Saab Magalona is mourning the loss of her pet dog, Joey.
On Facebook, the singer-host paid tribute to Joey as she posted old photos of them together, captioned with her touching message for her “ultimate baby.”
“‘What if your babies turn out to be allergic to dogs?’” she began.
“My in-laws presented this question to me when I was a few months pregnant with Pancho and Luna. I answered instantly and half-jokingly, ‘Then I guess the babies would have to stay with you because Joey was here first.’ They knew how Joey was my ultimate baby. I took her with me everywhere and since I met her, all my life decisions were based on her happiness and comfort,” she wrote.
“She is a big part of why I am where I am today,” she continued. “I got her around the time Jim (Bacarro, her husband) and I first started dating in 2012. I made it clear that she wasn’t a joint-puppy kind of thing. This puppy was not a promise ring. She was Joey Magalona, she was my child.”
Saab said having Joey taught her how to become a “responsible adult” and “truly prepared” her for motherhood.
“It was through her that I saw how kind and equally responsible my then-boyfriend was. Jim started taking on more responsibilities with Joey and I found myself falling in love with him and thinking how he would make a great father. I started writing Joey Magalona-Bacarro when we would take her to the vet,” she said.
She went on: “I joked about how my kids would take a backseat if they turned out to be allergic to Joey. But I knew that couldn’t happen. When I got pregnant in 2017, we had to slowly transition her to sleep on her own bed. It’s so she wouldn’t relate the babies’ arrival to her getting kicked off ours. In my head I was thinking, we’ll get her back on the bed when the babies are a bit older.
“I had a complicated pre-term birth in 2018. We lost our baby girl and each night, I would go home to Joey and she would comfort me from Jim’s lap. She couldn’t be in mine because of my post-op scar. We brought home a very fragile baby boy from the NICU 2 months later.”
Due to delicate wounds from her son’s brain surgery, Saab said she had no choice but to separate Pancho from Joey.
“It broke my heart but Joey was such a brave girl. She never fought for my attention. She seemed to understand that something was amiss and we’d need a little time to adjust. As Pancho grew stronger, they started bonding and she would lick his feet while he’d throw some food off his high chair. When I got pregnant again with Vito, I think Joey understood that she was no longer our baby. She was our big girl now and she knew I wasn’t as available to go on adventures with her for now. I kept thinking ‘she’ll understand’ because between breastfeeding, taking Pancho to his different doctors, work and OB appointments, I just didn’t have much energy to take her to training camp or bake her treats from scratch like before,” she said.
Saab went on: “My boys got sick with pneumonia before Vito was even a month old. Both were confined and it was a very traumatic experience for our whole family. In February of this year, they were starting to sneeze again and our pedia recommended that we rule out Joey’s hair as an allergen.
“Thankfully, my mom (Pia Magalona) was more than happy to take her in as she’s the one who looked after her whenever Jim and I would travel. The sneezes and rashes went away but I always thought of Joey. It’s much cooler in Antipolo and my mom, brother, sister, and their help Gleza and Lang showered her with so much attention. They sent me videos and photos of her and she was so so so happy. If I kept her in our house, it would have been for selfish reasons.
“Then the lockdown happened and we couldn’t even visit her. She would say hi to me on Zoom calls with my mom and they sent me a video of her greeting me a Happy Mother’s Day last Sunday.”
According to Saab, she had just ordered stuff for Joey when her pet dog was rushed to the clinic Thursday, May 14, after peeing blood.
“I asked if she could be taken to the vet because she had 2 surgeries in the past for bladder stones. The vet sent me x-rays thru e-mail. Her blood test showed she had an infection and I was told she needed another surgery. I was afraid because it would be her 3rd but it was what the doctor recommended and I had no choice but to give the go signal. When they opened her up yesterday, they saw that she had a tear in her bladder already and that caused complications with her recovery. Jim and I drove more than an hour through 3 checkpoints to hold her one last time. My mom and Gleza were there and we all said a prayer for our beautiful Joey Bear,” she said.
To end her post, Saab said that despite her loss, what brings her comfort is knowing that her “baby girls”, Joey and her daughter, Luna, are together now.
“It’s true that we sign up for a lot of pain when we decide to get a dog. We get years of unconditional love but there will always come a time to say goodbye. Joey brought us immeasurable happiness for the short time she was with us and nothing can ever replace it. I am so thankful for my sweetheart but it brings me comfort knowing that my baby girls are together now. Your papa and I are incredibly grateful for you, Bear. Run free. We will always love you,” she said