Dear Brave Friend by Leigh Ann Gerk
Category: Middle-Grade Non-Fiction (8 to 12) , 49 pages
Genre: Self-Help - Tour dates: Jan 18 to Feb 5, 2021
Publisher: Golden Harvest Publishers | Release date: August 2019
Content Rating: This non-fiction, self-help book is rated G. Appropriate for all audiences.
This gentle and heartwarming story captures the love between a boy and his dog, and the sadness that follows after his cherished dog passes away.
Written in the form of a letter from the dog to the boy, the letter shares relatable, real life examples of how the boy (and therefore anybody who has lost a dear pet) may be feeling and suggestions on what he can do to help himself get through this most difficult time. The letter also touches on simple acts of kindness that can follow the reader throughout his or her lifetime.
The message in this story is applicable to young and old, girl or boy, and to any family pet that has stolen your heart. Story starters, drawing pages, and a place to add pictures of your own beloved pet are also included in the back of the book.
Buy the Book:Amazon.com ~ Add to Goodreads
REVIEW By LAWonder10:
Dear Brave Friend is a letter to a child from a pet who has died. It is also a wonderful "letter" for any child or young adult facing bereavement of any kind.
The well-written easily read book entertains the belief that lives lives on after passing away from this one. I, personally, cannot comprehend any other condition. It is comforting, regardless of one's belief. It is a short, sweet, thoughtful rendition for one to mull over.
The pages are pleasantly, professionally, illustrated by Trish Murtha, with soft colors, water color illustrations. At the end of a story, a few pages are left to journal one's feelings, memories, and places to draw and add pictures. It is a wonderful keepsake and would make a thoughtful gift for a child at the loss of a beloved pet or loved one.
I offer a Five Stars rating for this chronicle.
*This book was gifted me, with no pressure to post a positive review. This is my honest review.
Talking with Your Child About Pet Loss
Many years ago, I was a little farm girl who loved and lost many of the farm animals,
I considered my best friends. Later, as an adult practicing Pet Loss Therapy, I have worked with children who don’t understand what they are feeling when they lose their best friend. As a pet loss grief counselor, I’ve worked with many families while they grieve the loss of their beloved pet.
Losing a cherished pet is often the first significant loss a child will experience. Parents wonder how to know if their child is grieving, since it can be awfully difficult to recognize what your child may be feeling. As adults, we expect our children to cry and verbally share their feelings of loss and confusion. We may believe that if our child is not demonstrating these behaviors, they are not grieving. But this is not true.
Grief is the internal response and mourning is the external response. Depending on your child’s age and level of understanding, grief can be expressed in different ways. Children may not show grief on the outside, though they are actually overwhelmed with sadness and crying on the inside. One child may act out and another may become withdrawn and silent. One minute your child may be happily coloring and the next minute he’s acting out and throwing his crayons. Also, children tend to grieve in “bursts” because they cannot tolerate grief for long periods of time. If your child or teen does not verbalize their feelings, it’s so important to remember that this does not mean they aren’t missing their beloved pet.
Our job as parents includes teaching our children how to grieve. None of us can protect our child from death or loss; they are going to experience these difficult circumstances at some point. As adults, we might think it would be better not to talk about the recently departed pet in front of our children; we think that hiding their toys and food bowls is appropriate. But this actually undermines the life we shared with our treasured pet. Please don’t pretend the death didn’t happen. If it brings your family comfort to leave your pet’s things out, then by all means leave them out.
Never force a conversation, but you can encourage and provide opportunities for meaningful exchanges and answer your child’s questions, even the difficult ones. Send a clear message encouraging your children to talk about their feelings. Say your pet’s name out loud and share lots of stories. Be truthful with your children.
Of course, as parents, you know your child better than anyone, so please be mindful of that and choose your words based on age appropriateness. Wording is especially important when talking about pet loss with children .
For example, if you tell your child that “Lucy” is going “to be put to sleep,” then your child is going to associate going to sleep with dying. Sometimes, again in an attempt to protect, parents may tell their child that their pet ran away rather than dying. Now the child is worried about their pet; are they cold, hungry, does a bad man have him, etc. A child’s imagination of what happened is often much bigger and scarier than the truth.
If you must have your pet euthanized, it is best to give your child a choice if they want to be present or not. Being present allows your child to see a peaceful ending to their pet’s life vs. what they might imagine. This is also an opportunity for them to see what their family does when faced with such sadness. Don’t hold back the tears.
Cry in front of your children if you need to – this teaches them that mommies and daddies get sad too, and it is okay to cry. There are no tried-and-true rules on grief; everyone grieves differently. Do what works for you and your family.
Here is the tour schedule.
Meet the Author:
Leigh Ann Gerk MA, LPC has been in the counseling field for over eleven years. She is certified in Pet Loss & Grief Companionship and the founder and owner of Mourning to Light Pet Loss, providing individual and family counseling for anyone grieving the loss of a pet.
She currently offers 3 free pet loss support groups in Northern Colorado and is excited to branch out and offer more.
Having grown up on a farm, Leigh Ann's childhood playmates included baby calves, horses, bunnies, dogs, and 32 cats that set up house in a boxcar that also served as her playhouse. This upbringing introduced her, at a very young age, to the human-animal bond and instilled in her a deep understanding of, and love for, this extraordinary relationship.
Leigh Ann and her husband, Andy, live in Loveland, Colorado, and are the proud parents of identical twin daughters, Heather and Heidi. Their family is made complete by their first grandchild and their cherished therapy dog, Gracie. Visit Leigh Ann online at MourningToLightPetLoss.com.
connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ goodreads
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