July 1, 2016

RIP Lulu


Our joy in getting back our old Lulu did not last very long.  We collected her from the vet’s last Friday, full of vitality but on Tuesday morning I thought I noticed signs that all was not well.

She deteriorated fast, as our UK vet had warned us she might.


After her teatime walk on Tuesday she was obviously in distress and took to her bed where she stayed for eighteen hours.  An appointment was made with our vet in Descartes for Wednesday afternoon. 


We got her up at lunchtime and after pottering around the garden she came with us for one of her favourite walks around the lake at La Celle-Guenand.  We all like that walk and it’s on flat ground so not too taxing for a dog that’s feeling poorly.

The vet in Descartes was wonderful.  The practice is in a different league to our vet in Derbyshire, but that’s another story.  We showed him the report of her illness and treatment and he said he would take another blood sample.  Our hearts sank.  If we had to wait another two days for the result Lulu would most likely be in a terrible state again by then, and we didn’t want that to happen.

But no, the surgery is far better equipped and after a last walk around outside, amongst the flowers and trees, the result was in and showed that her kidneys were in a very poor state.  With no other treatment available and no future for Lulu except pain and feeling ill, we decided to have her put to sleep there and then, before she became as ill and distressed as when we first took her to the vet in Derbyshire.

We have been in this position twice before with our standard poodles and it never gets any easier.  This time we feel it more because she was our “best girl”, as we told her often.  With our rescued poodles we battled with history and problems not of our making.  We chose Lulu as a puppy and hoped to avoid the baggage that comes with a rescued dog.  She became a thoroughly delightful, well behaved dog and we feel cheated out of the extra years, that at barely eight years old she was too young.

Anyhow, that’s where we are.  Doing the right thing never feels right afterwards and now we have to adjust to a life without Lulu.  It won’t be easy.

June 24, 2016



Having spent two days in “hospital” having intravenous fluids to flush her kidneys, Lulu is much, much better.

The shaved area on her back (she has a matching one on the other side) is where they performed the ultrasound scan.  This showed that her kidneys looked perfectly normal so there is no obvious explanation for why they are failing.

She is more like our old Lulu, the one we now realise we lost several months ago, which is probably when she started to feel ill.  When we collected her from the vet’s she was bouncy, wriggly, full of beans, although skin and bone because she has eaten hardly anything for over a week now.

She was discharged with kidney pills, antibiotics and a load of special food that should not put any stress on her kidneys, dried kibble and canned meat.  When we got her home she managed to eat and keep down a small amount, which is looking very promising.

The idea is that now she feels better and the flushing of her kidneys has eliminated the toxins they can no longer remove, she should stabilise as long as she stays on the special food.  If her kidneys are so badly damaged that they can’t cope she will go downhill and get to the point where she was last week.  If she remains stable, we could keep her for months or even years.  Now that we know how lively she should be, we should be able to spot the deterioration quickly.  The sad thing is, if it happens again, there will be nothing that can be done about it.  So we’re keeping our fingers well and truly crossed.

So we got our Lulu back when two days ago we thought she was a gonner.  As for the result of the referendum – words fail me.  Goodness knows what will happen now.

June 23, 2016


lulu 1

Today is a difficult day for us.  We are in limbo, waiting, to hear the outcome of two things that mean a lot to us.

This picture of Lulu was taken seven weeks ago, in the bluebell woods near our UK home.  At the time we had noticed that she was often a little less perky than usual, sleeping more during the day, but she enjoyed her walks and her food.

Just before we came back to the UK on 14th June we realised that she was becoming much more subdued, spending most of the day sleeping and often being reluctant to get off her bed and go out for a walk.  This we put down to possibly her age and also the weather.  We have had awful weather in our part of France and Lulu has often been known to refuse to go out or get out of the car in the rain.  She hates getting her feet wet.  We hate her getting muddy so it was a fair arrangement.

On arriving home we decided that there was something very wrong.  She was eating hardly anything and keeping very little of it down, meaning she was losing weight rapidly.  She was also in pain, shrieking horribly when she first got up off her bed, then being rooted to the spot, looking terrified and trembling violently.  A visit to the vet resulted in a diagnosis of infected anal glands.  These were dealt with by the vet and she came home with antibiotic tablets.  She got rapidly worse, eating nothing and vomiting for no reason.  She became very thin very quickly and the pain episodes increased. 

