Perfectly Provence : Where I Live

Perfectly Provence is a magazine-style website run by Carolyne Kauser-Abbot, a Canadian whose heart is most definitely rooted in the South of France! Carolyne produces a regular newsletter, and invited me to contribute for the current issue. You can click through on the link below to see what I had to say about Reillanne. And have a browse through the site while you’re there!

It’s only February…

…and it’s already shaping up to be a worse year than 2020.

First of all, late last October, Rosie started vomiting and went off her food. This is nothing unusual for Rosie, she’s quite a picky eater and has always had a sensitive stomach. Blithely confident that all she needed was a stomach calming medication like Phosphalugel, we took her off to the vets. The wind was completely taken out of my overconfident sails when the vet told us she had end-stage kidney failure.

“But she’s been in great form up to a few days ago,” we protested. But there was no arguing with the results of her blood tests.

The vet was blunt. We either decide straight away to put her to sleep, or she’d try putting her on a drip for 48 hours and see if flushing out her kidneys would let them return to a normal-ish state for a while. No promises, but it might be worth trying. With medication afterwards, she might get a few extra months.

Well, we had to try something. Rosie stayed with the vets for three days. She responded really well to the treatment and to her medication since coming home. She’s costing us a fortune in dog food – it should come in gold tins for the price we’re paying! – but she’s in great form. This morning when I came home from work, she greeted me like a big awkward puppy, bounding around the place. It’s great to see, but we know she’s on borrowed time. The vet said “Bring her back for a checkup in six months” with a look which clearly meant she expected to see her for for a final visit before then.

Then in January, Aero decided to give me a scare. He’s still on immunotherapy for his allergies (and will be for the rest of his life, I guess). I gave him a routine injection on a Wednesday. The following Saturday, his right nostril had a slight yellowish discharge. The following morning, he was miserable. Hadn’t eaten his hay at all, standing away from Flurry and the field shelter, head down. He pawed the ground as I approached him. Did he have one of those horrible low-grade colics which are so often fatal? His right nostril was thick with bright yellow snot. Was this linked to his allergies? He didn’t seem colicky at all, apart from that one pawing incident. I took his temperature – it was up. I called the vet. She was due out the following day anyway, and Aero wasn’t an emergency, so we agreed I’d give him a shot of calmagine for his fever and leave him enclosed him in the field shelter with food and water, so we could see what he was taking in.

The following morning, he may have drunk a small amount of water but he hadn’t touched his food. His nose was disgusting, but the snot was still concentrated in the right nostril. When the vet came, she diagnosed a sinus infection, most likely caused by a dental problem, possibly linked to the tooth he broke in 2019. We were probably looking at surgery to remove the damaged tooth and drain the sinus cavity, but first we had to get the infection under control.

To make a long story short, Aero played the Get Out Of Jail card for us by responding really well to the antibiotics. When the vet examined his teeth a week later, she could see no dental reason for the sinus infection. He was just unlucky, she suggested, that he had his immunotherapy shot just when the weather changed dramatically for the worse. Six weeks on, and he’s still in good shape. Phew.

Then, while sitting on the couch one evening, Cookie snoozing beside me as usual, I felt a little lump under her jaw. It was tiny, but I thought we’d better get it checked.

I Googled, as you do, and decided most likely it was a blocked salivary gland.

Nope. Cookie has lymphoma. She had surgery a week later to remove that lump and a second one which had quickly formed beside it. Analysis of these lumps have told us that it’s a very aggressive form of cancer. With chemotherapy, she might make it to the summer, but it would be months of being poked and prodded by vets, and she’s never been a big fan of the veterinary profession. We’ve decided to opt for quality time rather than quantity. She’s currently very well, enjoying her walks, loving her food (and Rosie’s, when she can steal it), putting up with having CBD oil shoved into her mouth three times a day, and rather surprised at being spoiled rotten.

We’ll treat her with steroids when she needs them. And we’ll take her for one final trip to the vet’s surgery in Apt when the time comes.

Bespoke Christmas Cards

Are you looking for something a little different for sending season’s greetings to friends and family this year?

Look no further :

This year, I’m offering a customised Christmas card service. I will make a pencil drawing of your pet (dog/cat/horse/budge… whatever) with a bit of Christmassy context added – some tinsel, or holly, or a Santa hat, or perhaps something you suggest that is relevant to your furry friend.

For €110, you will receive the drawing to keep, plus 25 Christmas cards to send to family and friends.

For €160, you will receive the drawing plus 50 Christmas cards.

The wording on the front of the card AND ON THE INSIDE can be customised just for you.

Contact me on if you’re interested. Now is the time to get your cards organised!

Here’s a few samples from last year’s Pack of Dogs cards plus my daughter’s cat as a birthday card.