breakthrough

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday November 28th 2021

 

Sadly, stupid Human has accidentally deleted last week’s post, the duck with the orange feet.

But now she’s trying very hard to stop gnashing her teeth and renting her garments, as they used to say, and is determined to concentrate on the good news. (Although, if anyone knows of a way the post can be retrieved, she would be delighted to know.)

Last week we left Isis refusing point blank to have anything to do with her lovely new honking duck. However many times he is offered to her, she turns her back on him. Ever hopeful, I replace him in her bed, and wait.

He is one of her three presents. I await the arrival of the other two. Perhaps she will find them more acceptable.

Then, the very next evening  …………………………………………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m delighted, of course.

Now, when I pick up her duck, squeeze him very gently, and pretend to steal him, she grabs him and holds onto him very firmly. I’ve discovered that if you squeeze his head or neck, the honk is much quieter than when you grasp his middle, so when playing with her, I can modify the sound.

It’d be interesting to know how the stimulus works for her. Normally, I can clap my hands, click clickers, blow a dog whistle or make any loud sound a few inches from her and she doesn’t stir until she smells me; yet that first loud honk terrified her. I can only guess that she was startled by the vibration or the honk has a specific tone which she can hear.

Two days later, the other toys arrive. This time Isis waits until we are in the porch before  she tells me someone has been to the door.

Ah yes, clever girl: on the floor, there’s a card from the postman. The parcel has been left at my kind neighbour’s.

Both of the soft toys are made by Orvis. They had good reviews, and I’m not disappointed. They are a good size, look to be of excellent quality, and each has an interesting variety of textures. They should be perfect for Isis.

In last week’s post, I said I’d ordered a sloth, but I am wrong. It’s not a sloth who arrives with the new duck,  but a squirrel.

Here she is.

 

 

 

 

 

This time, Isis isn’t afraid of the new toy. Not at all. She just turns away her head when I give it to her to sniff. Then she ignores it.

She ignores it the next day.

And the next.

And the next.

And the next.

Sigh.

Now it’s Saturday. Every day it seems to me that Hairy One’s coat is an inch longer than the day before. In the evening I give her a thorough nose to tail grooming. After this, I present her new toy again for her to sniff, then rub it, very lightly, along her back and across her chest.

I think that perhaps if it smells of her, she’ll be happier with it.

But she looks mildly irritated and continues to ignore the creature.

Oh well.

I retire to the kitchen to make myself a coffee.

Before going to bed, I peep round the door. To my surprise, Isis has moved to the end of the day bed and is fast asleep with her head resting on her new toy.

Aw!

Now we have one more present to go: the soft toy duck.

Here he is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I decide on a different tactic this time. The new duck can be her Christmas present. I’ll put it in my bed and leave it there for the next few weeks so that it absolutely reeks of me. It could be that she takes to this toy immediately.

Or not!

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

Posted in dear little Isis, Isis at home, Isis says "No"., oh dear, patience is a virtue., sleeping arrangements, these dogs!, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

she’s a darling!

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday Novenber 14th 2021

 

My narrative, as usual, is in black print. The blue print is my interpretation of her canine thinking.

 

‘S/he’s a darling’ is a Black Country expression which means the opposite, that is, she or he is being a pain in the neck.

This morning the expression suits Isis down to the ground.

When I let her out into the garden, a quick pee is all we get.

I’m very, very hungry. I want my breakfast.

Sigh.

This means I’ll have to carry two or three full dog bags around if she elects to take a pavement walk.

We set off. It’s a nice, dull day, so I’m not sure whether she’ll decide to walk wherever she wants to go, or choose to be driven.

Her chauffeur is prepared for both. She wears her trainers, and stows her walking boots in the car. Her pocket is full of dog bags. So is the car. The house keys are zipped into an inside pocket. The car key is poised for action between forefinger and thumb.

She walks over to the grass verge on the right. Strange. She never turns right here. She’s never about to walk up this way, is she?

No, she isn’t. She’s engrossed in sniffing the grass. Something needs immediate investigation: it’s urgent.

I wait.

And wait.

Ah, she’s completed her task. Perhaps now she’ll walk on. Or approach the car.

No, that’s not her intention. She executes a ninety degree turn, then waits, facing the main road. That’s OK. We sometimes cross the road, walk down to Broad Lane, back up along another road, and home. We complete a rough rectangle, and it takes us about an hour. Usually, she walks very nicely on her lead, except when she catches a whiff of kitty and lurches forward to pursue it.

On this route, though, there’s a certain point, less than a quarter of the way to Broad Lane, where she always stops and turns back towards home. I realise that this is the point where we used to turn back when I came home from my art group at lunch time to check her out and give her another, albeit brief, walk.

Understandably, she is a creature of habit. Once she is realises that no, we’re not retracing our foot/ paw steps, she trots along contentedly.  She takes some persuading, and may stop again, but eventually we’re back on piste. I always manage to persuade her to continue.

Sometimes, on our way back, we walk down one of the paths leading from Jasmin Fields. She enjoys this.

Today, she soon stops to attend to her needs. While I am employing the dog bag, the naughty little creature turns back in the direction from which we’ve just come and tugs at the lead. Very helpful at such times. Not.

I turn her round.

What’s the matter with her? I’ve just produced an impressively huge poo. That’s what I agreed to come across the road for.

