They Never Tell You...

Girly Girl and Blue greyhounds in snow
October 12th, 2011 marked one year that I have had to exist in a world without Girly Girl in it. For those new to my missives, Girly Girl was my first greyhound. That once in a lifetime bond. My heart dog. Girly Girl was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in December of 2009. She and I had just 3 ½ infinitesimally short years together. But then, 200 years would not have been enough for me.

Blue, Grammy and I have soldiered our way through the first Thanksgiving without my girl. And the first Christmas. And her 8th birthday. There was only one first left and now that to is behind me, the first anniversary of her passing. I don’t remember a lot, but I’m pretty sure I was completely in shock and overwhelmed by the thought of her absence for the first month after she passed. Unfortunately shock wears off and then pain. Oh the pain. A strange thing about pain that I never really knew before, it seems to come in waves. There may be minutes, hours, days, some times a whole week where I can get through each day without crying. Then the wave rolls in and I go weeks where an event, a photo or even just a thought of her will turn me into a blubbering mess.

Girly Girl in car with swimming pool
That’s one of the things they don’t tell you about. Another is that I have had a very hard time bringing up memories of the millions of good times we shared. Instead, the memory of her last day keeps replaying on a loop. Though we were so incredibly lucky that we could give her a peaceful end, at home, with all of the people and hounds who loved her around, it was still her last day. The end of our most incredible journey together. I have 3 ½ years of photos and videos which I have been completely unable to look at yet, a year later.

They also don’t tell you what it will be like when you bring your beloved companion home after the cremation. I didn’t know where I should put her. I knew I couldn’t spend the rest of my time carrying around a carved wooden box with me though I desperately wanted to keep her with me at all times. For a little while I did. I even brought her on the first business trip I took after her ashes came home. OK, it’s also true that I’ve brought her on all the others since then as well. I did finally decide she should stay in the living room when she isn’t busy traveling since that is where Blue, Bettina and I spend much of our time. I figured she would want to be where we were.

Girly Girl greyhound chasing Blue greyhound
I wish they’d told me that I would miss her every minute of every day since she left me. Some days have been worse and others more bearable. An animal communicator told me that Girly Girl is actually helping other cancer dogs now from where she is. This sounds like my girl and I like to believe that this may very well be true.

When you prepare to walk out the door of the rescue with your new love they just never tell you that it will end in such gut wrenching pain. Sometimes it will end far sooner than is remotely fair. When a large chunk of my heart closed her eyes on this world, my life became a little less shiny. And I was already in for a pound with Blue, my second greyhound. He was, at that point, a well established member of my family. Yet I know that eventually I will have to watch him slip away from me, and I now know what that is going to feel like. If they had told me the full consequences of my act, what would I have done?

There are some very important things they just don’t tell you, but in the end, I think those of us who love dogs (or cats) must bear this incredible pain willingly. Because in the reckoning, Girly Girl made me a much better person than I ever was or could have been without her. I can’t imagine my life without a greyhound in it. It still hurts like hell a whole year after she left Blue and I behind, but in order to honor the gift that Girly Girl gave me, I must continue sharing my life with hounds. Though some days it’s a close call.
Girly Girl greyhound in back yard

I love you and miss you sweet girl.


I'm This Many....

Today is Bettina's birthday!  The big THREE.

Bettina greyhound in birthday hat
Birthday girl!

Bettina, Fox and Crandall greyhound
Bettina with her cousins, Fox and Crandall


Bettina and Fox greyhound
Ummm...what's that thing on your head?

Bettina greyhound birthday muffin
A birthday pumpkin muffin

Fox and Blue greyhound muffins
Muffins for everybody!  (Fox and Blue)
Bettina greyhound muffin drunk
Muffin drunk


Fright Night

Imagine, if you will, a random Friday evening. At home. Alone. Just me and the hounds. It’s dark outside and we’re watching Ghost Adventures. Bettina-weena is on the couch next to me while I let the program completely freak me out.

Bettina greyhound hears a noise
Bettina’s head suddenly pops up. Her ears clearly indicate that she’s seen or heard something of great import and is now on high alert. Worse still, she’s laser focused on the back door. She is staring so intently, I thought that perhaps it had turned into a small white dog or a cat.

My heart skips a beat. We’re in the boonies and there is no doubt in my mind that none of my neighbors is near enough to hear me scream. I haven’t tested this theory but when none of my neighbors heard me sobbing after being too afraid to get back off of my roof this winter when I went up there to try and shovel the snow off of it, I don’t hold high hopes.

Damned sheer curtains on the back door. I can’t see out at night, but whatever might be out there can definitely see in. Bettina could just be reacting to the vague reflections of she and I that you can see in the glass of the door behind the curtains. As I’ve related previously, Bettina has a thing about reflections and no amount of scientifically based evidence to the contrary can coax her into believing those reflections are us.

Except then Blue pops up, ears quivering and standing at attention. He to, is on high alert. Really? Right now? While I’m home alone, watching a scary ghost program in the dark? Perhaps Blue is just reacting to Bettina’s defcon state. Or are they really hearing or seeing something out “there”? More importantly, do I dare check?

Bettina greyhound whats outside in the dark
Bettina is craning her neck into strange pretzel shapes in order to get a better view of the back door. Blue is now on his feet, hackles raised. Bettina gets off the couch and starts cautiously creeping towards the back door.

Crike! I start looking for a heavy object to use as a weapon. This certainly isn’t how I envisioned my last few moments on earth. Still I decide I’ll at least go out fighting and make any slasher pay dearly for my blood. Unless, that is, the unknown being causing my kids so much concern is a ghost… Being quite lapsed from the faith of my childhood, I have to assume I am now on my own when it comes to malevolent spirits.

With my heart in my throat and the remote control in my hand (my plan there was to try and beat any intruder soundly about the head and shoulders) I force myself towards the back door. Why on earth did I choose to live in the middle of nowhere? Why did I choose a house so far away from everyone else? Why don’t I own a baseball bat? Why do I live in a town with no police force? And why on God’s green earth am I walking towards that back door?

I make all kinds of fun of those idiots who hear a noise in the horror movies and head out in their PJs to investigate. What kind of moron actually does that, right? Here I have two hounds in full fight or flight mode and what do I do? I reached the door, pushed past Bettina, and took a deep breath. I flipped on the porch light and stifled a scream at seeing….absolutely nothing.

Bettina greyhound somethings out there
Blue and Bettina survey the back yard and do the canine equivalent of shrugging their shoulders. Blue went back to his bed and settled back in for a nap after all the excitement. Bettina just looked at me and wandered off to the kitchen to see if I dropped anything that she may have missed.

Seriously guys? Are you trying to kill me? Getting no sympathy from my furry children, I went back to the living room and settled back down on the couch. It wasn’t long before I had dozed off into a fitful sleep during which I dream of ghosts, axe murderers and boogie men. I don’t know how long I have been sleeping but as the dreams get scarier, I find myself awakened by an extremely loud and disembodied bark directly in my ear.

For the first time in my life, I came out of a deep sleep screaming like a horror movie actress. When the fog cleared I see before me a small black dog with a look of utter bewilderment and fear on her face, quickly back pedaling away from me and possibly wondering if her mumma had completely lost her marbles. I also see the backside of Blue as he runs for the safety of the office, down at the end of the hall.

As my heart stops trip hammering, I consider saying I am sorry for scaring the kids so much. If I were a good mumma, I would do just that. But instead I considered us now even with everyone having lost some number of years off their lives on this evening. I turn off Ghost Adventures, take the remote with me in case I needed it as a weapon, and bury myself deep under my covers to wait for daylight.