Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Little time to post here recently, as I have been too occupied with Velvet.

A couple of weeks ago I let her out first thing in the morning, as usual, and was greeted by a salivating, staggering twitching wreck.   She had been her usual lively self the night before, and I had no idea what had happened.  Had she somehow eaten poison?   I am very careful about poisons.  

I have been in dogs a long time, and what crossed my mind was that this looked like the later stages of distemper....but that seemed impossible.  She is of course immunised.

The vet thought different.   He did complete bloodwork, and no kidney or liver problems showed up - indeed, no problems at all.   Any poison would have affected the result.   Normal temperature, so not an infection.   He did more tests, and concluded that it was probably granulomatous meningoencephalitis.  It normally attacked toy bitches of about her age (4).  It comes on suddenly.   The cause is unknown.   He said that the definitive test was to examine spinal fluid, but suggested that since we had excluded all the other possibilities, we should just go straight to treatment.  She had a 50/50 chance of survival.

The treatment was massive doses of corticosteroid.   It was difficult to get anything into her.   She did not know me at all.   I had to syringe water into her, and push food down her throat.  This really scared her.  Most things scared her.
Velvet - note the eye ulcer

And the steroids began to work.   The twitching and staggering eased away.  She could walk.  She still wouldn`t eat - until I used a liquid high nutrition feed for invalid animals.  I was syringing it in, and she tried to eat the syringe - and ate the rest of the food by herself.

After that the recovery was gradual and complicated by eye ulcers aggravated by the large steroid doses.  She began to recognise me, and knew her name.  The tail stayed down and she was still nervous, but a good appetite had developed, and she put on all the weight she had lost.

Yesterday she went to the vet again, and was pronounced OK.  A huge relief.  I think the vet was quite surprised - but Papillons are tough little beasts.

I took her home and let her out to relieve herself - and bad-tempered old Camilla attacked her.   She ran off into the tangle of shrubs and trees that used to be a rockery, and although I went in after her, she ran from me too.   There followed hours of searching, and general despair.   She knows her name, but will not come when called - in fact I am just not sure how much intelligence remains after the illness.

At midnight, after searching garden and fields till it got dark, I let the last 3 girls out, before going to bed....and suddenly I was looking at 4 girls.   Velvet had come back.   She must have holed up somewhere, waiting till it was safe, as she thought.   Vast relief.

I am now waiting to see how much of her personality comes back.   I think it is going to be a slow process.

Sunday, June 09, 2013


The new generation here seems to be a very soft one.

The other day I had Cupcake and Belle out with me.   Just the two of them.    And the rabbit.   It appeared a few yards away, and they both spotted it.   They stared.   Then they looked solemnly at each other.   What was it?  Clearly they thought it was rather cute...and what was all that noise?

"Well, looks like I made it this time!"

All that noise was Truly, in one of the small runs on her own because it`s safer that way and I didn`t need an all-bitch meltdown that particular day.   She was jumping up and down, all four feet leaving the ground, screaming "Kill it!  Kill it!  KILL IT!"   She looked in disbelief at the two youngsters, now staring at her in amazement.  What was she shouting about?  Swedish is such an incomprehensible language!  

Eventually bunny decided to hop off, leaving a very frustrated little Scandinavian person, and two mildly interested and puzzled young Papillons.

Truly was furious.   Lunch had passed her by...and what was the young generation coming to?

I must admit, I was surprised.  Most of my Papillons feel exactly as Truly does, and the pack have had a few rabbits in their time.  Belle and Cupcake seem to be very gentle indeed, to the extent that they could be mistaken for Chin.

Score one for bunny

Meanwhile, a trying time.  Kallista died of a massive stroke, and I am nursing young Velvet through encephalitis.   Not an easy week, this.

Saturday, June 01, 2013


Gearing up for the off again - down the road to a very nice local venue for a little open show.  Cupcake and Belle are very shortly due an appointment with the hot and soapy, followed by a good conditioner.

Last time I went there, I had a new crate for them.  The catch is a bit fiddly, and I didn`t secure it properly.  I settled them, and headed for the loo.   As I went into the cubicle I happened to look down - and there were my two little girls, Belle and Angel, walking demurely to heel as they have been taught.  I rushed out with them, to be accused by a large florid loudmouthed woman of taking them in deliberately.  Why?  Who knows!  (Don`t worry, there aren`t many such characters at shows that I can`t deal with.)

Belle - "I`ll follow Mum anywhere!"

Meanwhile, someone brought me back Cupcake.  Where had he gone?   Possibly to the Gents?  I could imagine him looking at the sign that said "Ladies" and thinking "I can`t really go in there..."

The fashionable thing to use is a lightweight crate made of canvas, and you see lots of them at shows.   To be fair, I have two of these and used them in Ireland some years ago.   I also used them here....until the day I came to fetch her to the ring, and was greeted by Allegra, head and shoulders out of the hole she had dug in the side of the crate.   She was delighted with her cleverness.  "I knew there was a way out!  And I was the one who found it!"
Allegra - "Leave it to me to solve a problem!!"

As anyone who reads this knows, I cannot ever be angry with Allegra.

I can however throw canvas crates into the nearest skip, accompanied by lots of bad language.

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