I wanna go HOME!

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday July 25th 2021

 

We have had two weeks of very hot sun. Unheard of. We don’t do very hot sun in Britain.

Poor Isis does not fare well. One day in the first week I take her to Highbury. We’re there by nine but she isn’t happy. Already it’s very warm and, it seems, getting warmer every minute. The trees cast very dark shadows. The ground is striped with bright light and deep shade.

Isis is downcast. Her tail is tucked so far under her that it’s not visible at all. She creeps around restlessly, ducking and flinching.

We meet Y and Blitzi. Blitzi is very happy. He’s spent the last hour on a loop, leaping into the pond for a swim and scrambling out for a shake.

I stop for a chat. We’ve not been in the park for an hour yet, but Isis slinks off towards the car park. She wants to go home.

For the next three days she doesn’t want to leave the house. She’s even reluctant to go into the garden.

I try taking her for a road walk in the evening. She refuses to walk.

I take her out into the lane and give her a squeaky toy. After a few minutes, she wants to return, but I don’t open the gate. She brings the toy and lies as close to my chair as she can get.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s where she stays. After half an hour we return to the house.

Well that wasn’t exactly a rip-roaring success.

I can’t blame her. I don’t feel like doing anything either, and succumb to a doze on the day bed. As the evening draws on, I am aroused by loud clunks and clanks. What the hell’s going on, I wonder.

It’s Isis throwing her toys around the room.

This is a dog who needs exercise.

I must make a sacrifice for my hairy podengo. A big one.

I must take her out very early in the morning.

The next day is Monday, and I wrench myself away from my Emma mattress at an hour too obscene to name.

We’re going  to Kings Heath Park. This is her home park, this is where, years ago, she eventually learned to feel safe outside the bounds of her own back garden. It’s a default go-to place for her when she’s having a bad time.

We arrive soon after seven. It’s cool and fresh. The sun is already quite bright, but not yet strong enough to make black shadows.

Isis is jumpy and wary, but her tail is unfurled part way, and she lingers to sniff the new scents. After an hour, she suggests that it’s time to go home, and that’s fine.

We go to Kings Heath Park on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. Isis copes quite well, but still thinks an hour is enough.

On Thursday Bev suggests that we meet up in Clowse Woods. She was there with Rufus and Nancy the previous day, and tells me that the woods were shady and cool. And, as an added bonus, almost all of the mud which accumulated during our weeks and weeks of rain, has dried out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What an excellent idea. Soon after we arrive, Hairy One’s tail unfolds, and she’s eager to follow all the scents she comes across. Since there are hundreds of tempting scents, we amble rather than walk.

We are in the woods for almost two hours and Isis doesn’t show any signs of being desperate to leave.

On Friday it’s quite dull and Isis is fine with a slow wander around Highbury. On Saturday It’s overcast, and she is keen to hop out of the car. She can smell rain on the air. Only a few tiny spots materialise, but she leaps up to greet them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have a very enjoyable walk.

This is more like you, my dog.

 

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, Clowse Woods, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, Holders Lane Woods, Isis says "No"., Kings Heath Park, oh dear, poor Isis, scary shadows, scenting, VERY early in the morning., walking in the park, walking with Rufus and Nancy, we don't like bright light, we don't like bright sun, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

hairs and paint

 

 

A post should appear every Sunday

 

Sunday July 18th 2021

 

It’s past mid July, and Isis is still shedding pretty little wedges of bright white undercoat. Although they continue to drop daily, they are, I have to admit, dropping much less frequently, so, hopefully, we will avoid the ultimate nightmare scenario  ……………………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are still some nasty moments though. Rather a lot of these occurred yesterday.

I have just finished replacing and varnishing a number of floorboards. Gaps were left after the removal, several years ago, of a defunct gas fire. I’d disguised the problem by shoving a large bookcase on top of the gaps. A few weeks ago, I wanted to get rid of the bookcase: hence the repairs.

I suvey my handiwork. It’s not perfect, but I’m quite pleased with myself. Not bad for an amateur, I decide.

Unfortunately, the only paint I can find is very old. Foolishly, I use it. Although it is water based, it is extremely sticky.

I fit a new section of skirting board, then apply the first coat of paint.

Hmmmm. Nasty stuff. I shouldn’t have used it. I’ll buy some new paint to finish the job.

I take the tin and my brush into the kitchen and turn on the tap.

I forget that, inevitably, I am carrying a generous share of Hairy One’s coat about my person: let’s face it, being hairily compromised is not one’s first consideration when concentrating on household tasks.

I attempt to  wash out my brush with detergent and water.

Suddenly, the brush, the sink, the draining board, a nearby saucepan – in fact, everything within reach of my panicky fingers – is coated with sticky paint.

Then, as though drawn by some malevolent magnetic power, dog hairs fly from the ether and adhere to the paint.

Now I have hairy utensils, a hairy draining board and a hairy sink.

I try to wipe the saucepan, but my fingers are now webbed with paint and hairs.

At this point, Isis, wondering, no doubt, what is going on, and, maybe, wanting a pat, strolls into the kitchen.

Oh no!

I am in no position, of course, to give her touch commands.

“Please, please, don’t come any closer, and please, please don’t shake yourself, dear,” I beg silently.

Thankfully, she does neither. She stands still just inside the kitchen and looks puzzled.

Transfixed by the chaos, I become aware that a patch of sticky hair-paint has even reached the floor.

How on earth did that happen?

Ah yes, it must have trickled from the brush down my arm to my elbow, then dribbled over my t-shirt and onto my shorts before continuing its journey down my right leg and  plopping onto my Crocs. After that, it would have been easy for it to dribble onto the floor.

No mystery there, then. In fact I can see the snail-like trail.

I jerk myself out of my reverie, and gaze into the sink.

Where on earth do I begin?

I grab the handwash, but hastily drop it when I see the gluey white prints I’ve just deposited on the bottle.

“Now, Pat,” I say aloud, “You have to begin somewhere. Just do it.”

It’s a long and thankless task, but I eventually succeed in removing from everything the glutinous blobs which lurk like sticky spiders, hoping to entrap whatever crosses their path.

Now I feel contaminated all over. Even my face is tingling with hairy paint sensations, and I can feel something twitching in my hair.

I imagine my skin is spattered with nasty bits.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

I race upstairs to the bathroom and peer into the mirror.

To my surprise, there’s nothing on my face or in my hair; nevertheless, the sensations refuse to go away.

I stop for a coffee.

There are even hairs sticking to the blasted biscuits I nibble.

Past caring, I peel off the hairs and eat the biscuits anyway.

 

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 at home, oh dear, something's not right, these dogs!, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

it’s all too much ……..

My apologies for the second debacle. I thought that I had it sorted. I still have no idea why the blog didn’t publish. The week before, it disappeared altogether and neither the revisions nor the autosave would materialise, so I had to rewrite the post.

Can’t blame the computer for the date being incorrect though: I checked it on the June calender instead of July.

Yesterday, the excellent James replaced the hard drive. So here’s hoping.

 

Posts are supposed to be published each Sunday!

 

Sunday July  11th 2021

On our walk today, Isis becomes very irritated by the bits of park she has inadvertently  gathered in her hair. She nips at her side, legs and tail. I disentangle a couple of dried weeds from one of her hind legs, and all seems well.

When we reach home, I can only see a few burrs. I’ll soon remove those.

She settles, obediently but without relish, on an old sheet in the hall and I set to; however, there is much more to it than meets the eye. When I run my fingers through her hair, I discover that the mere scattering of seeds on her nose and whiskers is nothing to what lurks deeper in her dense coat.

And what I intend to be a quick seed pod, grass seed and burr harvest, soon turns into a full groom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s angelic. The very thorough groom takes about forty minutes, but she utters not even the quietest of growls.

Something’s not right though. Today as I brush and comb my hairy pet, I realise that she’s still moulting her undercoat.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a ridiculous amount of hair. It’s July.

The weather continues to be ridiculous too. On some days this week it’s so humid that we drip under our waterproof jackets, then a day later, it’s decidedly chilly and we can’t make up our minds whether a sweater is called for too.

Perhaps Isis, also, is uncertain how much coat she needs, and that’s why she’s keeping some in reserve!

‘Uncertain’ definitely describes her demeanour this week. Very uncertain.

One day I take her to Highbury and park near the exit from the ‘wild’ track which begins just above the orchard. She usually enjoys this walk as it’s shady and full of lovely smells.

The Himalayan balsam plants have grown since we were last here, especially along the final stretchof track. I didn’t realise until I checked them out today, that they are the tallest annual plant in the UK and can grow up to three metres.

Brambles and stinging nettles lean across the path. I usually lift them aside so that Isis can pass without being entangled or stung, but this time there are so many that I arm myself with a stinger stick.

Poor Hairy One begins to look very unhappy. Soon, her tail disappears beneath her undercarriage.

Then she sits down looking very mournful. Oh dear, the only time she’s ever done this before is when she was ill almost a year ago.

I tap her onwards. But after only a few steps she sits down again. Then she lies down. Now I’m getting worried.

She continues to sit or lie down every yard we walk. It takes a lot of cajoling to get her up on her feet again.

I am very anxious about her. She’s too heavy for me to lift, let alone carry. I wonder if she’ll make it to the end of the track. Always the optimist, I find myself fantasising about an epitaph for her blog.

I am very relieved indeed when we emerge into the park. She looks very limp, but at least if she collapses now, there’ll be someone around who is willing to help me carry her.

I fasten her into her harness, and slowly, very, very slowly she creeps by my side to the car. I help her in. I try to persuade her to have a little water, but she’s not interested. Her head sinks onto her paws.

Oh dear.

It’s a very warm day. Is she overheated? Has she got sunstroke? Does she have heart failure? Has she caught some life threatening virus?

I think back: she was fine until we approached this last part of our walk. A little jumpy, yes. But she always is when, like today, the sun  pops out brightly, then the sky clouds over, then it’s sunny again.

Yes, as we know, she doesn’t like today’s kind of weather. It makes her nervous, sometimes very frightened indeed. It must be the light and shade shifts.

Or is it the proliferation of stingers and brambles? Could be, but she usually either barges through them, or, more likely nowadays, stands and waits for Human to deal with them for her.

It’s not until we reach home that I think about the Himalayan balsam plants on either side of the track. They tower over my head. I didn’t realise until I checked them out today, that they are the tallest annual plant in the UK and can grow up to three metres. I guess that Isis perceives them as dark shadows looming over her.

Walking through the tunnel of plants is a strange experience for me. I try to imagine what it feels like for Isis, so much smaller, and unable to see what they are.

When the shadows of trees are very dense, or there is a strong breeze moving their branches, Isis will flinch, crouch close to the ground and scuttle away.

Today, there is nowhere for her to scuttle to – she is completely surrounded.

Eventually, I conclude that it is the Himalayan balsam plants which have upset her.

I recall that she tried several times to trot off down the slope which we pass just before entering the plant tunnel. I was surprised because we haven’t been that way for months, and now she automatically just trots past it. Today she obviously didn’t want to go with me onto the track, and I put her on the lead to prevent her from escaping.

Poor little dog.

Isis: Why doesn’t Human just listen to what I’m trying to tell her?

 

 

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 http://www.dogwatch.co.uk

Posted in a terrified dog, crisis, Highbury Park, Isis says "No"., oh dear, poor Isis, scary shadows, something's not right, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

it’s all too much ……..

My apologies for the second debacle. I thought that I had it sorted. I still have no idea why the blog didn’t publish. The week before, it disappeared altogether and neither the revisions nor the autosave would materialise, so I had to rewrite the post.

Can’t blame the computer for the date being incorrect though: I checked it on the June calender instead of July.

Yesterday, the excellent James replaced the hard drive. So here’s hoping.

Posts are supposed to be published each Sunday!

Sunday July  11th 2021

On our walk today, Isis becomes very irritated by the bits of park she has inadvertently  gathered in her hair. She nips at her side, legs and tail. I disentangle a couple of dried weeds from one of her hind legs, and all seems well.

When we reach home, I can only see a few burrs. I’ll soon remove those.

She settles, obediently but without relish, on an old sheet in the hall and I set to; however, there is much more to it than meets the eye. When I run my fingers through her hair, I discover that the mere scattering of seeds on her nose and whiskers is nothing to what lurks deeper in her dense coat.

And what I intend to be a quick seed pod, grass seed and burr harvest, soon turns into a full groom.

She’s angelic. The very thorough groom takes about forty minutes, but she utters not even the quietest of growls.

Something’s not right though. Today as I brush and comb my hairy pet, I realise that she’s still moulting her undercoat.

This is a ridiculous amount of hair. It’s July.

The weather continues to be ridiculous too. On some days this week it’s so humid that we drip under our waterproof jackets, then a day later, it’s decidedly chilly and we can’t make up our minds whether a sweater is called for too.

Perhaps Isis, also, is uncertain how much coat she needs, and that’s why she’s keeping some in reserve!

‘Uncertain’ definitely describes her demeanour this week. Very uncertain.

One day I take her to Highbury and park near the exit from the ‘wild’ track which begins just above the orchard. She usually enjoys this walk as it’s shady and full of lovely smells.

The Himalayan balsam plants have grown since we were last here, especially along the final stretchof track. I didn’t realise until I checked them out today, that they are the tallest annual plant in the UK and can grow up to three metres.

Brambles and stinging nettles lean across the path. I usually lift them aside so that Isis can pass without being entangled or stung, but this time there are so many that I arm myself with a stinger stick.

Poor Hairy One begins to look very unhappy. Soon, her tail disappears beneath her undercarriage.

Then she sits down looking very mournful. Oh dear, the only time she’s ever done this before is when she was ill almost a year ago.

I tap her onwards. But after only a few steps she sits down again. Then she lies down. Now I’m getting worried.

She continues to sit or lie down every yard we walk. It takes a lot of cajoling to get her up on her feet again.

I am very anxious about her. She’s too heavy for me to lift, let alone carry. I wonder if she’ll make it to the end of the track. Always the optimist, I find myself fantasising about an epitaph for her blog.

I am very relieved indeed when we emerge into the park. She looks very limp, but at least if she collapses now, there’ll be someone around who is willing to help me carry her.

I fasten her into her harness, and slowly, very, very slowly she creeps by my side to the car. I help her in. I try to persuade her to have a little water, but she’s not interested. Her head sinks onto her paws.

Oh dear.

It’s a very warm day. Is she overheated? Has she got sunstroke? Does she have heart failure? Has she caught some life threatening virus?

I think back: she was fine until we approached this last part of our walk. A little jumpy, yes. But she always is when, like today, the sun  pops out brightly, then the sky clouds over, then it’s sunny again.

Yes, as we know, she doesn’t like today’s kind of weather. It makes her nervous, sometimes very frightened indeed. It must be the light and shade shifts.

Or is it the proliferation of stingers and brambles? Could be, but she usually either barges through them, or, more likely nowadays, stands and waits for Human to deal with them for her.

It’s not until we reach home that I think about the Himalayan balsam plants on either side of the track. They tower over my head. I didn’t realise until I checked them out today, that they are the tallest annual plant in the UK and can grow up to three metres. I guess that Isis perceives them as dark shadows looming over her.

Walking through the tunnel of plants is a strange experience for me. I try to imagine what it feels like for Isis, so much smaller, and unable to see what they are.

When the shadows of trees are very dense, or there is a strong breeze moving their branches, Isis will flinch, crouch close to the ground and scuttle away.

Today, there is nowhere for her to scuttle to – she is completely surrounded.

Eventually, I conclude that it is the Himalayan balsam plants which have upset her.

I recall that she tried several times to trot off down the slope which we pass just before entering the plant tunnel. I was surprised because we haven’t been that way for months, and now she automatically just trots past it. Today she obviously didn’t want to go with me onto the track, and I put her on the lead to prevent her from escaping.

Poor little dog.

Isis: Why doesn’t Human just listen to what I’m trying to tell her?

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 http://www.dogwatch.co.uk

Posted in a terrified dog, crisis, Highbury Park, Isis says "No"., oh dear, poor Isis, scary shadows, something's not right, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ARRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOWHOOOOOO!

 

Posts are published each Sunday

 

Sunday July 6th 2021

 

I’m wrong. Isis is affected by being away from home.

She has worried her right front leg, her usual target when something is upsetting her. It’s quite a big patch, and once home she continues to nibble at it. I treat it with Sudacreme. It’s healing now.

She barks when I feed her in the morning, but this, too, fades after a few days.

Her ‘nightmares’, which had become rare, come back. Several times in the weeks following her return from the kennels, she wakes snarling and growling and so distressed that I can’t touch her until I’ve managed to wake her up.

Another thing. Now, Isis is always excited when we step into the porch ready for our walk. Excitement I expect.

But not this far off the scale. Now, every morning for three weeks she goes absolutely berserk.

The weather was poor while I was away, so she might not have had her two fifteen minute sessions a day on the little exercise field at the kennels.  Even so, I am surprised, to say the least, at the extent of her craziness.

Oh wild, wild, dangerous dog! She not only bucks and twists  and barks and snaps as I wrestle with her to get her harness on, but growls and snarls too. She does very realistic mock attacks, pretending to bite the lead, herself and me. To spice up the act a bit, she lets out a long and loud podengo howl:

ARRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOWHOOOOOO!

I am used to Isis acting strangely, but this is well beyond strange. Anyone who knew her less well would be very frightened. I actually wonder, briefly, if I should be frightened. But no, I don’t need to be. It’s just my Isis being her unpredictable self.

In the prison service, they call it gate fever. Her wildness seems to be pure exuberance. If I bellow angrily in one of her ears – the left one I think – she’ll stop but I don’t want to cow her. Thank goodness, she eventually returns to her ‘normal’ pre-walk performance; that is, she does all the silly things she is doing now but leaves out the fierce growling, snarling and mock biting.

So this week, after each porch performance, we set off down the front path and towards the gate looking, to all intents and purposes, like a normal dog owner walking her normal dog.

On Monday we have a lovely walk from the car park in Holder’s Lane into Cannon Hill Park, past the lake where Bev and I saw the heron catch the fish, past the boating kiosk,  up to the little station and back through the woods.

When we reach the enclosure where the silt from the dredged ponds is stored, Isis strides confidently to the left. I patiently retrieve her, persuade her to turn round, and urge her to the right. She turns back. The fourth time she attempts to turn left, I put her on her lead and insist that she comes with me. After a few yards, we reach a dead end.

Yes Isis. Sorry. You are quite right. We need to turn left.

The next day we reacquaint ourselves with Jasmine Fields. It’s rather bright today, so she’ll enjoy walking along the shady little track which overlooks the canal.

It appears that extra drainage pipes have been installed since we last came because there’s a new mound on the field. It must smell very enticing as, despite the bright sun, the contrary Isis insists on spending about thirty minutes dancing on it.

What on earth has inspired her? On closer inspection, I find feathers from a recently  predated pigeon, but she is not usually interested in dead birds. Then I realise that she’s doing  her rain dance. The sky has become very dark and there’s moisture in the air.

Then the sun emerges again and she’s happy to follow me to the little track. Her exertions on the mound have made her thirsty, and she’s searching for water. I have to watch her very carefully as she walks right to the edge of the tow path and sniffs at the water. She’s never yet attempted to drink from the canal, and I don’t think she will today; nevertheless, the water looks particularly revolting this morning, and the prospect of leaping in to rescue her is not frightfully appealing.

She’s a little leary of the brightness when we eventually climb the steps and re- emerge onto the field. She’s enjoyed herself though.

On Wednesday, it’s Highbury. We’ve not been here for several weeks. Because it’s very warm and sunny, I park in Yew Tree road in the shade of trees at the perimeter of the park. The car will be cool for Hairy when we return, and her bottle of water won’t get warm.

It takes longer than usual to walk along the narrow track to the orchard, as virtually every leaf stem is a magnet to Hairy One’s wiggling pink and black spotty nose.

Fully informed now about who’s been walking in the park since she was last here, Isis is happy to return to the car.

 

 

 

 

As usual, although she’s obviously ready for a drink, she’ll not have one until she’s back in the car, and only then if I sit beside her on the back seat, between her and the open door and allow plenty of time for her to sniff around in every direction to make absolutely certain that it’s safe enough to drink.

Yes, all is well. Lap. Lap. Lap.

On Thursday it’s spotting with rain as we leave the house. The spots are very infrequent, but still promising enough to persuade Isis that she would like a pavement walk.

Disappointingly, the one or two spots do not translate into rain, and halfway to Kings Heath park, her enthusiasm begins to wane.

You can always tell. First she slows down, then she walks to the edge of the grass verge and indicates that she wishes to cross the road. After a few minutes, she wants to cross back. We could cross and recross all day. But it doesn’t strike me as a particularly stimulating activity.

She knows where she doesn’t want to go but not where she does. I mutter imprecations. In the end, Human can stand it no more and sets off towards home. Now, of course, my stubborn little companion wants to go towards the park.

” Never again,” I mutter irritably. “Never again unless it’s b. pouring.  Do you hear me?”

No, she doesn’t. If she could she’d not take any notice. She’s that kind of dog. She sniffs every weed, tree, wall, fence and spike of grass as we wend our way slowly, very, very slowly, home.

To be fair, it’s very close, and I think she feels over heated. Once home, she stretches herself out and sleeps soundly.

On Friday it’s cooler and it rains so we go to Highbury again, this time to walk along the track next to the railway line and up beyond the small pond to the landscaped mounds. Here, Isis dances to her heart’s content.

On Saturday, it’s very hot and sunny. For the first time in ages, Hairy refuses to go out of the front door. She backs away and slinks into the kitchen. O.K. it’ll have to be the lane today.

I collect a toy from her box and we make our way down the garden to the back gate. She walks beside me into the lane. It’s overgrown and there’s plenty of shade. I settle into my old garden chair and prepare to read the news.

I don’t get far though: after only a few minutes Isis carries her toy towards me, pokes open the gate with her paw and disappears into the garden.

Sigh.

It’s too hot for her, I realise. She doesn’t want to stay outside.

Once back in her house, she stretches out and sleeps.

“What’s the matter with you?”, I ask. ” You’re Portuguese. You’re supposed to be fine with the heat.”

She doesn’t say a word.

 

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 http://www.dogwatch.co.uk

Posted in clever girl, clever Isis, Highbury Park, Holders Lane Woods, Isis at home, Isis says "No"., nightmares, rain, scenting, self-harming, strange behaviour, these dogs!, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog, we don't like bright sun, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Windows troublel

June 27th 2021

I am sorry that I am unable to publish today’s post as Windows is playing games with me.

It’s sure to be my fault.

I’m incandescent.

I hope the problem can be solved tomorrow.

Pat

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

it’s human – so what?

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday June 20th 2021

 

Today we meet M and his little dog Rosie in Highbury. Recently they camped in Cornwall, and M tells me how much Rosie enjoys being on holiday with him. He can’t imagine going away and leaving her behind. He is surprised when I tell him how cool and collected Isis was when I picked her up from Hollytrees. He is sure if it were Rosie, she would rush up and leap all over him. We decide that most dogs are ecstatic to see their people again.

He finds Hairy One’s detachment very strange. I am a little surprised myself. It has taken her a very long time, but even over the last two years I have seen changes in her: she has come to enjoy being stroked and patted, even, when I wake her in the morning, she accepts a gentle hug.

I replay yesterday’s reunion scene in my mind. I was inordinately disappointed that I was too late to pick her up last night, and I can’t wait to see her.

I stand impatiently on the yard, peering in the direction of her kennel block.

At last she emerges, walking calmly at the end of her lead.

She’s here! I reach out to hug her. Yes, she recognises my scent –  of course she does – but she seems quite aloof.

She’s simply not interested. And she’s not desperate to leave with me. I am almost certain that if one of her kennel carers offered to take her off somewhere, she’d go quite happily.

Why is it, I ask myself, that I care that I’m so much more excited to be reunited with her than she is with me? Why do we humans have to feel that we’re so special?

Why are we so needy?

I really am very pleased that Isis doesn’t display separation anxiety. It is good that she feels so at home at Hollytrees.

It really is.

She does sniff me and wag her tail. She is keen to scramble into the car. She’s definitely pleased to be back at her own front door. So what am I complaining about?

I intend to take her to the park but she doesn’t want to know. She doesn’t even want to re-acquaint herself with her back garden.

She retires to the day bed and goes to sleep.

O.K. No walk then.

Later, when I  go into the other room, she follows me. She doesn’t lie on my feet though, as she usually does.

At night she waits for her bedtime treats. She pokes her nose under the cushions and sniffs out the bits of gravy bones as usual. I try to make a fuss of her, but she’s not very responsive.

She sleeps soundly until I wake her on Wednesday morning.

She  is keen for her walk and very thorough in her investigations of the scents which have accumulated since she was last in Highbury.

We return home. I have to go out for about half an hour. I can’t remember where or why, but by the time I get back, I’m feeling the lack of sleep last night, and creep onto the day bed for a snooze.

After flattening the imaginary prairie grass with three decisive turns, Isis settles down at the other end of the day bed with her back to me.

 

 

 

 

 

O.K.

I switch on the radio and close my eyes.

After about ten minutes, I feel the mattress moving.

Then, flumph! She lies down between my legs.

She wriggles and pushes herself closer and closer.

Oh!

Then, to my astonishment, she carefully hooks first her left leg, then her right over my left thigh, stretches out her neck, places her head between her paws, and, with a deep sigh, closes her eyes.

Ooooh!

I gently stroke her head, and we both drift off to sleep.

 

*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, Isis at Hollytrees, Isis at home, Isis says "No"., park dogs, park people, relationship building, sleeping, these dogs!, walking in the park, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

laid back dog and stressed out human continued

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday June 13th 2021

 

My friends M and G greet me at the door. I apologise for not phoning, and recount my misadventures.

They are glad that I hadn’t told them in advance that I was setting off at 6.50. Since it is now 11.30, they may have been a little anxious. Another mitigating factor is that M has known me for over fifty years, so little I do surprises her.

We eat and chat. Tomorrow I will leave my car here and will be driven in an extremely comfortable vehicle to Norfolk. M has a bungalow in Snettisham where we will spend the week.

The telephone numbers I need are, of course, conveniently filed in the contacts section of my bewitched mobile.  M googles Hollytrees  so that I can enquire how Isis has settled in.

The ‘little angel’, I am told, is absolutely fine. She’s eating and has already begun dismantling the two outsized cardboard boxes which I took in for her.

Contacting Adopted Niece isn’t so straightforward. She asked me to let her know when I had arrived safely in Uppingham and, of course, I promised to do so.

Ah, M can check out her work number.

No she can’t. It’s Sunday.

Eventually, the answer dawns on me. Her father has a livery and works from home. M googles ‘liveries in Lincoln’ and we soon find his number. He says he will phone her. Phew. All immediate challenges sorted.

I am so lucky that Isis is laid back and contented at Hollytrees. I realise now that I couldn’t leave her if she was unhappy about it.

I put the day behind me and sleep like the proverbial log.

I enjoy lingering in bed with my Kindle in the morning while M and G gather together all the stuff they want to take with them to Snettisham. This is the life. It’s a shame, I muse,  that dogs and cats can’t pass their leisure time with a Kindle. It would make their kennel stays pass much more quickly.

We manage to stuff everything in the car and off we go.

It rains consistently for the first half of the week, but that’s no problem: it’s just good to be immersed in green. Also, North Norfolk caters well for its visitors and M and G know all the best pub restaurants. What’s not to like? The sun emerges on Thursday and in between pub meals we traverse the country roads, enjoy spotting the wild life.

We walk by the sea, too. Isis loves the sea. It feels strange to be walking without her. I find myself automatically looking out for obstacles she might walk into, brambles which have to be held above her head and low branches which jut out. I miss her.

We return to Uppingham on Sunday.

I intend to leave around ten the next morning and to travel a more conventional route than the one I came on! M, who is well organised and logical, writes an itinerary. She also kindly insists that she will drive ahead of me for the local part of the journey, as it is complicated and she is unsure of some of the lane changes.

What could possibly go wrong?

It’s not long before I find out.

My belongings are stashed in the car. M moves her car onto the road and waits, engine running, for me to draw up behind her.

I call goodbye to G and turn the key in the steering lock.

‘Pthwaaah h a h a.’

I turn the key again.

Silence.

The battery is totally, indisputably flat.

I can’t believe it. I checked it out when we arrived home last night and the engine turned immediately.

While I retrieve my speedy charger from the boot, M and G disappear round the back of the house to unearth extension leads.

After a while I follow. My car is parked facing the heavy metal up and over door of the garage. The door is raised to about waist height. Peering beneath it I see that the pedestrian door at the far end of the garage is  open.

I can nip through into the garden and maybe help carry the leads.

I duck my head.

CLANG!

My face smashes into the metal doors. Darkness descends. As I am thrown backwards onto the gravel I wonder whether I’ll be knocked unconscious.

But no. I’m stunned but conscious. I lie for about a minute, spreadeagled like a stranded starfish, then struggle to get up.

I am just scrambling to my feet when G and M appear at the pedestrian door, holding several long extension leads. G begins to speak but then breaks off as he sees the rising apparition.

I begin to explain but am interrupted by M.

“You’re bleeding!”

M guides me into the kitchen while G attaches the charger to the terminals.

I apologise profusely while M staunches the flow from the – fortunately – small cut on my forehead.

I have a long rest, then we have lunch. M gets through to Hollytrees and I explain that I hope to arrive by four but…

‘No problem’, I’m told. “If you don’t make it today, we’ll keep her until tomorrow.’

We eventually set off at two twenty. If I make good time, I’ll be able to pick Isis up before the kennels close at four.

I hope concussion won’t descend on me along the motorway, and I’m  anxious about travelling without my phone, but feel OK as I follow M over the tricky islands. She doesn’t wave goodbye until I’m on en route for the A14 which leads to the M6 which merges into the M42.

Oh yes! I’m making good time. As long as I don’t miss the turn off  at junction 3, I’ll soon be collecting little Isis.

I can’t wait to see her, of course.

I count down: junction six, five, four, 3A ………………………………….

two …………. EEEEK! What the hell’s happened to junction 3?

I leave the motorway. Instead of getting off at junction 3, which would have brought me out at Wythall, about a mile down the road from Hollytrees, I end up at Norcutts plant nursery.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have no – and I mean NO sense of direction. And, of course, I still have no sat. nav. I know I’m not far from where I live but have no idea how to get there.

I sit in the car park. With some difficulty, I restrain myself from screaming hysterically. Instead I curse. I curse. And then I curse some more.

There’s no chance of picking Isis up today, and my disappointment is well out of proportion.

I walk across to two guys standing by a white van. They are chatting and looking at their phones. I ask if they can give me directions. They tell me they’re not from around here and can’t help.

I spot an Asian family, approach, and ask if they are from Birmingham.

They are!

Like the man I met on my way to Uppingham, they couldn’t be more helpful. They live on the north side of the city and don’t know how to get to Wythall, but both parents check their phones. Although they were obviously about to set off home, they are determined to find a solution for me.

The man eventually finds Wythall, but the route is very complicated. He looks for Kings Heath.Then he asks me if I know Stratford Road. I do, and I also know that there are signs  there to Kings Heath.

‘Ah,’ he smiles,  Stratford Road is only just round the corner. All I need to do is to turn left out of the nursery exit. He shows me the map and asks me to repeat his directions. Just then, another Asian lady approaches. She thinks I am on foot and stranded, and has come to offer to drive me home.

Although I’m still disappointed that I’ll not see Hairy One until tomorrow, the kindness of these strangers makes me feel much more positive, and I’m soon on my way home.

That night I expect to sleep well, but I’m still awake at five a.m.

Might as well do something useful. I get up, make a coffee and search online for advice about dead mobiles. I find an android users group. Much to my relief there are a number of accounts of phones going off piste, enclosing random information in bright green rectangles and jabbering at you at breakneck speed.

Several contributors have posted videos or given long sets of instructions about how to address the problem. They all look complicated.

Sigh.

I suddenly feel very weary. I scan the instructions. Then, lo and behold, I come to the wonderful Geoff.

‘Just press on the up and the down volume controls at the same time,’ advises this super- hero.

I do this several times, and, hey presto, my phone springs back to life.

Wow.

I have a shower and return to bed until it’s time to get ready to fetch Isis.

I’m there just before Hollytrees opens for the day.

Ray lets me in. I settle Hairy One’s hotel bill with Wendy who then goes off to fetch my Isis.

Isis sniffs me carefully and wags her tail , but she’s very laid back about it. She doesn’t throw herself at me in frantic relief. She takes it all in her stride, which is brilliant.

Ray pushes open the heavy outer gate and calls to a group waiting outside,

‘ Make way for the princess!’

And he’s certainly not referring to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Posted in a very good dog, deaf/blind dog plays, dear little Isis, Isis at Hollytrees, learning to trust, relationship building, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

laid back dog and stressed out human

 

 

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

 

Sunday June 6th 2021

 

Friends have invited me to visit them for a week.

Although I know that Isis is always very well cared for at Hollytrees and always emerges  calm and well, I still find the prospect of leaving her behind very stressful.

We have an enjoyable two hour walk before we go. All guests need to be signed in by four, so we arrive at three fifty. Little Isis couldn’t make the process any easier if she tried. She knows where she is and walks with  Adam down to her kennel block. She makes no protest. She doesn’t look back.

When he returns, Adam tells me that she walked into her bedroom with no hesitation.

I used to think she complied because she was resigned to being left, and that made me feel worse. Now, though, it’s obvious that she feels at home at Hollytrees. She knows her carers well. She trusts them and feels O.K.

It’s not surprising that I’m somewhat neurotic. Some former dogs and cats have not settled so easily. Feather, one of my border collies always knew where we were going well before we arrived.

On one occasion I took her stuff in and when I returned to the car there was no sign of her. The car was locked but she had vanished. Eventually I found her in the driver’s foot well. She had crawled beneath the pedals and coiled herself into an incredibly small curl. I only found her when I had exhausted any remotely possible hiding places and decided to explore the impossible ones.

Needless to say, I felt horrible leaving her.

When little Ellie – the most co-operative and obedient dog you could wish for – was left to board for two nights (not at Hollytrees) in the pen next door to companion Rush, we assumed she would be fine. But when we arrived to fetch her, I was told she’d been dreadful. She’d refused to eat, had growled and barked very aggressively when her pen was approached by staff and wouldn’t allow anyone through the door.

I was told to collect her from the pen myself as no-one else was prepared to. Sure enough, as I walked down towards the end pen I heard menacing snarls and ferocious growls. She was obviously distraught. When she realised it was me, she threw herself at the door with heart rending  squeals. Next door, Rush, normally a very nervous dog, was calm and collected. After that, Ellie came with us wherever we went or, if this was not possible, she stayed at a friend’s home.

When Daisy cat stayed at Hollytrees, and her cat carrier was opened, she turned round to face the wall and refused to leave the carrier except to eat and to use her tray. For ten days, her patient carers lifted her up to her sleeping quarters in her carrier at bedtime and back down again into her pen for breakfast the next morning

I should be grateful that Isis is so relaxed, but I already miss her. Saturday night is strange without her, and she keeps drifting into my mind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Sunday I set off for Uppingham at six fifty hoping to find the motorways quiet. I should arrive at about eight forty at the latest. Adopted Niece has planned a straightforward route for me, Waze, my preferred navigating app, is set, and the M42 begins only about a couple of miles up the road.

Off we go.

The first setback isn’t far away. I freeze at the plethora of signposts and end up on the south bound instead of the north bound M42. Unfortunately, it’s a very long way before there’s a turn-off.

*** the motorway! I’ll stick to the A roads. “Kettering,” I instruct Waze tersely. And Waze obligingly re-programmes.

I have been driving for about an hour and it’s less than heartening to note that I’m still only about ten miles from Birmingham. Never mind, we’re on the right track now.

Then the next setback arises. We reach a dual carriageway and Waze tells me to turn right. Now, as we all know, it’s not a good idea to turn right onto a dual carriageway. I turn left and notice a sign for Dunmore – wherever that is.

Waze cheerfully continues. We arrive once more at a dual carriageway. Another sign for Dunmore. Waze tells me again to turn right, but again, I elect not to die yet and I turn left.

It’s not until the fourth circuit, that I realise I’ve been here before. Three times, actually. Yes, it’s the same dual carriage way, the same sign for Dunmore. This time I register a notice which informs drivers that the slip road to the right is now blocked off.

OK. This explains why Waze directed me right. It’s quite a relief to realise that I have no choice but to turn left and keep going.

Perhaps this is the time to explain that I have no sense of direction. If I’m walking down a familiar road and pop into a shop, I don’t recognise my surroundings when I emerge. I can even lose my way in Highbury Park. Fortunately, I can rely on Isis to pick the right path.

In the good company of Stephen Fry, I suffer from propoagnosia – the inability to recognise faces or, indeed, locations.

Never mind, I have my trusty navigator. Waze and I arrive at a crossroads. Before us is a very busy A road but no signage. At the other side of the A road is a country lane. Waze suddenly falls silent.

Great timing.

I opt for the country lane, park there and check my phone.

I can’t believe what I see: Waze has disappeared. Even worse, the phone has switched into a very strange mode. A high pitched voice is jabbering at me and there are bright green rectangles around the headings of random functions.

None of the phone’s normal functions are accessible. It’s frozen into weirdness. I stare at the screen in horrified disbelief. Am I losing it? I get out of the car and breathe deeply.

Behind me cars whizz along the main road at a fair old whack. The country road before me is narrow and very, very empty.

Ting! A message pops up from my friends in Uppingham: ‘What time are you setting off and when should we begin worrying?’

I can’t reply, of course, since the phone is defunct. Something else to worry about.

A car comes towards me and passes. Then a 4X4 comes and it stops. I must look as distraught as I feel, because a cheerful voice asks if I need help.

I explain what has happened. The driver tells me he has lived in the area for over twenty years and knows every inch of it. He gives me very precise instructions and I write down every detail exactly as he says it:

1. Carry on down this wibbly wobbly road for a long way until you come to a T junction.

2. Turn right …….

He spends twenty to thirty minutes making sure I know where to go. I can’t thank him enough. When I set off again I am quite relaxed and absolutely confident that I will reach Uppingham without any further mishaps.

And I do. I am so lucky to have met him.

Meanwhile, little Isis, I imagine, has breakfasted, been for a little run on the field and is ready for a snooze on her comfortable duvet.

But this is not the end of my Uppingham adventures. Not by a long chalk …………

 

*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 a very good dog, adopted dogs, clever Isis, dear little Isis, Isis at Hollytrees, relationship building | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Hello there – there will be no post on May 23rd or May 31st as Human is taking a break.

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