“Your Eminence, we just lost our family-dog, Buddy. This will be my children’s first experience of loss and I don’t know what to say. Should I tell them that Buddy is in heaven? Should I tell them that animals don’t have souls and they just go away? Help, I’m tongue-tied!”
My, you have such a beautiful name…but yes, about the dog. I sympathize with your loss. Animals can be wonderful companions, even when they steal food from the table and sneeze on you… It’s best to inform your children about death in light of God. In this case, I wouldn’t declare it anathema to tell them dear Buddy is in heaven. The Good Lord created all animals and I’m sure he takes them all back somehow. Moreso, their crying, tantrums and begging for another dog will be eased by explaining that one day, they may see Buddy again.
Angelo Cardinal Fratelli.