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!



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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park dogs May 2019



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


Sunday May 19th 2019


Remember Dougie and Fergie, Hairy One’s erstwhile Highbury companions?

Puppy Maisie, who featured on the blog a few months ago, is their new ‘sister’.

One day, Maisie has her first very stinky pond encounter. She quite enjoys the adventure.

The consequences, however, are a different matter.






Her first bath! She wonders how any human could do such a terrible thing to her.

All the other stars were photographed this week.

Here is little May: she’s thirteen, and still enjoys short walks. I captured her in Kings Heath Park last Wednesday.







May is lucky to be alive. A couple of years ago, she began suffering from occasional bouts of sickness and diarrhoea. Over time, these bouts became increasingly frequent and more difficult to control.

She became so ill that she had to spend spells on a drip at the out of hours vet.

No-one could diagnose her illness, and she became more and more sick.

One day M., her owner, rushed her to the vet once again and was advised to have her put to sleep.

The vet told M. that prolonging May’s life would only subject her to unnecessary suffering; but, between the episodes of illness, M. saw that May was still her old self. She was convinced that May had a specific rather than a systemic problem.

She took May home to nurse her.

After a few weeks, May’s spleen burst. The spleen was removed, and since then she has slowly returned to her former self.

Now we have two delightful dogs whose idea of play is nothing if not idiosyncratic.

I have often seen Derek with his frisbee, and wondered what he was up to.

Last week, he ran after it when it was thrown but then stood on the same spot for about fifteen minutes. I assumed that he was staring at Isis who, as usual, was doing strange things by the edge of the wood.

After a while, his human collected him and persuaded him to move on.

Yesterday I watched Derek again. His frisbee was in front of him, but I couldn’t make out what he was attempting to do with it.

“Is he trying to dig something up”, I asked.

His human explained the routine.

First, Derek waits in eager anticipation for his frisbee to be thrown.











Next, he dashes off with it and puts it on the grass in front of him.










Now the game begins.






The challenge he sets himself is to toss the frisbee backwards in a straight line so that it spins between his front and back legs and lands behind him.

Naturally, he often misses his target, but Derek, undeterred, picks it up and tries again.

When the frisbee sails cleanly through both sets of legs, he turns round, places himself in front of it, picks it up and off he goes again.

Apparently, he will play this game over and over again until interrupted by his person.

Another obsessive is French Bulldog Frank.






Many times I’ve watched him playing his own version of football.

Today his human describes Frank’s routine.

The game must begin with his human kicking the ball as hard as he can. Frank then races after it. As soon as he makes contact, he speeds off, dribbling it with his nose.

When he comes to a halt, he waits for his person to kick the ball, and off he goes again.

When I say that I’ve never seen a French bulldog run so fast,  Frank’s owner explains that many breeders breed for ‘pretty’ colours which, of course leads to interbreeding. Apparently, only three ‘original’ colours are accepted by the Kennel Club: brindle, white and piebald.

Frank’s breeder is meticulous in selecting dogs from a very wide pool, so that their pups are exceptionally strong and healthy.

Frank’s two sisters have qualified for ‘best of breed’ at Crufts next year.

Our last and youngest star is seven month old Gywn, a working Patterdale.

His predecessor, Theo, was a favourite playmate of my previous dog Ellie when they were both puppies.

I don’t think Gwyn’s had time to develop any eccentric habits yet, he’s just a very sweet little dog.

Although he’s young, he is very polite to Isis, just giving her gentle face sniffs. He is very friendly and loves meeting other dogs.

I notice that, to add to his charms, he has one set of white eyelashes, and one set of brown!




Aw, dogs! They’re delightful.


*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 Highbury Park, Isis meets other dogs, Kings Heath Park, park dogs, park people, strange behaviour, the dogs of King's Heath Park, walking in the park | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

also, that week ………….



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


Wednesday May 15th 2019


While our visitor stays with us, the weather is very changeable.

This leads to an interesting but sometimes difficult week for Isis.

On Wednesday we’re in Kings Heath Park for seven thirty.

No, Human’s bed springs didn’t emerge spontaneously through the mattress: Wednesday is art group day, and Human needs to be there by nine thirty.

There’s a steady, heavy drizzle; consequently, the lower bowling green is deserted.

Yes, Isis has the whole area to herself. She can hardly believe it. Not the scent of a single dog.







She’s in doggie heaven.

She dashes across the grass, criss-crossing rapturously from side to side, zooming from top to bottom.