As we know, Isis can be very stubborn. I guess that’s how she escaped from her chain in Portugal. But today she is exceptionally recalcitrant.

When I stop in my tracks and refuse to move, she always taps me under my chin to tell me to walk on.

Or she keeps tapping as we walk. I comply for a while because bending over to tap me makes her lose her balance. Snigger.

She even blows on my bottom, to make me rush forward, thinking I’m being pursued by a randy dog.

Can you imagine it?

Today I won’t be bullied. Quite honestly, if she doesn’t mind looking like a pervert, why should I care?

I am not, I repeat NOT, walking.

I hiss, “No” into her ear, then, “Come!”

She ignores me and segues into her rodeo act. She bucks, and she twists, and she wriggles. Then she lowers her head.

It’s show down time.

As she does so, she heaves herself backwards, step by step, as though she is competing in a tug of war.

Just as she intends, her harness is dragged over her head, and drops to the pavement between her front legs.

Then she turns towards home.

“Little toad,” I mutter.

You didn’t leave me any choice. I kept trying to tell you. Now do you believe me? I’m not happy. I DON’T WANT TO WALK ANY FURTHER!

Dragging her harness over her head is her end of the line protest. I can’t even remember when she last did it. She’s serious.

O.K. The light looks fine to me, but what do I know?

I replace her harness, and we walk back to the car.

We get in and drive to Jasmin Fields. We’ll walk along the little tracks above the canal.

She leaves the car and allows me to lead her into the field. Then she does something unheard of. Instead of trotting across the field, she turns right and, checking first that I’m following, makes her way happily along the hedgerow, tail aloft, nose ready for action.

Now, I realise, we are walking at a right angle to the route she refused to follow a few minutes ago.

It must have been the light which disturbed her.

Stupid Human. You know there’s always a reason for what animals do.

I let Isis choose the tracks she wants to follow on the way back to the field.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have a very enjoyable walk.

I don’t bear grudges. I know you can’t help being stupid.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

Posted in Isis in trouble, Isis says "No"., Jasmin Fields, oh dear, scenting, something's not right, strange behaviour, these dogs!, walking my deaf/blind dog, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

November is for sniffing

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday 7th November 2021

 

November is the month for sniffing.

 

 

 

 

 

Everywhere a dog goes she is assailed by irresistable scents.

Let out into the garden for what is usually a hurried pre-breakfast pee, she is led off task by the enticing niffs of nocturnal visitors.

On our road walk this week, scents assault her senses. She stops dead in her tracks so that my left arm threatens to erupt from its socket. She is compelled to wrinkle her nose and allow it to hover over a featureless square inch of grey asphalt for at least five minutes. Why isn’t she leaping along, exercising her muscles? What’s in a splodge of asphalt?

Frequently, as we wander across fields, along tracks, or through undergrowth, an enticing aroma yanks her across my path, knocking me off balance, so that I stumble and teeter for several yards, arms flailing.

Or an airborne whiff persuades her to trot to the brink of the canal and lean precariously over the water, causing Human to dart after her, heart thudding, to grab her before she falls in.

In the woods, she’ll plunge her muzzle into a patch of ivy, uttering a loud ‘flumph.’ Dog knows what she finds among the leaves and tendrils but, whatever it is, I know we’re in for the long haul while she savours the bouquet.

It seems that ivy embraces many secrets, for often she’ll push her face so far into it that just her ears poke up from the clump. The only sign that she’s discovered something of interest is an intermittant tail wag. Come on, Isis. This is getting tedious.

I take her to Kings Heath Park. As we meander down the steep slope towards the old bowling green, a pungent odour grabs her attention. She leaps backwards to catch it, and the elderly couple following close behind her lurch into the hawthorne hedge to avoid measuring their length over her hairy form.

Oh dear!

There’s a brisk breeze, so I hope that she’ll get plenty of exercise, trotting around following the changing smells. But she doesn’t want to trot anywhere, thank you. She spends all of her time standing still beneath the trees and shrubs, snuffling among the leaves.

She seems to be turning them over individually with her nose, savouring each odour like a fastidious lady at a perfume counter.

Sometimes there are deeply buried fragrances, and she has to push away the leaves and scratch the earth to uncover them.

She moves forward inch by inch, inhaling the essence of leaves, stems, twigs and berries.

I fantasise about what she perceives. Traces of life, I’m sure, spoors left by people, other dogs, birds, rats, mice, insects; inquisitive creatures which, like Isis, paused to investigate the scents; timid things which skittered rapidly over the leaves, worms and insects which burrowed beneath the surface.

The leaves themselves must smell very different as they go through their life stages: new growth, dying, drying out, crumbling, decaying and finally disintegrating.

As I watch her, observe how deeply absorbed she is, I stop being concerned about how much exercise she should be getting, how restricted her activities are on today’s walk, and try to empathise with her, to enjoy her Isis-ness.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

Posted in a joyful dog, dear little Isis, Isis says "No"., Jasmine Fields, Kings Heath Park, lovely leaves, oh dear, park people, patience is a virtue., scenting, these dogs!, walking in the park | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

haven’t you punished Human enough?

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday October 31st 2021

 

Unquestionably, it was a bad idea to subject Isis to a veterinary health check, for her payback does not end with the unsavoury happenings recounted in the last post.

The following night, before I retire, I pop my head round the back room door to bid Isis a final goodnight.

Oh. She’s fast asleep, but is lying right on the edge of the day bed, with her back towards me.

Now Isis does not like to be disturbed when she’s sleeping. But if she moves, she could easily fall off the bed onto the wooden floor.

Sigh.

I don’t want her to hurt herself. What shall I do?

I decide to move her back a few inches.

Very carefully, I attempt to insert my hands, palms down like miniature spades, under her prone body.

“Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”

I don’t withdraw my hands, just wait a while before gently, very gently, wiggling my fingers a few millimetres further in.

“Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, errrrrr!

I stop again and stand very still.

Deep intake of podengo breath, “Herrgh…..grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr….errrrrraff!”

“All right, you foolish animal,” I hiss, “Stay on the b. edge of the bed. But don’t expect me to get up in the middle of the night to come down to comfort you.”

I am awake for a long time, but eventually drop off at about three a.m.

FLUMPH!

I am jolted awake.

Yes, the inevitable must have happened. I switch on the clock radio display and squint bad-temperedly at the time.

It’s five o’clock.

I mutter very rude things about my dog. I sit up in the darkness and listen very hard.

Can’t hear anything. No little barks to alert me to a dog in pain, not even a squeak.

She must be O.K. She’s tough. She’ll be fine. I’ll go back to sleep. She’ll let me know if she’s hurt.

But she might be in shock. She might be lying on the floor with a broken leg.

I’m sure she’s fine. She’s probably asleep again by now. Dog, I’m tired.

She might be unconscious. Lying in a pool of blood. Freezing cold. She might be dead by morning.

I crawl out of bed, lurch down the stairs, and stumble along the hall.

When I switch on the overhead light, it looks as though she’s just jumped back up onto her bed, and is preparing to rearrange herself on her sheet. I keep her standing, and sit down next to her.

“Dear, dear, dear,” I croon, as I feel every inch of her, pressing and probing her back, her neck, her flanks, legs, ankles and toes, her ribs, her chest, under her chin and along her jaw.

She doesn’t flinch.

I let her sit, wait until she organises herself into a tight curl and falls asleep, then make myself a drink.

Leaving her sleeping soundly, I return to bed. And stay awake.

Next morning, while she seems none the worse for her nocturnal adventure, I feel wrecked.

It’s not a good week.

On Tuesday I have my booster vaccination. The first two were Astra Zenica, and the after effects were mild, but this one’s Pfizer, and soon afterwards the site is very painful.The throbbing in my arm keeps me awake all night.

We go for an early walk next day. When we park in Yew Tree Road, to go into Highbury Park, Isis tugs on her lead and it slips out of my hand. To my horror, she walks swiftly round the back of the car and straight out onto the road.

I grab her, pull her away from the road and shriek, “No! No! No!” into her ear.

It’s a busy road, but, thankfully, nothing was coming. What on earth has got into her? She’s never done such a thing before. I’m still shaky half an hour later.

We go to Highbury again at the end of the week. It’s Hairy One’s least favourite weather: racing clouds cover the sun for a few minutes and then scud away and reveal its full glare.

This makes poor Isis very twitchy, so we eschew the car park where there is no cover, and  park on the side of the road again, close to the wooded walk which is shady and full of distracting wildlife scents.

All is well until we walk down through the orchard and into the main park. Here, there are patches of bright light interspersed with deep shadows.

Isis is becoming increasingly uneasy. She wants to get back to the safety of the car.

I walk towards her to put her on the lead. She knows I’m close behind her. She is convinced that the car is in the car park, and hurries towards it.

Usually, when she sets off in the wrong direction, I catch her up easily and redirect her. If I’ve not caught up with her, she’ll stand and wait for me when she nears the car park.

But not today. She’s frightened and walks briskly on.

But the side effects of my booster vaccine have reached a new level today. My legs are leaden. I feel as if I’m walking up to my arm pits in thick silt. I will myself to run but I can’t. I’m frightened. I could weep with frustration.

She turns towards the car park, and out of my sight. That feeling of dread with which all dog persons are familiar, is rising inside me. It seems as if the more dangerous the situation becomes, the more slowly I move.

As I trudge up the slope towards the main path, I can hear vehicles arriving and leaving. I expect to hear a scream. I imagine finding Isis lying dead on the gravel.

I still can’t see her.

Now someone already on the main path is calling to me, telling me that it’s O.K., that a lady is with Isis, looking after her.

Isis is very frightened. She is standing between two stationary cars, and the lady is close to her, blocking her in.

A group of dog walkers I know are close by. I can’t thank them enough.

“No,” they tell me, “Thank that lady. She got to her first.”

I do thank the lady, of course. While I’m busy with the harness and lead, she tells me that Isis was quite calm at first, but suddenly seemed to realise that I wasn’t there and became very anxious.

When we get home, I remove her lead and harness in the porch, then push open the front door so that she can go into the hall.

But she won’t move, even when I tap her under her chin to give her the ‘walk on’ command.

She stands in the porch until I walk into the hall. Then she follows me.

Now she does this every time we return to the house, as though she’s afraid that I’m about to abandon her.

I didn’t leave you,” I tell her, “You left me.”

She doesn’t believe me.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

 

Posted in a terrified dog, a very naughty dog, Highbury Park, Isis at home, Isis in danger, Isis in danger, Isis in trouble, oh dear, park people, poor Isis, sleeping, strange behaviour, these dogs!, VERY early in the morning., we don't like bright light, we don't like bright sun, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

a podengo’s revenge

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday October 24th 2021

 

Yes, this week Isis Podengo definitely gets her own back on Human.

It’s Sunday, and we are sitting relaxing on J’s patio, eating chocolate eclairs.

I release Isis from her harness. Immediately, her nose begins to twitch. She stands up, raises her muzzle, and begins to move her head from side to side, slowly, deliberately, like an observation turret on a submarine.

Ah, she must have picked up a scent. I follow the direction of her enquiring nose.

There, sitting on the inside kitchen windowsill of the flat next to J’s, is a pretty little tabby cat. It’s craning its neck in Hairy One’s direction, eyes huge with horrified disbelief: there’s something white and grey and fluffy standing in its territory. And it smells.

The little tabby stares, transfixed, at Isis.

It can’t be.

It is.

It’s a dog.

Head still raised, Isis strolls purposefully towards the patio next door. I scramble out of my garden chair and retrieve her.

About forty minutes pass. While Isis is firmly tethered, kitty becomes braver. Two stripey paws are planted on the outside window sill, the small head reaches further round the edge of the window. Prudently though, the rest of the furry remains firmly planted on the inside sill.

Then kitty, feeling, no doubt, that it’s won round one, has a long, leisurely wash.

I think five o’clock must be tabby cat’s teatime, because when I look up again, the window space is empty.

Isis, naturally, is very keen to explore the scents in the garden.

I watch her as she follows her nose to a particular spot of grass beneath a large shrub. Hmm. She appears to be eating grass. That’s fine.

Suddenly, a horrible suspicion forms in my mind. For the second time I leap off my chair.

Eeeew! Horror of horrors! She is nibbling at something. But unfortunately it’s not grass.

Isis, unhappy with the reduced diet she is being given at home, has discovered the new cat’s poopery.

Making my disgust clear, I put the revolting animal back on her lead.

That night I set the alarm. I have an appointment at ten thirty a.m. I’m not a morning person, so decide to give myself plenty of time to get ready, have a swift breakfast, then relax with a leisurely coffee before leaving the house.

Unfortunately, things don’t work out like that. Not quite.

When I walk past the back room, Isis is asleep on the day bed. As I step towards the back door to unlock it for her to go out, I am confronted with a huge, unsavoury heap on the door mat.

It takes me at least twenty minutes to clean up.

Definitely, Isis will have picked up my scent. She’ll know I’m next door, but she doesn’t get up.

Peering round the door, I see that she’s awake but looks very subdued.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is upsetting. I’ve never been cross with her for the very, very rare ‘accident’; after a cuddle, though, she springs up to have her collar put on, and follows me out into the garden.

I decide it’s not circumspect to give her breakfast, and there’s no time for me to have mine, nor, regretfully, the long anticipated coffee. I hastily glug down a couple of glasses of water, and scamper out to the car.

Oh Isis.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

 

Posted in dear little Isis, Isis at home, Isis is no angel, oh dear, poor Isis, scenting, sleeping, something's not right, these dogs!, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Isis speaks her mind

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday October 17th 2021

 

I have had a horrible time. Human should be ashamed of herself.

Don’t forget that I went for my speshul scritch fiting injection only a week and two days ago.

Well, this Friday Human and I go for a nice walk in Highbury Park. Lots of walking, and lots to sniff.

When I get in the car to go home, I settle down as usual, looking forwood to getting back, having my mini treat, and then streching out on Human’s feet while she has her coffee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But when we leave the park, we turn the rong way. ‘This is strange,’ I think. But I don’t say anything.

When the car stops and she opens my door, I can smell where I am.

It’s the Dog Doctor’s again. Well, I usually smell cats and sometimes rabbits and other small, furry things, so it’s not only for dogs. We’re the most important tho.

What is going on? I shouldn’t be here again. I spect she’s made a mistake. She often makes them. In a minute, we’ll tern round and go home.

She makes me get out. She sits down on the bench. I stand next to her. I wunder if I can get back in the car. Wud she notis? I do a little tug on my lead.

She’s still on the other end.

After I stand around for ages, a man comes out. He bends down. He must be speaking to me. I can’t hear a thing, so it’s a bit of a silly thing to do.

Anyway Human does her tapping thing, and makes me go in with her.

I don’t like it. I can smell scaired animals.

Human makes me walk in front of her. We follow Dog Doctor down the corridor. Oh my dog! The smells are wers here. He holds the door open. I want to go home. I turn round quickly. Sumtimes if I do that, it makes her fall over. But she doesn’t fall over. She terns me round again.

I’m NOT going in there. I went in last week. It’s not fair. I stand very, very still and grip the carpit with my nice, long claws. I AM NOT GOING IN THAT ROOM.

Then she pushes my bottom. She pushes very hard. She makes me go in.

I’m fritened. I can feel my back leg shaking. Human strokes my leg and my head. She’s pretending she cares about me. She doesn’t. If she did, she would take me home.

I get terned round. She sits on a chair and strokes my head. She keeps stroking me. Dog Doctor stands in front of me.

I feel vibrayshuns. He’s talking to Human. Human is talking back to him.

He feels me all over. He lifts my tail. Ugh.Then he holds up my ear. I hate it wen peeple do that. I can feel him breathing into it. When he stops, I shake my head to put my ear back in the right place. Then he does the same to the other ear. Then he ecsamins my eyes.

Next he opens my mouth. He must be looking at my teeth. Dam cheek.

I’m glad wen he opens the door and goes away. Good. We can go home. Quick! Quick – before he comes back.

But Human doesn’t stand up. She pats me and kisses my head. That’s no dam help.

He comes in again, and waves something around close to the back of my neck. Don’t know what he’s doing, but I know he didn’t ask me if he could do it.

That’s the werst thing abowt been a animal. Nobody asks you what you want or don’t want.

He puts something cold on my chest.

He sticks sumthing sharp in me.

Oh dog! This tore meant must be over now.

Oo! What’s happening?

Human is lifting me up. Now she’s putting me down. I am high up. I won’t be able to xcape. I can feel cold metul on my pads.

Human is holding my head. That’s a bad sine.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! Horrable. Horrable! Help me! Help me! For dog’s sake help me. He’s lifting up one of my frunt paws. He’s lifting the hair away from my pads. He’s pushing something cold and hard on my toe nails. He’s pressing on it.

Save me, Human! Save me! He’s chopping off my paws.

She isn’t doing a thing to save me. She’s holding my head so I can’t bite him. I growl. Not too loud, in case he murders me.

It goes on and on. He puts my frunt paw down. Thank dog.

Owwwwwwwwww! He’s lifted up a back paw now. He’s chopping me again.

He’s finished with this paw now. Aaaaaaaaaarg! No he hasn’t. He’s chopping further up wair my big curly nail is. It hurts. He keeps on doing it. Human turns me round and he starts on my other feet.

At last she puts me back on the floor.

Then he opens my mouth again. I think he’s counting my teeth. How can people be so dam nosey?

Human stands up. At last. We’ve been here for hours and hours.

I can’t beleeve wot my person has let Dog Doctor do to me.

When we are back in the car, I get a big treat. I shud dam well think so.

I’ve never been so releaved to be going home.

I don’t feel like lying on Human’s feet.

I just have to keep licking my nails. They’re still here, but they feel very P.Q. lee-er.

How cud she let peepul do such crule things to me?

I thort she loved me.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

 

Posted in a terrified dog, a very good dog, a vet visit, Highbury Park, Isis at home, Isis in danger, Isis in trouble, off to the vet, oh dear, poor Isis, scenting, something's not right | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

a scritchy relapse

 

 

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday October 10th 2021

 

Oh dear. Oh dear.

After her apparent improvement, poor Hairy One’s frantic scritching resurges. The skin on the outside of her ears is red again, as are all four pawpits, and I find a scab on her lower back.

Sigh.

I feel very sorry for the poor little creature. Every time she scratches, I jump to it and place a cold hand (my hands are almost always cold) on the hot spot. Previously, she snapped and tried to grab my hand. Now she growls, but allows me to touch her. Perhaps the cold hand gives her some relief.

At the beginning of the week I phone the veterinary practice to ask whether I should increase the dose of Apoquil from 32mg to 64 mg daily. Unfortunately, her vet is working at another branch of the practice. The receptionist says she will try to catch him and will get back to me.

I increase the dose that evening, but then realise that I’ll not have enough tablets to last until her next appointment: she is booked for a booster and a wellness check on October 15th.

For the next few days, she scritches and scritches. She has to wear her Elizabethan collar most of the time.

When I’ve still not heard by Thursday, I ring the practice again. The receptionist apologises. I explain Isis’s problem and we’re offered an appointment for 9.00 next morning.

I am very surprised when the vet comes out to fetch Isis. It’s A., the excellent vet who was working at KHVC when I moved Isis there after she’d been misdiagnosed, and became very unwell.

Some of you might recall that I’d tried to get through to the practice for forty minutes while poor Isis lay in a heap in the park.

I contacted another practice and was offered an appointment as soon as we could get there.

At this new practice, A. diagnosed severe dermatitis which, she was almost certain, had been triggered by an allergy. Given appropriate treatment, the condition gradually cleared.

I was told by a dog walker that there was a high turnover at the practice, so when A. moved on, so did we.

On Friday, my dog trots off happily with A., who remembers that Isis needs chin taps to get her walking in the required direction.

I think that the return journey must have begun very slowly, as soon I behold A. striding into the reception area. She’s carrying something white and hairy. Its four legs are dangling, and it looks rather sheepish.

Isis has been given a double dose of an anti-allergy injection. She is to continue the lower dose of Apoquil for two weeks, by which time the injection should have kicked in. If Isis seems to be thriving, the tablets can then be stopped.

We have an appointment for a check-up in a month’s time.

I have high hopes as Nancy (Bev’s dog) who has had severe allergies for years, is thriving on this same monthly injection.

But something most unexpected happens.

After the injection, Isis scratches less and less. Unbelieveably, I’ve not seen her scratch once today.

True, I have been mixing anti-allergy food in with her usual dry food. But the food only arrived on Friday. It can’t be having any effect yet.

Today we have a good, long walk along the little path which runs above the canal, then come back via the tow path.

After a brief stop for a coffee, I take Isis to visit J. We sit outside and Isis is full of beans, exploring the grounds, and getting very excited about some particularly riveting scents.

J. provides chocoate swiss roll. When we’ve demolished our slices, someone hunts vigorously around J.’s shoes searching for minute crumbs.

Then she jumps up and down, and barks at something J. and I can’t see or hear. After a while, J. realises children are playing about a hundred yards away on the other side of the wall. Obviously, she’s picked up their scent.

When she is not otherwise occupied, she jogs on the spot, and paws me for attention. She wants pats and hair rufflings. And more. And more.

Amazing. She just doesn’t behave like this.

What’s in this new medication?, I wonder!

Lately, she has chosen to lie on his carpet while J. and I are outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But not today.

Not until much later, when we retreat into the flat to escape a cold breeze, does Hairy One follow us in, stretch out on the floor and sleep.

It’s now approaching nine o’clock. I have been with my Isis all day, and have not observed even a single scritch.

I am delighted, of course. But I’m very puzzled too.

There’s something most peculiar going on here, me thinks.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

 

Posted in a joyful dog, a vet visit, dear little Isis, Isis at home, Jasmin Fields, off to the vet, oh dear, poor Isis, scenting, sleeping, something's not right, strange behaviour, these dogs!, walking my deaf/blind dog, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

and off we go!

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday October 3rd 2021

 

It’s a very good week for walking.

There are few of those days which Isis hates, when the clouds race across the sun obscuring it completely, then scud off again, revealing its full glare. Most days this week are dull and murky, which is perfectly acceptable to her. And, joy of joy, on three days it rains non-stop.

At the beginning of the week, in the late afternoon, we drive to the garage where the car is to have its MOT the following day. It’s a long walk back, but the weather’s not doing anything particularly scary, and Isis walks home with little hesitation.

The next day, thankfully, it pours non-stop. Hairy One can’t wait to get out of the house. There’s no decision to make. Naturally, we’re walking to King’s Heath Park.

She scampers down the drive, scrambles through the gate, executes a sharp left turn and, snapping raindrops as she goes, skitters along the pavement.

Then the scenting begins. It’s a while since we’ve walked these pavements, and there’s a lot of catching up to do. So many dogs, cats and wild creatures have left scents for her to investigate. They’re everwhere – on the paving stones, around the tree trunks, up the garden walls and among the weeds.

I’m sure she’s not missing one of them. So assiduously does she snuffle and so often does she pee that instead of taking us thirty minutes to reach the park, it takes almost forty-five.

There are very few people in the park, so I let her wander where she will, and just follow. We stay for an hour and she enjoys every minute.

I wonder how she’ll react when she discovers that the car hasn’t driven itself to the car park, that she has to walk home.

But she doesn’t turn a hair. She trots beside me at a very brisk pace. When it’s dry, she plods along as though she’s ancient, and when we meet someone new to us, they sometimes look at her sympathetically, and ask, “Is she an old dog?”

When this happens I glare at Isis and reply, “No, she’s not. She’s just cross because she has to walk home.”

I don’t know why I get so irritated. Perhaps it’s just transference: I’m getting old and I don’t like it!

But today I don’t have to persuade her to walk past the car park. She doesn’t balk at leaving the park. Of course she doesn’t: it’s raining.

On Tuesday, I walk alone to the garage. There’s no way Isis is coming with me. It’s dry today.

Next day I’m meeting a friend at ten fifteen for a coffee at Beckett’s Farm. I have an appointment soon afterwards and won’t have time to take Isis out. So we leave the house early next morning.

Oh dear, the sun’s out already. She’s not going to like this. I decide we’ll go to Highbury because there are several shady little pathways we can follow.

But even after seven years, Isis can still surprise me.

As soon as I open the car door, she sniffs the air tentatively. Then, ignoring my suggestion that we make our way towards the sunless path, she walks across the tarmac to the flower meadow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s alert and excited. Her tail is up, and she’s sniffing the air. Suddenly, she shoots off this way and that, leaping up, then landing with contented little oofs.

I can’t believe this. It’s as though she doesn’t even notice the sun. What on earth’s going on?

Then I notice that every blade of grass is glinting with droplets. It’s not rained during the night, and it’s very cold. There must have been an early frost, I realise, and she can smell it. Hence the excitement.

She snufles along the ground. The meadow has been mown very recently, I realise, and small mounds, frosted into brown on top but still green underneath are scattered everywhere.

Isis, who loves heaps of cut grass, begins pushing her nose into them and tossing them around.

Eventually, we walk on. Although she balks a little at the shadows cast by the trees, she is enjoying her walk immensely.

Well, well, what do you know?

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

Posted in a joyful dog, deaf/blind dog plays, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, rain, rain and more rain, running running, strange behaviour, these dogs!, VERY early in the morning. | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

preparing for a guest

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday September 26th 2021

 

Phew! Feels like we’re approaching winding down after several frantic weeks. The ‘frantic’ element is, as always, my fault. It is unreasonable, I discover, to imagine that it is possible to dejungle-ise three years’ worth of neglected garden, and sort out even more years of negected house in a few weeks.

My friend A. is arriving on Saturday and staying overnight.

So no sooner have I removed all the hazardous plants and rubble from the garden in order to provide access for the roofers, than I have to face the fact that I only have a few days left to tackle the housework.

I do feel though that Isis has to share the blame. True, the dust of ages I discover behind the big pine chest and wardrobes and under the bed are my affair. But the heaps of white fluff lurking beneath the bed, the floating mounds of long, white hair which sail upwards  when anything is moved and the seemingly endless clumps which scutter across the boards as I walk past? These belong entirely to Isis.

One expects hair to come with dogs. I have had a number of dogs, but never one who shedded as Isis does. More to the point, I guess, I’ve never had a white dog. Black hair doesn’t stand out as much – except if you have white or pale carpets, which I certainly do not. Even grey or blond hair seems to blend in sufficiently with the dust to allow one to overlook it.

Many people comment on the bright whiteness of Isis’s coat. Glowing like the dazzling teeth of Hollyood filmstars, her hair is almost fluorescent. I am often complimented on her pristine coat. I feel obliged to admit that her coat is like a ‘self cleaning’ oven: it just stays white.

This is a mixed blessing: she rarely needs wiping or bathing, and even when she accumulates dirt on a wet, muddy day, it just seems to drop off her. Some in long, wet grass, some on her dog blanket on the back seat of the car, but most, unfortunately, on the floors and the day bed.

Anyway, blame set aside, a back-breaking amount of cleaning is called for. The alternative is to provide my guest with a clinical PPE outfit.

Procrastinator par excellence, I am so overwhelmed by the amount I have to do before Saturday that I withdraw from the horror and spend most of Monday and Tuesday dossing on the day bed reading my Kindle.

Isis is very pleased. She always enjoys a long snooze after her walk, and stretches out contentedly beside me.

It’s Wednesday now. The proximity of Saturday galvanises me into action. When Isis and I return from our walk, and she stands waiting for me to relieve her of her harness and lead, I point out to her that she is responsible for all of the earth, grit, seeds and hair embedded in the porch mats, and, by rights, it is she who should be doing the cleaning.

She is unmoved.

This is our normal post walk routine. Isis retires to the day bed, lies down and waits. I make coffee. As soon as I have made the coffee, she walks up the hall and lies down in the front room, waiting for me to emerge from the kitchen.

How does she know when I’m about to exit the kitchen? I can only guess that she must recognise the smell of the coffee.

However bright it is in the south facing sitting room, she doesn’t make a sound until I join her. Then she leaps up and barks to complain about the bright light, or, even worse, the sun shining on her. I adjust the blinds, and sit in my armchair. Immediately she turns around a few times and settles on my feet. She will stay in situ for ever, and generally   I read for longer than I should.

Often she sleeps soundly enough for me to be able to wriggle my feet carefully from beneath her furriness, and go about my business. When she realises that Human is missing, she takes herself off to the day bed to resume her nap.

On Wednesday, knowing that he (or she) who hesitates is lost, I forgo the coffee and attack the porch as soon as we get back. Well, I think, at least my guest will begin her visit in a clean space. Now, every time Isis sets paw in the porch, she is forbidden to drop a hair or a grass seed.

The kitchen is next.

Since the roof blew off my garage and the pedestrian door jammed, my gardening boots, jeans, bramble proof smock and small gardening tools have resided at the far end of the kitchen. Inevitably, other items are added, and the unsavoury pile seems to creep further and further towards the opposite wall.

Although I am very untidy and disorganised, I am also quite fanatical about hygiene (putting aside the earthy boots on the floor) so I don’t have to do much cleaning above ankle level. Balls of Isis hair trundle like tumbleweed up and down the hall, but they’re swiftly removed if they float into the kitchen. Sadly, this doesn’t prevent the odd hair finding its way into one’s coffee.

Behind all the gardening stuff, it’s a different story. The skirting boards are indescribable. Fortunately, there are not many of them.

I am well aware that I’ve not yet tackled the hoovering, so I put in several loads of washing instead.

On Thursday, the bathroom is another easy one. It’s impressively clean above ankle level. The floor is black with dark grey spots. Dave, the plasterer told me when I first had the flooring, that it would show every speck. And he was not wrong. Every dog hair hits you in the eye as soon as you walk into the room. I try to keep my eyes averted.

I’ll not do the vacuuming yet, I decide. There’s plenty of other stuff to do. Just keep going, Human.

Recently, I reallocated the front room as a bookcases, desk and sitting room, and put the dining room furniture in the back room. At the moment it looks like a warehouse, but at least, I think, it should be a less chaotic warehouse. So I do what we procrastinators have to do. I shove into cardboard boxes the heaps of miscellaneous papers which cover the dining table and other surfaces. The boxes are then piled up against the far wall.

This is the room in which Hairy One spends most of her time, so I’ll leave you to imagine the fluffiness of it (the room and all its contents, I mean, not Isis.)

Now it’s Friday. The thought of all there is still to do would have glued me to the bed until midday, but fortunately the doorbell rings at nine-thirty, so I feel bound to get up. Isis is pleasantly surprised to be given an early breakfast and walk.

Yuk. Serious cleaning day. I have to accept that there’s no way the spare room can be made into a guest room by tomorrow. I’ll let my guest have my bedroom, and Isis and I will share the day bed, I decide.

Isis and I celebrate not having to sort the spare room: she snoozes on my feet while I allow myself a coffee and thirty minutes of reading.

The rest of the afternoon is spent changing the human and the dog covers on the day bed, and putting away all the washing.

The new smells in  the house are disconcerting to a dog. Human has sprayed smelly stuff on the furniture and rubbed it in. Dog keeps lifting her head in the air, wrinkling her nose, and sniffing around suspiciously. Her dog bed smells safe. She lies in it. She looks quite disgruntled.

