Jillian R.
It’s been exactly three weeks since our dog Habibti – “Bibbles” passed. I finally got through the difficulty of dealing with it to write about her.

Like any shelter dog, she came with her very own sad story. She was a stray dog who learned to fend for herself for one a half years, living in the harsh weather here in Muscat. The summers could hit over 50 ͦC with 99% humidity. It’s sad to even think about all the stray animals out there, sleeping under cars or trees for shade.

When we found ourselves settling quite comfortably in Muscat, we started looking around for a dog to adopt (instead of buying). There were numerous vets/shelters in Muscat rescuing and housing dogs and cats. We finally contacted the Qurum Veterinary to see if they had any dogs available for adoption. Within a few hours, a reply came with pictures of Habibti; a beautiful white Saluki mix with soft brown eyes and a slightly pink nose; probably from being out in the sun too much before they rescued her. Eric fell in love with her immediately.

We were told that she had been hit by a car and then left licking her broken leg by the side of the road. A Filipino man then saw her and carried her by foot some 5-6 kms to the Qurum Vet – in his McDonald’s uniform. He also offered to pay for her leg surgery. During the first few months of her recovery, the man would pick her up from the vet’s; which is also a small animal shelter to take her home with him every night. One day, one of the women working at the shelter drove by his apartment and saw Habibti sitting out in the hot sun in her bandages. They later found out that his apartment did not allow dogs so he had to keep her outside. Sometimes he would take her to the McDonalds where he works and tie her to a pole outside. The authorities were threatening to shoot her.

It breaks my heart knowing that there are still such barbaric acts in our society today.

Due to these circumstances, the shelter took her back and tried to find her a home.  It was a Sunday when we saw her. They had just spayed her before we arrived. When we saw her, she was barely conscious but she weakly wagged her tail and tried to lick Eric’s hand from her little bed on the floor. The shelter people assured us that we don’t have to adopt her if we don’t want to bring home a limping dog, and that they would find us another one if we wanted, but I too had already fallen in love with her. There are no words to describe how sweet her eyes looked.

We brought her home two days later. She hobbled on her three good legs into our apartment and shyly laid down on the tiled floor, making a loud “thump” as her bony limbs hit the ground. I patted her and led her over to her little mattress and blanket with printed hearts which we prepared for her. Without any hassle, she laid down, closed her eyes and took a nap.

We warmed up to her almost immediately and we lovingly called her “Bibbles”. She was already toilet trained since the first day we got her. She would hobble to the front door and wait patiently for one of us to see her and take her downstairs. She could go down the stairs fine but we had to carry her up because of her broken leg. I didn’t mind it one bit and she didn’t weigh anything. The morning after she came, I found a small puddle near the front door which she was drinking from. When I turned on the light I saw that it was urine. She knew that she wasn’t supposed to go in the house and she was trying to lick it up to try not to displease us.  If we didn’t wake up in time she would’ve licked the place clean. From then on, she became the best dog I’ve ever had. 

Also, we only had to tell her the rules once; we told her not to go into the kitchen, she never went in, she sometimes stood by the doorway to the kitchen, watching me cook. We also didn't want her to go into the bathroom because of the germs and chemicals which might have harmed her, I told her once and she didn't even go near the hallway leading to the bathroom. I asked Eric everyday when we had her "Why is she so good?". The answer he gave had always been "Because she's the Bibbles!"

Bibbles was still on painkillers and antibiotics the first few days we had her. I got so worried about her frail body and her not eating her food. We went to the butcher and got her chicken hearts to make broth for her hoping that the taste of chicken and fat would get her appetite going. It did. Another problem presented itself however, the poor girl still wasn’t completely sure that the bowls of food and water were for her. She wouldn’t go near it to eat and I had to feed her by hand several times before she would start eating – very slowly. She would sometimes eat some of her dry food after the broth which made us extremely happy. The crunching sounds meant that she would maybe put on a bit more weight.

(We kept the door opened, but she always loved laying out in the sun)

She couldn’t jump up on the bed with us so sometimes I would carry her up and snuggle with her. When we’re on the bed or the couch she would snuggle as close to either of us as she could. Always laying on her left side because the broken leg is the right one.  When she was on her own bed however, she would pull out a corner of the blanket and lay it on the floor so that she could rest her head there while the rest of her body would be on the little mattress. It was the cutest thing, to see the same arrangement every time she got up from her nap.

(She liked staying as close to us as possible)

She was also the most affectionate dog I’ve ever seen. With her three good legs, she would hobble around slowly following me around the house when Eric was at work. Of course, she didn’t understand when I tried to tell her to stay on her bed. She liked to take naps, either from the side effects of the pills she was on or her heart condition, which we didn’t know yet at the time. When the both of us were at home, she would sit in an area where she could see the both of us at the same time. If we were in separate rooms, she would find a spot in the middle where she could keep an eye on the both of us.

I’m starting to get very emotional and it’s hard to type with blurry eyes.

As frail as she was, her bark was incredibly strong. She couldn’t have done very much if an intruder did come to our home, but she tried her best. She never made a sound usually, but one time there was some rustling outside our door, probably a neighbor coming home with some groceries. She barked once, a very strong, “full-bodied”, proper bark.

She was just GOOD. PERFECT.

She came into our home on a Tuesday. A week later, a day before that fateful Tuesday, everything started like any other day. She woke up earlier than us, walked around the house quietly waiting for us to wake up. I took her out that morning. Like I said everything was normal until we came back. She seemed grumpier than usual, she snapped at me when I tried to clean her paws.

You see, we don’t wear shoes in the house, so whenever we come in from her walks, I would clean her paws with a wet rag. The first few times I did it she tried to snap at my hand when I went near her broken leg. I understand that she might’ve thought that it would hurt her. After a few times telling her firmly “No” to biting, she stopped snapping. So every time after that, when we came in, she would lay down in front of the door, waiting to her paws wiped (our current dog, Jester still tries to run away each time, after 3 weeks – more on him soon).

I admit I got a little bit concerned about her snapping and barring of teeth. I thought perhaps her leg got better and she had started to behave more viciously. As the day progressed, she got even grumpier and bared teeth whenever I tried to reach for her paw on that broken leg. Naturally, we grew concerned so we called the lady from the vet. She came with two needles; a painkiller and one to help her sleep as she hadn’t slept very much the night before. I woke up several times the night before finding her either whimpering or licking her broken leg, she sometimes whimpered during the night so I didn’t think much of it at the time. She screamed bloody murder when the lady injected her with the needles. Eric had to hold her down while she did it and I just couldn’t bear to see her in so much pain so I ran and hid in the kitchen.

We scheduled for her to get picked up by the vet the next day; Tuesday for a thorough check up. We expected that because of the high humidity that day, her wounds were bothering her more than usual. Tuesday morning, Bibbles had already forgiven Laura, the lady who injected her the day before and she happily followed her to the vet. In the meantime, I prepared her chicken hearts and some trimmed chicken fat from our dinner to make her a delicious dinner when she got back.

That afternoon, the vet called.

They checked and had found some broken pieces of bone in her leg. It wasn’t there when they checked her last. No one knew how long she had been moving around with those broken bone bits. I just couldn’t imagine how much she suffered through the pain. During the surgery to remove the broken bone (and to insert some pins), Bibbles suffered a heart murmur, we were told. We were faced with an extremely difficult decision; should the vet stitch her up and have no painkillers to deal with the excruciating pain afterwards because she might then suffer a heart attack OR to lay her to rest. When I heard Eric’s tone I didn’t need further explanation, I broke down. We both knew what the right thing to do was. It would be inhumane to let her suffer through a surgery with no pain medication, and to have a low chance of making through it In the end.

For days whenever I see the couch, the spots where she loved to sit and watch us, the pain of losing her would start all over again.

Bibbles was the perfect dog in every way. She was a good guard dog, a good companion and most importantly she taught us the true meaning of tolerance and forgiveness. She let us wipe her paws even though it hurt her so much (we were told by the vet that her leg was healing nicely), and forgave us for jabbing her with needles almost immediately when it was offer.

I pray that her soul is at peace. Bibbles will never be forgotten. 

She had such a big heart that in the end, God sent her to us;
She finally experienced having a home and lots of Love;
And hearts , literally.
We loved her so much but there is no greater love than God's love

Rest in Peace Little Angel

Bibbles; a 7-day gift and a great blessing
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2 Responses
  1. I couldn't withhold my tears after reading about Bibbles. I immediately told Pepper how blessed she it. Thanks for such great post!

  2. Jillian R. Says:

    Thank you Jamie :) She was really the perfect dog, and I hope Pepper knows that she's lucky to have a family :)

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