Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Posted by Tania Kindersley.

This was not supposed to turn into a veterinary bulletin board, but that is the purpose it seems to be serving today. Am rather overwhelmed by the instant flood of amazingly kind comments that came in almost the moment I posted the poor Pigeon news. I can’t tell you how touched I am.

The vet has just called. It is pancreatitis. It is quite a common condition in older dogs, and he says it is serious. He says: fingers crossed, which I take as a good sign, because he is never a man to offer false hope. If there was acute danger, he would not have said that. He says also that he has her on drips and drugs and she is looking brighter. He is going to keep her in overnight, and monitor her closely, and tomorrow we shall see.

I look it up on the internet, trying to avoid the more hysterical sites which always say DEATH. It is rather a mystery ailment, and has many causes and many outcomes. She is not overweight and has a strict diet, so it seems it is not that. But one of the causes, bizarrely, is trauma and shock. I find this on a very official, dry vet website, so believe it must be true, and not mad interweb scare-mongering. I try to veer away from anthropomorphic sentimentality, but I cannot help wondering if the loss of her sister might have had something to do with it.

As always, my underlying default mode is optimism, so I count the hopeful things. These are:

We caught it early. I thought I was being a bit paranoid when I rushed her to the vet for a bout of sickness, and wondered if he might smile and send me away. It is the paranoia that comes from just having lost a dog: I’m not taking any chances. Catching it early is, apparently, a vital factor, so we can thank the dear old Duchess for that.

Her underlying health and fitness are very good. I think that must help.

My vet is bloody brilliant. I am slightly in awe of him, he is such a forceful alpha male. He has that sort of gleam of knowledge and capability that surgeons carry. But he is also very kind, and has known the Pidge since she was a tiny puppy. She could not be in better hands.

I’m not sure if I believe in fate. My child of the enlightenment rationalism militates against the idea. But there is a part of me that cannot quite resist a bit of magical thinking, every so often. I think: another blow cannot fall so soon. Surely it is time for the roulette wheel of life to spin and come down on a winning number? This of course is sheer folly and does not really count, but since I seem to be in the mode of giving you every single thought I have, at the moment I have it, I am putting this slightly nutty one down for the record.

And one more thing: if blog love could keep a dog alive, then the Pigeon really would live forever. What readers you are.


Pigeon 1st June 3


  1. Oh that sounds more hopeful *sends more force*

  2. Thinking happy-healthy-dog thoughts for your Pigeon. May she recover soon and fully!

  3. Oh, she's a good dog. That picture brought tears to my eyes. Can you get tears of animal appreciation? Not sure, but they felt like that.

    Things sound hopeful. I'm wishing the very best for you both.

  4. Dogs are much more sensitive than we give them credit for, it does sound like the trauma of missing her sister has brought on this illness. It must be a huge comfort to you knowing Pigeon is in such capable and caring hands. I love vets!

  5. She is obviously in best possible hands and I hope and pray that she is home soon. Can I make what might seen a thoughtless suggestion? When she is better and raring to go will you think about getting a new pup. They work wonders for older dogs and grieving people and I speak from experience. Realize you can't possibly think about this now.x

  6. It sounds positive - vets Know when something is horribly wrong. And when you know what the problem is, animals react brilliantly to pills and things. We will keep on crossing the paws ...

  7. "Oh no no no no no!!!"

    This is what I said out loud (in a very public place) as I read this post and caught up with the Pigeon news...

    I hope it relays how much I hope Pigeon recovers...

    *blog reader love*

    Bird x

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  9. Just get in, furious, from hearing four years of my work are to be consigned to the dustbin because a bean counter couldn't do his sums. Reading this, my little worry pales into insignificance. Sending you and Pigeon all the positive thoughts I can muster. I second Francesca's suggestion. xxx

  10. Magical thinking is not to be sniffed at. (I preach with the zeal of a converted rationalist). Good luck Rachel

  11. You caught it very early - bravo you for being such a good dog owner. I can imagine lots of people would have just put it down to general sickness and left it too late :(

    The vet sounds excellent. I'll stick with you on being encouraged by what he's said. V. pleasing to hear that she's already looking brighter.

  12. Tanya, I just had to do the google thing too and I think all your positives are so important. Once the pancreas has healed itself and she is comfortable again, you and your vet will come up with a plan to keep her happy for the rest of her days and nights. What more could any of us want.
    I'm cheering you both on and crossing everything for good news.

    J from MA XX

  13. Oh thank goodness...and the first thing I thought of when you reported that she was sick was that it was to do with a broken heart. I am afraid I do believe in such things. I am sure shock and adjustment had a part to play.

    Thank goodness also for the alpha male vet - the best kind. I saw a surgeon last week who had that similar aura; I found myself looking at his hands and thinking: he cuts for a living. What a feat. I am in awe.

    Long live the gorgeous dog and here's some blog love right backatcha. L x

  14. We have our fingers and paws crossed that she pulls through. Sending you both good thoughts.

  15. fingers and everything crossed xx

  16. Fingers and paws crossed too!

  17. Oh dear oh dear - I clearly must not go away for a while, just a couple of days rushed with other things and I see the pidgeon has not been well. Sending you lots of love and hope and crossed fingers. She must be well.

    Amanda xx

  18. Oh, this sounds much more hopeful. I've been thinking about Pigeon and what you've been through these past weeks. I believe very much that grief plays a role in illness. Fortunately, the boundless love you have for her will only help as she tries to heal. Crossing everything and sending warm thoughts to you both. x

  19. With love to you and Pidge...fingers, eyes, toes all crossed for a positive outcome. I believe there is no love like canine love. I'm with Ellie...thinking happy healthy full-recovery dog thoughts for the pair of you.

  20. Oh Tania, thinking of you. Despite my grammar school good at maths answer for everything programming I am a sixth sense type.... My sister keeps horses and as you say vets tend to let you know when things are really dire. Everything crossed xx

  21. *and more force still*

    whether you call them prayers, or intercessions, or good thoughts, they are emphatically winging their way from Norfolk to Scotland

    thank you for updating us


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  23. I'm sorry that it is something serious, but am so glad that you do at least have positive signs, and most importantly a really good vet. I obviously don't know her, but she does seem to be a bit special, and I'm sending al my love and best wishes to you both, Kx

  24. Please post another bulletin to keep us updated. Sending lots of good wishes your way.

  25. You are an amazing, amazing collective (for that is now how I start to think of the Dear Readers). Thank you all so much. Such kindness. There are many times that I wish that dogs could speak English, but especially now, so I could tell the darling Pigeon how much affection she generates, out there in the blogosphere.

  26. Pancreatitis is a weird illness; I had it when I was 15 or 16, having always played sports. Never had a drop of alcohol to that point, either. And I can vouch for the pain the Pigeon was in - I was immobilized with it and on the 30-minute ride to the hospital every jolt and bump in the road was excruciating.

    It's good to know Ms. Pigeon is in the right hand hands. Sending her - and you - healing thoughts.


  27. I think she may have been mourning the loss of her sister before her sister went off to heaven. Animals are amazing, they know things we don't. Lots of love to you, as always. xx

  28. Thank you for the illuminating update, your wonderful words to us and the dearest face of the Pidge: it filled my eyes with tears.
    Thinking about you both with much much hope and affection.

    May the alpha supervet and all the love flowing towards her do their work and have her back to you very soon and healed! XXX

  29. Bloody hell, Tania, this is too bloody much. Poor little Pigeon. I am so sorry, but also so glad that the vet seems reasonably positive.

    I'll have to check your blog more frequently, I got quite a shock when I opened it and thought - NO! Not the Pigeon too!

  30. I'm so sorry I've been missing Tania, things have been utterly wretched here...our beautiful darling Fig the cat died suddenly in the early hours of June 9th (the husband's 40th birthday) I know I don't need to tell you of the unbearable pain and grief...but forgive my not being here to wish you and dearest Pigeon well, please know we are sending you both very much love and well wishes.

  31. Oh Anne - I'm so very sorry. I know you loved that beautiful Fig. Know only too well what you are going through. Sending a watery smile. :)

  32. " of the causes, bizarrely, is trauma and shock"

    So, there you have it. (Sorry, I have only just commented on yesterday's post without seeing the latest update. Blame Twitter. Or my scatty head.

    Have lots of faith. There are sooo many good wishes coming your way, Tania. Chin up, Lovely. x

  33. Oh GOOD. Pancreatitis is manageable and it sounds like you have just the right sort of vet. Many positive vibes being sent to both you and Pigeon. (Also Rescue Remedy. I remember it for everyone else but myself).

    Stress and grief to bring it on? Yes indeed. Dogs KNOW, and the Duchess was an integral part of her life. Our bull terrier was rather lost when Bonnie finally had to be put down almost 3 weeks ago. This rather accelerated the process of getting a new pup. He is now smitten with Molly Mastiff, a 12 week old pup who has successfully brought him (and us!) out of the doldrums. The wolfhound just looks on, bemused.

    Once again - very best of wishes from us all.

  34. Oh thank goodness for your wonderful vet. When Ive looked at the recent photos of your beautiful Pigeon I must admit I thought she looked so sad... As you know, heartbreak does manifest itself physically.
    Sending you much love and best wishes xxx

  35. Oh I absolutely am thinking good thoughts for you Tania.....the roulette wheel does indeed owe it to fall on a winning number this time.

    I have never had a dog but I know from your writing that they are wonderful creatures, yours especially, I have always been able to see it in their eyes.

    Keeping everything crossed and thinking positive for you xx

    PS Thank you so much for the lovely comment you left me the other day.

  36. Visiting family in Florida & away from the internet...
    Please add my healing thoughts/ energies to these.
    And please, please take care of yourself!
    XX Pat

  37. Thinking all the positive thoughts for Miss Pigeon I can muster. Agree with your reader Dash -- dogs are very, very sensitive and feel everything acutely. You have a good vet and as you point out, you've been clever enough to catch this early. Love from all the spotteds, and a very big hug to you (who, I would imagine, really needs one).



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