rain, rage, cats and dogs



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday December 13th 2017


Today it’s the antithesis of Christmas card snow scenes. It’s grey from ground to sky. The roads run with thawed snow, the pavements are covered in packed ice and everything is dripping.

I have to see the practice nurse for blood tests. Not my favourite past time.

The 18 bus stop is only a few houses up from mine, and a bus is scheduled to arrive every ten minutes.

Mirthless titter.

After thirty minutes there’s still no sign of a bus.


Despite all my layers, I feel damp and cold. And, thanks to Daisy, very tired.

Last night she seemed to spend the whole night crawling in and out of my bed, squeezing herself against me before turning onto her side in order to plant all four little cold paws against my warm skin. When her paws warm up, she stretches out, bursting with happy purrs. Then, of course, after about half an hour, it becomes uncomfortably warm for a cat and she scrambles out again, leaving a draughty gap behind her.

Another thirty to forty minutes later, she feels chilly again and the performance is repeated. This goes on and on. Then at about four o’clock, she drops off the bed – astonishingly noisily for such a small animal.

I relax. But not for long. She re-enters the bedroom running and yowling. Meya! Meya! ME-AH-OW!

I recognise the call. She’s used her tray. There’s something nasty in it now. What if she needs a pee? She’s certainly not using the tray with THAT in it.

I’m usually very responsive to her orders, but not now. It’s cold and I’m tired.

Scrabble, scrabble. She’s trying to dig me out. I turn over and pull the duvet up to my ears. Eventually, she gives up and wriggles down under the duvet again. Now her paws are very cold. Plonk. They’re on my back this time.

Yes, it’s definitely Daisy’s fault. Standing at the bus stop, I decide to call the nurse as I’m going to be very late. I discover I’ve left my phone at home. By this time we have been joined by a young guy on his way to college. His app tells us that the bus will be arriving in eight minutes.

Just time to fetch my phone. “I’ll walk with you”, says the young man, offering his arm, “To make sure you don’t slip.” I pick up the phone, apologising to poor Isis who is lying sadly behind the front door, sure that I have left for a lovely walk without her.

I do slip but, thanks to the kind young man, remain on my feet. I phone the nurse and she kindly says she’ll wait for me.

A posse of 18 buses curves round the corner of the road. We gratefully get on the first.

The next bus I need is the 50, and it arrives after a few minutes. The driver clocks off and we all wait for his relief driver.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Eventually, when another bus arrives, we all decant and clamber onto the next.

I’m thirty minutes late for my appointment, but the nurse is still there.

It’s the first day in weeks that I’ve poked my head out of the door without a hat. On the way back, it pours with rain.

I’m too tired, cold and achy to take a Isis down her lane but I know she’ll need a pee, so let her out on a long lead onto the front grass. She dances joyfully, gulping mouthfuls of the steady downpour. Every now and then, I place a hand on her back. This means ‘stand still,  time to go’. Usually she obeys this sign immediately. But it’s raining isn’t it? As soon as I lift the hand, off she twirls again.

I give up and we go in. I’ll have to take her out again in an hour.


This was going to be the post which announced that, at last, Isis had eaten politely twice a day for four days; however, I am irritable and feeling bad that Isis hasn’t had a walk. She obviously feels the same and a quarter way through her meal barks and snarls loudly. Her tea is immediately removed.

For the next hour she barks single, evenly spaced sharp, cross barks. Now and then she interrupts the rhythm by raging and snapping at her tail.

When her meal is returned to her, ninety minutes later, she eats so quietly, you’d not know she was there.

Human is so ragged by now that she can’t be bothered to eat.

Then friend C. rings. He has his own small catering business and asks if I’ve eaten. He has vegetable curry, naan bread, sticky toffee pudding and toffee sauce left over from a dinner. Would I like some?

Would I?

It’s snowing again but C insists on driving over with the food.

Now, Isis and I are both well fed. She is sleeping peacefully and I plan to do the same very soon.

Anyone want a cat?


