Thursday, 17 May 2012

A small scare

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

One of the things that lives in the back of my mind like a shadow is the very great age of the Pigeon. She is fourteen years old and that is old. Ever since I lost her sister I am acutely aware of the fleeting nature of a dog’s life. Sometimes, the thought clutches at my heart so hard that I am almost afraid of how much I love her. I divert myself with the horse love, and work, and keeping busy, but the thought remains.

Yesterday, I found a lump on her stomach. Horrid imaginings chased themselves in so hard that I almost did not want to take her to the vet, because I could not bear to hear the sentence being pronounced. But she is well in herself, I thought; her nose is wet, she chases down that ball as if she were a three-year-old, she is eating well. But still, there it was, the terror, buffeting me as hard as the east wind.

I took her at three-forty. I tried to look normal. I am not sure that I succeeded. It was not my alpha vet, but his junior colleague, a very kind and smiling woman who has seen the Pidge before. She examined the growth, frowned, felt, thought. Don’t say it out loud, I thought; just bloody don’t.

‘It’s fine,’ she said.

The room stopped moving about. I had not realised that it was moving, but I was so dizzy with fret that it was like being on a ship at sea.

‘Oh,’ I said, trying not to smile like a crazy person.

She is fine. It’s a little fatty growth; sounds disgusting, but dogs get them and there is no worry. They are going to keep an eye on her, but it’s just perfectly, perfectly normal.

We got her weighed whilst I was there. OPTIMIMUM WEIGHT. I felt as proud as if I had bred a Derby winner. Her claws were trimmed.

‘She does look well,’ said the kindly vet. ‘She’s in great shape.’

Everyone in the vet’s waiting room admired her. She went about making friends and influencing people. She was, of course, easily the most beautiful dog there. I am not biased at all.

The nasty demons went back into their box. We live to fight another day. These are the twilight years now; each day is precious. Everybody knows, from my closest family to the farthest Dear Reader, that I shall be a wreck when she goes. But for now, I still have the great gift of her, dozing on the sofa, in all her sleek, black, brilliant glory.


There was snow this morning, and a paltry two degrees. A thin, mean rain persisted all day, and the world looked as if it were drowning. So, no photographs, just a few from the last week:

17 May 1

17 May 2

17 May 3

17 May 6

17 May 7

Red, looking out at her view:

17 May 8

Her view:

17 May 9

My gorgeous Pigeon, with her noble, thoughtful face on:

17 May 10

Yesterday’s hill. Today’s is lost in the cloud:

17 May 15


  1. The noble face of the Pigeon . . . you know, as well as you have let us know her, you won't be the only one devastated when she goes. We won't be as stricken as you, but some of us will be feeling it almost as if we knew her in person. So she must stay around and set doggy records for longevity.


  2. Huge amounts of thankfulness.

  3. We have so few defenses when it comes to our pets.

    Beautiful dog...


  4. Nothing grips me more than your vets' recounts. Somehow it feels as the most serious of topics and I am gripped to the core with fright. I know your physical sickness so well from my own experience with three most beloved cats now gone. It's their innocence and naifte' that makes it all the more cutting.

    But it's great news for the Dearest Pidge!!!

    Her expression in today's portrait just melts me.

    And I am delighted for you! :) :)

  5. I love that you love her so much. It speaks volumes. L x

  6. What Bird and Lou said.
    I adore her so very much from afar, and am so glad for the good news. I stopped breathing as I read, as I always do with such posts. Live long dearest Pidge. Live l o n g.

  7. How frightening for you...I am so glad Pigeon is fine. The love we have for our animals is like no other and when we suffer the loss of them, it is felt deeply. Love the beautiful pictures - Pigeon is a beauty as always~


  8. Such good news. Please give her a hug and biscuit from me.
    So pleased. :)

  9. The "other" (I won't even name it) bears no thinking about. I still mourn the sudden loss of my last kitty, who, at 14, was not a youngster...but...still. She was such a sweetheart.
    I try, as "they" say in all those 12-step programs, to take one day at a time, stay present and appreciate the "moment(s)". (Easier to say than do when my imagination simultaneously goes all over the place.)

  10. *deep sigh* I have canine "nieces" about whom (not which, but whom) I fuss and worry. Animals love so unreservedly it's near impossible not to think of them as perfect companions. May the princess Pigeon live longer still and in good health.

  11. I am the human of a 14- (or 15-, got her from the SPCA, so who really knows?) year old Beagle. She could grow lumps for Britain. Some have been diagnosed as malignanat (but she's still here 4 years after that, so what do they know?), some as fatty benign tumours. She still loves her food and enjoys a good nap. As long as that continues, we're good to go.

    Love to the Pigeon!


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