Monday, 20 May 2013

An evening walk

Ribble Estuary Lytham St Annes

I took this picture on Sunday evening as I walked my dog on the banks of the Estuary.  It's taken with my I-phone so I couldn't quite pick out the stretch of sand as clearly as I would have liked in the background.  The yellow stipe under the horizon is the sand banks of Southport and I don't recall seeing the banks so clearly defined before by this blazing stripe, perhaps the late evening sunshine had something to do with it.

The Ribble Estuary is where the River Ribble, which originates in the Yorkshire Dales some 68 miles away to the east, meets the Irish Sea on the North West Coast of England between Southport and Rossall Point at Fleetwood, and upstream to Preston.

The estuary is tidal and is where salty seawater mixes with fresh river water. This causes the sediments carried down river and those brought in from the sea to mix and settle out as fine particles of sand and silt to form inter tidal sediments including both sand and mud flats.
 he Ribble Estuary is a ‘slough’, or shallow water estuary, where large areas of inter tidal sediments or flats become exposed during low tides. Flat fish such as sole and flounder (or fluke) are common within such waters, while salmon and sea trout use the estuary to acclimatise to brackish water before swimming up stream to spawn or moving back out into the Irish Sea as young adult fish.

Commercial and recreational fishing is popular, with flat fish being the main catch for trawlers in the treacherous tidal currents of the estuary while cockling and shrimping are still popular on the sand flats of Horse Bank off Southport.

The mud and sand flats exposed during low tide also support millions of worms, snails and crustaceans providing a rich source of food for birds.

 All of this right on my very door-step!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Conny's Feather

I feel like I've been absent from my blog, and, the reality is I have.  I have been thinking about writing a blog post for a little while but have lacked motivation. What should I write about? All the self-judgements come flooding through even thinking about writing a blog post, the list is endless.
Today there is no self--judgement, just a place to come and say to myself and anyone who is reading this, is that a week today on the May Day Bank Holiday, I had my beloved cocker spaniel Conny put to sleep. I took her to the vets on Monday29th April as she had been off her food a little and I felt she needed to be checked over.  The vet took a blood sample off her and told me to come back on Wednesday 1st May.

Wednesday morning arrived, Conny and I went back to the Vet, to be told that her blood sample was showing some high levels of phosphorus indicating issues with her kidneys. The Vet decided to keep her in for a renal flush,  Treatment of kidney failure in dogs occurs in two phases. The first phase is to "restart" the kidneys. Large quantities of intravenous fluids are given to "flush out" the kidneys. This flushing process, called diuresis, helps to stimulate the kidney cells to function again. If enough functional kidney cells remain, they may be able to adequately meet the body's needs for waste removal. Fluid therapy includes replacement of various electrolytes, especially potassium.

I went back to the Vets later in the afternoon, I saw a different Vet who told me Conny was a very poorly dog.  They also scanned Conny whilst she was in, one of her kidneys was very small with signs of deterioration and her liver wasn't looking healthy.
The prognosis wasn't good.
We were told to keep her on a low protein diet and bring her back on Friday for a review.

We took her back on Friday, they took another blood sample to check her blood levels but couldn't say how long she had left, we were given  the option to have her put to sleep there and then.  We were both stunned and said we weren't ready for that, we would take her home, see how she goes.
We made her as comfortable as we could, we sat with her when she wanted company and left her to sleep on the sofa when she wanted some peace.  My daughter Jenna came home from University to visit and say her goodbyes to Conny, Jenna was 8years old when I got Conny.

Jenna & Conny

On the Saturday we took Conny to a place she loved to go swimming (Fairhaven Lake), we drove her up there in the car and she found enough strength to walk into the park and into the water.  She had a potter around on the grass and then came home.  Over the week-end people who knew and loved Conny came to visit and say goodbye to her.  We were so touched by this.  On the Bank Holiday Monday Conny had stopped eating.  She was on the sofa (her favourite place) and  I told her it was okay for her to go, that she didn't have to hang on anymore.  I asked her to give me a sign that she was ready.  She touched my face with hers and I knew but didnt' want to believe it.  I asked the Universe to send me a sign to confirm what Conny had told me. A pigeon flew into the garden and dropped a feather, Conny loved to chase pigeons out of the garden. I picked the feather up and took it to Conny, she sniffed it and I placed it on her cushion for her, she rested her chin on it and she looked peaceful.  Later in the afternoon the Vet arrived and put her to sleep at home.

Conny resting with her feather
It's been a very odd week, trying to adjust to life without her.  We have another cocker spaniel (Jasper) who is 3 years old in August, he is missing her too.  The house feels is, very quiet without her, she was definitely the noisy one! She was full of character. I could set my clock by her, wherever I was in the house between 5pm and 5:30pm, she would come and find me to let me know it was time for her tea.

I have been very lucky to have had such a wonderful dog, a dogs love is unconditional and I loved her unconditionally in return.

GOD is Dog spelt backwards

I read a post which Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray, Love put on her facebook page, she wrote a tribute to her cat Clifford which she had to have put to sleep this week-end.  She writes:
While it was clearly Clifford's time to go (as I joked in tears to a friend, "What kind of unfair God would pluck a geriatric, diabetic, toothless animal with arthritic legs and increasing incontinence right from the prime of his life?") it is still heartbreaking. We love our furry-headed friends in a way that is different, more inexplicable, and more tender than other kinds of love, and when they go, it makes us ache to our core.

But here is what I keep thinking. I met a monk once in India who told me that one of the karmic roles of our beloved pets ("part of their service," he said) is to come into our lives as teachers. They are sent here not only to teach us how to love, but also to teach us how to die — because they do it so well, and so uncomplainingly. We need these lessons, you see, because we are so famously bad at death, we humans. We are so afraid of it, so angry at it, so resistant to it. But our furry-heads, they see death differently. And as they slip away from us, they try to show us, "Watch me do this: It's really not that difficult. You just have to let go..."


Thursday, 2 May 2013

Tree Shadow

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.....Abraham Lincoln.