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, food rage, Isis at home, Isis is no angel, training, twirling | Tagged , , | 1 Comment




Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday December 10th 2017


Isis has had a delightful weekend. J, who has just returned to Birmingham after several months away, hears of my predicament and offers to take Isis and I out.

Could we go to Highbury?

No problem.

Off we go on Saturday, J handling the muscly Isis while I hold onto little Lola. This is an excellent arrangement as the dainty little dog feels like a fairy on the end of the lead. Naughty, paranoid Isis won’t allow J. help with the harness but is perfectly happy to be led from the car and taken into the park.

We’ve not visited Highbury since early August, and it’s wonderful to be back.

Isis, of course, is delighted to be reunited with her pines, and in seventh heaven when she discovers that there is a film of snow on their lower branches. For half an hour she dances, spiraling, leaping and snapping at snowflakes as they drift from the trees.

After half an hour, J leads the Hairy One onto the grass slope by the beech wood and I follow with little Lola.

As soon as she is released, Isis trots off through the brambles and throws herself around exuberantly just inside the wood.

Finally, she rushes out onto the open grass of the slope and runs up and down, back and forth, round and round. She is ecstatic.

J takes some good action shots which Human, unfortunately, is unable to download. Grrrrrrrrr.

We walk back up the slope. It’s time to go home, but when we attempt to turn onto the path, Isis jerks back and refuses to budge. “I don’t think she wants to go”, observes J, but I insist that the light must have changed and made her nervous.

While Lola and I continue along the path, J. kindly walks back onto the grass and continues straight ahead. Isis eagerly follows.

All is well until J. attempts to lead the hairy little toad back to the homeward path. Once again, Isis refuses. She plants her  bottom firmly on the ground, sticks her front legs out straight in front of her and jerks her head back. J gives the lead a few tugs. Isis resists with all her strength.

“What shall I do?”, asks Jo.

I look hard at Isis. I was wrong. J. was right. This isn’t a frightened dog. This is a refusing  dog. A dog who doesn’t want to go home.

I advise J. to keep the lead taut and stand absolutely still. After a minute, naughty Isis gets the message and walks on.

Next morning snow lies thick on the ground and continues to fall most of the day. Even the muddy patch is buried so I move the wire fence and let Isis out into the garden.

Oh boy! This feels amazing. A dog is sinking into the whiteness. This lovely stuff is halfway up its legs.

Off she goes.









I love this one!


She plays non-stop for almost ninety minutes before I fetch her in.

Although she came from sunny Portugal, she never seems to get cold, whatever the weather here.



Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk



Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, running running, walking in the park | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Isis versus human


Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday December 6th 2017


Isis: I love my lane! I have a very good time there. Tuesday is great fun.

Human: Tuesday is a right pain. It’s a perfect walking day for Isis, utterly grey, no sign of sun. First, I oversleep and S. and R. thoughtfully don’t disturb me so Isis misses her walk.

I: When we get to my lane, Human, as usual, takes ages to open the gate, dog knows why.

H: Isis sits nicely while I struggle with the heavy latch, heave up the even heavier gate stop and fiddle with the key which is  particularly stiff in the padlock today.

I: We’ve wasted so much time already that I don’t bother to stop and sniff, I run straight up to the corner and dance and dance and dance.














H: Once I’ve closed the gate behind us, I let Isis off the lead and follow her. She’s moving so fast that I don’t think she’ll stop to investigate the entrance to her latest escape route.

She doesn’t.

She seems determined to stay in her corner spot, and I’m tired so, with great difficulty, I manage to slide down the side of a nearby garage and sit on a concrete post which is lying flat on the grass.

I: That was wonderful, so invigorating. But one can’t stay in the same place all day. Off I trot. Wow! I can smell kitty.

H: Sigh. Struggling up from the post is even harder than sitting down on it, but something tells me that she’s heading towards the gap between the garages. Again, a speedy limp is called for. She’s already galloped into the recess. At least the gap is now stuffed with brambles.

I: I knew it was kitty. It’s gone through the gap. Quick! Quick! I’m ahead of Human.

