by Erin Markowski RN
The Story Of Bobbi
When I was 18 my mom got remarried. I had just moved out to my own rental house on the beach and was ready to start my own life as a new adult. My family came from all over for my mothers wedding, including an aunt from Florida. My aunt brought with her several puppies she had rescued from death. Her neighbor was a backyard breeder and was sure to kill the puppies since they were not purebred. After my mothers wedding I went to my moms house to take a peek at the puppies. They were in a child's play pen. I glanced in and saw all the little babies shivering and scared, but one puppy stuck out amongst the rest. As soon as I peeked in one puppy jumped up as if she had been waiting for me and jumped and danced and wagged her tail. She was so full of spunk and happiness. I instantly fell in love, as if I'd been waiting for her my whole life. I scooped up the puppy. I left my sleeping aunt a note telling her I had taken one of the pups. I just couldn't wait until morning, I couldn't go a night without her. We were told she might be a chihuahua but as she grew it became clear that she was not. She was about 13 pounds but her breed was not important to me. She was an absolute angel. She loved children and all other animals. She greeted everyone with that spunk that I first noticed in the playpen. She had a ton of energy and loved to run and play. She was also a dignified little lady crossing her legs in bed. She always slept with me and each morning we had a ritual of morning kisses. As soon as she heard me wake up she would walk up to my face tail wagging and flop herself over kissing my ear and face while I rubbed her belly. Sometimes I would pretend to go back to bed just to get her to give me morning kisses again. She welcomed three brother dogs and several brother and sister cats into our home and always greeted then the same way, with tail wagging and kisses. She was the light of my life. We moved several times during our sixteen years together but she didn't care where we lived just as long as I was with her. She always looked to me when she was worried or scared. She hated thunder and would shake until you picked her up. I hated to see her scared. Everyone loved Bobbo. She had left her mark on so many hearts in her 16 years. At the age of thirteen I noticed she was breathing more rapidly. I had her checked out at the vet who told me that her heart murmur, which she had since age 5 or 6, was now a high grade and she surely would go into heart failure and die. The vet offered me only one solution, expect her death. This was not an option for me. I decided to take her to the veterinary school two and a half hours away to see the best cardiologists in the state. Her grandmother and I made the trip together. As soon as we got in the car it began to rain and thunder. Bobbi was so scared. I couldn't help but fear that the weather was an awful omen for news to come. We got to the vet and they did an echocardiogram, blood work, and an ekg. After a few hours the best cardiologists in the state came out and told me that her mitral valve was leaking. As a nursing student I suddenly felt relieved, fix the mitral valve and she would be cured. I offered me solution, which is done in humans everyday, but the vet said this is not a procedure done in animals. The vet instead gave me the same awful news, that Bobbi would ultimately go into heart failure and die. I was given a timeline of six months to a year until Bobbi left my world. Again, this was not a reasonable outcome for me. I searched and searched until I finally found a vet who would agree with me on medical management. I researched drugs and studies to find the best combination of medicines to keep her alive longest. For three more years we continued our medication regime, six medications twice sometimes three times daily (depending on symptoms) My goal was to give her the best life until the end. My family agreed. Bobbi had filled us all with so much love we all wanted to give it back to her. Her grandma would make her little hamburgers and always said to her drooling brothers, age has its privileges. Her grandpa would take her on walks with me, as she proudly walked around the neighborhood with her brothers. She rarely showed signs of sickness until the last six months. Two days before Christmas we noticed she had started to retain fluid on her abdomen. For the last two years her muscles had started to waste so when her abdomen started enlarging it became clear that we were in trouble. With an increase in her diuretics we were able to reduce the amount of fluid for a month or two. Then the fluid came back and wouldn't go away. This time we knew that she needed to have it drained. The vet drained off over 5 cups of fluid (1182 mls) The day after the fluid drain she had a new found spunk and that morning she gave me morning kisses again, something she hadn't done in six months since her symptoms started. I was overjoyed to have my baby back, but it was short lived. That evening I woke up to Bobbi hyperventilating at the end of the bed. I went to pick her up and she started having a seizure in my arms. I knew in that instant that the end was near. I took her downstairs and sat with her. I offered her water and she drank then threw it up. I was supposed to work the next day but knew I couldn't go. If this was the end I would be there with her in her final hours. I didn't sleep that night. I curled myself around her and wept as I watched her sleep. All the moments of our life together flashed in my brain like a wonderful movie. I knew for years that this day would come and yet it hadn't prepared me at all for the loss of my little girl. The next day she ate breakfast then vomited it up. She slept most of the day in her bed. I stood over her watching her as she slept. For a few minutes she opened her eyes and we looked at each other. Her eyes told me she couldn't hold on much longer. I took a picture of my baby girl, the last picture id ever take of her. Her grandpa was there with me and just as we were about to walk out the door I looked at her. I watched her as her breathing suddenly changed as if a surge had just come onto her body. I ran to her and looked into her eyes and called her name. Over the years I had learned that when death comes, to human or animal, a vacancy comes over them in their eyes. Bobbi had that vacancy in her eyes. I quickly picked her up and felt her body limp in my arms. I yelled to my father that this was it, she was dying. I knew I only had a moment before she would be gone, so I spoke into her ear one last time. I said, "Bobbo, can you hear me? Listen to me Bobbo, I love you. Momma loves you." She took an agonal breath, gasping and extended her neck. I don't know why but I ran to the car. I yelled to my dad to grab my keys and purse. As we ran out the door, me with Bobbi limp in my arms, one of Bobbi's brothers ran out with us. He was shaking and scared. Her brothers knew she was dying. We got him back in the house and got into the car, me with Bobbi on my lap. Before I could put the key in the ignition, Bobbi took her last breath, right there in my arms. Bobbi left this earth but she will never leave my heart. I believe she knew it was her time and she chose her way to go. She always felt safe in my arms. After 16 years with my baby, I am thankful for every moment I had with her. I am grateful that she chose me to shine her light on. I am also grateful that I was there with her while she took her last breath. My baby died in my arms. I got to tell her one last time that I loved her. I know I will see my girl again. I can't wait to see her smile and her spunk again.
"If I could chose a place to die it would be in your arms."
Rest in peace my sweet angel.