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Thread: Doesn't seem possible: Tchi, 6 October 2002 - 10 May 2016

  1. #1

    Default Doesn't seem possible: Tchi, 6 October 2002 - 10 May 2016

    Tchabinga M'Tanami of Wolwekraal was Tom's choice: he had always wanted a Rhodesian Ridgeback as it was the only breed that had ever really scared him. The Cavaliers were rather suspicious of her when she arrived, but quickly made friends. She was very much Tom's, even though it was me who fed her! Tom also allowed me to show her just once, to get her confirmed and receive her definitive pedigree: he wanted her to be our guard dog. She did this very well, and Fréderic, who came down to see her the day we brought her home, was a bit offended that she always barked at him when he came to the house. Even more galling for him: when he introduced his now wife, Tchi immediately made friends with Christine.

    When Tom died (six years ago) Tchi was quite difficult: she was very disturbed by his absence and seemed to think she was now head of the pack and didn’t particularly want to obey me. Gradually she accepted that I was boss. Two years ago she had a malignant lymphoma tumour removed from her neck: the histology showed it to be a secondary but after lengthy discussion with a veterinary oncologist at Bordeaux I decided I didn’t want to put her through chemotherapy. It would have been palliative anyway, and X-rays and ultrasound didn’t show up the primary. She’d have had to stay overnight and hated travelling, and it was a good hour’s drive to the clinic.

    Tchi couldn’t quite get her head round us moving house, especially as it was just over the road, so spent a few weeks sleeping in my room until she adjusted. Old neighbours Ben and Mary-Anne came last summer and Ben saw that she negotiated the high step to outside from the utility room very carefully. By chance I’d borrowed a cement mixer and had the best part of a cubic metre of sand left over from another job, plus rubble from the old barn, so we went out and bought cement and Ben made a couple of concrete steps from the utility and dog rooms.

    We reminisced about several years ago when their son had been younger and he and his sister and their cousins had taken some of our dogs for a walk and despite the fact we’d told them not to, let them off their leads. We were alerted when Tchi came dashing round to the barbecue area: she’d come straight home but the Cavaliers had gone into the forest…… so said Alice, who’d arrived not far behind Tchi. The boys managed to call the dogs back and put their leads on, a bit annoyed that Alice had “shopped” them although we said Tchi did that! Ben sent us a CD of Baha Men’s “Who let the dogs out?”

    She hated rain and snow: Tom told her it was a long time ago that her ancestors left Africa, but she really was a hothouse flower and loved to lie in front of the woodburner in winter, but I also had to put sunscreen on her stomach in summer as she sunbathed too much.

    Tchi has been stiff for a while and hasn’t run very much, but today she just collapsed. It was totally unexpected and despite my best efforts I couldn’t get her to her feet: it seemed that her right leg had stopped working. Getting her in the car was not easy and I hurt her: she yelped and tried to bite me. Although I’d lifted under her chest, with a large towel wrapped round her hindquarters to support them, clearly there was something very disturbed. I’d phoned the vet; not one of my usual ones as none of them were available; but I have seen Dr R before. He came out to the car while I explained what had happened. I think I knew there was little to be done: he felt along her legs and spine and said the indications were arthritis in the spine. Maybe anti-inflammatory drugs could help, but possibly only for a few days. He read the reports from the oncologist and thought it nothing to do with her cancer. Tchi had been living on “borrowed time”, and wasn’t a bad age for a Ridegback, but I really didn’t expect this. Tom, in his last weeks in hospital, asked me if I’d look after Tchi for him. “You did pretty well” said the vet.

    It’s much, much too soon after Rascally and even though I have Cédric, who Tom wanted to keep, Tchi was his so it's another link gone.

    I have a bottle of wine ready and I’m going to mourn them all tonight.

    Jane
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    Last edited by Janelise; 05-10-2016 at 05:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    What a very special dog she was Jane. You did everything you could for Tchi and she was a good age. Tom would have told you that you did her proud and she looked a fine example of her breed.

    Enjoy the wine and remember the good times for both Tom and Tchi and hold the Cavaliers close to you tonight while they comfort you as only they can. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Warmest wishes
    Flo

  3. #3
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    So sorry Jane, remember all the good times you had together
    Sheila H [EMAIL="halls.1@hotmail.co.uk"]

  4. #4

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    Oh Jane, I'm so sorry. Too much, too fast.

