puppy, a St Bernard called Susie, be­cause we thought the boys were old enough to help look af­ter her. We chose the breed be­cause they’re a big dog with a big bark, which is good for se­cu­rity, but they’re also great with kids and don’t need lots of ex­er­cise.

“The boys are re­ally close with Susie al­ready, and it seems to be mu­tual. Susie re­ally frets if Jonny goes un­der­wa­ter when he’s play­ing in the pool, like she wants to save him. She’s re­ally at­tached to Jonny in par­tic­u­lar.

“At this stage, we feel it’s too soon to have a chat with the boys about Susie one day dy­ing as she’s still a puppy. But a fam­ily mem­ber re­cently lost a pet which gave us the op­por­tu­nity to have a con­ver­sa­tion about the fact that pets don’t live as long as peo­ple.

“I told the boys that pets may not be around for­ever … I think they un­der­stand that they will have sev­eral pets through­out their life.”

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