H: I reach the recess just in time to see naughty Hairy One leaping up onto the brambles. They are dying now so maybe they don’t feel so prickly. I can’t believe it. I stumble over and just manage to stop her scrambling up and over them. When I reach her, I yell, “No!” very loudly. I have to haul her off several times before she stops. Brilliant for the damaged shoulders.

Oh Isis! How could you?

I: Dog, she’s a miserable git. She’s serious. I can feel very hostile vibrations. I’ll trot further on, play a bit at the end of the track and then, when she’s caught up with me, I’ll trot back to the gap.

H: I know she’ll not give up until she’s battered her way through, so I go to the store of old planks which R. raided a few weeks ago to reinforce another gap, and carry three, one by one, back to the bramble gap. Needless to say, I watch Hairy One’s every move like a hawk watches a vole.

It’s hard work shoving the planks up into the tangled clematis stems and jamming them back down.

Sigh. I wander back up to Isis.

I: O.K. Now’s my chance. I’ll just trot. No way she’ll catch up with me.

H: Little toad. I can read her like the proverbial book.

I: Whoopee! I’ve made it! She’s way behind.

H: I reach the recess. There is Isis standing at the mouth of the gap. This time, she doesn’t attempt to launch herself onto the brambles. She lifts her nose high in the air and sniffs hard – in disbelief, I think. She knows the planks are there, of course; nevertheless, she returns to the gap several times just to make sure.

I: Right, I’ll go back up to the top then.

H: Oh no you won’t. I tickle her whiskers with a spray cut from the private hedge, and eventually we make our way to the gate. Amazingly, she seems quite content for me to lead her to the gate without protest.

I’ve just closed the gate behind us (of course) when I realise that I’ve only one glove. Yes, there it is lying on the grass about twenty feet along the track.


I fight the gate but whatever I do, it refuses to open. After about ten minutes I give up and we go next door to E’s house to ask for help. No, it’s not me. Ed struggles too. Eventually he discovers that the latch has jammed so that a sliver of it, unnoticeable at first, is still not free of the lock. E. manages to shift it and we retrieve the glove.

I: This is brilliant, we’re going for another walk.

H: Isis is being very stubborn and defiant. She digs in her little heels and refuses to move. The extended lead is round my waist and I tug and tug and tug. She responds by pulling her harness over her head. Cursing under my breath, I reel her in, her harness now hanging round her collar. I am cross, tired and cold when I step into a pile of dog poo which some dirty so and so has left hidden among the leaves and grass. Great.

I: Dog, she’s in a rotten mood. What’s the matter with her. And why did we go back into The Lane if I was going to get dragged out again?

Later, as I set off for the post box just  a few houses up, J., the kind crossing warden, waves and comes over the road. He’s been talking to N. the butcher opposite, who thinks that I dropped something on the pavement on my way back from our walk.

Kind J. takes my letters to the post while I trudge wearily in the opposite direction. I’m glad I do, because there, on the slabs, is my best hat, a present from Adopted Niece.

To round off the day I spend some time scraping the mess out of the deeply ridged soles of my walking boots.

Isis stretches out on the futon and dozes.

It’s all right for some.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk


Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

the fence



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday December 3rd 2017


Last year I obtained from Freegle a very long, three foot tall length of plastic-covered wire border edging. This has proved extremely useful as a strong, light and easily portable fence. Over the summer and early autumn, I have used it to protect the latest area of lawn scalped by Isis.

Late, wet autumn and now winter have teamed up with damaged shoulders and feet to make it even more difficult to plod down the garden to touch-sign Isis to come in. At the same time, it has become imperative to protect the fast receding ‘lawn’ and to keep her out of the worst of the mud; hence the fence is now enclosing a small toilet area close to the house.

Now, if this fence were solid, Isis, of course, would have leapt over it immediately, but  when faced with something wobbly, on which she is unable to plant her little pink paws firmly, she is stuck – thank goodness.

Unfortunately, and, I guess, inevitably this happy state of affairs comes to an abrupt end when, a couple of weeks ago, Isis, spins into the fence accidentally and flattens it. Realising that it surrenders so easily, now, as a matter of course, she jumps on it, scrambles speedily and nonchalantly over it and bounces into the main garden.


