November 27, 2017
Hugo is growing fast and he’s also a quick learner. The house training has taken much less time than we expected and he’s picked up all the essential commands quickly too. He has been no trouble at all walking on the lead or on the pavement with passing traffic.
He loves his walks, his dinner, his toys, everything in fact! He’s a truly adorable little dog but won’t be so little for much longer!
He travels well in the car and has had his first trim. He sounds like the perfect dog but he has his moments! Like nonchalantly lying on top of my slippers and giving them a sly chew when I’m not looking!
October 16, 2017
We anguished over whether or not to have another dog. Soon after Lulu died we gave away most of our dog related stuff, believing we would never, ever have another one. So bitter we felt about losing her when she was in her prime and when we had the perfect dog that we had always wanted.
The spell was broken one day in January, when we were on a trip to the seaside and rounded the corner to be confronted by a couple with not one but three black standard poodles. From that moment we knew that our lives were not complete without a dog and that the day would soon come when we would have another one.
Nick made enquiries and found a breeder very near to home. This lady breeds occasionally, for the joy of it, and to continue to be able to show dogs, not just for the money. The blood lines are sound, not polluted by the in-breeding that Lulu came with, and that we think could have been responsible for the bad genes that caused her illness and her premature demise. The lady herself is a completely different kind of person from the breeder that sold us Lulu. Hugo was running around the house when we turned up, not languishing in a dismal barn like poor little Lulu. I remember wanting to scoop up all her brothers and sisters along with her and take them away, such an awful place it was.
We had our ages to consider. If we had a puppy he or she would still be full of beans and needing plenty of exercise by the time we were well into our seventies. But if we left it too long it might simply be too late. The timing is not ideal. Soon after we made contact with the breeder we also made the decision to move house, but neither the birth of puppies or the sale of a house can be timed to order. So here we are, having just moved in, surrounded by boxes of our belongings and with plenty of work to be done. It’s complete chaos but it was now or never.
And so today we collected Hugo. He is twelve weeks old. He was playing with his sister when we arrived to pick him up and he was a bit tearful on the way here, whimpering and making little anxious barks. He and Daisy have met and so far there have been no incidents.
Completely black dogs are very difficult to photograph (one of the great things about Lulu is that she was extremely photogenic) but I won’t let that put me off sharing my photos.
Life is not going to be quite the same again, I think!
November 17, 2016
July 1, 2016
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
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.