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In honor of "Bambina"

aka "Little Boo", "Fluffnugget", and "the Littlest Boo of them All"

8/31/11 - 2/23/24

She was a part of so many children's lives over the years, and most recently was a beloved and frequent visitor to our Lower Elementary classroom, but truly, the whole school adored her. She was somewhat of a celebrity wherever she went. I wanted to create a space where our community could come and look at her photos, reminisce, and honor all the joy and love she gave over the years. So, I'm adding this blog, in Memorium. I hope you'll come back and visit her here with your children again and again.

Bambina was a "forever puppy". She weighed just under 6 lbs for most of her life, and she didn't seem to age. She was a gift to me on my 40th birthday.

About 8 weeks old, in October of 2011.

She was so tiny, and when I discovered that she shared a birthday with one of my biggest heroes, Maria Montessori, I decided that the Italian word for "little girl" was the perfect name. Over the years, though, she gained many other nicknames. Fluffnugget was one of the first, then Little Boo, and finally, the Littlest Boo of Them All, which became the title for her Instagram page. Here we are at DGS, celebrating Bambina's 11th birthday and Dr. Montessori's 152nd!

When your mom is a teacher, you get carted to school a lot. Since one of her favorite things was licking faces (giving kisses), she LOVED visiting the children at school. The first class she graced with her presence was at Countryside Montessori school, where DGS alumni Harrison Peoples was a 3-year-old! She was a frequent presence at Countryside Basketball games, where she entertained hundreds of adoring fans over the years. Here she is with another future DGS student some of you might recognize.

As you can see, Bambina went with me pretty much everywhere. She had a bag that was designed to look like a purse, and in that, she would sometimes go "incognito". She even attended my daughter's college orientation at UNC Asheville without anyone knowing she was there.

She did all kinds of other things, too. She biked with me...

Hiked with me

and even visited the Christmas Story House in Cleveland

But her favorite place (besides school, of course) was definitely the beach!

Look closely to the right of the picture... do you see the fiddler crab? She did!

Her favorite meal was spaghetti

Which always led to spaghetti face

When I started working at DGS, I waited a little while to introduce her to the children. Here she is on one of her first visits to school after the weather had started to cool. She helped me with morning meeting.

Then later the children took turns holding her.

After that, I often got messages when she'd been absent too long. This one says "Bambina is overdue... sad..."

This one speaks for itself

I also often received messages of joy and thanks after a visit!

Over the last few years, she visited DGS countless times. I'm glad we had so many memories together. Here are a few of them.

Just before Thanksgiving, Bambina had emergency surgery for a slipped disc in her back. Here she is in the ICU. Of course, everyone at the hospital loved her. They even fed her cooked chicken from a crock pot.

Her scar looked pretty scary.

And she required cage rest, which she didn't much care for.

Of course, all of this meant her school visits were on pause, but she was recovering well and the doctors thought she'd return to her old. playful self in no time. And at first, she did seem to heal quickly.

But after Christmas, when I expected to be able to bring her back to school, we noticed she began eating less and less.

We thought she just had an upset tummy from all the medicine she'd been on. We tried everything to get her to eat.

It was more and more obvious that something was really wrong. She clearly didn't feel well, even though she tried to pretend she was fine.

When her lungs filled with fluid, the doctors knew something was seriously wrong. They diagnosed her with lymphoma of the digestive tract, and it was already stage IV.

The doctors told us if we tried chemotherapy, it might buy us some more time. Because this was such a shock, and she had gone from so healthy to so sick, so quickly, we were willing to try anything. We at least wanted her to get well enough to have one last visit to school, to say goodbye.

Just before the February break, she had her first chemo treatment. That day, she was feeling so poorly, I was really afraid they wouldn't give her the treatment, but they relented. She was barely moving in her bag on her way to the doctor.

But even at her sickest that day, when we pulled in at the school to pick up the car we'd left behind, she popped out of the bag and whined DESPERATELY for me to take her into the school to see her friends.

Sadly, it seems it was too late for chemotherapy to help. We knew it was not good when she wouldn't even eat spaghetti. We took her on one final trip to the beach.

After not having walked at all for days, she happily trotted along the beach for almost a half mile, ignoring the cold, her exhaustion, and pain. We are so glad we could give her that chance.

After we came home, we said the hardest goodbye. She passed away on February 24.

Coming back to school was hard, but the children helped me to grieve and say goodbye. I'm so thankful to everyone in our community for opening your arms and welcoming our sweet Bambina... we made some wonderful memories together. I also want to thank everyone for your kindness through this sad time. I know she is missed by our entire community.

I'll close by leaving you with some photos of Bambina on better days. As the children liked to say... she was so cute, it hurt! Here are some of our favorite "Little Boo" photos. Thank you for taking this journey with me.

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