Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Running out of words

Have slightly run out of words today. I never run out of words.

Last night, the Pigeon and I sat on the sofa together, watching old episodes of the West Wing. Even the brilliance of Aaron Sorkin could not stop my mind from wandering. I suddenly decided that I must write down every single moment of these last days. I must record the soft, downy feel of her fur, the teddy bear grumble she makes when she shifts position, the gracious line of silver about her mouth, the way she puts her muzzle on my leg and gazes up into my eyes.

I actually rushed to the computer at half-past nine and started to do this. Then my fingers stopped moving. I don’t need to write it, I thought; I should just live it.

Everyone is lovely. All the extended family, the Beloved Cousin, the Horse Talker, the Dear Readers. I get incredibly touching messages on Twitter. There is the sweetness of the nearest and dearest, and the kindness of strangers. I move between pretty stoical and intensely sad. In a slightly nuts way, I keep the sadness from the dog. For her, I am bonny and blithe.

She chased her stick this morning. This is my absolute bellwether. She is a bit off her food, and she gives me those heartbreaking searching glances, as if she knows something is not right and she needs me to tell her what it is. But when I pick up the stick, her eyes brighten, and she bounces up and down, and she does her canine grin, and I can catch a glimpse of that antic youth, when she used to swim across the burn and jump over three foot fences and run at thirty miles an hour. (I once timed her and the Duchess up the drive, and they hit a top speed of 34 mph. I was so proud. They were my own little Frankels.)

The mare has her own sweetness. I am spending all my time with the dog, so I just rush up to the field for the most basic feed and groom and checking of legs. Also: for five minutes of intense love. Normally, Red can get quite grumpy if she is not having her due duchessy share of attention. Now, she seems calm and understanding. She puts her head on my shoulder and I stroke the velvet coat on her neck, growing furry now the cold weather is setting in. It is the softest, most comforting thing in the world. All her summer hardness falls away, and there is something yielding and gloriously tactile about her.

She blows down her nose and nods her head and I give her a kiss and run back to my dog.


Today’s pictures:

Some autumn leaf action:

30 Oct 1

31 Oct 1

31 Oct 2

31 Oct 3

31 Oct 5

31 Oct 6

31 Oct 6-001

Have not had time to take horse pictures lately, so here are a couple from our glorious snow day:

31 Oct 10-001

That little pony is a great comfort too. She is so downy and furry now that all I do is hug her. She puts up with it with very good grace. She is another one who grows more beloved every day, and she has a good line in comic turns too, so she makes us all laugh.

Red, inspecting her view:

31 Oct 9

The Pigeon, this morning:

31 Oct 10

31 Oct 12

31 Oct 14

31 Oct 15

What I find hard to comprehend is that someone who looks like that can be coming to the end. I suppose it is good that she is not deaf and blind and hardly able to walk. I know the vet is right. That bloody ear will get her. I am not clinging to false hope. She is on four different drugs and all they can do is hold the inevitable at bay for a little while. At least her final days are not a mess of pain and incontinence and other horrors. It just seems wrong, somehow, that one failing part of the body can overcome all the rest, which is still so filled with life.

The hill:

31 Oct 20


  1. It does seem impossible to believe she isn't well. She looks so bright and happy. Your words are so moving, words fail me. It is terribly sad that she is near the end but she has had the most wonderful life, I hope you can find a little comfort in that, Rachel

  2. Words fail me too. Much love

  3. I know you must be holding the sadness and dread at bay, but isn't she so lucky? - no pain, no fear of what's to come, just play and rest and so much love. There'll be a time for grief later - she deserves that and you'll need it - but for now, just concentrate (as you clearly are) on treasuring every single moment you have together.

  4. We can't let them suffer can we? And she doesn't look like she is at all, thank goodness. I let my own auld fella go when I realised one morning he was coming on the walk for my sake. They give us everything and it is so hard and nobody will know better than you when. Enjoy every moment in every moment. My own boy lazed in the sun as we waited for the vet, it broke my heart but it was time. Words are so super rubbish at such times. x

  5. Wrong and quite incomprehensible.

    May her energy and joyfulness keep on flowing obliviously out of her.

    She is adorable. xx

  6. Tears in my eyes again. She looks so well it is hard to comprehend. She has had such a wonderful life with so much love.

  7. In my thoughts constantly.
    My heart is breaking for you.
    Anne. xxxxxxxx

  8. I am thinking of you such a lot. The Darling Pigeon is such a huge part of my morning, of my happy place to go. You are lovely to share her with us now too, as always. Much love xxx

  9. I tried yesterday to post a comment but was defeated by the anti-robot?bizarre letters and numbers thingie. Trying again.

    She is a a brilliant, lovely soul and I am so grateful I have gotten to "know" her via your words and pictures. I am glad she is not suffering now, I am sorry that you are, but I see that you making it as well for her as you can. It's awful that she has to die, but it is the price we all pay for being alive and for loving other living beings. Sweet Pigeon! I can almost smell the nice furry clean smell those big black dogs have around the ears. I wish I could hug you both.

    I am posting this as anonymous because the computer gods will allow nothing else.

  10. We should learn from our animal loved ones. She likely senses what is going on, but takes it as a part of her life, calmly, easily, because it is there. (I, meanwhile, am in tears again, and I've never even stroked her head.) You are giving her the greatest gift of all.


  11. Go hug your dog. And find an old jumper of yours to wrap her in when she goes. all love xx

  12. Oh Tania, sitting at my corporate desk and crying for a dog I feel I know from her expressive face. Funnily when I was reading the first part of this I was also thinking of her going gentle. The main thing is that she doesn't look as if she is suffering and she won't now. You will be with her, and you have your family, horses and the hills, so you won't be just one. Thinking of you.


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