    Love the photograph of Tchi and Tom - framing time, I suspect, if not already.

    Take care.
    Sheena Stevens

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    Just remember the happy times Jane and treasure those wonderful memories that you have, they will pull you through. Life can be so hard at times. Thinking of you.
    Alison xx

  6. #6
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    So sorry to hear this.. and so soon after Rascally.... Enjoy your wine and savour your lovely memories......
    Julie, Peter,
    Sydney & Harvey - Jake 21.02.11 - Bertie 21.11.16

  7. #7
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    I'm really sorry to hear this, Jane. I have a very soft spot for Ridgebacks, nearest I got to owning one though was a rescue cross Ridgie-x-Great Dane who lived to 14 or 15. But now I have Cavaliers as well as the Dalmatians, it's just a pipe dream! You gave Tchi a wonderful life and she's now reunited in the afterlife with her beloved master.

  8. #8

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    That is a fantastic age for such a cross! Great Danes are generally rather short lived.

    The first I met was also a cross - black Labrador! She looked like a black Labrador with a ridge. I was about 9 or 10 and already very interested in dogs.

    What galvanised Tom was when we looked after the local boarding kennels while the owners, our friends, were away. The person they'd hired broke her ankle about a day before they were due to leave for a long planned trip to Senegal. There should have been only their dogs, but they had a few long term boarders, including two Ridgebacks, mother and son. The son got bloat! When I collected him from the vet I didn't dare leave him in the kennels so brought him back to our house, all totally contrary to the régulations, especially as neither Tom nor I had a licence! Tom looked after him, gave him frequent small meals and his medicine, took him for short walks, etc.. His owners were South African and the dogs had both been born there. When Aline and Alain returned they said they were glad it had been me as they don't think the other person would have recognised the early signs. I used to have a Mastiff, a breed prone to it, and though Tally never suffered I'd read plenty of accounts.

    We met the owners to explain in full - and in English. Apparently another of the litter, still in South Africa, had died from bloat and a torsion the previous year. Very sadly, a couple of years later, this boy had another bout but didn't survive.

    Having had one in the house for a few days made Tom decide "Now I want a Ridgeback!" but it took us quite a while to find one, as there aren't many breeders in France. He was happy with a livernose as he didn't want to show her; they are far less popular than the masked ones and a liver nose has to be really good to get anywhere in the show ring. It was me who showed her to get her "confirmation" as representative of her breed and thence her definitive registration certificate. She only got a "très bon", "very good" but her breeder was there and said I should have let him handle as I didn't get the best out of her! I can imagine how he felt.... he did know, though, that Tom hadn't wanted a dog to show.

    I met the owner of one of Tchi's siblings at another show: they were almost identical and the Cavalier I had with me clearly thought she was Tchi and approached with a wagging tail and then slowed down, presumably when she smelt that it wasn't. She'd had quite a good show career, quite a few BOBs.

    There's a Cavalier judge here who has a Ridgeback that she brings along to shows and hers sits quietly under the table as she judges

    Jane

  9. #9

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    Oh Jane I'm in tears for you - what more can I say!

    (I haven't been on the forum for a while and have only just seen your posts.)

    Rosemary

  10. #10

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    Thank you Rosemary: I get caught out at times and think of them all; just seeing a photo of Bijou, realising Tchi's collar and lead were still hanging in the lobby, calling Hula "Rascally" by mistake.... I don't really "do" photos of animals and people, but a very dear friend (who has also since died ) painted this picture of Tom and me with our animals in 2008 and it is in the sitting room for me to look at every day. Three of the dogs in the picture are still here: Rascally, Cedric and Vincent; but Chivers the cat died seven years ago and we had to sell the horses when Tom was first ill as I couldn't cope with everything. The two dogs in the side road were Ted's, the artist: he always included a red sun and his own dogs in a painting. He and his partner Piet had, over 35+ years, a succession of black Standard Schnauzers, two at a time, one called Theis and one called Juppe. When the last Juppe died they couldn't find another so got the yellow dog from a rescue and gave him a different name, which I have forgotten. Ted told us ours was a significant painting as it was the first in which the new dog appeared. Needless to say, it means a very great deal to me.

    Jane
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    Last edited by Janelise; 05-31-2016 at 07:09 PM.

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