Wildly, wildly, abandoned  animal.

Although I love to see her running so freely, she’s so fast I can’t catch a clear image of her!

So here’s a fuzzy one.






The next day we’re in Highbury when there’s a prolonged downpour.

Oh bliss! Oh joy!






Over and over again, mouth wide open, she stands transfixed, then shoots off in glorious, twirling loops.

Passers-by who know her love to see her dancing in the rain. One man told me that the experience brings tears to his eyes, and others say that they find it uplifting to watch her.

When, on dry days, someone remarks how happy she looks, it’s not unusual for someone else to say, “You should see her when it’s raining.”

The following day, though, things are very different. We go to Highbury, but now she seeks the safety of the little track which divides the two adjacent meadows close to the car park. Even here, she’s jumpy, stopping much more frequently than usual to make sure I’m still there.

Once she’s ensconced in her safe space, she plays, but without her usual enthusiasm, and she is uncharacteristically keen to return to the car.

In the early evening, the sun appears to have retreated.

Isis is a little anxious when we set off, and moves on only with considerable encouragement from me.

I can’t understand what’s the matter with her. There’s no sun, so why the anxiety?

Poor Isis doesn’t enjoy her walk at all.

As we walk back towards the house, we meet L, who lives a few doors down. She notices that Isis is struggling and I tell her how uncomfortable Hairy One has been on her road walk.

L, whose eyes are extremely light sensitive, tells me, “It’s not sunny, but the light is very strong. I’d not be able to cope without these dark glasses.

Chastened, I lead the way into the house, and give Isis her tea.

But the damage has been done. She barks and refuses to finish her meal.

I think she is upset by the light coming through the kitchen blind.

On and off all evening, she growls and snaps at her tail. None  of my attempts to console her have any effect at all.

I examine her all over, looking for anything which could be causing her discomfort. I find nothing.

It can’t be her anal glands because they were sorted only a few weeks ago.

Her tail sports several long, dangly skeins of hair –






could this be what’s upsetting her? Should I trim her tail?

She’s grumpy at dog’s bedtime, growling over her treats, and growling when we’re going through her settling down routine.

When I go upstairs to bed, irritable snappy, growly, barky outbreaks assail me from below. After about forty-five minutes, I return downstairs and lie with her on the day bed.

Immediately, she’s quiet. After about thirty minutes, she’s sleeping soundly and I creep away.


I wonder what she’ll be like in the morning.

Our good morning greetings are as enthusiastic as usual.

She’s her normal self again.

Come on, Human, nowadays when she’s in the park, we can avoid the nastiest bits for the short distance it takes to exit the car park. When she’s off lead, she can make her own choices.

I’ve learned my lesson. I need to accept that if Isis is reluctant to walk, there’s always a reason.

Yes, she was hesitant when we walked down to the old bowling green this morning, but she was excited by scents, and when she arrived, she was able to choose where to play.

On a road walk, she has little choice.

Sorry Isis. I’ll never push you like that again.


*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 Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, Isis at home, Isis says "No"., Kings Heath Park, poor Isis, running running, strange behaviour, we don't like bright light | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Isis has a visitor



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


Sunday May 12th 2019


I’ve not seen my friend T. for two years, but last weekend  she   officiates at two obedience shows, one in Rugby and the other in Leicester, and she comes to stay with us for five days.

It’s good to catch up, and very interesting to hear her observations about Isis.

Isis spends most of her time with us in the front room. I explain that now she usually braves the light in this south facing room so she can be with the humans.

“That’s good”, says T., “She’s so much calmer, too. I hardly saw anything of her when I last came. She stayed in the back room on her own all the time.

I’m surprised. Was that only two years ago?

One day T. watches me waking up Isis in the morning. “It’s lovely to see her tail wagging”, she comments.

Yes, I reflect, wagging is a relatively recent phenomenon.

After the first day, by the time I get up in the morning, Isis is already relaxing with T. in the front room.

“She’s so much calmer”, comments the visitor.

In the same week, when Bev. and I walk with the dogs in Highbury, Isis begins sitting at her feet and waiting for a treat.

I also notice that when we stroll up towards the woodland walk, instead of dashing off into the trees, she waits to find out which path we’re taking, then follows.

And she stays with the group more consistently than she used to, only trotting off through her favourite short cut when we are about to leave the woods.

She is at ease with Rufus and Nancy, even daring to rebuff Rufus when he pushes his nose into her face a little too vigorously.

I will go so far as to say that she appears to enjoy walking with them.

