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.


  1. So true and so beautifully written. I'm sorry for this sad anniversary. Hugs.

  2. Even if they did tell us, it probably wouldn't stop us. Nothing can prepare you for that moment. And that wave, I find that I never know when that wave is going to wash up and knock me on my ass. I can be completely okay one minute, then a blubbering fool the next. My one year anniversary on the loss of my Dixie is coming up soon. Sending hugs your way my friend.

  3. I didn't realize today was the anniversary. I'm sorry! I felt a lot like you after Treat died. It's been three and a half years since she passed, and there are still days when I find myself feeling the loss very acutely. I remember the day I picked up her ashes. I wasn't ready, but I couldn't bear the thought of her not being at home. I remember thinking that it couldn't be possible that my vital, amazing girl could fit in the little wooden box with my heart crammed inside as well. But I can't imagine not having known her and sharing my life with her, either. It was worth the pain to have shared that joy!

  4. So sorry for this anniversary. But as Houndstooth says, it's worth the pain ... otherwise none of us would ever have more than pet and I know I would have missed out on so much love and loving if that was the case.

  5. I understand how painful it still is. I lost my first greyhound, Eris, over a year ago. When she passed, I did not stop crying until about eight months later. Adopting Luna a year after Eris' passing is what finally helped me come out of grieving. You have two wonderful greys to keep the happy memories going and remind you of how special Girly Girl is to you.

  6. So true. She sounds like a very special girl. It's too bad they can't be with us forever.

  7. I'm very sorry for this anniversary. It's one we all wish we never had to face.

    Beau was my heart dog and I thought for sure I would never love again because the pain was far too much to bear. And then came Bella...

    The only difference now that "I know" is I am making a point to do everything, remember everything and record every moment of her life. That's not a bad thing to learn whether it's for the dogs or people in our lives and I will always have Beau to thank for teaching me that greatest of lessons.

    You will always have Girly Girl's influence in your life. I hope someday you will be able to look upon your memories with peace. :hugs:


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