We have an elderly (almost 14 yo) dog. For the last few years her health has been deteriorating. She is to the point where she struggles to walk and you can just tell that she is tired. She rarely eats.
We will be moving to another city in just over a month. I really believe the move would be too stressful given her condition. My husband and I have decided it is time to let her go.
Our children, 14, 12 and 9 are not aware of our decision, as of yet. I have been giving gentle warnings about her getting older, not feeling well, etc. We want to pick a time that isn't "too long" but also doesn't fall near important dates (upcoming dance recitals, a birthday, the last days of school with their friends, etc.) Additionally our 12 yo's best friend is currently fighting cancer and numerous other health problems and so we are already facing a tough emotional time.
Additionally, our children have been fortunate to have not yet lost anyone close to them, beyond a couple of fish.
So....how much warning would you give the kids...the day before? two days?, longer? (concerned they will dwell and it will be harder for them). I recognize the grief is going to be difficult, confusing and stressful given everything else going on in their lives, but I also don't want to make it harder on the front end of the process considering how hard I know it will be afterwards.