I have been having a very difficult time dealing with the loss of my heart dog Girly Girl. She’s been gone since mid-October but it’s still painful to me on a daily basis.

Christmas came and I felt her absence keenly. Then her birthday rolled around on February 15th. She would have been 8 years old. I’m pretty angry that we didn’t get anywhere near the time together that I wanted.

Girly Girl greyhound quilt square by Peggy VoakesIt’s hard with Girly Girl’s cancer to know if you made the right decisions. Even though all the books and articles tell you not to spend time Monday morning quarterbacking your decisions; and you know in your head there is no point in it, your heart still asks those “what if” and “should I have” questions.

I had also held out hope that our connection was strong enough that I might continue to feel her presence even if only every once in a while. So far that hasn’t happened.

I do believe that Girly Girl has returned once to let me know she is OK, and I’m also convinced that my sweet girl had everything to do with Bettina’s joining the family.

Back of Girly Girl greyhound quilt square by Peggy Voakes
And then there was Saturday March 12th. I received an unexpected package in the mail. It came from a friend I know through my connection with greyhounds named Peggy. She lives in Vermont but volunteers for Maine Greyhound Placement Service. One of the most beautiful things she does for us every year is partner with another volunteer to create a greyhound themed quilt which they then donate to MGPS. It serves as one of our major fundraisers as tickets are sold and at the end of the year the quilt is raffled off. The quilts are always stunning and I buy tickets every year hoping to win one.

For the past two years the quilts were composed of photo squares. The photos were submitted by MGPS adopters and printed on fabric. The finished quilts were absolutely amazing. The first year, a photo of Girly Girl was included in the quilt. The second year, Blue made the cut and appeared on the quilt. Unfortunately for me, I have absolutely no luck at all when it comes to contests and raffles. Needless to say, I did not win either one.

Detail of Girly Girl greyhound quilt square by Peggy VoaksI took the package with me from the post office to my car and opened it. Peggy had a left over photo block of Girly Girl which had been printed but not included in either quilt. She had finished it as a small banner with beautiful hand quilting. The back was finished so that I could hang it. She had added a heart to the back side noting Girly Girl’s birth and death dates and that she had been my beloved companion.

This was so unexpected a gift that I was glad to have opened it in my car because it took me a while to recompose myself after seeing it.

Later that same day the kids and I had stopped by Grammy’s house to show her Girly Girl’s quilt square. It had the same effect on Grammy that it had on me. When she had composed herself, she handed me a bag with something inside wrapped in tissue paper. I opened it up and found myself holding a wonderful photo frame with “Girly Girl” in rhinestones across the bottom. It truly couldn’t have suited my brindle diva any better.

Girly Girl photo frame from Ellen
It was a gift from one of my mother’s co-workers, Ellen. Ellen had found the frame in a local store and bought it for us.

Receiving two unexpected meaningful gifts relating to my girl on that Saturday was both touching and comforting. That they came at a time I have really been struggling to come to terms with Girly Girl’s loss, well, it just may be synchronicity. Possibly a gentle nudge from my baby girl letting me know she is there.


  1. Those are both priceless gifts. I think they both might be a sign of Girly Girl's presence in your life. I lost my Dixie Girl in November to osteo and I too have a huge hole in my heart.

  2. Girly Girl looks a bit like my first heart dog, Treat. I lost her way too early, too, due to an aggressive tumor on her spine. She was always a diva and I just knew she'd be a spectacular old lady, but we never got to that part. It's been almost three years since she left, and there are still hard days. Just like you, I got a special gift from someone in the mail a short time after she passed away. I'm not sure where those special gifts come from, but it does seem to float in just when you need it. I'm sorry that you're still missing your Girly Girl so much! I know what it's like, if that's any help.


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