I think she quite likes having a visitor for a few days, too.

Ah, my little dog is becoming much more tolerant, much less afraid than she used to be, I think, as I wave off T., on Tuesday evening.

Isis and I stretch out on the day bed.

I take off my socks and prepare to warm my feet.

It’s all very cosy ………





but not for long. Human has gone a step too far. Within seconds, Hairy One  leaps up with a cross nyaff!

I may be more laid back, she tells me very clearly, but not that laid back. Gerroff!


*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 Highbury Park, Isis at home, Isis says "No"., park dogs, park people, relationship building, walking with Rufus and Nancy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments




Wednesday May 8th 2019 Hello – if there is anybody still following – sorry, sorry, sorry!

An hour ago, just about to write today’s post when I discovered that last Sunday’s (May 5th) wasn’t there.

Being the intelligent, resourceful person I am, what did I do?

Yes, that’s right, Bev. – I panicked. For a whole hour. I couldn’t believe it. I was sure I’d published it. I know I was a little distracted at the time, but ………

Halfway through the panic, I signed into the WordPress on line chat helpline, which is brilliant.

Unfortunately, my mind still felt as if it was disintegrating, and when the guy asked me to post the URL of the page with which I was asking for help, I managed to cut him off.

Then I clicked on everything I could see, in turn, and found the post in draft.


But, of course, I’ve no idea how I found it, so next time ………….

Anyway, please accept my apologies. I hate not posting without any explanation.

I’m too ragged to write today’s post, so I hope you enjoy last Sunday’s.


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summer is definitely on its way



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


Sunday May 5th 2019


Lately, when she’s not walking in the woods with Rufus and Nancy, Isis has spent most of her Highbury time playing in her safe area, just the other side of the woodland strip from the car park.

Today, it’s dull, and she feels confident out in the open. She makes her way towards the fallen tree not far from the park entrance.

This is where, in the summer, she gets covered in burrs from the sticky plant, and where she dances among the daffodils in early spring.

Now the daffodils are in retreat, bluebells, cow parsley and ladies’ smock have taken over.




Isis can feel a lot more foliage than when she last came here. She’s very excited.

There’s a lot for a dog to do.




But before she begins, she catches a very stimulating scent she must explore.




So stimulating, in fact, that she leaps into the air, twirls, then jumps into a gleeful circuit of the surrounding meadow. She knows from past experience that there are no obstacles,that the space is clear for running. She runs and runs, galloping off and circling back, over and over again.


When she returns to her tree, she decides that today she’ll not bother with digging holes under the old logs. There are interesting things sprouting under the fallen tree again. There are the beginnings of leafy tunnels to explore.

There are springy branches to jump on and all kinds of textures to feel.




Oh bliss!

What more could a dog want?





She embraces the changes with such energy that, after an hour and a half, she makes a little nest under an overhang of leaves and lies down.

She doesn’t sleep, of course. She remains alert, pink spotty nose and amazing hairy ears twitching, while I chat with another dog walker.

Her friendly Jack Russell, Scamp, is joined by sweet German shepherd puppy Wren. They play fight and chase each other nearby. They have met Isis before and they don’t interfere with her.

Secure in her nest, she’s not at all anxious. There she remains until I collect her.

I am greeted with a contented wag.


*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 dear little Isis, Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, park dogs, park people, running running, scenting, twirling, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog, walking with Rufus and Nancy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Isis visits Polymath part 2



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


Wednesday May 1st 2019


Fast forward to April 2019.

By now, Isis has visited Polymath at least six or seven times.

Now she knows where we are when we approach the building, and she walks confidently by my side to the entrance.

She’s happy to follow me through the outside door, and takes the security door in her stride, walking through ahead of me as the lock is released.

She stands calmly as I sign in.

She approaches the two flights of stairs with equanimity, following the wall, and climbing steadily.

Now, the transition from the staircase onto the highly polished slidy floor is no longer a problem. Human’s guidance is minimal; Isis sets the pace. She doesn’t attempt to escape into the rooms which we pass.

She recognises the scents in Polymath’s room, and walks in, tail held high.

I collect her fleece and water bowl from the wardrobe, spread the fleece on the floor next to ‘my’ chair, fill the water bowl and place it in the narrow space between two sets of drawers. She knows where to find it, it’s easy to get one’s muzzle into the space to drink, but there’s not enough room for  one to walk in and knock the bowl over with one’s hairy feet.

She still twirls until the main lights are switched off, but, as the sun is not fierce, the curtains can remain open.

When I close the door and remove her lead, she sniffs around Polymath’s bed. She has worked out the optimum position for reaching the proffered biscuits. And when the supply stops, it’s easy for one to place one’s hairy front paws on the bed rail, the better to investigate what’s going on.

Now she finds her way to her fleece and lies down on it.

Today, for the first time, she shuts her eyes tightly and actually drops off.  True, she is immediately alert if I approach the door or go into the bathroom. But that’s O.K.








She picks up the scent of staff who come regularly to the room, and no longer greets them with twirly yaps.

She even allows the odd human to stroke her.

Now, when Polymath needs privacy, Isis and I go along the once scary corridor to find D. who is an avid dog lover. He grew up with dogs and sorely misses not having them around. When I first introduced her, his eyes filled with tears.

She recognises D.’s scent and will take biscuits from his hand.

Sometimes, we come across a group of residents, and almost without exception, Hairy One immediately becomes a talking point.

Many people, residents, staff and visitors have asked about her, and I have often told her story.

As we leave today, some visitors watch the brave little animal set off carefully down the first flight of stairs. She feels her way to the rails and follows them down.

One lady is very, very taken with her, “You’re very lucky to have her”, she tells me.

I glow with pride.

Thank you Aeza. Thank you Dogwatch U.K.


*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, clever Isis, dear little Isis, relationship building, scenting, sleeping arrangements, twirling, we don't like bright sun | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Isis visits Polymath part 1



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


Sunday April 28th 2019


The first time I take her to visit Polymath, Isis is very wary. Nowadays, she is usually happy to pop out of the car when we arrive somewhere, and so she is on this occasion.

She doesn’t mind walking over the grass verge. She’s a little unsure of herself when we cross the drive and walk towards the building, and is very reluctant to follow me through the outside door.

The next door proves even more challenging. It’s operated by keypad and the mechanism only releases the lock for a few seconds. Since Isis is standing resolutely in front of the door, we miss the short window for entrance twice. The third time, I manage to push poor Isis through and to stagger after her into the building.

She doesn’t want to be in this strange place, and fights to leave. Anyone reading the visitors’ book would imagine that I’d either been seriously drunk when I signed it, or been felled by a hit-man half way through the operation.

There is a lift, but silly Human is claustrophobic; thus, to reach Polymath’s floor, we need to climb two long flights of stairs.

Isis is determined that she’ll not plant her front paws on the first step.

After much chin tapping, patting and stroking, she is persuaded to do so. With encouragement, she reaches the top.

Now there’s a new horror awaiting an unsuspecting dog. I’d not foreseen this one, and am unprepared for Hairy One’s terror.

The floor is highly polished. As she dives for a wall to follow, as she always does when in unfamiliar areas, she looses her footing. I try to right her by shortening her lead. She panics, slips over and struggles even more frantically to get to the wall.

With great difficulty, I ease her along. She leans into the wall, and, holding her lead very loosely, I have to chin-tap her across all the open doorways.

After what feels like hours, we finally enter Polymath’s room, where, thankfully, Hairy One’s paws are once more in contact with carpet.

She paces and twirls until all the lights are extinguished and the curtains drawn. Although I manage to sit her down beside me, she soon gets up again. She is restless throughout the visit, pacing up and down, and sniffing at the door.

She accepts water in a disposable pot which she later knocks over. She can smell the biscuit which Polymath holds out for her over the edge of the high- sided bed, but can’t work out how she needs to position herself in order to reach it, so there’s no chance of a friendly pat.

When Polymath needs privacy, Isis and I go into the corridor where I sit on a chair. But Isis won’t sit for more than a few seconds. She’s up and down like a yo-yo.

She wants to leave, and isn’t keen to return to the room.

When we make our way home, there’s the slidy corridor to fight. This time, I’m better prepared. Leaving her lead loose, I let her slink along next to the walls.

The final challenge still awaits us, of course: stairs.

For little Isis, descending is very scary indeed. She stands at the top of the staircase, stiff with terror. A nurse about to come up kindly retreats and waits.

Every step is a struggle, but eventually, we arrive on the first floor.

This time, I stand on the end of the struggling one’s lead while I sign myself out. She shoots to the door as soon as I pick up the lead again.

It’s been an ordeal for her, but once we’re making our way back to the car, her tail begins to re-emerge from her fluffy undercarriage.





Hmmm. Polymath very much wants to see Isis.

We’ll have to work on this one.


*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 says "No". | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments