We had just seen him about 2 mo's ago -even then there was a zookeeper note that he was sick and he didn't appear too active. It was still nice to see him curled up and sleeping and see him 1 last time. This reminded me of all our lovely trips to the zoo ever since my daughter was little about 2-3 yrs. old,helping chaperone a field trip with her kindergarten class, and now taking family trips with our son too.
Also this reminded me that unfortunately that is 1 of the hardest parts of parenthood- dealing with grief and loss. Inevitably we'll have to explain about death -Whether it'd be a zoo friend,a beloved family pet, or of course a family member(I know we just passed the 1 yr. anniversary of my FIL's passing). Of course each person has their own way with grief. And it can be tricky to explain to kids -1 thing is to be as honest as possible but not necessarily give too much unnecessary information. The best way to handle it does greatly depend on the age of your kid as explained in this informative article/website.
Sometimes loss can be so poignant though. After somehow taking in 3 stray animals in a matter of mo's -1 of them being a great old;blind orange cat we named Sunny. We had all moved into this house then shortly after found out I was pregnant with my son. I worried how all the pets would be with the new baby. We then later learned Sunny was very ill. When my son was a newborn Sunny got a lot worse-and when my son was about a week old Sunny had to be put down. But, somehow it felt Sunny knew our son was here and it was time for him to go.