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:
As you can see, almost everything is still green, but there are sudden, vivid flashes of autumn:
The Sister’s poodle, who is staying:
And, of course, the heroine of this piece:
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:
I mean, really. What is there to say about a face like that?
And, the hill: