Saturday, 24 September 2011

All about the dog

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

It’s a beautiful, sunshiny day. The Pigeon is lounging about on the lawn, refusing to come in, just as the dear old Duchess used to. I had a terrible yearn for my Duchess yesterday; it came out of nowhere. It wasn’t shouty tears, or anything overt or showy, it was just a huge tide of emotion that rose in me like a swell at sea. She was such a fine dog, and my heart still aches for her loss.

I had sat down to write some more about books, after the tremendous response from the bookish readers yesterday. I was not intending to talk about dogs at all, because you know I never do that, but since we are on the subject, a really interesting thing has happened to The Pigeon. As the regular readers will know, she was very doleful and melancholy after her sister died. She made heartbreaking little sighing noises as she lay beside me on the sofa at night. She gazed at me with baffled eyes, as if to say: where is she? It was one of those awful things where I really wished that dogs could speak English, so I could explain and be understood.

I actually thought she might give up the ghost and fade away, from grief. Then she had her awful pancreatitis, and I thought that might finish her. But it turns out she is made of stern stuff. For all her excess sweetness and gentleness, she is a tough, robust little creature.

Her groove has come back like gangbusters. She is dancing and energetic and filled with life and spirit. She bounces up and down when it is time for the morning walk, chases sticks as if she were a three year old, and canters through the woods, her tail swinging in its signature circular arc.

Her character has slightly changed. She is more confident, more settled in herself, calmer, less needy. I wonder if she were not cast slightly into the shade by her grander, more regal sister. The Duchess was not called the Duchess for nothing; she was alpha all the way. So the dear little Pidge seemed to accept her beta status, her secondary place in the pack. Now, she has her moment in the sun, and like a flower reaching for the light, she is expanding and unfurling and holding her beautiful face up to bask in the warmth.

It is why I have decided not to get a puppy. She deserves her glory years, with all the love and adoration focused on her, undiluted. Now she is the queen, and even though her innate modesty prevents her swanking about it, one can tell she is enjoying her new ermine.


Pictures of the day:

24 Sept 1-2

24 Sept 2-2

24 Sept 3-2

24 Sept 4-2

24 Sept 5-2

24 Sept 6-2

24 Sept 7-2

24 Sept 8-2

24 Sept 9-2

24 Sept 10-2

24 Sept 11-2

24 Sept 12-2

24 Sept 14.ORF

24 Sept 15-2

As you can see, almost everything is still green, but there are sudden, vivid flashes of autumn:


The Sister’s poodle, who is staying:

24 Sept 19.ORF

And, of course, the heroine of this piece:

24 Sept 20-2

24 Sept 21-2

24 Sept 22-2

I took these at quite the wrong time of day, with the sun high in the sky, and blazing into the camera, which is why they have come out slightly bleached and odd. But I quite like the effect, even though it is not what a professional would do.

Then we went into the dappled shade, under the Scots pines, and got a rather better shot:

24 Sept 24.ORF

I mean, really. What is there to say about a face like that?

And, the hill:

24 Sept 25-2


  1. I couldn't bear to let Tilly and Khan (we didn't name him) see Chester's body, as one is advised, but we let them into the porch where he'd died when we had removed his body (you will understand how hard it is to type this) and they sniffed his bed and understood.

    Once Tilly was an only dog, she took on the job of guard dog and grew into her status. She would have loved a puppy though, and it would have eased her passing for us. Only a couple more weeks and it'll be a year that we've been without a dog. It's lonely.

  2. We decided to do the same with Quin. When our darling Bonbon died (coming home from France) we thought about a younger dog, but felt he might be happier on his own. He's 12 and despite arthritis (common in ex racing greyhounds) can still be very puppyish.

    Eventually, because I can't live without dogs in my life, we'll adopt two more greyhounds, hopefully years away yet.

    On a note of hope for all dog owners, one of my sister's dogs is 19 years old, and still going strong.

  3. It was a beautiful day down in Southsea in Hampshire too. What a difference sunshine makes?

    Helena xx

  4. This was exactly what we thought with Fig - he was such an elder statesman and master of the house, despite knowing it would have made his loss a little less dreadful we couldn't bear to dilute his final years and make him share his home and our love with a usurper and I'm glad we didn't.
    I adore our two rescue scamps and they bring much love and joy to us everyday, but it sneaks up and cuts me like the velvet knife that he is gone too. It seems impossible that he could be forever gone from this world.

  5. Thank you for sharing your wonderful world with us, ups and downs and all. I am still amazed that you have a dog that sits still when you point a camera at her. Every cat and dog I've ever had immediately got up and came over to shove their nose in the camera lens when I tried to take their picture!

  6. Oh Z - what a heartbreaking story. I know all that so well.

    Trifle Rushed - so sorry about your lovely dog. But hurrah for your surviving old fella. AND the amazing 19-year-old. Gives me hope.

    Helena - yes, yes, it is a TONIC.

    Anne - love seeing the pictures of your little chaps on your blog. They look so happy and sweet. But I think the ones we have lost stay in our hearts forever.

    Marcheline - what a lovely comment; thank you. The Pigeon is a champion poser, although sometimes she does give me a very reproachful how long do I have to put up with this look. :)

  7. Oh, she is just lovely. Enjioy your time with her x


Your comments give me great delight, so please do leave one.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin