May 15th and May 22nd



Wednesday May 11th 2022


     Isis and Human are taking a blogging break on Sunday May 15th and on Sunday May 22nd

(And no, it’s not because Isis is embarrassed about being seen in her newly clipped furstyle).

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collecting Isis




A post should appear each Sunday!


Sunday May 8th 2022


Isis: There’s more about you than about me.

Human: We’re a team Isis.


On Wednesday afternoon I take a newly clipped Isis





to Hollytrees Animal Rescue Centre and kennels to stay with Ray (whom I’ve known for well over fifty years) T. and A.

They know Isis, and she knows and trusts them all. Usually, I hand over the lead, and off she trots. This time though, there is no free kennel near the door. There are occupied kennels on either side of the aisle, and Isis is very reluctant to walk to her spot near the far end.

My last view of her is of four very resistant pink feet. However much I know that she’ll be very well cared for, her resistance and the little pink feet stay with me, so I feel even sadder than usual to leave her.

The next day I phone Hollytrees and speak to S., who is new since Isis’s last stay. She reassures me that Isis has settled in, is happy to approach her carers, and is eating well.

Relieved, off I go to Bingley, Yorkshire, to visit my nephew Nick.

On Saturday morning, I don’t feel like eating, and decide to have coffee and a snack on the train. The trolley service was excellent on the way up, so when we leave Leeds, I wait, anticipating coffee and a sandwich.

Half an hour passes. Fortunately, I have a bottle of water with me, but having not eaten anything since 7.30 the evening before, I’m beginning to feel very hungry.

Several times I hear the increasingly welcome news,”Ah, they’re getting the trolley ready.”

But it’s a false alarm.

Yes, from time to time, Northern Line persons appear in the little kitchen from which the refreshment trolley usually emerges; but then they go away again, and no refreshments are forthcoming.

I am even more hungry when we reach Birmingham.

I had hoped that I’d be able to grab something edible on New Street Station concourse, but Isis has to be picked up by four, and I don’t pass a food stall as I rush towards the taxi rank.

The roads are very crowded, and I’m anxious that I’ll not make it to the kennels in time; however, I arrive at my house at 3.40, so I steam in, grab a Crunchie bar and a handful of biscuits and shoot off to Wythall.

I arrive in good time, but the day has not finished with me yet.

I park, leaving open a window close to the hedge so that the car will not be too warm for Hairy One. I turn off the engine, but it’s difficult to release the key from the ignition.

On my third attempt, the key snaps off in the lock.


Never mind, I’m sure the R.A.C. will be able to sort it.

I go into the yard where T. tells me Isis is on the way.

S. leads out a bright, happy looking Isis who walks up very close to T., sniffs her, and wags her tail. She is fond of her carers here. I really didn’t need to worry about her pink-pawed reluctance when she was taken to her kennel on Wednesday.

She soon sniffs me out, and approaches, wagging her tail. It’s great to see her again. I’ve really missed her, even though she’s only been away since Wednesday afternoon.

Before putting Isis in the car, I ask Tracey if I can borrow pliers to get the key out of the lock: she volunteers Adam who, clearly, knows about cars.

It’s not easy to remove the key. Added to this, I haven’t brought the spare key with me.

I’ll phone the RAC.

But my phone isn’t in my pocket. I must have put it down in the kitchen when I grabbed my Crunchie and biscuits.

So I have to ask if I can use the office phone.

“Of course you can,”  I’m told.

I explain the situation to the RAC, who manage to locate me on their records, despite the fact that I’m so stressed that I can’t remember the car’s registration number – and it’s a very easy one, the first I’ve ever been able to recall at the drop of a hat.


My relief is short-lived.

I am told that my policy does not cover keys. They will come out but it will cost £160! Alternatively, they can give me the number of a company which will cut new keys on the spot. Or I could phone my car insurance company, the RAC man suggests.


No I couldn’t. I’m using the Hollytrees office phone, and the kennels should be closing down at five.

When I emerge, A. has worked out a way of firing up the engine, but it keeps cutting out again. It sounds as he’s run down the battery, A. tells me. I explain that it’s a new, heavy duty battery and shouldn’t die so easily.

He wonders if the problem could be the immobiliser. He has tried placing the fob as close as he can to the ignition, but it’s possible that it needs to be touching the ignition in order to disable the immobiliser. It’s worth trying the spare key.

But the spare key, of course, is at home.

I will walk Isis down the lane, we’ll go home on the bus, and I’ll return with the key. It’ll be no problem.

Then T. tells me that she will drive me home if A will stay with Isis and the car. He says that of course he will. He will remove the key so I can use the spare one.

This isn’t fair, I tell them. It will be easy for me to get the bus. They very generously insist. A. tells me that if the car can’t be started, he will give Isis and me a lift back on his way home.

I leave a calm and relaxed Isis in the car, and off we go.

When we return, I can’t believe that the car will start, but just in case it does, I thank T.and A. for their kindness, for the time they have given in order to help me.

I turn the spare key in the lock, and, miraculously, the car springs into action.

Adam is right: the immobiliser won’t be overriden unless it connects with the ignition.

I turn round at the entrance to Baccy Box Lane.

By now there is a group of well- wishers outside Hollytrees, and they all yell and wave as we sail past.

I feel overwhelmed by how kind T. and A. have been.

When we arrive home, Isis has a sardine with her kibble, and I heat a frozen pizza and a large can of baked beans.

Then we both stretch out on the day bed, Isis leaning on my legs, and fall asleep.


Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or go to

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a clean bill of health and lots of fluff



A post should appear each Sunday!


Monday May 2nd 2022


On April 21st, when we visit the vet, Isis has a full medical check. We wait for a short while at reception, and the vet comes in with a print-out of the results.

As we know, I have been trying to reduce Hairy One’s weight a little, by reducing bedtime treats and meticulously measuring out her kibble. My lack of success is evidenced by the first observation:

‘Weight updated from 16.600(Kg) to 16.850(Kg)’

Yes, well ……

The rest of her health review is positive:

‘Examination – check ears, heart, HR 96, chest clear RR 48, nad abdo, mammary glands, limbs, teeth great. EAGs +++, coat, chip, LNs ok.’

I’m delighted that little Isis is as fit and healthy as she appears to be.

Now for her coat.

The vet, as promised, has made a note of the clippers the veterinary nurse uses for Isis. I will try out the clippers which Bev has lent me, just to make sure that Isis will tolerate being clipped by Human. If she does, I will order the clippers for her.

I am a little apprehensive as I’ve not clipped a dog before, but I take a deep breath, oil the blade, command Isis to stand, and I begin to shear off a shallow layer of her hairy rear. The result is not great, but with a little practice, I am able to ‘feather’ the right angled chunks so that they look a little less like I’ve attacked her with a machete.

I am astonished by her response: she stands as still as a concrete dog, and doesn’t appear to mind at all. She is rewarded by much petting, after which she makes her way rapidly towards her dog bed, pops in and sits up very straight waiting for her post grooming treat. She is rewarded with a sprat.

On my way to order clippers for Isis, I WhatsApp Bev to report how well the trial went. She tells me not to order them yet, but to hang onto hers for a while, so I prepare to attempt a full groom.

The next day, after we’ve returned from our walk, I take a deep breath and begin on the transformation.

Now, I know, of course, that Isis is very hairy. I know also (only too well) that her undercoat is incredibly dense and very loose. Flutes of it float off from her as she walks. But even after two hours of clipping and brushing, the supply of fluff seems undiminished.

Isis continues to tolerate the grooming. It’s only on the fifth consecutive day that she gives two subdued growls when I turn on the clippers. Then she accepts that it’s going to happen anyway, and just stands and bites the bullet again. Dear little creature.

So on and on we go. I’ve never seen so much hair. Even though the grooming takes place on an old double bed sheet in the front room, it somehow migrates. Fluff floats and settles everywhere.

There are hairs in my coffee and on my toast.

Hair congregates on the inside and outside of my clothes.

Rolls of fluff invade the bathroom and dance on the kitchen floor.

Every day it’s clip the next layer, brush out the emerging undercoat, nip off any straggly bits with scissors, tidy up the ends, brush, comb.

When I finish each day’s session, I am aware that if I were to brush her again, the hair would still come out in handfuls.








No wonder she doesn’t want a coat in the depths of winter.

Even after three days of hair-attack, when I ask one or two people who know her if they notice anything different about her, they peer at her and say, “No”.

I can’t believe it!

On our walks over the last day or two, though, more strangers than usual have cooed over her.

She feels so soft that I have to restrain myself from stroking and fussing her all the time. Before I go upstairs at night, I always stroke her head and ears, but lately, after the third ‘goodnight dear’ routine, she makes it clear that she just wants me to bog off and leave her alone.

The conversation goes like this:

Human, soppily, “Goodnight, sweetheart.”

Isis, grimly, “Grrrrrrrrrr!”


Before ….




and after



I still need to do more work on her head and chest, but we’re getting there.



Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or go to

Posted in a very good dog, a vet visit, dear little Isis, Isis at home, learning to trust, oh dear, patience is a virtue., poor Isis, relationship building | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

an apology



Sunday May 1st 2022


Human is sorry, but owing to unforseen circumstances, Sunday’s post will appear a day late!




Human never forsees anythin’.




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a tough day for Isis



A post should appear each Sunday!


Sunday April 24th 2022


Poor Isis has a tough day on Thursday.

First she is ambushed and plonked in the sink to have her rear end washed, then she is taken to the vet’s where she has a thorough M.O.T., her anal glands are emptied and, worst of all, a kennel cough vaccine is shot up her nostrils.

The cleansing of her rear end is the culmination of a campaign of deep cleansing: here is the shameful confession of neglectful Human.

Two months ago, when she went for her monthly anal gland emptying, the nurse pointed out to me that my dog’s genital area needed cleaning. She suggested shaving off some of Isis’s hair with clippers. To my shame, the shaved area revealed that my dog was, indeed, far from pristine.


Needless to say, I keep an eye on the visible parts of her; however, I’d forgotten about her urethra. When I examine the shaved areas on the insides of her thighs, I am horrified to find a dark yellow stain.

Fortunately, the stain is easily removed with warm water and cotton pads. There is no redness, nor any sign of infection. I guess our wet weather helps, as when she comes in from the rain, she is always dried all over.

Anyway, that’s how I come to be paying so much attention to her private parts before our vet visit on Thursday.

She isn’t impressed.

I must watch myself in case I make these examinations part of a compulsive – obsessive routine.

This appointment is with vet and practice partner Christian Hughes as Hairy One needs a health check and a kennel cough vaccination. Watching him work with Isis, I can see how the ethos of this excellent practice has been formed. Isis, too, is obviously impressed, and when we enter the consulting room, seagues immediately into angelic mode.

When I attempt to examine her ears, she flattens them so tightly to her head that it’s almost impossible to find the openings. When I’ve managed to lift an ear flap, and am peering inside an ear, she jerks her head away and turns her back on me, so that the procedure becomes an acrobatic challenge.

While Christian examines her ears she doesn’t even twitch.


She is just as composed when he holds her mouth open and examines all of her teeth, listens to her heart, completes all the other checks, and empties her anal glands.

Little creep.

But we are both taken by surprise when she vigorously resists the kennel cough vaccine, flinging her head around to avoid the touch of the syringe. In the end, she has to be positioned between my knees, her rump under the chair on which I’m sitting. While I grip her head firmly with both hands, vet places one hand firmly on the top of her head and administers the vaccine with the other.

“That was very frightening for her,” he says, “Not fair when she can’t see what’s happening.”

He tells me that there is an injectable version, and advises me that when she needs another dose, I should contact the practice a month beforehand so that the alternative vaccine can be ordered.

Poor Isis.

Like the veterinary nurse, he thinks it would be a good thing for me to clip Isis, and this time I remember to ask the make of the clippers the practice uses. Bev has lent me her clippers so I can check that Isis will tolerate my clipping attempts. Tomorrow I will have a go!

Another task I have is to reduce Someone’s food intake. She’s not much overweight, but we agree that fifteen kilos is an ideal weight, not going on for seventeen!

By the time we return home, poor Isis is exhausted. She just wants to sleep!









Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or go to

Posted in a terrified dog, a very good dog, a vet visit, dear little Isis, Isis gets bathed, Isis says "No"., learning to trust, off to the vet, oh dear, poor Isis | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

out and about on terra firma



A post should appear each Sunday!


Sunday April 17th 2022


At the moment, Isis is part way through her annual undercoat moult. This process never fails to fascinate me.








She’s stopped dropping the long, white hairs from her top coat. I only trimmed it a few weeks ago, so that there was no fringe visible along the back of her legs, just a faint seam. Now, as you can see, it’s regrown with a vengeance.

Just above her legs, and across her shoulders and flanks, are dense, fat balls of undercoat, almost – but not quite, ready to be shed. Sometimes I can’t resist giving a helping hand to any which are no longer attached, but mostly they separate and drop off as she moves, leaving behind soft, warm, little swatches. When I collect them, almost immediately, I can feel their warmth seeping into my fingers, and it’s quite clear why she doesn’t want a dog-coat, even on the coldest of winter days.

I’ve always enjoyed sharing her fluff out at birds’ nesting time. It has never occurred to me that that this could be potentially harmful to adults and their chicks when used as a nest lining. But Bev tells me that she has read that the chemicals used in parasite treatments for dogs can be toxic to birds.

I wonder whether the toxicity diminishes over time, so that if a dog were not treated over the winter months, it would be safe to use its hair at nesting time.

Must do more research.

In the meantime I’m thinking of lining my walking boots with discarded clumps of undercoat. Or perhaps my bedsocks.


It’s been a good week for walks. Because we’ve had mostly dry days lately, the mud patches are gradually shrinking, which has enabled us to return to some of our most interesting haunts. This means that we have shady, sheltered venues we can retreat to when Isis struggles to tolerate the bright light.

Here, she is interrupting an enjoyable stroll on a narrow path alongside the river Rea, in order to check that Human is not too far behind her.







I still marvel at her ability to navigate this narrow, winding  path without stumbling into the river. There are numerous twists and turns, and in several places the bank has crumbled into the river, creating miniature ravines and narrowing the path to barely twelve inches.

Very challenging for  a deaf/blind dog, one would think, but Isis walks on confidently, following that remarkable pink and black spotty nose.

The tracks above the canal have been like mini quagmires for weeks, but they, too, are drying up and are navigable once more.






It’s very pleasant to be able to walk without sinking up to our ankles in thick, black mud.

Isis loves these tracks with all their exciting scent trails, and I love the emerging wild flowers, especially the delicate, bright white wood anemones.

So we’re both happy.

One day we walk the perimiter of Earlswood lakes with Bev and Nancy. It’s years since I did this, and it’s Hairy One’s first time here. At first she is hesitant, unsure of herself, and wanting to have her lead on, but after a while, she gets used to the paths.

Soon she becomes so intrigued by all the novel smells, that she is happy to be free, and so immersed in her world of smells that we have to keep stopping to wait for her to catch up with us.

I am taken aback by the variety of water birds we see: cormorants clustered round the edge of a small island, golden-eyes with their sharp, tapered beaks who dive deep beneath the surface as soon as you lift your camera, coots with their thrown together, lop-sided nests, an immobile heron staring at the surface of the water. Bev identifies a number of water birds I’ve not seen before, the names of which I’ve now forgotten.

There are also the ubiquitous robins – one of which eats mealie worms from her hand – and dozens of little woodland birds, mostly varieties of tits, flitting among the trees on the edges of the paths.

When we return home, Isis sleeps for hours like a hairy log.

Another day, in Highbury, we note again how much more confident Isis seems when she is with Nancy, even when we’re walking through splashes of sun and shade. Nancy is  calm and gentle around her, and, of course, Isis has known her for more than seven years.




Photo by Bev.



Altogether, a very enjoyable walking week, don’t you think, Isis?


Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or go to

Posted in a joyful dog, clever girl, clever Isis, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, park dogs, park people, relationship building, scenting, we don't like bright sun | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

so what’s new?



A post should appear each Sunday!


Sunday April 10th 2022


It took this dopey blogger several months to realise that the reason she was unable to upload new images or videos was that the blog’s media library was full. She had misinterpreted the messages from WordPress. As always, the experts speak in an impenetrable code. Human would have understood if they’d said, ‘ Your media library is full. Delete stuff.’

Last week she wondered if erasing several thousand irrelevant images could possibly help, and hey presto!

Conclusion: Not the most competent I.T. person. Should always seek advice from someone more sensible. Not hard to find someone more sensible.

Anyway, it’s brilliant to be able to upload current Isis images again.

So what’s new?

Well, there’s the temporary door step which I was lucky enough to be gifted by a local Freegler. I mentioned it a while ago. Here it is.






And here is Isis demonstrating how to use it.









Then there’s her new dining room fixture.





She didn’t notice this, but never mind, it looks quite smart. (Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the decor. The evidence of past times when Hairy One went up the wall – literally – while defending her food from imagined creatures  – is still there.) The rest of the kitchen doesn’t look quite like this, honestly.

Now we come to this week. We’ve been having some lovely walks. Isis’s recent decision to tolerate patches of sunlight and shadow as long as I’m on the other end of her lead is very liberating: it means that we can walk to Isis-friendly areas like woodlands.

It’s not difficult to interpret her body language. The rapid descent of her tail until it becomes invisible = ‘EEEEEEEK! I’m frightened. Put my lead back on quick.’ While her tail popping back up = ‘Now take the lead off again and set me free to follow this scent.’

On the very changeable days which have characterised this and last month’s weather, Human is up and down like the proverbial yo-yo.


But this arrangement works well for us, and, who knows, it could be good for my health.

On one day this week, just before I intend to take her out, the sun goes in and the sky becomes helpfully grey. Then, as we step over the threshhold, the sun flashes out, the grey immediately dissipates, and Isis becomes rooted to the spot.

Fortunately, I manage to persuade her that we can reach the car safely, and she flinches her way forward.

It looks as though the sun is set in for the day, so when we get out of the car in Kings Heath Park, it seems ridiculous to put on waterproof trousers.

As we follow the familiar paths, the sky darkens a little, and Isis sets off happily down past the old bowling green towards some of her favourite places. We are just walking past the conifers, climbing the slope on the other side of the old bowling green, when the sky turns black and it begins to rain.

Isis, of course, is very pleased. She begins to trot.

I’m unconcerned. I’m used to these light showers. They don’t last long.

But the light rain becomes more insistent. Isis is delighted and begins to run around on the field above the old green. Hmm. It’s lasting longer than I expected. I’m going to get a bit damp, but hey, never mind, Hairy One’s so happy.

Then it happens: the drops becomes heavier and heavier until there’s a deluge, and a cold, strong wind whips the rain in sheets across the field.

Glancing around, I realise that there is no other person or dog in sight, and the downpour is obliterating the outlines of trees and hedges. My sodden jeans are draining into my waterproof walking boots, and when I wiggle my feet, I can feel water sloshing around between my toes.

Oh dear.

But my little dog is in seventh heaven. She’s racing up and down, head raised and jaws snapping. She’s eating the rain.

It’s getting late, but she’s so high, I can’t bring myself to take her back to the car park. Anyway, I can’t get any wetter.

We linger on the field for another twenty minutes.

When we reach home, I wring out my jeans and socks, put on dry clothes and hurry downstairs to dry Isis. I recall the first time I dried her and she flipped into hysteria. She quite likes being dried nowadays, but I have to be very, very careful or she takes offence.

Like a snail on tranquilisers, I go over her with the lightest of little pats.

It seems to take for ever, and I’m an hour late for my art group.

It was a lovely walk though, and when I return three and a half hours later, Isis is fast asleep.


Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or go to

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news from Isis*

* transcribed by Human


A post should appear each Sunday!


Sunday April 3rd 2022


You’ll never believe what happened last week. We are walking on the fields beneath Holders Lane, when I catch a very strange scent. I follow it. It isn’t  the smell of little feet close together like very small animals have; it isn’t the further apart smell of a very big dog or a human. It’s the smell of something with its feet very far apart. And it has made deep holes in the grass, so deep they’ve gone right through to the earth. There are four of them, and there are very long gaps between them. Each one has a slightly different smell, but you can tell they’re made by the same animal: a very big animal.

It’s amazing. It’s the most enormous smell I’ve ever found.

It’s very odd: I can smell the thing’s skin, but the skin smell isn’t on the grass, it’s a bit above the grass. It’s definitely the smell of someone’s feet, but not someone furry with sweaty paws like a dog or a cat. It isn’t the smell of someone with rubbery shoes on, like a human either. You won’t believe me, but the holes it’s made smell of metal.

After the four spread out holes, there’s a gap, then another four holes, then another gap, then four more.

I’m so excited that when I put my muzzle down the holes and find the strange scents, my tail won’t stop wagging. I’ve never found a scent like this one even though I’ve been on hundreds of walks.

The scents and the holes go on for a long time, not only going forward but sometimes curling around towards the left or the right, or going round in a very big circle. I follow them across two fields and nearly up to the car park.

Human keeps patting me and saying something. Dog knows what. I expect she’s certain she knows what the creature is. She doesn’t, of course, that’s for sure because she doesn’t even put her nose on the grass, let alone have a good snuffle in the holes.

When we next walk on the fields, I go straight back to where the lovely smelly holes are. But when I try to push my nose down them and give a huge sniff like last time, so I can enjoy the wonderful scent, lots of little seeds go up my nose. They are very tickly and they make me sneeze. I sniff around a few more, then I feel them with my paw. The holes aren’t there any more. They’re all filled up with seeds.

Who would want to spoil scents like that? Only a human, of course, and I can smell him.


Today, when we walk along the fields again, there aren’t even any dips in the grass where the holes were. You can still find a faint scent, but it’s not fresh and exciting any more.




Something exciting does happen soon after, though. We are in Highbury Park, high up near the beech wood. Suddenly, the wind blows through my whiskers, and I can smell something wet in the air. I stand very still, lift my head up to the sky and breathe in hard. I feel all excited inside, and wag my tail.

Human, of course, doesn’t do anything. She just stands around. It always takes her a minute or two to catch on.

Then it happens. Yes!

There’s something very light landing on the hairs on my back, and I feel little damp flakes on my muzzle.


I feel more alive than I’ve felt for weeks. I sniff the air again.

I sniff to the left and, just to make sure, I sniff to the right.








It’s still coming down!

I’m all tingly inside. I can hardly believe it. I jump up in the air. I open my mouth so I can taste it.










I set off at a run. I dash back and forth. Then I do something I’ve not done for ages – not since I felt very anxious and sad and kept getting upset at night –  I feel a stick under my paw, I snuffle for it and grab it with my teeth.







Then I run off with it.

Here’s the video so you can see it all for yourself …………………………………








I think I’m a happy dog again!


Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or go to


Posted in a joyful dog, dear little Isis, frost and snow, Highbury Park, Holders Lane, scenting, something's not right, we don't like bright light | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

bright light



A post should appear each Sunday!


Sunday March 27th


Hmmmm. Not the best of weeks. First I lose my new hearing aid in Highbury Park, then my driving glasses disappear into thin air somewhere between the front garden and the back door.

And, as a jangling, nerve stretching background to these frustrating incidents, Isis ramps up her screechy, distracted barking.

Yes, she has stopped barking through the night. Unfortunately, she now barks in the early hours of the morning, beginning around dawn. She also barks quite frequently in the daytime and evening. After each outburst, she grabs her right back paw or barbers her tail.

She is unhappy, jumpy, tired and very irritable.

That makes two of us.

Like very knotty balls of wool, Hairy One’s problematic behaviours take a lot of untangling.

Every now and again, I think I may have found a thread which could lead to an explanation, and, hopefully to a remedy.

First I decide it has to be her anal glands, and book an appointment with the veterinary nurse.

But no, it’s not her anal glands. They’re fine, the nurse tells me, and points out that she emptied them only two weeks ago.

Whoops! Obviously, Hairy One’s hysteria is catching.

Is her skin allergy returning? Much to her disgust, I riffle through her coat, and examine her skin, millimetre by millimetre. No, not an inflamed patch or even a speck of dandruff.

Perhaps she has another fractured nail. The timbre of her barking is the same as it was when she had an injury to her nail bed before. Fighting off her growly protests – they’re sotto voce, because we’re not supposed to growl at Human – I separate each toe and check her nails and nail beds. All seem fine, although she does throw in a red herring by shedding a nail a few days later.

Meanwhile, I realise that while breakfasts are accompanied by volleys of barking, evening meals are generally quiet and uneventful. It is definitely the light which is bothering her while she is eating. Fair enough, Isis.

It’s a difficult one.

Moving her feeding stand to another location is not an option. She becomes hysterical. Understandable in view of food deprivation in her early life.

Cutting out the source of light isn’t possible either, as this would require complete blackout over a wide area.

I try a tall cardboard screen to shield her from the light, but she doesn’t tolerate that, either.

(I’ve just thought of a plan which might work, but let’s not  get distracted. For the time being, we’ll go along with noisy breakfasts.)

At the moment, it’s the escalation of the barking which concerns me most.

Her vocalisations are an expression of intense discomfort, and this is very concerning. Is she succumbing to doggy dementia? Is the behaviour indicative of a deep rooted, sinister problem?

These daytime and evening bouts are a new thing, but looking back to her early months with me, I recall that she used to spin and twirl on the floor instead. That was definitely light related, and the reason that I began keeping the blinds drawn in the back room.

On Saturday evening nothing I do quells the barking. In desperation, I ambush her in mid bark, and secure her Doggles over her muzzle and behind her ears.







When I’ve tried this previously, I’ve generally met fierce resistance, but this time she doesn’t protest when I put them on her. In fact, she seems relieved, and falls asleep almost immediately. She sleeps for several hours without a peep, and only wants them taken off when it’s time to go outside for her last pee of the day.


Human’s brain begins to clank into action. During February, it rained vitually every day. For most of March the days have been much sunnier, and even when it hasn’t been sunny, the light has been unusually intense.

Is it the intensity of the light which is affecting her? Have there been changes in her eyes? Or is it simply that she is less able to tolerate light now she is older?

Who knows? And perhaps it doesn’t matter. I guess it’s time to stop theorising, to focus instead on observing her responses in different environments, and to work out a plan of action.

Watch this space.


Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or go to


Posted in crisis, Highbury Park, Isis at home, Isis in trouble, oh dear, poor Isis, something's not right, strange behaviour, these dogs!, twirling, we don't like bright light, we don't like bright sun, what on earth's the matter?, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

a kiss from Nancy



A post should appear each Sunday!


Sunday March 20th 2022  


On Thursday, Isis and I meet up with Bev and Nancy. Bev tells me how poor Rufus became more and more ill as they waited to take him for his apppointment, and when they arrived, he was unable to stand and had to be carried from the car to the surgery. The vet diagnosed cancer of the spleen, which is usually an indication that metastasis has taken place, that is, the cancer has spread from other infected parts of the body.

I’m not surprised when told that Nancy has not been herself since Rufus failed to return from the vet’s. She’s a year younger than her brother, and has rarely been separated from him. Some time ago, when he was absent for a while, she thought she was alone in the house, and howled like a banshee until Bev came down from the attic to ‘rescue’ her!

Now, apparently, she has lost all her energy, is very droopy, uninterested in what’s going on, and just wants to sleep. On walks, she’s been very clingy, and not wanted to leave her human’s side.

It’s clear that she’s pleased to see us, and wants plenty of strokes and pats. She also moves several metres away from her person and busies herself with some serious sniffing.








Rufus has always been Hairy One’s mentor and protector, while, apart from running alongside her brother as he performed his usual hearty greeting, Nancy didn’t show much interest in her.

But as we are preparing to leave Highbury, Nancy comes up to Isis and gently licks her face. And Isis, very uncharacteristically, doesn’t turn her head away.

Just as well Isis, because you only have one friend left now!









A couple of weeks ago, I am honoured with a unique gesture from my dog. Generally, when I join her on the day bed in the evening, she is snoozing snugly in my preferred spot. Nowadays, she no longer growls at me as I sit next to her, but moves away towards the other end of the bed. When she’s feeling affectionate, she shifts herself against my legs, and stays there, sleeping close to me, as long as I keep still. If I twitch a toe, she’ll express her displeasure with a low growl. She takes her sleeping time very seriously, and is not pleased to be disturbed – except when it’s last visit to the garden time, which she knows is a prelude to bedtime treats.

Almost invariably, she faces away from me, although often she’ll position her tail, with a soft ‘flumph’ on my lap. On this particular night, though, she does something very different: as I slide in behind her, she turns to face me, then wriggles towards my face until her nose is almost touching my chin; then she huffs  a contented sigh up my nose, and sleeps soundly for at least an hour.

I am so touched, so enchanted by this unheard of gesture that I daren’t move a centimetre.

Well, well.

Outside the house, although she is no longer terrified when people or other dogs approach her, she is still anxious, and moves away immediately. 

Only with Bev is she relaxed enough to stand still and accept being stroked, and she’ll not take even the most tempting treat from anyone else.

Similarly, there are only three other dogs  – all males –  of whom she’s not afraid.

The good news for March is that the nocturnal barking has faded away, and we’ve come to an understanding regarding her feeding times.

We are both very calm now. When invited with gentle pats, she walks into the kitchen in a dignified manner, and, prompted by the lightest of touches to her back, sits politely by her bowl until given the ‘eat it’ signal.

However much I try, it is impossible to black out every scrap of morning light, so I retire to another room and leave her to it. Now and then while eating, she barks at the light, but when she’s done, she walks away contentedly: there’s no craziness, no twirling or biting off swatches of her fur.

At present, it’s dark by dog’s teatime, and while she eats, all that can be heard is a steady munching.

Oh bliss!



Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or go to


Posted in dear little Isis, food rage, Highbury Park, Isis at home, park dogs, park people, relationship building, these dogs!, we don't like bright light, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment