Bat Girl

Losing Girly Girl has been among the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with. I knew how special she was and how special our relationship was from the moment she chose me at the rescue kennel. Knowing what I had and also knowing I was going to lose it, in fact was powerless to do anything about it, shook everything I believed in.

I feel like I am still reeling from her untimely departure, almost two months after her death. I knew I would someday bring home another greyhound to honor Girly Girl’s memory. But I fully expected that to be at least six months to a year in the future. At a minimum. I didn’t realize that Girly Girl had other plans for me.

I had kept a fairly low profile for the last few months of Girly Girl’s illness and the month after her passing. I had not had much contact with the members of my extended greyhound family. All that staying home had taken a toll on Blue. Being such a social butterfly, he has a fundamental need to get out and meet people. He must be loved and adored by his public. So, about four weeks ago, I decided to drag myself out into the light of day and take Blue to one of our favorite pet stores, The Animal House.

The Animal House is a bit of a distance from our house but Blue and I set out for a nice ride. Upon arrival, we made the requisite stop by the cashiers’ station so Blue could extract the maximum treats and attention from the staff. Then I hauled Blue away from his birthright and started to browse around the store. After a time, we heard, “there’s a greyhound in here!” We looked over to see Blue’s “Auntie” Carol standing in the aisle. We hadn’t seen Carol, one of our Meet and Greet Family members, for quite some time. It was so unusual to run into each other in that place and at that time that it took Carol a minute or two to recognize that the greyhound was Blue and that the poor wreck at the other end of his leash was me. It was, in fact, the first time we had ever seen Carol at The Animal House outside of our appointed meet and greet days.

Carol and I chatted for a bit, got caught up. Blue extracted his adoration and then we went on our respective ways. That evening I got an email from Carol. She wanted to tell me that she had dreamt about Girly Girl the night before. Now Carol has shared her life with greyhounds for many years but she said she had never dreamt about any greyhound until the night before she saw me. Carol had hesitated to tell me about the dream when she saw me in the store because she had not wanted to upset me. But the circumstances of our meeting being somewhat strange, we debated whether or not the dream may have meaning.

Because of the nature of my questions concerning the bigger picture and Girly Girl’s cancer, I had desperately been hoping for some sort of sign that Girly Girl was in a good place and that there was some chance we might see each other again. Carol and I wondered if maybe the dream may have been a sign. But neither of us could figure out why Girly Girl would visit Carol in her dream and not come to her mumma?

While Carol and I were pondering these issues, Carol completed one of her regular shifts at the Maine Greyhound Placement Service kennel. Carol wears many volunteer hats there but happened to be doing turn out on that visit. Carol soon emailed me that there was a new load of greyhounds that had just arrived at the kennel on the day we had seen each other at The Animal House. As Carol was greeting each one and reading their names on the crates she came across a beautiful little fawn girl. When Carol checked the name on the crate: Girlie. Carol said she wouldn’t have mentioned it to me for fear of causing me upset, however, after our discussion about the dream, she felt it was yet another strange coincidence.

I have never believed in coincidences and I generally manage to believe everything happens for a reason. It clicked into place why Girly Girl would appear to Carol in her dream. You see, Carol, of all the people who know me, would be in the unique position to see Girlie, the new grey, and, having bumped into me the day before, would be sure to tell me about her because of the dream and our unexpected meeting. I was in no way ready for a new greyhound in my life but things were pointing me towards a visit with Girlie. I figured it couldn't hurt just to go up there and see her.  I wouldn't be obligated.  I called and set the appointment for the coming Saturday.

That Saturday morning with Blue and my mother for support, I drove to the kennel to meet Girlie. I waited nervously while they brought out the sweetest looking little fawn girl with striking Elizabeth Taylor eyes, just like Girly Girl had. I took her leash and walked her around. Then around some more. Then I sat down and tried to engage her. But try as I might, I could not get Girlie to even acknowledge me, let alone make any kind of connection. I might have blamed it on her being overly excited except she attached herself to my mother quite clearly. I was very puzzled. Why was I at MGPS if it wasn’t for Girlie?

My mother suggested that, since we were already there, perhaps I should meet another hound. That just maybe, Girly Girl arranged for someone else to succeed her. I was a bit disappointed that Girlie was a bust and I wasn’t really ready for a new baby. I considered just leaving but mom and the kennel volunteer seemed so eager to show me someone else so I agreed to meet another. Out came Helda, a great looking, rather large, brindle girl. She was out of control and almost immediately attacked Blue. Grammy ended up being bitten when she stuck her hand in Helda’s mouth to keep her from biting Blue’s neck. Scratch Helda.

By now I was thinking about what a mistake this had been and what I was going to do after we left the kennel. But again my mother and the kennel volunteer prevailed upon me to give it one more try. Half-heartedly I agreed to just one more. Soon Jess was back with a sleek looking, almost completely black girl named Mo (short for Mohican Heart). She was a bit excited at first but she calmed as I walked her around. Every time we paused, she would run back to me from the end of the lead and lean against me for a scratch or rub. When I sat next to her, she tried licking my face. She got on famously well with Blue though he was pretty gun shy after getting his butt kicked by Helda.

Mo was very loving, outgoing and friendly. I felt a little twinge. But I asked to see Girlie again. It didn’t seem right that I was considering leaving Girlie behind. She was from Alabama, from the same trainer as Girly Girl. She had Elizabeth Taylor eyes! So Jess brought Girlie back out and there was just no doubt. She made no connection with me whatsoever. I hemmed and hawed for a bit. My inner voice wasn’t giving me clear direction. My brain was telling me that I probably should just go home. I wasn’t ready. So I opened my mouth and said, “It’s Mo. I’ll take her.” Wait. What? 

Before I could think too much about the “what?” part, I was in the office reviewing Mo’s paperwork and writing a check. It turned out that Girlie had been retired for two months before coming to MGPS. Her trainer had held her there at his kennel until MGPS could make their next pick up because he had wanted to send her to Maine. Not only that, but Mo had been at MGPS for six months. She had been chosen by a family and was scheduled to go home with them on October 20th but for some reason it had fallen through.

When all the paper had transferred and Mo was loaded into the car with Blue, I sat in the driver’s seat a bit stunned and dazed. My mother turned to me and said, “Think about it. If Carol had emailed you to tell you about Mo, would you have come to see her?” I just wasn’t ready and I would not have. “Girly Girl saw to it that the one person who would be in a position see Girlie and you (Carol) told you about Girlie. You wouldn’t have come here for any other dog. Girlie had been held for two months so she would end up at MGPS. That got you here. But when you got here you met the hound you were supposed to. One who had been waiting here for you for six months. Who had been adopted a few weeks before you arrived but it fell through and she was ready for you.”

So meet Mohican Heart, Mo, now known as Bettina and nicknamed by our Meet & Greet Family as Bat Girl. She’s just turned 2 years old October 8th. She was sent to Rhode Island to race but never had the opportunity to get on the track before it closed. Apparently they assessed that it was not worth shipping her to another track and after I first saw her run, I understood. She’s extremely loving but in many, many ways still a baby. I have my hands full. There have been a few times I have looked at the sky and asked, “Really? Really!?!” Then I subtly feel the poke of a much loved but now absent needle nose gently prodding me forward. After all, Bettina comes with a very special recommendation.


  1. That is absolutely incredible! Congratulations to you, Blue, and Bettina! Can't wait to get to know her through your blog and tweets. :)

  2. I love this story. Kudos to Girlie Girl for her prodding. Mo is beautiful.

    Congrats on your new baby.

  3. Your story of adopting Bettina reminded me an awful lot of how I ended up with Bunny! I am so happy for you and your new girl! She's just beautiful!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this story. And, congratulations!

  5. I will admit that I am now misty.

    This story reminded me of my dear Monster man. Monster was a neighborhood cat who roamed my parents' neighborhood for 15 years. I remember him way back during middle school. Three families (mine included) took care of him.

    Two of those families moved away, and it was up to my family to take care of him. So, Monster actually became a third cat in our family during his last year with us - instead of just a visitor.

    Painfully, my mom and I took him to our vet after a month-long roller coaster ride with liver complications, and he was put to sleep on July 7, 2008.

    Let me tell you that I did not recover from this quickly, either. He also was the first animal that I've ever dealt with putting to sleep.

    Not too long after, I went to visit Justin (this was before we lived together,) and his cat. One day, I glanced over at her, and saw Monster. I had to do a double-take. No, when I looked again, Monster wasn't sitting there - it was Kay. She was standing peacefully in the sunshine shining through the window.

    I was convinced that Monster was communicating to me that he, too, was in a happy place, basking in the sun somewhere.

    I also can NOT see a coincidence in the events that led you to adopt your new Bat Girl! Girlie Girl's passing, your random bumping in to Carol, Carol's dream that inspired you to take a trip to the kennel. All of these are NO coincidence.

    Wonderful story :-)

  6. Oh gosh, congrats on the new little lady! I can't believe I didn't even say that in my last post!

    She looks like a sweetie, and I'm sure she's loving retired life :-D

  7. Congrats on your new baby. I still haven't gotten another, yet.

    Having had so many of them and going through this so many times I have been feeling a bit 'drained' emotionally, so much that I have just been unable to 'do it again' thus far.

    However, I know the story, it has happened here a few times. When my first girl, Blaze, passed away she sent another to me. It just 'happened' and it turned out to be a 9 year old girl who was half sister to Blaze. I didn't know that until a good year *after* I'd adopted the girl (her name was Beebe). She came to me in *my* dream though however. :) Still that was just the first time this sort of thing happened to me. 19 greyhounds in total (9 living with me at one time) and I am now down to just 1. One of these days I know it will happen again.

    Enjoy your sweet girl. Lots of hugs to you and scritches to the hounds.

  8. I love this story. They really have a way of choosing us. I totally believe that Girly helped bring Mo to you. Blessings to you, Blue and Mo.


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