my Isis comes home



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday September 24th 2017


Yesterday S., one of  Gilbert and George greyhounds’ humans, took me to fetch Isis back from the kennels. She had been there for three weeks.







Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

from bad to worse



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday September 10th 2017


Yes, it’s from bad to worse here, so this is really a no post.

My left hand has gone down but is still painful to use and my left foot has swollen up so that it looks like a little white seal attached to my leg.

I think it’s the result of dragging my case on the left side to avoid damaging the right shoulder.

Have to go for X-Ray tomorrow.

Poor little Isis is still in kennels.

Daisy cat is living the life: she likes spending hours with me in bed.

Hope by Wednesday to returning to normality.

Let’s find a picture of little Isis to cheer ourselves up.






Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the ce

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments

a nocturnal dilemma



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday September 6th 2017


Last week was not a merry one.

On Tuesday Doc explains the scan result: Human has torn a shoulder tendon across its width and displaced another tendon connecting to her biceps.

While she is awaiting surgery, she must wear a sling throughout the day.

It’s her right shoulder.

Yes, of course she’s right handed.

She begins to use her left hand for everything cat, dog and human. Even by Wednesday, her left hand is beginning to ache. Then her wrist swells and throbs.

At 1. 30 a.m she is lying in bed feeling decidedly sorry for herself when she imagines – it has to be imagination, please let it be imagination – she hears what sounds very similar to a little dog beginning to climb the stairs.

She couldn’t have forgotten to put the stair gate on.

Could she?

Yes, she could.

Someone pale and cautious creeps into the room.

And heads for the bottom of the bed, its usual access point.

I feel a rush of light kitty paws zooming towards the end of the bed.

HSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwrrrrrrowuh!


Chunter, chunter.

Poor Isis scrambles out of the room as fast as her hairy legs can carry her.


I roll out of my bed and put a dog bed on the landing.

For an hour I try to think of a way of getting Isis downstairs. Then sad, half-stifled, little woofs are heard from the landing.

I roll out of bed again. (If anyone’s wondering why I roll, just try getting out of bed without using either hand or arm).

Hairy One is not in her dog bed. She is hunched uncomfortably on the boards looking very sad.

I bring the dog bed into the bedroom and place it on the floor by my side of the bed. After much cuddling and cajoling, I eventually persuade Isis to get onto it.

She remains there all night looking miserable and uneasy.

I stay awake until seven, worrying about getting Isis downstairs.

Daisy curls up into a smug kitty ball, happy in the knowledge that that pesky dog will not be bothering her again. She looks utterly relaxed. She doesn’t worry about anything at all.

In the morning, I sit at the top of the stairs and try to entice Isis to climb onto my lap. I plan to bottom shuffle down, clasping her. But she is terrified of falling downstairs and won’t approach me.

I try to pull her towards me, but my left hand screams with pain.

What a spectacle of misery we are.

What the hell can I do? All of my neighbours are even older and more decrepit than I am. Ironically, my friend A whom Isis trusts and whom she would allow to carry her down, has strained her left shoulder and is unable to drive.

There’s nothing else for it. I keep my upper right arm jammed against my body so I’ll not stretch the shoulder, and let my left hand hang limp. Then I shuffle both forearms under Isis like a fork lift truck and pin her against my chest.

We lurch slowly down the stairs.

She is a very good little dog. She stays statue still. She doesn’t move until her paws are just above the ground. She couldn’t have been more helpful, but there’s kickback as she leaves my arms.


Poor Isis. I am off to visit Polymath who is still in hospital in Wales. Isis will have to spend a few days at Hollytrees.

But not Daisy. Ray fears that at eighteen plus, on thyroid medication and not having stayed away from home since she was a kitten, Daisy could become dangerously stressed in the cattery.

So the naughty little creature gets to stay at home being looked after by lovely cat-sitter Emma.





Life’s not fair, is it Isis?


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 or

Posted in dear little Isis, Isis and Daisy, sleeping arrangements | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

wild life in Highbury



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday September 3rd 2017


Watching dogs enjoy themselves is reward in itself, of course. And watching little Isis becoming more familiar with the landscape every time she goes to the park, pushing the boundaries of where it’s safe to run, leap and bound, is amazing.

But, as if this isn’t enough, sometimes a wildlife bonus comes along too.

This happens to me in Highbury a couple of weeks ago.

We are on our way back to the car when Isis, off-lead, wanders happily into her second favourite marshy place. She immediately disappears into the mass of tall plants. I wait at the edge. Her new bell is tinkling rhythmically, so I know exactly where she is.

Suddenly, there’s a barrage of angry chittering from the direction of a tree on the other side of the patch.

Someone isn’t pleased by our intrusion.

As I look up, what I think is a brown butterfly drops down in front of me and lodges on the stalk of a plant. I bend down to look at it.

But it isn’t a butterfly. It’s the smallest fledgling bird I’ve ever seen. Completely unphased by the fascinated stare of a tall human, it stays around for about five minute, sometimes sitting quite still for seconds at a time, sometimes hopping casually among the small leaves and stems of the plant.

It’s an exquisite little creature. I can’t take my eyes off it. I wonder if it might be a baby wren, but it’s the wrong shape. The cacophony of alarm continues. Its parent/s must be in the tree trying to drive off us off.

We move on and the chittering stops.

Thanks Isis. That’s an experience I’d never have had on my own.


The following day we’re back again.

It’s late morning and very quiet, warm but quite dull. Perfect Isis weather.

She is playing today in her preferred, larger, marshy area,






and I am sitting on a bench, facing her with my back to the pond. I will be able to hear her bell if she breaks into a trot and will see Her White Hairiness if she leaves the patch.

But she doesn’t. There must be a huge amount of information in there for a dog, all kinds of little creatures missed by careless humans.

Out in the open, the Canada Goose pair are strolling in the grass enjoying their new found leisure. Their seven young flew off a few days ago after prolonged wing fluttering exercises closely supervised by their parents.

The coot adolescents are still hanging around mum and dad, hoping for treats. The young moorhens, adolescents too, meander onto the grass if front of me. I’m a big moorhen fan. I love their chunky bodies and lime green legs. They remind me of the logo of an ancient advert for knitting wool which comprised a fat black ball of wool with two knitting pins thrust through it.











After about forty minutes, I get up, intending to check on Isis who is being suspiciously quiet.

After a few strides, I glance back at the pond and am amazed to see that a heron is now standing behind my bench. S/he obligingly strolls over to the edge of the pond.






A little girl and her mother approach to look at the heron, who continues to walk by the pond in a leisurely fashion, stopping now and again to peer intently into its depths.

Later, I tell the lady about the tiny bird I had seen the day before. She says that she and and her daughter have  seen what she thought were firecrests in the pine avenue. We check out firecrests and goldcrests on her phone. Weighing only six gramms, they’re the smallest birds in Europe. When we compare the birds, she is sure that the birds she has seen are  goldcrests and I think that my little bird is a goldcrest too.

Eventually, I collect dear little Isis from her patch. As usual she gives me a sniff and wags happily when I attach her to her lead.

We’ve been here in Highbury for over three hours.

How lovely.

Who would want to go home?


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 or


Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

very good news



Thursday August 31st 2017


Brilliant news! A has just told me that Shimono (still not sure how her name is spelled) is back home.

Apparently, she had been taken to Birmingham Dogs’ Home.



I’ve not been able to get to Highbury this week, but I can imagine how hugely relieved her owner is.

I guess it’s still a mystery how she got from A to B without being spotted.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 6 Comments

we all fall out



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday August 30th 2017


Dear, dear, dear – as I say to Isis when when she is upset because something, like a prickly leaf or an empty beechnut case, is suck in her hair. It’s Sunday 27th, the very anniversary of her adoption and we fall out big time.

Daisy starts it.

A demure little cat, who mostly minds her own business, she spends the daylight hours upstairs doing kitty things, like playing in her crackle bag






making cosy little nests in the bed







and preparing herself for a good night’s sleep.






But, being a cat, she becomes restless in the early hours, sneaks out of the bedroom and creeps downstairs.

Now and then, I think, she pops into the back room where Isis is fast asleep, and has a good nose around, for sometimes, when I wake Isis in the morning, she leaps up as though stung by a hornet, and circles, sniffing and snapping indignantly.

It is certain that she now goes into Hairy One’s dining room on a regular basis, drinks from her water bowl and scents the feeding stand and door frame.

Neither Isis nor I have ever caught her in the act, of course. But we know. We know because Isis, trained painstakingly over the years to eat her food like a normal dog, begins to revert to her previous food defending behaviour. Instead of munching contentedly, she snatches mouthfuls of food while growling and barking ferociously at an imagined crowd of marauding creatures.


Human cleans carefully around Hairy One’s dining area with pet disinfectant.

But this doesn’t pacify Isis, and Human reluctantly goes back to the training routine. Every time Isis barks, her food is removed. When she calms down, the food is returned. After a few days of this, she improves.

By dog’s  breakfast time last Sunday, she’s almost back to normal.

The sun is very bright so we stay at home all day and Isis plays with her toys in the garden. She would like to stay out there until dark, and it’s well past dog’s tea time when I bring her in.

She’s very hungry. She sits nicely waiting for the signal to eat. But almost immediately after she begins her meal, she emits loud, growly barks.

I pick up her dish.

She flies into a fury and sinks her teeth into both sides of my hand. It feels like they’re meeting in the middle.

I give her a sharp smack on her flank.

What a horrible end to her anniversary day.


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 or

Posted in food rage, Isis and Daisy | Tagged , | 3 Comments

pride comes before a fall




Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday August 27th 2017


Kings Heath Park is very busy this week, I hear. It usually is when the weather is good in the summer, particularly leading up to and over bank holidays.

So perhaps it’s OK that Isis and I have seldom been in the park over the last two weeks.

For several months now, I have had a problem with my right shoulder which makes  driving  extremely painful.

A scan last week revealed that I have torn a shoulder tendon which has in turn displaced a biceps tendon. So, I know why it hurts but, as yet, I don’t know what, if any, treatment is available for it. I hope to find out next Tuesday.

Naturally inclined towards pessimism, I imagine worst case scenarios, such as being told that there isn’t any treatment, it’ll just take twelve months (or more) to heal itself. Or, alternatively, it’ll be like it is now for ever.

Anyway, moaning over.

Another reason for absenting ourselves from Kings Heath Park is that the sun has been popping out relentlessly and creating very strong shadows which still terrify poor Isis. It’s impossible to avoid the shadows.

Highbury is the  much bigger park by far, and it is usually possible to escape from dappled areas into open, shadowless ones, to find spaces where she feels relaxed.

So I’ve been driving Isis to Highbury once a day and letting her play there for a couple of hours or more. Then, in the evening, we go for a sniff and pee road walk – I hasten to add that I use the word ‘we’ very loosely. I just walk.

Fortunately, Isis now usually walks very nicely on her lead. Otherwise, slinged, or unslinged, at the moment it would be impossible to take her on a road walk.

Bright dog that she is, Isis has learned to discriminate between her extension lead which means that she can go nuts, and her walking lead which means she is expected to behave more sedately. If she is in any doubt about this, we attach a second strand of her lead to one of the side rings of her Mekuti harness.

Although my last little dog Ellie was very obedient and walked close to me beautifully off-lead (not on the road, obviously) Isis is the first dog I have ever succeeded in training to walk beside me on the lead without pulling.

I think my previous failures result from a wandering mind and lack of consistency.

With little Isis, of course, I have to concentrate. Or cope with the guilt when she bangs her head on a car bumper, wall end, gate post or bin.

It suddenly dawns on me that this hasn’t happened for a long time.

Even though the bin men have been on go-slow for several smelly weeks now, which means that there have been rubbish bins permanently lining the pavements.

Dozy as ever, I have only just realized that very often, just as I am about to guide her around an obstacle, she has already realised that it is there, and is carefully walking round it.

Nor does she now try to escape into every ungated front garden we come across, or follow every trail which leads off the pavement. She rarely leaps across me or tries to shoot into the road.

One evening last week, my heart sinks when it begins to drizzle halfway round our route. But she doesn’t jerk and drag me all over the place like a rag doll in her attempt to grab mouthfuls of delicious dampness.

Although I’m sure that she will still revert to this wild behaviour when fat raindrops fall, I am very grateful for her restraint on this occasion.

And very impressed.


Actually, I am very impressed with her all round.





Next week it will be the third anniversary of her arrival in Kings Heath.

I thought that I would be getting a very shy, retiring little dog who would be psychologically damaged for the rest of her life, and unlikely to even want to be taken to the park.

I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

Tonight, walking into the garden where she is engrossed in playing with one of her snakes, I touch her gently.

She immediately turns and walks into the house.

I follow with a smug smirk on my face.

But, to indulge in a mixed metaphor or two, pride comes before a fall, and there are tears before bedtime.

But that’s another story.


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 or

Posted in clever girl, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, Kings Heath Park, scary shadows, we don't like bright sun, we don't like the dark | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments





Friday August 25th 2017


Beautiful, sweet-natured, brindle, ten year old staffie, Shimono, disappeared from Moor Green Lane on her way to Highbury Park last night.

Her owner stopped to pick up after her and when he straightened up she had vanished.

She barely leaves his side, so we are wondering if she was stolen, although he neither saw nor heard a vehicle or a person.

Her owner spent last night walking around the area calling her. He is distraught.

She is a hefty girl and wears a decorative harness.

If you’re a Midlander, please keep an eye out for her.


My mobile no is: 07518818840

Thanks, Pat



Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

another case of burr-measles




Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday August 20th 2017


Poor Isis was so traumatised by the fickle sun last Tuesday that I decide to avoid Kings Heath Park while the weather is unsettled. Because Highbury Park is much bigger, there are very large areas where trees do not cast frightening shadows.

On Wednesday, then, off we go to Highbury.

Once in the park, I commiserate with Isis and tell her that, as compensation for her nasty experience, she can choose where she wants to play and what she wants to do.

She is very happy to follow her nose without any bossy tugging from me, and heads off to her favourite fallen tree.

Oh. But then, I think it was winter time when she got covered in burrs. I recall being surprised because all the burr bearing plants were brown and dead.

Now the plants are green and very alive, so they won’t drop their burrs as freely.

Will they?

And I did promise her a good time today.

Didn’t I?

I release her from her lead, and off she trots, ready for adventure.

Sniff. Sniff. Snifferty-sniff.

Yes! It really is her lovely fallen tree.












And here is where she made those lovely tunnels last year.

And there’s still a little lead-in hole left! Very exciting for a dog.







How wonderful.

In she dives.

And she plays, and plays and plays. We spend over an hour here.

But what’s the matter with Isis?

Oh, nothing. She’s just sheltering from the sun.








There’s a scattering of burrs on the end of her tail. Nothing to worry about, though.

A few minutes later, I take a closer look, just to make sure she’s O.K.

Oh dear me.







Rather more than a scattering of burrs on her tail, I fear.


Time for a closer close-up.









It can’t be as bad as it seems.

Let’s have another look.









But it can. And it is.

I pat her little head. It’s like stroking coconut matting.

My heart sinks.

But she doesn’t seem disturbed, and off we go to the pine trees.

It’s while she is pine dancing that my phone rings. It’s L. She’s just arrived in the park with Dougie and Fergie and asks where we are.

I tell her, but soon Isis wanders across the grass, and past the edge of the little beech wood before disappearing into her much loved boggy rosebay willow herb patch.

Almost immediately, L. appears walking with Js. and his dogs Pixie and Bertie.

I smile to myself. They’re in for a surprise.

I show them one of the close up photos. They are very taken aback, but nothing prepares them for the reality.

Isis eventually emerges from the bog. She looks like a monster from a story book.

Jaws drop.

She no longer looks nonchalant. Now she looks pathetic. To make matters worse, the sun is ducking and diving again. She cowers and I kneel down beside her.

I stroke her, then begin combing through the hairy tangles on the back of her neck with my fingernails. Last time she had the burr-measles, I tried a variety of brushes and a metal comb before discovering that not only are fingernails more effective, but Isis is more relaxed with them than she is with grooming tools.

L. sits down behind Isis. As she does so, the sun blinks again and Isis wriggles herself  against L.’s lap. L. begins to de-burr Hairy One’s lower back.

Soon she is joined by Js. who tackles the left flank.

Thank goodness for kind park friends.

The other dogs wonder what’s going on. They suspect favouritism, and close in to investigate. Poor Isis just retreats backwards, even closer to L. and Js. The other dogs soon discover that nothing nice is happening and wander off again.

We continue to work on poor Isis.

By the time we decide she’s had enough, her back and flanks are clear.

Her head, whiskers, underside and the inside of her legs are still to be done, but we’ve made a good start.

It takes three days, in all, to clear all the burrs.


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 or

Posted in Highbury Park, scary shadows, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

oh dear, oh dear, oh dear



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Wednesday August 16th 2017


Poor Isis has a rough time in Kings Heath Park on Tuesday. She begins her walk happily enough, dancing under the trees and shrubs by the railway line.

But when she emerges, the sun is playing nasty tricks on her, doing what she most hates: popping in and out. It’s bright light, shadow, bright light, shadow. She crouches close to the ground by the TV Garden fence and resists all my attempts to coax her to move on.

She is very, very frightened.

The scenario is rare nowadays. Normally when she is this frightened, the only thing to do is to pick her up and carry her to ‘safety’. As my right arm is still out of action, I can’t pick her up. And there’s no-one around to help.

Feeling monstrous, I drag her over to the lower bowing green, and up onto the bank. Then, keeping her on her extended lead, I sit on the grass and let her sniff around.

It’s no good, though. She doesn’t want to sniff. She doesn’t want to be there. She doesn’t feel safe.

As soon as she can, she slips through the hole in the hedge onto the next level, and stands on the grass.


Unable, at present, to crawl through the hole without falling over (yes, I’ve tried) I am just about to scramble to my feet to walk round the hedge to disentangle her, when I hear L. calling Dougie on the other side of the fence.

I hear her commiserating with Isis and call through the hedge to ask her if she’ll detach the hairy creature from her lead.

She kindly obliges. Once free, Isis looks calmer. As I expect, she makes her way, ducking and diving in and out of the black shadows towards the Colour Garden.

Unfortunately, as she arrives at the edge of the garden, the sun blasts out again. Poor Isis panics and scuttles into the darkness of the border.

She cowers beneath the thick foliage, her tail stiff and flat against her underside.

She’s a pathetic sight.

Normally, I would wriggle into her retreat and comfort her. Compassionate L does just that. She crawls into the shrubbery and kneels next to poor Isis, stroking her and commiserating.

But Isis won’t be coaxed out.

I explain to Liz that once Hairy One’s out in the sunshine, in a space which has no shadows, she’ll come round.

Now, as it happens, L. practised carrying Isis only the day before when she was spooked in the car park. Again by the sun, I think. The poor little creature pulled away from my side and began scrabbling frantically in the sharp-edged gravel, scraping her pink pads.

In one quick swoop, L. gathered up the astonished Hairy One







and carried her to the car.

Not a snap, not a growl. After an initial wriggle or two, Isis settled in L’s arms and allowed  herself to be carried.







I am very impressed. Enormous progress for Isis who was once frightened of everyone.

So again L. comes to the rescue.

She sweeps Isis out from under the leafy tunnel, and places her in a carefully selected spot on the sunny grass, well away from threatening shadows.

Sure enough, Isis, now in a very familiar place, begins to revive.

First her tail detaches itself from her underside and hangs straight down. Then she sniffs her way into one of the beds.

Soon, her tail takes up its usual vertical curl.

Then she emerges and begins to play.

She is still jumpy when the light changes, but she’s much more confident now she’s in one of her safe play places.


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 or

Posted in Highbury Park, Kings Heath Park, scary shadows, walking my deaf/blind dog, we don't like bright sun, we don't like the dark | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments