what Isis might have said ………………………

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Wednesday June 12th 2019

 

Although she is deaf, I talk to Isis all the time. As you do.

Her thoughts, of course, I can only imagine. Just as well, perhaps.

She is emboldened by rain, and wants to stay in the park for ever and ever.

These conversational snippets could have taken place on any very wet day this week – or last.

 

Human: Right, Isis, time to go home. I’m coming to get you.

 

Isis: I don’t think so.

 

 

Human: Puff. Pant. Oh, for dog’s ****** sake. ISIS!

(Runs in front of Isis and approaches stealthily with harness at the ready.)

Isis (dodging neatly to the left): No way.

 

 

Human: ISIS! Come here you little toad! We’ve been here for two hours!

Isis: Can’t hear a thing. Ah, here’s a nice stick.

 

 

Human: Just lie down with that stick and I’ve got you.

Isis: I’ll just have a quick gnaw.

 

 

(Human creeps towards her prey, cursing as she creeps.)

Isis: I can smell Human. Best hold my stick tight and run back to a safe place.

Yes, here we are. It’s a good long way away from the car, too. I’ll lie down and have another crunch or two.

 

 

Human: I can’t believe this. (Sets off towards Hairy One once again. She treads very carefully, sure that Isis can feel vibrations under paw from some distance away.)

 

 

Human: Right. This time you’ve had it. Curtains, my sweet. Home time. End of.

(Suddenly, Isis drops the stick, gets to her feet and turns towards the hedge.)

Isis: There’s something nasty over here. Oh dear! Where’s Human?

 

 

Put my harness on quick. Something’s after me.

 

 

Isis: Come on. Come on. Come on. What’s keeping you? I’ve been standing here for ages. Something could have eaten 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

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Isis has other ideas ………………………

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday June 9th 2019

 

(My apologies for the odd posts which may have arrived this evening. Before I downloaded images from my phone, I forgot to change ‘publish’ to ‘draft’.)

Isis is becoming more and more confident off lead.

This is great. I’m delighted.

But there’s a downside – for me, not her. She knows how to get from where I think we’re going to where she wants to be.

It’s been a very wet week, so Isis has been even more exuberant than usual, running and running,  gulping at the air, kicking up patterns of spray from the loaded grass.

When the rain stops for a while, her little legs, slim with wetness, look incongruous beneath her fluffy mass.

She’s so, so happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One morning, she has a wonderful time in King’s Heath Park, celebrating the rain on each level, from the old bowling green up. She spends as much time as she wants, running and leaping.

Until we arrive at the Colour Garden

Here, she seems set for a further hour and a half racing around the main flower bed, bowing and dipping under the lovely, dripping shrubs.

I stand beneath the dense foliage of a tall, wide holly. It’s lovely to watch her, and this tree affords very effective shelter. But I’m already soaked, and soon begin to shiver.

I emerge, dripping from my lair, manage to slow down Isis without being cannonballed back into the holly, and tap her beneath her chin. As usual, she follows me out, along the path by the side of the deserted basketball pitch, and up onto the old tennis courts.

What an obedient, well trained dog, her human thinks smugly.

Perhaps her intentions were good when she set off, but the feel of yet another fresh expanse of wet grass beneath her paws, is irresistible. It sends her into another celebratory frenzy. She runs back and fourth as I walk across the three courts to the exit. I wait for her, only to see the little toad making her soggy way back to the Colour Garden.

Sigh.

I’m wet. I’m cold. I’m tired. And and my hot coffee has just faded further into the distance.

Turning back, I squelch after her. There she is. The joyful little creature has resumed her routine.

I give her another, more purposeful, tap under her chin. This time she insists on walking ahead of me, and we reach the car without further escape attempts.

The rain is still pelting down as she settles on the back seat, and I shrink as far into the shelter of the car boot as possible, trying change from walking boots to trainers without putting an unclad foot into a puddle.

Before I get into the car, I remove my saturated coat and toss it into the passenger foot well.

Surely it’s not possible to feel this cold in June. I hope poor Isis won’t get a chill. She is so wet, I could almost wring her out.

I run my clammy blue and purple hands over her body.

She’s as warm as a hairy hot water bottle.

 

*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

 

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an eventful walk

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an eventful walk

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Wednesday June 5th 2019

 

Clutching a large bag of fish batter and chips, I meander onto the meadow.

Since they’re destined for the Highbury Park crows, the leftovers have no seasoning. I decided that salt and vinegar probably aren’t good for crows, so now I eat a large pickled onion with my fish and chips instead.

The contents of my bag will certainly not do Nancy and Rufus any good, so I am here early enough to scatter my goodies before they arrive.

As soon as one crow susses what I am about, the flock of thirty plus skids onto the grass to eat. After a minute or two, there’s not a scrap to be seen.

Excellent.

The doodle contingent arrives.

It’s Monday. The weather’s settled. Humans and dogs say hello, and we’re all set for a calm, relaxing walk.

While we’re deciding on today’s route, we notice that Isis is pawing her mouth. Soon sort this out. Done it dozens of times. I walk over to her and insert my fingers between her jaws, rummaging around the roof of her mouth.

No stick.

I run my fingers around her teeth.

She is not impressed. She doesn’t wish me to fiddle with her teeth, thank you. Chomp!  She closes her mouth firmly on my thumb. Thanks, Isis, that hurt.

Perhaps we were wrong. I let her go, and off she prances.

But soon, Bev spots her looking uncomfortable and pawing her mouth again.

She lifts her head and I glimpse a long, very thin stick. It’s not lying across the roof of her mouth, but along the main ridge which runs from front to back.

Now I know where it is, I am more efficient. As though she is aware that I now know what I’m doing, she allows me to slide in one finger and lift off the offending stick.

Then I clip her lead to her collar and off we go towards the  beech wood.

It’s not until we’ve walked up the slope to the rear of Highbury Hall and are about to turn onto the highest of the tracks, that I notice I’ve not got Hairy One’s harness.

It’s not on the slope we’ve just left. It could be anywhere. We decide to carry on as far as the community orchard, return to the beech wood via the lowest track -so there’ll be different smells for the dogs to enjoy – and then retrace our original path across the meadow in the hope of finding the harness.

We search diligently but there’s no sign of it.

Eventually, we make our way up to the landscaped area. We are moving in the direction of Kings Heath when Rufus lowers his head until it’s almost touching the ground, and paws miserably at his mouth.

When Bev goes to him, his mouth is wide open, but there’s no sign of any foreign object. I suggest that he may be about to vomit.

He doesn’t. He walks on a few feet, then stops, lowers his head and paws again. He seems to be choking.

I suddenly realise with horror that since there’s nothing in his mouth, whatever is bothering him must be in his throat. I thrust my hand into the back of his mouth and feel around. There’s a substantial bit of stick jammed in the entrance to his throat.

Once it’s hooked out, Rufus relaxes. He looks very pleased. Perfectly happy, in fact. He’d like to pick the stick up again, and seems puzzled when his human won’t let him.

He’s been a very, very co-operative dog. It can’t be easy to stand stock still with someone’s  hand  in your mouth.

What a good boy.

Naturally, when we responded to Rufus, we dropped everything – literally. Now he’s OK, we notice that Isis is fast disappearing in the direction of the little pond. I bend down to pick up her lead, but it’s nowhere to be found.

By now, Isis has also vanished, so I am obliged to abandon the lead search and dash off after her.

“Text when you’re reunited”, Bev calls after me.

I find Isis snuffling contentedly on the little path by the pond. She is wearing her lead.

I text the good news.

We’ve only moved on a few steps when my phone rings. Bev has found a harness hanging on the notice board by the main entrance to the park.

She WhatsAps an image to me.

 

 

The harness is Hairy One’s, I tell her.

She’ll bring it with her tomorrow, but right now, she is off to Loco Lounge. She feels she needs a strong coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

And the doodles will have a bowl of  fresh water.

 

*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

 

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am eventful walk

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treats and traumas

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday June 2nd 2019

 

Before we leave Highbury to go our separate ways – Bev and the doodles to Moseley, Isis and I to the car park – we sometimes walk towards the High Street together.

We do this on Tuesday after our walk round the park. The rain, light as we make our way over the landscaped grass, soon becomes heavier.

Bev and I shelter with the sensible doodles beneath a huge beech tree with layers of waterproof foliage.

Isis, of course, has other ideas. She runs and dances maniacally on the undulating  grass.

The heavy rain becomes a deluge. In celebration she picks up a large stick, and trots off with renewed vigour.

 

 

 

 

 

By the time the sky lightens, she is absolutely soaked. And very, very happy.

We leave the others and walk back towards the car park.

She chooses the interesting route over the stepping stones, and, sure, she pauses once or twice for a quick twirl, but a light touch on the side of her head soon gets her back on piste.

Wonderful, wet Wednesday follows, with more delightfully soggy adventures.

On these happy days, Hairy One returns for her tea and is soon flat out on the day bed.

But then Thursday arrives and it’s the worst Isis weather imaginable.

Sporadically, a bright ball of sun bursts through the glowering grey cloud. It’s a long time since the light was as changeable as this.

We try to lead her onto the shadier woodland tracks, turn her away from the brighter ones, but she is terrified.

She is disorientated, and has to be guided round obstacles which she usually navigates easily on her own.

She lies down, is lifted back onto her feet, lies down again.

I clip on her lead. This usually reassures her.

We walk slowly down onto the meadow, towards the landscaped area which she enjoyed so much on Tuesday. Perhaps she’ll feel calmer here.

But no. She creeps along close to the ground, tail clamped between her legs, ears drooping.

Then she flattens herself on the grass. This time, no amount of tugging, realigning or cajoling will move her.

As soon as I turn round, she’s up and trotting towards the main path.

She’s no interest in anything along the way. Her only aim is to get to the car as soon as she can.

When we reach home, she rushes down the hall and leaps onto the day bed.

I know that she’s hungry. She even has mackerel in her dish. But she’ll not get up to eat.

I feel so sorry for her that I serve her tea in bed, and sit by her as she eats.

 

*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

 

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how sweet is that?

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Wednesday May 29th 2019

 

It’s reunion time, and Rufus is very excited. Beside himself, if the truth be told.

He takes reunions very seriously, does Rufus. Some years ago, I recall, I was at Greenhill Garage, standing by the side of my car while a young attendant was checking my tyres, when I heard a piercing howl.

Coming towards me was Bev., who was struggling to restrain the labradoodles.

I’d not seen poor Rufus for months as he was recovering from an operation on his spine.

“Whoo-hoo-hoooooooooooooooooooooooo!”, howled Rufus, “Whoo-hoo-hoooooooooooooooooooooooo!”, as he dragged Bev. towards me.

She had no choice but to let go of this well trained and generally obedient dog.

The young attendant went pale, and retreated to the back of the car as Rufus honed in on me. He was so eager to lick my face that he dragged a claw down my arm.

Ouch – but what a greeting!

 

………………………………..

 

Now, it’s Monday morning. The family have just returned from holiday, so the doodles haven’t seen us for two weeks.

I prepare myself for the ambush.

The doodles are already in Highbury. They’re a few hundred yards down the meadow, and unaware of our arrival, so I change into my boots hastily.

Bev. sees me, and captures them just before they spot me, so I’m able to let Isis out of the car before they are released.

Rufus, who, we think, has become quite fond of Isis, doesn’t know which of us to greet first.

“Who-hoooooooooooooooooooooooooo-hoo!”, he gasps as he shoots back and forth from my legs to Hairy One’s face.

Bop! Bop! Bop!, goes Rufus’s nose on Hairy One’s muzzle.

“Gr-r-r-yaff!”, says Hairy One.

But she looks happy and relaxed, and seems pleased to be walking with them again.

 

 

 

 

We are making our way along one of the narrow tracks through the woodland walk: Nancy out ahead, followed by Bev., then Rufus, Isis and me.

Rufus finds a particularly delicious crop of grass and stops to nibble it, straddling the track.

Now Isis has a dilemma. She wants to walk on, but Rufus is in her path.

I can see that there is room for her to pass on the right hand side, at his tail end, but she, of course, doesn’t know this.

She stops very close to him, and sniffs out the position of his head. She moves on to check out his midriff, then comes to his tail.

She returns to his head end and repeats the process twice. Clearly, she decides, the available space runs out at the end of his tail.

This is a difficult one. You can’t push another dog out of the way. That’d be asking for trouble. She steps forward and sniffs his stomach. And steps back.

She walks to the end of his tail again. No room.

She returns to stand close to him, moves forward, loses her nerve, steps back.

She does this twice more, then, ducking slightly, she pushes herself carefully underneath him and emerges the other side.

Bev. and I are quite enchanted.

“How sweet is that?”, says Bev.

We are amazed at Hairy One’s trust. This is the closest she has ever been to another dog.

And Rufus is magnificent. He doesn’t twitch a whisker.

Well, well, well.

 

*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, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, learning to trust, park dogs, relationship building, walking with Rufus and Nancy | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

a solution?

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Sunday May 26th 2019

 

I hang the hosepipe reel on a large hook which is already embedded in the house wall, take the pipe across to the opposite wall, and feed it round the end bricks. Then, I hitch it over a six foot fence pole.

It’s now several feet off the ground, and is too high for Isis to reach.

 

 

 

 

 

I let the rest of the pipe drop to the ground, then stash it behind a substantial pile of six by six timber.

 

 

 

Is this the solution?

Well, Isis doesn’t manage to swing on the hosepipe and bash the reel against the side of the house. That’s a relief.

Instead, she retreats to a favourite spot by the fence and lies there looking sad.

 

 

 

 

 

Oh dear.

Every day I put out three toys for her to play with. Every day she examines the toys with great care before carrying them, one by one, back into the house. She even lies on the rug and plays with each repatriated toy for a while.

True, today she does spend twenty minutes or so in the garden in the late afternoon. But only because she’s trying to work out how to reach the hosepipe.

When she realises she’s defeated, she comes back indoors and lies on the day bed.

A friend says that she has a long length of hosepipe which isn’t being used. When she comes over in a couple of weeks time, she’ll donate it to Isis: with luck, Hairy One might think it’s an extremely large garden snake.

Then again, of course, she might drag it into the house.

Never mind, as long as she regains her joie de vivre.

 

*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

 

 

 

 

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a solution?

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Isis and the hosepipe

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.

 

Wednesday May 22nd 2019

 

We have a problem, the hosepipe and I.

Isis doesn’t have a problem. She’s fine. She finds Human’s actions puzzling sometimes, but she contains any frustration she might feel. She’s a patient dog.

This is how it goes.

When she lets Isis into the garden to play, Human takes out one or two favourite toys for her.

She does this not only out of the kindness of her heart – for dogs need toys, especially if they have no dog playmates – but because an occupied dog is less likely to cause mayhem.

Sometimes, of course, she forgets, or fails to supply the toys quickly enough. Then, as she sits in the house, relaxing with a coffee, she is assailed by echoing clangs and bangs.

Yikes! Is someone is attacking the side wall with a battering ram? Is this a police raid?

She tears down the hall, shedding a croc as she goes, and emerges, half shod, into the back garden.

Oh. Isis has the hosepipe tightly clamped between her teeth and is swinging it vigorously to and fro. The heavy plastic reel has been pulled four feet off the ground, and is bashing against the wall of the house every time Isis yanks the pipe. The stiff brass tap which is attached to the hosepipe has been dragged round and is now jammed at ninety degrees from its previously vertical position.

“No!”, Human screams at her deaf dog, tapping its forehead briskly with an index finger.

Hairy One, appreciating that her person is, for some strange reason, seriously displeased, allows her to reclaim the hosepipe.

Toys are hastily distributed, and Isis is left to play.

Over the three days, this well rehearsed scene begins to change. A toy placed thoughtfully in the garden mysteriously reappears by Hairy One’s dog bed. One toy is brought indoors and exchanged for another. There’s much walking in and out with a snake, a tugger or a ball clasped purposefully in a hairy mouth.

How sweet. What a interesting dog I have.

It’s Tuesday. Human’s forced herself to go food shopping. In the Co-op she comes across a pretty blue rope, neatly braided, strong and thick like the hosepipe. ‘Hours of fun for your dog’ proclaims the label.’

We’ve all heard that one before, but it’s only one ninety-nine.

Bless her, she’ll love it. Like most dogs, she loves new toys. This’ll take her mind off the hosepipe.

Back at home, I let Hairy out into the garden and offer her the new toy. She seems pleased.

Good. Now for a coffee and two toasted crumpets with apricot jam.

But, of course, the best laid plans of mice and men ……….

 

 

What the hell’s she brought this out for?

 

 

Sigh. I’d better take it in.

 

 

It’s always up to me. She gets my things out and I have to put them back. I’ve already had to replace the snake and the ball.

 

 

Well, that’s that done. Now, better not look too interested in the hosepipe. I can smell Human’s somewhere in the garden.

 

 

 

I’ll just pretend Ive found an exciting scent and …..

 

then sniff my way closer and closer so she doesn’t notice what I’m doing.

 

 

Got it!

 

 

Here we go! Heeeeeave! Clang! Clatter!

 

Sigh.

How much is the return fare to Aljezur, Kerry?

 

*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

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