Now I have to go out with her and when her duties have been done, tap her rump to tell her to go in. She’s very quick now to obey her signs and walks back into the house.

It’s Saturday morning and I let Isis out into her area. Because I’ve overslept and it’s well past dog’s breakfast time, I stupidly assume that she will come straight back into the kitchen. I should know better by now. She always puts playing outside before food.

My spirits, never at their highest in the morning anyway, sink even further when I glance out of the window and discover that her fluffy white legs have disappeared under a slicked down coat of oozy black mud.

She is so happy running up and down with her filthy, muddy rubber snake in her mouth, I decide that she might as well stay out and play instead of being taken into The Lane. I can’t lift her into the sinks at present, but it’s relatively mild today, so I can hose her down in the entry.

An hour and a half later, she is happy to come in and have her breakfast, although, once she has eaten, naturally, she’s disappointed that I’ll not let her out again.

I check out the hose only to find that it’s still where I left it last year, snaking down the garden and well embedded under thick grass and brambles. There’s no way I can dig it out.

Oh god.

I look again at the indescribably filthy Hairy One. As we know, I am off the low end of the houseproud scale, but even I can’t let her into the house in this state. There are not just smeary skid marks from one end of the kitchen floor to the other, but large clumps of claggy mud.

I know I shouldn’t, but I am going to have to bath her. I fill the sinks with warm water, and manage to half lift, half roll her into them.

I give her a very, very thorough bath. Since August, I’ve not been able to wash her intimate bits after she’s had her monthly anal gland treatment, and although the vet has given her a good wipe so she doesn’t smell, she needs quite a bit of trimming and cleaning.

She hates it but she is a very good dog, only a few flurries of escaping paws, and she only growls when, unnoticed by negligent human, the tap is poking into her flank.

Even her face, whiskers and under her chin have to be done. Poor Isis. Lots of shampoo, lots of rinses later, we’re finished and I wrap her in a towel. Things are looking up. Her tail rises damply and begins to wag.

Once in the hall, she lets me dry her all over, even those no-go areas, her back legs.

I remember the first time I tried to dry her. She’d only been with me for little over a month and we were in Wales. It was too soon too take her, and she was very unsure of herself, but she loved running in and out of the sea.

I was thoughtless and although I laid the towel on her back very gently, she became hysterical.

Of course she did, I’m sure it was a totally new experience for her. She couldn’t see or hear what I was doing and I had not thought to give her the towel to smell before I tried to dry her.

No wonder the poor little animal was terrified.

Her back legs have remained an issue. I think that someone must have done something very unpleasant to those legs, perhaps, roped them, or grabbed them or worse because if you need to touch them, she still snatches them away. She no longer bites me though, or snaps and growls.

All four legs are dripping. I carefully dry her front legs. I don’t hold them, just place a restraining hand on her back. Then, very, very gently and very slowly I place a corner of the towel against a back leg and pat it very lightly. She lets me dry both legs.

While I’m doing this, I tell her, over and over again, “What a good dog.”


Sadly, though, at night she wakes up in distress. I can’t remember when I last had to go down to comfort her at night. Nowadays she wakes up and snaps and barks briefly once or twice and then goes back to sleep.

Tonight is different. She snarls and snaps to herself, is quiet for a short while, then off she goes again. This goes on and on and on. When I go down she is awake, but when I stroke her head, she snaps and grabs my arm. She doesn’t bite me but leaves two little red marks on my skin. I pat her gently on her favourite place, her rump. But she doesn’t want to be touched, and gives warning growls.

I cover her gently with a fleece, put Polar Bear close to her, and leave her alone. Thankfully, after one more brief snarly barking session, she sleeps until morning.

I feel sad for her and wonder whether the bath, and, perhaps, my drying her legs, has brought back horrors from her past.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk






Posted in Isis at home, relationship building, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

the battle continues to continue ……….



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday November 29th 2017


It’s a very long time since we checked in on Hairy One’s mealtime re-training. This is not because Human has forgotten the matter. Indeed no. It’s because Isis has been a little b. Despite my standing by, gardening glove at the ready, and snatching away her dish at the very first yap, she has still not eaten more than two consecutive meals politely.

Once her meal has been returned, she eats it beautifully. Sometimes she behaves well during the following meal, but most often it’s been a yap and a confiscation each time she’s fed. It’s enough to try the patience of a saint.

Last week I upped the stakes. Once her meal was removed, she didn’t get it back until I’d eaten or she’d waited without protest for thirty minutes. Each time this happened, she finished her food quietly, but then did her barking, snarling, tail nipping act.

I recall that she went through this stage for several months when I first began meal time training. Hmmm.

After a few days, she changed tactics. Although she growled under her breath, she didn’t bark until she’d almost finished eating; then, when only a mouthful remained in her dish, she gave a loud, sharp bark and tried to gulp down the last mouthful before I got to it.

Defiance, or what? I guess her reasoning is, “I will bark and she won’t take my dinner.”

O.K. We’ll see about that.

On Tuesday evening she yaps loudly before trying to grab the last mouthful.

But I am too quick for her. Her dish with its three remaining little biscuits is snatched away.

This time she doesn’t get it back.

This morning the performance is repeated. This time there is a a nice forkful of meat left.



Isis is obviously very surprised. She doesn’t comment, but hangs around the kitchen looking hopeful.

I do not respond.

At dog’s tea time, I give her the ‘eat it’ touch, and she eats. She finishes her meal without a sound and walks away from her dining area.

“What a good girl!”, I tell her and reward her with a little piece of cheese.

Goodness, she’s a challenging little dog.





We’ll see what tomorrow brings.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in food rage, Isis at home, teaching my deaf/blind dog, training | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

I couldn’t believe it


Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday November 26th 2017


It’s true. At the time I absolutely couldn’t believe it.

It happened a week ago. Picture the scene:  it’s Saturday and I decide to take Isis to The Lane so that she can play her private doggie games.

As usual, I have to give her rump a few pokes before she eventually sits long enough for me to lock the porch door and step away of my own volition (rather than being propelled towards the gate like a demented kite).

As usual, the naughty little creature sits at the gate to her paradise like the winner of a Crufts obedience class.

We have never before had a problem with the straight section of our lane because, once released, Isis always trots smartly up to the bend for her first dancing session. After that, she continues round the corner.

Today, although the straight section is protected from the sun by a twenty foot privet hedge, at the corner it’s a different story.

As we know, although she is, for all intents and purposes, blind, Isis is very frightened of bright light and dark shadows. I’ve not been able to work out whether these extremes just frighten her or actually hurt her.

Today, the sun smacks her in the face as she’s twirling and bang, her little face hits a garage door. She retraces her steps and, before I can intervene, bang, her face hits the opposite garage door.

I know that Isis has a very clear sense of where the garages are in the lane, and doesn’t bang into them, even when she’s spinning quite fast. Obviously, bright sun can be catastrophic for her.

I comfort her, and, very sensibly, she leaves the sunny patches and retreats towards the gate. Here, she plays very happily in the shade, bouncing joyfully from one side of the path to the other.

Now, the boundaries along the main part of our lane, where she always plays, have been checked very carefully by both me and R, but the gate end hasn’t.

I know what you’re thinking, but no, I don’t neglect my duty. Spotting an empty, garage sized gap between the two garages which are in use, I take up a goal keeper’s position in the middle of the space.

It’s almost time to go when Isis begins to show more than a passing interest in the space. It is then that I notice a tall, strong looking fence which runs across the bottom of the space.

That’s all right then. She can’t escape.

I allow her to pass, and she scrambles speedily over a lorry tyre and a pile of bricks and weaves her way through a plethora of very young saplings.

When she reaches the fence, she eagerly approaches the left hand corner. She sniffs very carefully up and down the fence. I smile to myself. Hard luck, Isis.

Then she sniffs her way along to the opposite corner. She doesn’t come across any missing planks. I smile smugly again.

Then, to my horror, I see her pink nose slowly disappear. There’s a small gap between the fence and the back of the second garage. It’s not visible from where I am standing, but slowly and surely, Hairy One edges her way in.

There’s no way I can stop her. Even at my most agile, I couldn’t make it in time.


Then, to my huge relief, slowly, slowly, a fluffy white tail begins to emerge, then a tousled rump, four legs and a somewhat dishevelled face.

Aha! You bit off more than you could chew there, my naughty little podengo.

I wait for her to make her way back to me.

But she does no such thing.

Having backed out of the gap, she shakes herself, turns herself round and tries again, rump first.

As I stand with my mouth open, she disappears, bit by bit back into the gap. The last glimpse I have of her is her pink spotty nose, then she’s gone.

I really can’t believe what I’ve just witnessed.

With great difficulty, I totter over the old tyre and the rubble and squeeze myself through the saplings.

I can hear her bell tinkling clearly, but by the time I am able to peer down the back of the garage, Isis, of course, is nowhere to be seen. It’s now obvious why she didn’t want to enter the gap face first. It’s packed with dense undergrowth and myriad tall plant stems which are jammed so closely together that a small snake would struggle to get through them.

Although I am very worried about how the hell I can retrieve her, I am in awe. It had taken her only a few seconds to decide that a hairy rump would withstand the undergrowth, stems and prickles better than a bare, pink, spotty nose.


Anyway, never mind admiring her prowess, how do I get her out of there?

There is no way I can pursue her down the gap. I’ll have to exit via the gate and knock on the house owner’s front door.


As I battle my way back to the path, tired, cold, and fed up, I spot a garden gate which I’ve not noticed before. It’s sure to be bolted on the inside though.

I try the latch. The gate opens.


I peer round the gate. On the lawn is a child’s football goal. Isis is dancing round it ecstatically.

How embarrassing.

“Hello!”, I shriek, “Is there anybody there?”

There’s no answer, no sign of activity.

Feeling like a thief, I creep into the garden, capture Hairy One and hastily retreat.

We haven’t quite had our full hour yet, but, as I explain to Isis, I’ve had enough for one day.

She doesn’t seem to mind. She walks back home beside me, tail held high.

I don’t think she’s smirking.

I know I’m not.



Spoilsport. I love gaps.




Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in clever girl, deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead!, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

unblocking the gap



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday November 22nd 2017


It’s the day after I blocked Hairy One’s escape route through the gap between two garages. Today as she skips merrily round the bend in the lane she continues past the recessed garage, the site of her previous misdemeanour.

She plays happily up and down the lane. After an hour, it’s nearly time to go home and I am at the bend waiting for her. I’m not in the slightest bit concerned when she ducks out of sight into the recess where the gap is.


What the hell’s that


It sounds like whippy sticks being bashed against metal.


It definitely is whippy sticks being bashed against metal.

I set off at a fast limp. There’s the little so and so, bottom flat on the concrete, teeth firmly clamped round the springy stems of the dead clematis which I had carefully woven in and out of the brambles I’d used to block the gap. The stems are firmly rooted in the ground so there’s no way even Isis can uproot them.

When she’s pulled them as taut as she can, her teeth slide off them and they spring back against the aluminium of the garage doors.


“Isis! You little b!”, I shriek. She can’t hear me, of course, but she knows I’m approaching, and reaching back into the mouth of the gap, grasps a large bramble, wheels round smartly  and runs off down the lane, with it.

Sadly, I’m not quick enough to capture her on camera while she’s twanging the clematis stems, but at least I manage to get some proof that I’m not making it all up.






Eventually, she tires of this prickly game and abandons the bramble. It was about twelve feet long when she first removed it but now there are several sections strewn around the lane.

While she pops off to play another game, I pick up the bramble bits. The blood red thorns are vicious and grow so close together it is impossible to find a clear patch big enough to get my finger and thumb round.

How on earth does she avoid tearing her little pink mouth?, I wonder, as I ow, argh and ouch my way back to the recess. I leave the brambles  by the re-opened gap. They’ll be re-used tomorrow.

The next day, armed once more with secateurs and thick gardening gloves, I cut down the longest, curlyist brambles I can find and ram them several feet deep into the gap.

That should deter even the most determined Portugese podengo    …………………….

Shouldn’t it?


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in I'm off my lead!, strange behaviour, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , | 6 Comments

the ingrate



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday November 19th 2017


Isis, as we know, for a long time now has been taken to the park most week days by the Pet Angels.

Lucky Isis. You’d think she would be at her most co-operative. But no, it only takes a bright slice of sunshine to provoke a dropped tail and a slow down. Or worse, a no go. And since Bertie howled at a squirrel at a certain spot on the way to the park weeks ago, Isis refuses to walk the last few hundred yards to the park and R finds herself patiently parading up and down Howard Road.

Some weeks ago while Hairy One is out with her benefactor, I receive some charming photos.




Photo by Ruth



Yes, here is Isis off the lead looking very pleased and relaxed. She’s obviously enjoying herself immensely but where is she?

When the pair return looking well exercised and pleased with themselves, the mystery is solved?

She’s been a guest in the Pet Angel’s garden.

Apparently, the hairy pest had again balked at approaching the park with the long-suffering S, Albert and George, so while the sensible canines proceeded for a lovely walk in the park, R and Isis stayed behind.

Embarrassing animal.

While she plods patiently up and down Howard Road attempting to cheer up Isis, R. has a sudden inspiration. She persuades the reluctant creature to take a different route and introduces her to new territory.

Now, as we know, Isis likes gardens.

Apparently, when R. first lets her off her lead, Isis stands still for a few seconds and carefully sniffs the air. Then she begins a thorough examination of the property. She climbs up the steps to the verandah and explores it. When she comes across a row of scented plants, she stops to sniff each one before returning carefully down the steps.

Next, she checks out the garden boundaries. She walks slowly, sniffing intently as she goes.

Having established where the boundaries are, she begins to explore the garden.


She quickens her pace, trotting along the paths, enjoying the gravelly earth, and the feel of feathery grasses tickling her whiskers.

Sometimes, when she feels fallen leaves beneath her feet, she pauses to grab a few in her mouth and toss them in the air.

Altogether, she has a wonderful time.

When R. takes her again a few weeks later she follows her original routine, beginning with the verandah and a good sniff at the plants with the interesting smells, reacquainting herself with the general layout and trotting round the paths.

This time, as a finale, she has a vigorous dance on the lawn – scarifying it nicely, as R. remarks.


“Well there’s got to be a limit, even to your generosity”, I comment, “Are you really sure  you want a grassless lawn?”


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead! | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

blocking the gap



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday November 15th 2017


New router arrives today and is going strong. Hopefully, will not have to reconnect to the internet every few days. Still having problems with transferring images from new email set-up though, so, sadly, another imageless post.

The day after the Great Escape I dutifully plod off to The Lane with Isis. In my coat pocket are the secateurs.

While I endeavour to lock the porch door behind me, the hairy little toad, has to be prodded numerous times in order to keep her sitting. It’s quite a different matter when she is commanded to sit outside the gate of the lane. She sits immediately and doesn’t move until I signal her to go forward. She’s keen to get to the other side of the gate, and she knows that a dog who forgets her ‘sit’ has to wait much longer than an obedient animal.

Today I keep her on the extended lead until we reach the gap through which she disappeared yesterday.

Here, I release her to play. Then I cut down several long, fat, thorny brambles and block the gap with them. Finally, I weave in some long, flexible clematis stalks.

That should do it.

Craftily, Isis stays well away from the gap while I am near it. She dashes up and down playing her little games, has a good, long leap around Lane Kitty’s territory, and enjoys a prolonged dance in the only patch of mud in the lane.


On her way back towards the corner, she dodges into the recess where the gap is. But she soon pops back out. Nothing interesting there for a dog today, only a pile of boring brambles.

I smirk.

Round two to me.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in I'm off my lead!, running, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , | 2 Comments

a very short one

Sunday November 12th 1017

Still no internet connection. I have a dead router and am awaiting a replacement. It should arrive in the next few days.

I’m postponing today’s post as it is very hard to judge layout on a phone.

Hoping there’ll be a double helping on Wednesday!


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