Thursday, 5 November 2020

Let sleeping dogs lie ...

Due to various ‘incidents’ over the years I have had some experience of the french medical system, and the fact that while some doctors will prescribe vast quantities of strong medicines, others will recommend homeopathic and alternative remedies.  Which is why I should not have been at all surprised when the vet suggested I take my dog to a physiotherapist!

I’ve had Loulou, my border collie, for over 8 years now and as she was from a shelter it is hard to know how old she is but the vet reckons she must be at least 12 years old, if not more.  I have no idea how old I am in ‘dog years’ but we both seem to be a similar age.  We sleep more than we used to, have difficulty getting up in the morning, can’t walk as far as we used to, need to get up in the middle of the night, often find ourselves in the kitchen wondering what we went there for, and have a bit of arthritis.  The only differences between us are that I don’t fall over when I sneeze, she has to be lifted in and out of the car (I can do it on my own!), and she has a heart condition.

The last time we went to the vet for her heart pills I asked for some general advice on how to help an ‘old’ dog (obviously not to try to teach it new tricks would be the most important!).  I thought he was joking when he mentioned physiotherapy but apparently it is really a ‘thing’ and he told me about a place which specialises in ‘complementary medicine’ so I made an appointment.

The waiting room was very ‘Zen’ and peaceful - no smell of incense burning but there was relaxing music playing, pictures of nature and happy horses, and potted plants (on shelves, not at floor level for obvious reasons).  We were welcomed by the Dogteur who asked some general questions and then gave her a very thorough 45 minute massage.  At the end of it Loulou was fast asleep and snoring gently - and I was so jealous!

We were advised to keep her ‘quiet’ for the next couple of days, which was absolutely no problem as she showed no signs of wanting to exercise but just seemed to want to sleep under a tree in the garden - which is quite scary as she is also pretty deaf and doesn’t respond when you call so you have to keep going to check that she is still breathing!  I can’t say that she is a ‘new’ dog since the visit but it has certainly helped - and we will definitely be making a return visit as I see they also offer acupuncture, osteopathy, chinese remedies and psychology treatments.  But sadly only for animals…

Thursday, 8 October 2020

A matter of life and death

At 3.30pm yesterday I was doing a property viewing with clients and was showing them the spectacular view from the roof terrace.  I looked down onto the street below where a group of mourners were chatting outside the church, and discreetly waved to my partner, who had also attended the funeral with me….

Yesterday my friend Francis died.  He was the man who persuaded me to start playing tennis with the team of ‘old’ men in the village and made me feel so welcome.  As he lived alone (apart from his dog) I had called him in April to see how he was coping with the ‘confinement’ and he told me that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer and that his ex-wife had come back to look after him.  All the family were with him when he died, and they asked us to come to the house to talk about him.  I didn’t want to intrude but they really enjoyed hearing anecdotes about Francis - particularly the time he entered me for the village tennis tournament - in the men’s doubles team!  

There was to be a church service for him at 3pm that very afternoon.  I wasn’t overly keen on the idea as I hate public goodbyes and also had the excuse of a property visit scheduled at 3.30pm but as the house just happened to be opposite the church, I realised that a) I would have time to do both and b) it would look bad if I said no and was then seen sneaking past the church later.  

I wish I could explain a little about what a french funeral is like but due to the fact the two priests were wearing masks I couldn’t understand a word they said and just kept standing up, sitting down and saying Amen whenever anybody else did.  As we were sitting at the back I managed to sneak out as soon as the service ended and walked round the corner to meet my clients. 

So that is how I said my final goodbye to Francis, at a respectful ‘social’ distance - 4 storey’s up - and I know he would have been amused.