Gemma Of Wendover
21/3/1983 – 7/9/1994
Sire: Wendover Washington Of Caspians
Dam: Caspians Snowdrop
Breeders: Mr & Mrs M. J. Oakley
Owner: Brenda Pinchess
Gemma was born on 21st March 1983. She was in a litter of 2 dogs and 7 bitches, but as Sue & Mike Oakley, her breeders, couldn’t find homes for them all, Peter James (Wendover) agreed to help and took four of the puppies. Gemma was one of these, as was the dam of Wendover Cassidy, who herself went on to give birth to Caspians Night Music.
When Gemma was six months old she joined the Nuneaton Dog Training Club, by the time she was 18 months old, she had been chosen to join their obedience demonstration team and was a member for 9 years. Gemma was the first Irish Setter to qualify under the KC Good Citizen Dog Scheme, her certificate was issued on 1st October 1992.
During her life, Gemma visited schools, hospitals and fetes, raising money for charity, including the Mary Ann Evans Hospice. Three times a year she also did a sponsored ‘down’, which meant that she had to lie down for ten minutes without moving. She often went to Nuneaton Library on promotional evenings to promote the Nuneaton Dog Club. In addition to all her other charitable work, Gemma was also a ‘Pat’ dog, working at the George Elliot Hospital for stroke victims. Because of all the charity work that she did, Gemma was invited by the Mayor at that time, Mayor Albert Walker, to visit the Mayor’s parlour. Gemma was also shownat breed shows anywhere within a 50 mile radius of her home and won over 100 rosettes.
In September 1994, Brenda Pinchess, went on holiday to Guernsey, taking Gemma with her. For the first two days all was well, Gemma had a wonderful time splashing in the se looking for fish. On the third day of her holiday Gemma suddenly took a deep breath in and let out a cry of pain. She was taken to the vet who thought that she could possibly be full of gas, or have a twisted gut, but after tests and x-rays, nothing was found. Her own vet at Fairfield Veterinary Group in Hinckley, faxed her notes through to Guernsey to try to help with the diagnosis, but two days later she was visibly worse and had to be put on a drip. Blood samples were sent to London for testing. They showed a high sugar level, therefore Diabetes was diagnosed. Despite Gemma being given Insulin, her condition grew worse.
Plans were made to take Gemma home from Guernsey and the ferry company agreed to allow Gemma to have a seat next to her owners and to board at the last minute. Sadly, at 8 am on the day of departure, the vet phoned to say that Gemma had died. A post mortem revealed that there was a tumour in her breast bone, which had affected the sugar levels in her blood. Even if this had been diagnosed, she could not have been cured. Brenda Pinchess was not allowed to take Gemma’s dead body back home with her, so she had to return without her, which must have been very distressing.
Gemma was very well known because of everything she had done in her life and everyone who had met her, was very fond of her and extremely sad when she died. The phone rang constantly with people offering their sympathy and condolences.
Gemma was cremated and her ashes were posted back to her home in Higham. The postmand said it was one of the saddest parcels he had delivered. The red urn containing Gemma’s ashes was inscribed ‘GEMMA. Rest in Peace. September 7th 1994’. It was buried next to the fish pond where she spent hours looking at the fish. Gemma is now in her favourite spot. Gemma had a wonderful, rewarding life, bringing untold joy and happiness to many. This is a tribute to a very special Irish Setter.