Saying Goodbye to Lulu tells the story of a young girl’s love for her dog and her struggles to say goodbye to her. Though she is deeply saddened about the death of her beloved pet and misses her very much, over time, the girl discovers that the memories she has of Lulu will live on forever. Saying Goodbye to Lulu, speaks to acceptance, love, and learning to embrace a new companion.
Why use this book?
- Highlights the strong connection and relationship people can have with an animal, known as the human-animal bond.
- Addresses pet loss in a positive and realistic manor. Often the first loss children experience is that of a beloved pet. Books can provide an opportunity to discuss and deal with emotions about loss and grief in a healthy way.
Animal Welfare Considerations:
Ask your students:
- Sometimes when dogs age, they have to be given special care. What are some example from the story where the girl did this for Lulu? Carry Lulu outside, feed Lulu by hand, put Lulu’s toys near her, covering Lulu up, etc.
- Why was important for the girl to do these things for Lulu?
- Why does the girl not want another dog, at first?
- How did the girl react to Lulu aging? How did the girl react to the death of Lulu?
- What do you do when you feel sad? What helps you feel better?
- What did the family do to celebrate Lulu? Buried Lulu with her favourite toys and a sock from each person, planted a tree in the spring.
- The story says the girl ‘misses Lulu everyday’. What are somethings you do when you miss someone? Look at photos, talk about memories, etc.
- How did the girl feel in the summer, when she got a new puppy?
- Will the new puppy replace Lulu? Explain.
- Life Stages – How we meet the needs of our pets varies depending on their stage of life. Things such as the amount of food, amount of exercise, and how we provide comfort can all change as a pet ages. Have students research how the needs of a dog (or a pet of their choosing) changes between a puppy, an adult dog, and a senior dog.
- Sympathy Card – Have students design a sympathy card for someone who has recently lost a pet or for the girl in the story. Students can choose to include a poem about a pet or suggestions on how to feel better.
- Animal Life Spans – In pairs, have students create a list of ten animals and then have them research their life spans. Finally, ask students to order the animals according to their life spans from least to greatest.
- I Wonder, I Wish, I Hope – Sometimes it can be hard to put words to how we are feeling. If a student has recently lost a pet, give them an opportunity to write and/or draw about what they wonder, wish, and hope as they are dealing with their loss.