yipee!

 

 

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

 

Sunday February 17th  2019

 

Thank heaven, the new monitor is set up and I can use the PC again. Trouble is, we old timers – as American friend R. calls his contemporaries – don’t take easily to changes in our IT equipment.

What with the monitor dying at the same time as Google removes its support from Windows 8.1 phones so that everything stops working, my mind’s been spinning.

I am lucky to have Adopted Niece’s old iPad and have been using this for my last few posts but, of course, it has a very different layout from the PC and the phone.

A. N. wrote down very clear instructions for downloading images from phone to i-Pad and I worked out how to upload them to the blog, but by the time I’d managed to write the blog, I was too tired to deal with the images.

Logic is a very useful facility for a human to have, but, unfortunately, it seems to have by-passed me.

To celebrate our return to ‘normal’, whatever that might be, I’m about to try to retrieve some Highbury images which paint a picture of Hairy One’s activities over the past two weeks.

On Saturday she has an exceptionally good time.

It comes about by chance.

As Isis is in transit from the car to the grass, I become aware that I’ve forgotten to put my walking boots on. No, I’m not barefooted, I’m not that absent-minded yet. I’m wearing light trainers, quite inadequate for the Highbury mud.

Damn. Isis will not be happy to be dragged back to the car.

Dilemma.

Isis is unlikely to return to the little car park road; even so, I check to make sure that no vehicle is approaching, then unclip her lead, lunge towards the car, tear off the trainers and pull on the boots.

Quite a challenge as I have one eye on Isis,  her lead in one hand and the car keys in the other.

I don’t have time to lace the boots. Why? Well, ask yourself what a dog is most likely to do when its person has both hands fully occupied.

Yes, of course. She crouches purposefully and sticks out her tail.

Ew!

Anxious not to loose the location of the untimely deposit, I fumble with my key hand for a dog bag and stumble to the spot.

By now Isis is heading off in the direction of the fallen tree she loves to play under.

 

 

I trip –  literally  – past the dog bag bin, whip open the lid, and drop in my noisesome burden before stumbling after my unhelpful canine companion. Although I am certain that she’ll make her way to the fallen tree, I can’t risk her getting too close to the main road.

Fortunately, she pauses for a long sniff and I’m able to pocket the keys, secure her lead round my neck and tie up my laces.

She makes her way in clever sniffing loops to the tree, and settles down to re-acquaint herself with its delights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She sniffs all around it. This takes quite a long time.

I am perfectly content to sit on the tree trunk and watch her. I’ve had my twenty minutes of healthy, pulse raising exercise, I decide.

 

 

 

Then, suddenly, she stops, lifts a paw ………………..

 

 

 

and decides that it’s time to celebrate her wonderful rediscovery.

She rears up

 

hurriedly abandons the tree

 

 

and flings herself into a wild,

 

 

wild,

 

dance

Round and round she races, in huge loops and curves. She knows that there are no obstacles in this area and she’s claiming more space than she ever has before.

It’s uplifting to watch her, and I stand there grinning with delight.

 

There are more Highbury adventures to follow!

 

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, deaf/blind dog plays, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

a different dog

 

 

Posting days: Wednesday and Sunday and, now and again interim extras.

 

Wednesday February 13th 2019

 

The more Isis and I learn about each other, the better we communicate. Which makes sense.

And the better we communicate, the more relaxed we are with each other and the more we enjoy each other’s company. At least, I know that am enjoying being Hairy One’s human more every day. It seems an extravagant  claim, but that’s how it feels.

Whether the hairy delight feels the same about me is, of course, a matter of conjecture, but she appears to.

Our morning reunions are lovely. She can’t hear me getting up, of course, but by the time I’ve wandered past her open door a few times, gathering scattered items – keys, phone, a bottle of water, her collar -my scent has usually reached her and woken her up, and I can just sit down next to her.

Even as short a time as a few months ago, this would have startled her into an aggressive, barky leap.

Not any more. If she is still sleeping, before I sit down I hold my hand close to her nose and mouth until she breathes in my smell and wakes up.

Once fully awake, she anticipates my greetings. The first stroke sets her tail wagging – unless she’s lying on it, in which case I tell her to undo it, and release it myself from beneath a hairy leg.

Now at every touch her tail becomes a fluffy metronome. A kiss on the head sets off the most prolonged wag. Swish, swish, swish, swish.

She’s in no hurry to get up. She colludes with me in my sloppiness, even allowing me to wrap my arms around her and give her firm hugs.

Yes, I know, such exchanges are everyday occurrences in dog households. You expect your dog to enjoy being made a fuss of, don’t you?

No, not this once belligerent little animal. Her acceptance of physical closeness is still magical to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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from the sublime to the ridiculous?

 

 

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

 

Sunday February 10th 2019

 

It’s Saturday. It’s wet and wild and Isis is having a wonderful time in Highbury Park.

She achieves another first: she walks off-lead from just outside the car park to the edge of the beechwood.

Since Hairy One chooses the itinerary, we do not, of course, walk the usual route down across the meadow, over the bridge across the stream, up the steep tarmac path, past the secret garden and through the pine avenue.

Instead, we follow Isis podengo’s nose. Criss-crossing the wet grass, we visit the smaller of her rosebay willow herb patches. Here she pauses to follow what I assume are the scent tracks of little mammals and to send peemails to previous canine visitors.

Satisfied with her rendezvous, she meanders towards the stream and walks carefully along the bank. It’s not until she has doubled back on herself several times that I realise she’s trying to find the little track which leads to the ‘clean pool’.

She persists – not one to give up, our Isis – until that black and pink spotty nose picks up whatever scents are emanating from the track, and off she goes.

She speeds up as she gets nearer to the pool, and I am forced to speed up too. Whoops! She’s about to launch herself over the boulders at the edge of the little waterfall. I snatch her back just in time and tap her in the direction of the stepping stones.

I want her to have as much freedom as she can but, of course, I don’t want to risk her hurting herself.

She’s a bright little dog, and I think that she will be able to find her way across; nevertheless I’m on tenterhooks as I wait on the bank watching her.

She’s very cautious. She extends a paw, allowing it to hover momentarily over the surface of the water, withdraws it and sniffs out an alternative move. Slowly, but very deliberately, she creeps from stepping stone to stepping stone, testing each foothold before putting her weight on it.

Now she’s scrambling confidently up the other side, crossing the path and heading towards the big rosebay willow herb swathe. Clever dog. She’s found her favourite playground herself from right across the park.

I follow her, a fat, proud smile on my face.

She prances joyfully around the boggy edges of rosebay patch. She must be jumping only in clear water as her pads are still pink and her sturdy little legs are only moderately splattered with mud.

I squelch carefully towards her. She stands quite still as I clip on her lead.

So she is most certainly not to blame for what happens next.

In order to avoid the murky puddle in front of me, I step back.

Not the best idea I’ve ever had.

I trip over a large tussock and land, seat first, in another puddle much deeper than the one I was trying to avoid.

Legs in the air, I wriggle in the icy water.

Isis turns her head towards me curiously as if to say,’Wonder what the hell she’s found to roll in.’

 

Isis came from the Aeza dog and cat rescue in Portugal. If you would like to see dogs in need of fostering, adoption or sponsoring, from Britain or from abroad, contact Dogwatch UK.

Posted in clever girl, clever Isis, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, Isis in danger, scenting, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

ghost dog

 

 

Posting days are Sunday and Wednesday.

 

Wednesday February 6th 2019

 

Isis does not appear to be affected by the cold. Her undercoat is as warm as a  Jack Wolfskin puffer jacket.

When I carry away a large ball of fluff from a grooming session, I can feel the warmth radiating from it.

Some lucky birds will make use of it during the nesting season, I hope.

She never shows any sign of needing extra bedding. Often, when we share the day bed she takes herself off to lie on the rug and cool down for a few minutes.

Her temperature control seems to work perfectly without interference; nevertheless, pets’ humans being as they are, I succumb to the temptation.

The temperature drops into minus figures. There’s a hard frost, and I can’t bring myself to creep under my warm duvet knowing that Isis is lying downstairs in the icy back room.

I sort out a dog fleece, make sure that she sniffs my hand to check it’s me and carefully cover her.

My thoughtfulness is rewarded with a low growl.

Thanks Isis.

A., Polymath’s friend from Barmouth is staying. It’s well past dog’s bedtime and there’s not a sound from next door. We settle down with the remainder of a bottle of wine. The overhead light was switched off earlier in deference to Isis, and now we sit back in the dim light of a standard lamp and r-e-l-a-x.

Suddenly, the whoozy ambiance is interrupted by a soft swooshing sound as the door is pushed open.

Yeek! Startled, we look up.

Someone doesn’t wish to be left out.

 

 

 

 

It’s a ghost dog.

 

Isis came from the Aeza dog and cat rescue in Portugal. If you would like to see dogs in need of fostering, adoption or sponsoring, from Britain or from abroad, contact Dogwatch UK.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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hello again

 

 

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

 

Sunday February 3rd 2019

 

Well, we’re using the iPad today. Still getting used to it so goodness knows what silly mistakes will appear. Wait until I try adding an image: now that really will be fun.

Little dog has lived a lot since she last posted so where to begin?

Just made mistake 1. My wandering fingers took me elsewhere. This happens often on the iPod. I’m not good at keeping my hand still, which, of course, doesn’t matter so much on the desktop.

Illogically, I’ll begin with a few days ago when something rather lovely happened. Isis is running about on the lower bowling green when, much to my surprise, she stops and walks towards me.

She does, as we know, come and check me out nowadays but this is almost always when I move from one spot to another, or when she is walking in front of me.

I’m even more surprised when she sits down at my side and waits for all the world like a small hairy statue. It’s as though she has been commanded to come to heel.

I stand and wonder, running all possible explanations through my mind. She looks perfectly confident so she’s not come to me because she’s afraid. She’s interrupted her play after only a few minutes so she’s definitely not ready to go home. The bowling green is empty except for the two of us and it’s a dull, damp day. Exactly as she likes things to be.

I know she’s not hoping for a treat. Outside the house she never does.

At last a most unlikely thought enters my head. She couldn’t possibly need help, could she?

I look down at her. There’s a long, thin, twangy twig caught in the hair of her left foreleg. I remove it, give her a little pat and a touch which means ‘off you go now’.

She stands. She promptly sits down again.

Oh well, it was a long shot anyway.

She waits in the same alert, expectant position as before, close to my side.

She couldn’t really have come to ask for the twig to be removed, could she?

There couldn’t be another one, could there?

There is. It’s stuck across her chest.

We go through the same routine as before: I carefully detatch the stick from her hair, give her a second comforting pat and then encourage her to run off and play. As before, she stands. As before, she immediately sits down again, the perfect demonstration of the finish to a perfect recall.

This is becoming ridiculous. I examine my Hairy One  from head to toe.

There, between her thighs and curling among the sparse hairs of her pink belly is the nastiest twig of all. Long and sinuous, it must be causing her extreme discomfort.

Poor little Isis.

I stand her up and slowly, slowly, hair by hair, I disentangle the long twig with its many ensnaring buds and off-shoots and lift it away from her skin.

This time, she pauses only for the briefest of  ‘all clear’ pats before racing off to resume her play.

I am amazed. And very impressed. I am also very touched.

Who could possibly believe that dogs can’t think?

 

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

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how to drive yourself crazy

 

 

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

 

Friday February 1st 2019

 

Yes. It’s not difficult to drive yourself crazy. You do, of course, require a little help from fate; but that does not seem too difficult to come by.

Now,  I knew that I would have to replace my car. Fair enough, it was fifth hand and over nineteen years old.

The demise of the washing machine three weeks ago was unexpected but that was old too, I guess. Eventually that was sorted, though not before seven bags of washing had accumulated.

Never mind, one  must be philosophical: I’m OK. Isis and Daisy are OK. And last week was a new week, wasn’t it?

It was, and on Tuesday the computer screen departed.

Next day one of my front teeth dropped out.

Never mind, I have others.

M. diagnoses the screen problem: I need just a new monitor.

OK. New monitor.

What’s driving me crazy is trying to access the blog and everything else on the iPod. I love the iPod, which Adopted Niece gave me last year when she bought a new one, but being idle, I’ve only used it for catch up broadcasts.

Today it’s taken me three hours to order cat food, one canine item and to access the blog.

EEEK !

All I needed to tell  you was that Isis and I hope to resume normal service next Sunday ALL BEING WELL.

It was quite cathartic to moan though.

P

 

 

 

 

 

 

k

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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oh dear, dear, dear

 

 

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

 

Thursday January 23rd 2019

 

Many apologies. Owing to unforseen circumstances, Wednesday’s blog will now appear on Thursday.

 

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

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Isis walks alone

 

 

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

 

Sunday January 20th 2019

 

I know Human’s always going on about Highbury Park, but I really have been having an amazingly good time there. Over the holidays, I went almost every day.

We had lovely weather. Lots of the days were grey and there was lots of lovely rain. There was wind as well.

Human came with me, but she didn’t need to.

 

 

I’m a confident dog now, so I can go a long way away on my own.

 

Can you see a tiny white spot by the middle tree? That’s me.

 

I’ll  walk into the beech wood by myself. I’m not scared.

But some of the trees are very, very big. This one might come after me.

 

Eeek! What’s that?

 

Yowk! There’s two of it.

And there’s another one up there.

 

Think I’ll get out of here

 

or perhaps if I just sit down, it’ll go away.

 

 

Ah, I smell Human. Tail up. Scared? What 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 clever girl, clever Isis, Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, scary shadows, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Isis dines in

 

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

 

Wednesday January 16th 2019

 

It’s a long time since I bewailed the return of Hairy One’s hysterical approach to mealtimes.

After she came to live here, it took at least two years of gentle training before she calmed down and began to modify her behaviour. Well, lets admit it, I modified her behaviour. She still believed that she needed to defend her dinner from the coyotes and vultures which, she was convinced, were closing in on her food bowl. She controlled herself with great difficulty and only because she realised that I would remove her food if she didn’t.

It was a precarious peace, and relapses were easily triggered.

Unfortunately, as I reported last autumn, when I was ill she had to stay in kennels for three weeks, and by the time she returned home, the old habits had returned.

Of course they had. There really were dozens of animals around her. She could smell them: big, fierce dogs who could swallow a small dog and her food; sly, predatory cats; trickster rabbits, bored with carrots; guinea pigs, horses, even a llama.

As for the birds, you could hardly imagine the hordes of those claw and beaked assassins. What do you expect a dog to do?

Climb the walls. What else?

Retraining has taken well over a year. You know the monotonous routine: Isis begins winding herself up with a few threatening growls and yaps before these rise to a crescendo of snarls, snaps, screeches and loud, strangled barks. Simultaneously, she twirls round to attack her tail and back legs before  launching herself repeatedly up the kitchen wall.

Donning leather gardening gloves, I remove her food.

The following morning, the process is repeated all over again. And again. And again. Ad nauseum.

It’s not until I raise the stakes and do not return the bowl, that her behaviour begins to improve.

Now, after about fifteen months, she follows her very nice sitting-to-wait-for-‘eat it’- signal with impeccable table manners.

It’s a strange thing, but I only become fully aware of the transformation when the winter sun is low in the sky. Isis hates low in the sky sun. It freaks her out, poor little dog. She flinches, cowers and slinks close to the ground, desperately seeking cover.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve had a lot of bright morning sunshine. At breakfast time, strong rays, distorted as they pass through the frosted glass of the front door, slice into the hall, and Isis barks loudly in annoyance.

At first my heart sinks. Oh no, not again, just when she’d got over her kennels experience.

But I’m wrong. The barking remains a response to the specific sun nuisance.

So far, she has not returned to the mealtime hysteria of earlier times.

Thank dog.

 

 

Although she is not, of course, in her dining room , this is exactly the position she takes up when waiting to eat!

 

 

 

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

Posted in food rage, Isis at home, poor Isis, self-harming, strange behaviour, teaching my deaf/blind dog, training, twirling, we don't like bright sun | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

enter Maisie

 

 

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

 

Sunday January 13th 2019

 

I receive a delightful e-mail this week from L., whose poodles Dougie and Fergie featured more than once in the blog.

L. moved away from Birmingham last April and is very much missed by we  Kings Heath and Highbury Park dog walkers.

Isis took most of her earliest off-lead walks in their company. They were all very patient with her, even when she stopped for twenty minutes to dance on her grass mound, refused to move at all, or veered off the path causing us to dash after and retrieve her. She was very relaxed around them.

Dougie and Fergie, L, tells me a day or two ago, have a very new baby ‘sister’, Maisie.

L. has always had rescued or rehomed dogs, and longed to bring up a puppy. Her family clubbed together and for her Christmas and birthday got her a very special pup.

The photo below was taken when pup first arrived at her new home.

She’s on the right looking apprehensive; Dougie, in the middle, seems very smug. He definitely has the ‘I’m the one on her lap’ expression.

But it’s Fergie’s face which says it all: ‘Dougie’s on her lap, he’s holding someone smelly who shouldn’t be here, and no-one’s taking any notice of me.

 

 

 

 

 

Hmmm. First impressions can be very hard to abandon, Fergie.

Here is a close up of little sister.

 

 

 

 

 

Who could resist her?

What was that, Fergie?

Despite their misgivings, the boys have been good with Maisie (most of the time) says L.

Fergie remains unimpressed with her and tries to pretend she’s not there, while  Dougie tolerates her. Unfortunately for Dougie, she adores him. They play chase in the garden and Maisie finds little nooks and crannies to hide in.

Even so, according to L., Dougie must have been very deeply asleep for Maisie to have managed to do this ……………………………………

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the five litter mates. I think that Maisie may be the one who goes into reverse, but I’m not certain!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maisie is too young to walk in public places yet, but, ensconced in a puppy papoose, accompanies her brothers on their walks!

I ask L. how she ever gets anything done with this squishable little charmer around. She doesn’t get much done beyond dog walking, she tells me.

Maisie has taken over.

 

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, Kings Heath Park, park dogs, the dogs of King's Heath Park, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment