Posted by Tania Kindersley.
Quite soon, I shall talk about something else apart from my dog. Not today though.
We went back to the vet. The very dear sister came for moral support. (I tried to let her off the hook, because the poor brother-in-law has agonising tendonitis, but she ruthlessly deserted him, choosing dog over husband, as is of course quite correct.)
The good news: the Duchess is responding very well to the drugs, and the heart sounds better. She is well in herself, eating, with a bright eye and a wet nose.
The bad news: for all that, she does have Congestive Heart Failure. The vet, very responsibly, will not give me any kind of time frame. He says it is very good to get a Lab cross to twelve, and I inferred that all time now is a bonus.
Oddly, after the storm of sadness that hit me on Tuesday, I am now determined and focussed. All dogs have a finite life. I am going to give her the best diet, the most suitable exercise regime, the highest tender loving care. She is very lucky in that she has this beautiful place to live in, with gentle walks, and woods to roam in, and a hundred thrilling scents to sniff at. She has her devoted sister, who, touch wood, seems to be in roaring good health.
And, she appears to have the love of the entire dear readership. I said to my sister: 'If the love coming out of the internet has anything to do with it, she would live forever.'
Now for the pictures. It's a glum old day today, the glorious sunshine of yesterday quite forgotten, but there were still amazing colours, and the snowdrops and crocuses continue to bloom, and the birds go on singing their merry song.
Seagulls, flying past my favourite little beech tree:
Trees and hills:
The bare branches still look like glorious sculptures to me:
Or impressionist paintings:
The colours along the beech avenue still amaze:
And do not forget the lichen:
The lovely, graceful viburnum, with the dear old shed in the background:
The now mandatory snowdrops:
The Older Niece's dog, who came for a morning visit:
My beloved Duchess:
You can see where she got her nickname from. For those of you just tuning in, she is not actually called The Duchess. For some reason, when I started featuring the dogs on the blog, I did not want to give their real names. I felt that they deserved some privacy, which is of course nuts, but seemed important at the time. So they became known by the nicknames which the Younger Niece gave them. The Duchess is so called because she is so damn aristocratic, really the grandest person I have ever met. The Pigeon is called The Pigeon because she is so soft and adorable, and the Younger Niece used to croon at her: oh my bird, my pigeon. For no known reason, this was always said in a West Country accent. Apologies to everyone in the West Country: we have no idea if you do in fact use pigeon as a term of endearment. I rather hope someone in Somerset does, but I cannot be sure.
And here is the dear old Pidge, at her sweet, gazing best:
They are both dozing at my feet as I write this, curled up together like two apostrophes, dreaming, I hope, of squirrels and rabbits.
And finally, today's hill, almost lost in the low cloud: