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My mother has always considered my dog Sophie as much hers as she is mine. She absolutely loves her and Sophie goes with me on every visit whether it was my mother's home or the nursing home. Sophie passed away last week and I do not know how to break this to my mother. What is your advice?

Gently. With tears. Mom is already well acquainted with loss. Will she mourn and grieve? Yes. She certainly will. Is Sophie not worth her tears? I lost my two elder girls one after the other 5 years ago. I am down to one dog and she is 16, and I know the day draws closer. I will foster for rescue after that, and in fact we have a foster now. They are our innocent accepting joyful ones. Worth your tears. Worth her tears.
Please tell her, and tell her how much Sophie always loved her. Cry with her. Take her a framed picture or a small picture book of Sophie, or sit and make one with her, a scrapbook she can keep of better times.
Hugs to you. Those of us who love our pets know what this is for you and for Mom. Huge hugs coming your way. Remember, tears wash the despair and pain out. They cleanse like the rain. Allow them to help you heal.
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Joyejd Aug 16, 2019
Thank you for your reply. I have the perfect picture for her. Do you think a lifelike stuffed poodle would be a good idea?
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I love the Rainbow Bridge. My daughter sent me a book on animals death that was written for a child...very beautiful. Maybe I will take it with me and share it with her. I think I will give her a photo of Sophie and my husband who passed away 2 years ago. He and my mother used to sit and talk on the phone for hours after my father passed away and she thought of him as a son.
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I have had to put down beloved pets and I cried like a baby. Perhaps you and your mother can cry over Sophie's passing together? How far gone is your mother? Does she have moments of clarity where she can share in your grief? Read your mother the poem Rainbow Bridge? Give her a picture of Sophie and you? I would be honest with her at least this once.
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Reply to NYDaughterInLaw
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Exactly what I was going to ask - how advanced is your mother's dementia?

Unless you're confident that your mother can cope with this loss - bearing in mind that at the moment you can't possibly be in any fit state to support her, can you? - I should delay the news by saying that Sophie is at the vet/dog hairdresser/resting at home with a sore paw.

I'm sorry to ask this so soon, but will you be thinking of getting another dog? I'm sure that you don't WANT another dog, you want Sophie; and I wouldn't even ask, except that another dog will be the best way of distracting your mother's attention.

But listen - don't worry. If the fact is that you can't help bursting into tears when your mother asks after Sophie, and you do end up telling her, that's okay too. Your mother's also entitled to be sad.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Hugs from one bereaved (not recently) dog owner to another.
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Reply to Countrymouse
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Joyejd Aug 16, 2019
Thank you for your reply. I was thinking of stopping to see her and tell he I had been to my dental appointment and Sophie could not come, but maybe next time.
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How good is your mum cognitively? It may be a case of deciding what would cause her least distress - for instance if she forgets everything between your visits there would be no point telling her the dog died because she would be upset and you would have to upset her again every time you saw her. You know what she remembers so really you have to make the decision on whether you say she died or something like she isn't with you as at vet for vaccinations or something.
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I have my mom's three pets, and I give her an update each and every time that they go to the vet.  That way she knows how they are doing health wise.  Also, I remind her that they, too, are getting old, and they, too, will die eventually.  That said, I would tell her truthfully what happened to Sophie.  She will understand although she will grieve for her as well.  If you decide to replace Sophie, I would include your mom along with the decision, and the ride, and I would hope that you would consider adopting from a shelter and not a breeder.  There are millions of animals that are destroyed daily that are healthy.  All they need is a home and love and care from someone who will love them and take care of them and make them a family member.
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Joyejd Aug 21, 2019
Thank you. I will definitely look into the shelter adoptions when I am ready to fill that void..
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I see a few choices here and only you can know what is best for your situation. The first being to gently prepare her and then let her guide you as to when or if she is ever ready to really face it. So maybe wait for her to ask about Sophie and then tell her Sophie isn't feeling well so you left her home. If mom continues to ask how Sophie is doing you might next tell her your taking her to the vet and then that she isn't doing so well, each time Mom asks the answer can get more serious or closer to Sophie passing, I'm thinking Mom will either keep asking until she expects and is ready to hear Sophie has passed or she will stop asking because her brain is protecting her from having to confront her passing out loud.

The other option is to gently tell her what has happened so that you both have each other to lean on and share this difficult time with. The picture idea would be perfect in this case and if it would be helpful for either of you maybe even a small memorial of sorts together or celebration of Sophie's life.

Keep in mind what you need here too, having mom to talk to and share this grieving with might be beneficial to you or it might be easier for you to grieve alone and not have to share with mom...then again maybe being able to shift the focus on getting mom through this blow is what YOU need, don't loose sight of your needs here I'm sure mom would agree with me on this.
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Reply to Lymie61
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I would just tell Mom that Sophie is unable to make the trip anymore.
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Reply to RayLinStephens
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Why bring sadness into her life by telling her of the dog's passing? Don't tell her.
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Reply to Llamalover47
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Thanks for this question and the answers. We lost our dog six weeks ago and I have yet to tell my husband, who is in later stage dementia and lives in a nearby assisted living. I keep coming close letting it slip, but I don’t think he’s picked up on it. I don’t know how much it would bother him at this point, if he could even understand (he’s non verbal), but just in case, I’ve decided it’s kinder not to tell him.
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