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Betsy Higgins / December 19, 2017

Betsy Higgins died at her home in Clarksville, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017 at the age of 79.

Born in Lexington, N.C., she was the daughter of the late Bradley Buckhart Brogdon and the late Muriel Gertrude Childress. She was married to the late Michael "Mike" Higgins.

Betsy grew up rescuing dogs and cats as soon as she could walk and long before there was even the idea of animal shelters in rural North Carolina. She was known to skip school to bring home the dogs and cats she found on her way, hiding them in her closet. Money was tight and a pet was a luxury. Betsy often describes the situation saying she would haul them home and her daddy would haul them away. Then one day out of the blue he brought her home a Pomeranian. Later he would bring home a monkey named Jimmy but he did not become a permanent member of the family due to his monkey habits. One of the happiest days of Betsy’s life (after the birth of her children) was when she was hired by a local veterinarian in Lexington. It was there that she learned the skills that later lead her to start her own successful pet grooming business.

In 1985 she moved to Clarksville, and opened her grooming shop along with a small boarding kennel, later expanding as the business grew. Owning and operating an animal-based business fulfilled Betsy’s lifetime dream of working with animals, but she continued to be very active in animal rescue. Beyond the many animals that she herself provided a home, she fostered and placed numerous dogs and cats with loving, responsible pet owners. Betsy often said that she supported animal causes because animals had always supported her.

Betsy was one of the founding board members of the Lake Country SPCA in Clarksville and served on the board for many years. Betsy’s Grooming & Kennel, run by her daughter Amy, continues this legacy in supporting local animal rescue and welfare organizations.

Betsy is survived by her son Brad Franklin (Terri) of Browns Summit, N.C., daughters Lana Bunce (Graham) of Lexington, N.C., and Amy Franklin of Clarksville. Also surviving are grandchildren Jacob Franklin, Adam Bunce (Brittani), Brianna Douglas (Bruce), Russala Bunce, Austin Rivas (Tanner), Olivia Bunce and great-grandchildren McKendrie and Lila Douglas, Ava and Asher Bunce, Wyatt and Vivian Rivas.

A funeral will be held Thursday, Dec. 21at 1 p.m. in the chapel of Watkins Cooper Lyon Funeral Home, with burial to follow at Oakhurst Cemetery. The Rev. Jane Lyon will be officiating.

The family will receive friends Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 6-8 p.m., at Watkins Cooper Lyon Funeral Home.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family at

Arrangements are by Watkins Cooper Lyon Funeral Home.

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