And yet, often by the afternoon she would be almost normal, trotting along in her walks and doing all the things she likes to do.  We took her back to the vet who agreed to do a blood test and, luckily, she exhibited her most dramatic symptoms in the surgery, shrieking and shaking and looking terrified.  Otherwise we had the distinct impression the vet thought we were making it up.  Although you couldn’t make up the obvious loss of weight, she was so skinny it was heartbreaking.

Yesterday the result of the blood test was made known and her kidneys are failing.  The vet told us of the possible outcome, that nothing could be done to repair her kidneys, but, depending on what they found after doing an ultrasound scan, they might be able to make her feel less ill and more like herself by “flushing them out”.  Then there would be long term medication, a special diet and regular blood tests resulting in the “flushing” treatment when she became ill.

We’re not sure we want that for Lulu, or for ourselves.

She has spent the night last night “in hospital” at the vet’s, on a drip which would flush the kidneys.  It’s the first time ever that she has spent a night on her own, not with us or friends who love her.  This morning she is having her scan and after that we will decide what to do.

We went to vote in the referendum early, so that we could be back and be sure to be in if the vet phoned.  There were plenty of voters around, all gleefully accepting the free pens being handed out by the older woman (probably my age) wearing the red “vote leave” t-shirt.  We declined.  Where were all the “vote remain” supporters and who is financing all these t-shirts, posters and pens?  Living in what is usually described as a “staunch labour area” it makes no sense that so many people seem to want to leave when the labour party advise against it.  I can’t help wondering what the hell we are playing at – this is the stupidest game I have ever known.

So we wait, on two counts.  One has me in tears every five minutes and one has me in numb disbelief.  You can guess which one is which.

Lulu is a lovely dog, beautiful, well behaved and utterly delightful.  We are so glad to have had her for nearly eight years and it seems so unfair that we might lose her in her prime.  We really would love to keep her for another two, three or even four years.  But we are not about to embark upon an uncertain future which requires frequent visits to the vet for blood tests and treatments that can’t guarantee that she will feel well and not be in pain.

I sincerely hope that we will not wake up in the morning to find our world has been turned upside down on two counts.  This has been a difficult post to write, we are in pieces, just waiting.

March 28, 2016


nail job

Lulu's visits to her hairdresser are less frequent than they used to be.  She's such a baby when it comes to being clipped that we're nervous about taking her to somewhere new.  Her regular hairdresser is used to her whinging and squealing, not to mention wriggling and jumping about, and she manages to do a great job without too much upset.  We worry that a new hairdresser might not be so understanding, or even possibly rather unkind when it comes to getting the job done.
Our visits to the UK are less regular than they used to be so consequently Lulu often goes eight weeks between trims and the last time it was ten.  She was pretty scruffy by then.  After she was clipped she looked like a different dog, like the old and glamorous Lulu.  So I couldn't resist putting the finishing touches to her appearance by giving her a nail job.

nail job2

She doesn't like having her nails done much, but it doesn't take long and she always seems to show off a bit afterwards!

January 8, 2016


apero time

It is now over a year since Lulu welcomed Daisy into her home.  Well I’m not sure welcomed is exactly the right word.  Lulu tolerates Daisy but is not keen on being too friendly.

apero time2

This is very noticeable at apéro time.  When the weather is good and the sun is over the yard arm, we usually sit outside on the decking with a drink and possibly some nibbles.  There are always treats for Lulu and Daisy – biscuits for Lulu and Dreamies for Daisy.

apero time3

We throw Lulu’s biscuits so she can chase and find them on the grass.  We do the same for Daisy except that the Dreamies are dropped under the chair.  That way we avoid confusion over whose treats are whose.  What’s hers is hers!

apero time4apero time5apero time6

Daisy will then spend some time trying to get Lulu to notice her and be friendly.  Lulu nearly always remains aloof, even giving a little grumble if Daisy invades her personal space too much.  The pantomime usually continues during dinner time.

Poor Daisy, it’s definitely a case of unrequited love for her.  For Lulu it’s more a case of “why did that pesky cat have to come and live here?!”