It’s almost seven now. Since I only have a couple of hours or so before I’ll switch off the vacuum in deference to the neighbours, I really have no option other than to get on with it.

I won’t go into the boring details, except to say that I have to begin by changing the hoover bag which is stuffed with white hairs.

Then, when the switch is clicked on, nothing happens.

Eeeek!

I detach the head and peer down the pipe. Yes, just as I suspected, the pipe and head are blocked with a solid wad of  – – –   – – – – .  No prize for filling in the blanks. It’s so thickly compressed that I can’t pull it out with my fingers, cut it with a knife or push it down with a length of dowelling. Eventually, wielding a straightened out coat hanger, its end bent into a hook, I begin to dislodge it.

The machine roars into life. Poor Isis who has forgotten about the very existence of hoovers, feels the vibration and the warm air,  and twirls in dismay before rushing as far away as she can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since Isis never goes upstairs, the amount of hair collected from the bedroom and bathroom is incredible.

How does it get there?

Very easily. It clings to my clothes.

Never mind. The cleaning’s finished. Feeling smug, I pick up the last hair from the bathroom floor.

But it’s not my lucky day. I hang up the last load of washing on the drier over the bath, and down come hundreds of white fragments.

I can’t believe it.

I must have left a tissue in one of the pockets.

Sigh.

Definitely can’t blame Isis for that.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

Posted in clever girl, Isis at home, oh dear, poor Isis, sleeping, sleeping arrangements, something's not right, these dogs!, we don't like bright light, we don't like bright sun, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

a difficult week

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday September 19th 2021

 

Isis’s skin has been much better this week, and the scratching much reduced. Her skin still looks pinker than normal though, is hot to the touch, and she still scratches several times a day. She also continues to nibble and lick her front legs. This has always been a stress response. Clearly, she is not happy with herself.

She’s not had to wear her plastic collar this week, but tonight I put it on her to prevent her from worrying her legs.

She falls asleep almost immediately. She doesn’t wake up even when I place tonight’s tablet, wrapped in a tiny bit of cheese, literally under her nose. We won’t panic though: she’s just found it!

O., her vet said that he thought she would need to continue with the medication after this first course is completed. I’ll ring the practice to discuss the situation tomorrow. Bev told me on Friday that the Apoquil worked well for Nancy, who has had summer allergies for years. Let’s hope that another course will sort Isis out.

This week has been a difficult one for Isis. In addition to her dermatitis, she’s had to put up with the capricious behaviour of the weather. I look at the forecast each day and try to take Hairy One out during a settled period. But even though we leave the house under an Isis-friendly still, grey sky, within minutes of our arrival, it seems, the clouds part and there’s a blast of bright sunlight.

This terrifies poor Isis. Her cheerfully elevated tail disappears between her legs, her ears flatten and she begins to slink off towards the car park.

On top of all this, the roofers are in her garden for two days so her territory doesn’t smell as it should. Returning from light traumas in the park to invasive smells at home is very unsettling for a dog.

Usually, as soon as I take off her harness and lead, she is confident that she’s not going to be bathed and she trots happily into the hall; but this week she stays in the porch with me while I change my shoes, and won’t enter the house until I do.

Another nerve wracking phenomenon is the puppy epidemic. No sooner does one begin to relax and enjoy the scents, than some interfering four-month-old fluffy little git rushes up to leap, yap and snuffle around one’s paws.

On Friday, Rufus and Nancy rush up to greet us. As always, Rufus desires immediate full frontal muzzle canoodles with Isis, while Nancy elects to check out what Human may have to offer in the way of treats.

Although the initial greeting startles her, Isis is obviously pleased to be with her friends. She always seems more relaxed and confident in their company.

When we walk back down to the park through the orchard, Isis lingers to investigate all the new smells. Meanwhile, Bev, Rufus and Nancy, who are about a hundred yards ahead are making the acquaintance of a stranger and his human.

When they draw level with us, the dog, who is lively and inquisitive, trots up to sniff Isis. He is a sweet dog and is quite gentle around her. She, of course, cringes and backs towards the hedge. He is a rescue dog from Romania, his person tells me, and has been with her for over two years.

Suddenly, he bursts into a exubriant gallop, races past us back down to Rufus and Nancy, turns on a pinpoint, zips back up past Isis, and back down again. He does this three or four times. It’s a daily routine, his person tells me, apparently just for the pleasure of it. It’s lovely to watch.

But every time he thunders past Isis, she retreats further and further into the hedge.

Rufus looks up, realises that she is afraid and runs back up the slope to her. He nuzzles her face very, very gently and she slowly emerges.

(The image below isn’t a new one. I’ve posted it before. And no, Rufus doesn’t wear his mudcoat at this time of year.

There are two reasons for using it: 1. I love the look of concern on Rufus’s face, and 2. I have to get a new camera card before I can upload any more images.)

 

 

 

Don’t worry Isis. I’m here.

 

 

 

 

It’s good to have friends at times like these!

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

 

 

Posted in a terrified dog, adopted dogs, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, Isis at home, Isis meets other dogs, oh dear, park dogs, park people, poor Isis, rescue dogs, self-harming, sleeping, something's not right, these dogs!, walking with Rufus and Nancy, we don't like bright light, we don't like bright sun | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment