another day in the life of Isis

 

 

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

 

Wednesday June 20th 2018

 

You never know what’s going to happen in this house. A dog needs a well-ordered life. We don’t have a well-ordered life here.

Not at all.

Some mornings Human gets up at seven. That’s when she’s taking me to see the vet. I don’t like early starts. They make me nervous.

Sometimes she gets up at ten. That’s fine with me. I like a lie in. And there’s definitely no vet on those mornings.

Today I smell her having a shower at seven. This is very worrying. I tremble. Nothing happens though, so I curl up and go back to sleep.

Daisy tells me later that Human spread towels all over the bed and went back to sleep.

Daisy was very pleased. She climbed onto Human’s chest. Human was all lovely and warm so Daisy purred a lot. She explained that she did that because Human likes it and gets all soppy so she’ll probably have lots more showers and Daisy can help her dry off again.

‘Oh’, I say.

‘You need to be seanickle seenycul sinny kul to get by in life’, she tells me, winking. ‘You’re never sinny kul. You’re only a dog.’

Oh dear. I can’t purr either.

Anyway, after a while that black shiny thing Human looks at and talks to all the time must have called her because she’s got it in her hand when I smell her in the kitchen and go to get my morning hugs and kisses.

She’s usually so slow in the mornings that I wonder if we’ll ever get to the front door.  But this morning my collar’s on, my harness is on and my lead’s on and we’re out the door before I’ve hardly had time to bark. (I like barking in the porch. It comes out very loud. I know because every morning Human jumps and prods me.)

We soon meet my friend R. with Gilbert and George greyhounds and I get two lovely liver treats.

Next Rufus shoves his curly head up my nose and I get gravy bones and a fuss from B. I get to sniff G.’s hand but he doesn’t give me anything so I don’t let him fuss me.

Does that mean I’m getting sinny kul?

I walk very nicely around the park because I remember that I’ll get to go to my favourite place later. I don’t need to lie down and say ‘no way’ or ‘shan’t’.

When I get to my favourite place I don’t want to sit under my big, safe tree because there are no shadows today.

Mostly I race up and down along the edge of the flowers and bushes. But when I feel like it I dash under a thick, scritchy bush and play, just for fun.

One time I do it and a nasty, sticky plant with tiny hard balls on it wraps itself round my face and my chest and my legs and it won’t let go.

I run out from under the bush very quickly and attack the nasty sticky plant. But I can’t get it off. I’m feeling a bit upset so Human comes over to help. I stand very still and she pulls it off.

After we get home I have a little rest then go into the front room to find Human.

I needn’t have bothered. She soon goes and fetches that box and brushes me. Ugh. I only do a very little growl after she’s brushed my face and throat and beard over and over and over again. All right, so there’s wet mud in it. There’s still no need to carry on like that. It pulls.

When I growl she stops. But I don’t get a treat. Because I’ve growled. So I lie very still and let her carry on.

Then she COMBS me and finds four mats behind my right ear. It’s her fault. She should feel behind my ears every day. She untangles two with her fingers and two she cuts off. I don’t like it but she doesn’t hurt me so I don’t say anything.

I do when she combs my rump though. I can’t help it. Not very loud though, or I won’t get a treat.

She’s taking an awful long time. I expect she’s saying stupid things like ‘I can’t believe all this hair is coming out’, and ‘I thought you’d lost all your winter coat’ and ‘Where’s it all come from?’

 

 

How would I know?

I’m off.

 

 

 

Anyway, thank dog, our new doorbell vibrates and L., our next door neighbour comes in for coffee and biscuits. I rush into the back room and sit in my bed waiting for my treat.

 

 

 

 

It’s a nice one.

So it should be. I’ve earned it.

As soon as I’ve eaten it, I jump up onto the day bed and go to sleep.

I’m not going back in the front until I smell her putting the brush and comb box away.

 

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 deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead!, Isis and Daisy, Isis at home, Kings Heath Park, relationship building, running running | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

in and out the Colour Garden

 

 

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

 

Sunday June 17th 2018

 

As we know, Isis loves the Colour Garden in Kings Heath Park. Her favourite bed is the yellow one. She used to run back and forth along one side.

This was very helpful of her as I could lounge on the bench near the bowling green and keep an eye on her.

 

 

But I became more than a little concerned about the increasingly marked track which her little scampering feet were engraving.

I was relieved when she became more adventurous and took to racing all the way round the bed, even though I had to rise from my bench now and then when she lingered on the other side out of view.

When the sun came out and dense shadows appeared, she restricted herself to that side, playing warily and creeping into the edge of the bed for cover among the plants when the light changed.

 

 

 

Sometimes, when particularly spooked, she crept deeper into the bed.

 

 

 

 

That’s how she discovered the tall, broad fir tree. Its foliage is very dense and its branches sweep down almost to the soil: the perfect hiding place for an uneasy dog.

 

 

 

 

She becomes very interested in the purple bed. At first she trots carefully along the back, near the hedge, exploring the layout. Several times she gets caught up in dog snatching plants and I have to wind my way in among the shrubs to release her.

Unfortunately, I see her flatten a clump of flowers and have to curtail her purple bed cavorting.

She responds to this by returning to the yellow bed where she spends most of her time leaping around the tall fir. When she is tired, she scrambles beneath it and stands there panting.

If we take Half-a Snake to the park with us, she carries him into the bed with her, tosses him aside, has a little prance, then picks him up again and takes him under the tree where she mouths him fondly until another prance beckons. This goes on until, eventually, I make my way to the tree and harness the hairy reveller.

From the Colour Garden we set off for the car park, Isis carrying Half-a-Snake carefully back to the car.

Lately, concerned that she’s not getting enough variety in her park visits, I insist that we walk down to the old bowling green when we begin our walk. Isis  obviously wishes that I’d mind my own business and let her go where she wants to go.

Being an officious human, I persist. Now she’s extended her territory, reclaiming the lower bowling green, the little tracks by the railway line, the area above the bowling green and the little wood.

Human: Excellent. This is good for you.

Isis: Huh.

 

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 deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead!, Kings Heath Park, running running, scenting, walking in the park | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

off to Newbrook Farm again

 

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

 

Wednesday 13th 2018

 

It’s ten past eight in the morning, and Isis and I are in the reception area of RSPCA Newbrook Farm. We’ve not been here for ten months because I’ve not been able to drive, it’s not on the bus route and it’s a sixteen mile round trip

As we leave the car, I remember earlier times when Isis refused to walk to the building and I had to allow at least twenty minutes to get her there from the car park. If I didn’t, I had to carry her for most of the way, or ring for permission to park in the disabled parking bay close to the building.

This morning she walks. She does hesitate now and again, but a few chin taps and reassuring pats move her forward.

On the way up the drive, I chat to a lady with a beagle cross. She is walking him around until his appointment time because there’s a cat in reception and, as she puts it, “He’s rather too fond of cats.”

Because she is registered here, Isis is able to see the vet today. Daisy will be a new client and I need to register her in person. While this is being done, Isis stands miserably by my side, tail between her legs and trembling visibly.

I am obliged to haul the reluctant canine the few feet to the seating area nearest to the consulting rooms.

But she doesn’t stop at the seats. Remembering the routine, she steps onto the scales and stands still until I let her know the job’s done. She’s still fourteen and a half kilos. That’s good.

A gentle lady vet whom we’ve seen before gives her a thorough health check and declares her a very fit dog.

Now for the nasty bit, Isis.

When I first took Isis to Newbrook, I suggested she wore a muzzle as she would certainly have attacked anyone who examined her. I don’t think she would bite  a vet now, but cannot guarantee it.

She allows me to put the muzzle on her, and the vet confirms that the troublesome anal glands are very full indeed.

At first Isis is a very patient dog, but as the squeezing becomes firmer, she attempts to execute a few handstands, wriggling her bottom and kicking out her back legs. The vet, the veterinary nurse and I manage to bring her back to earth.

Once the evil deed is done, the trembling ceases and Hairy One’s tail resumes its normal posture.

I ask for a worming tablet and some more Primovax to be sure that no pesky invisible mites nibble her. At least we can try to make sure that there’s nothing physical behind her meltdowns.

She has been much calmer this week, except for diving at her tail and barbering off neat little fans of hair. She must, of course, have been very uncomfortable.

We return to the desk and book Daisy in for Thursday morning at nine o’clock.

That evening, I apply the Primovax to Hairy One’s neck. She stands still and resigns herself to her fate. Then she creeps off to her bed.

 

 

That was a hard day, that was.

 

 

Thursday should be easier. Fortunately, Daisy is not one of those cats who shred one’s ears with continual high pitched yowling as you inch your way painfully (literally) through the rush hour traffic. When she is anxious, she becomes silent and immobile, except when the vet tips her from her carrier and she tries to hide up your sleeve or your jumper.

Ah, me. Another early morning for bed loving Human.

Sigh.

 

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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into the thick of it

 

 

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

 

Sunday June10th 2018

 

All in all, Isis is a much happier little dog this week. She is still diving at her tail and biting off little swathes of hair but she has an appointment with the vet at Newbrook Farm next Tuesday.

She is also barking after I leave her at night. But the barking episodes are not going on for so many hours.

Sometimes she refuses to leave the kitchen until I’ve chin-tapped her out, but often she pops out with me. Progress.

Because Human gets up late every morning this week, the lower bowling green is empty when we get to Kings Heath Park. Isis seems very pleased and runs around more freely than she has for a very long time, sprinting up and down, apparently revelling in the space. She even reacquaints herself with her favourite fir tree on the bank.

Every now and then she sniffs her way towards me to check where I am before   dancing off again to play.

I am thrilled that she’s returned to her old stamping ground which she so enjoyed before she was worried by an influx of puppies.

After the old bowling green, she enjoys a wander through the puddles in the little lane by the railway track. I try to discourage her from wandering into mud  because Alabama Rot seems to be getting closer and closer to us: recently it has reached the Lickey Hills. She, of course, makes a beeline for the mud. Fortunately, the long, damp grass soon wipes her clean so I don’t often have to wash her feet.

At the beginning of the week, she moves from the lane to the Colour Garden, but on Thursday she emerges from the muddy track, turns left, and follows the old t.v. garden fence as she always did before she became obsessed with the Colour Garden.

She dances along the edge of the little wood, then out onto the newly mown grass. She’s ecstatic, ducking to sniff the grass and dancing to celebrate the smell of it.

On her second visit to the wood, she explores all the little paths and invisible animal trails, sniffing and wagging, sniffing and wagging.

On Saturday she spends only twenty minutes or so on the bowling green before making her way to the track then along the fence to the wood.

It’s her third visit. After two days of scent revision, she’s on top form. Today she’s ready to tackle the thickest of thickets. After a very brief sniff along the main path, she fights her way through a tangle of undergrowth which any sensible dog would eschew, and wriggles into a morass of brambles, saplings and weeds.

I wait for the almost inevitable outcome: having shoved her way into the middle of a thicket, Isis finds her way blocked. She can’t, of course, see how she can navigate her way around the obstacles, neither can she see any other escape route. As for the way she came in, well, that seems to have disappeared.

Her strategy in this situation is to stand stock still.

She doesn’t struggle so there’s no waving foliage to offer a clue to her whereabouts.

She doesn’t whimper or bark, and because she’s not moving, there’s no ringing bell to guide me.

On several occasions, I’ve not realised her predicament and the poor little creature has been ‘stuck’ for up to ten minutes.

The thicket she chooses is particularly impenetrable and I hope against hope that she will not get ‘stuck’.

She does, of course.

I stumble around peering through the multitude of stems into the dim interior, trying to locate Isis and find the least prickly way in.

There’s no unprickly way in, naturally, but eventually I spot her. I take the plunge and scramble towards her.

True to form, there she stands like a sad little white statue, trapped by spiky brambles and thick stems.

Is she waiting to be rescued or is she simply resigned to her fate, I wonder, and what would she do if no-one came to release her?

I let her sniff me, then place a hand on her back. As always nowadays, she wags vigorously and allows me to guide her out.

Needless to say, within minutes she’s enjoying herself immensely, diving into the edge of another natural maze.

 

 

 

Sigh.

 

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 deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead!, Kings Heath Park, relationship building, running running, scenting, self-harming, walking in the park | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

what’s up, Hairy One? 2

 

 

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

 

Wednesday June 6th 2018

 

Back to Sunday then.

It’s now 7.30 p.m. and Isis is lying on the day bed. She now has two modes. Spells of listlessness are punctuated by sudden leap-up-and-snarls. She does not respond to my efforts to comfort her. She still has not eaten. She looks utterly dejected.

When I put her bowl under her muzzle, her nose twitches. She is clearly tempted by the sardine. She is hungry, but she’ll not follow me into the kitchen. Feeling sorry for her, I hold her bowl while she attacks her food. She is very on edge and in between mouthfuls she jumps onto her hind legs growling, yipping and snapping at the air.

I wonder whether something is hurting or irritating her.

After much cajoling, I manage to get her to stand so that I can run my fingers all over every inch of her. Yes, every inch. Amazingly, she allows me to examine her legs. I discover a small patch of dried poo sticking to her anus. She allows me to remove it.

Could that be what has been upsetting her?

She makes her way back to her bed where she continues to growl and snap.

Perhaps her skin is irritated. She is groomed regularly, and looks clean, but with one arm out of action, I’ve not been able to give her a bath for almost a year.

I give her a very thorough shampoo and many rinses, and snip off any murky looking hair hiding in secret places.

Understandably, she growls now and then. So would I. She’s very patient though.

The water’s drained, the scissors put away. As I lay the towel gently across the back of her neck, her tail swings up and begins to wag.

The ordeal is over.

Damp and deflated, she returns to bed. She’s still not right.

 

 

 

 

It’s after nine when she finally slinks from her bed to the door and then, very, very slowly creeps into the hall. She’s going towards her water bowl, and I realise that she’s not had a drink since she was in the park. She must be extremely thirsty.

The hair on her undercarriage almost sweeps the floor. Keeping close to the wall, she  crawls round the door, glancing nervously over her shoulder as she goes. She reminds me of Gary Cooper making his way up the deserted street towards the waiting gunman in the film High Noon.

After drinking, she returns to bed.

At midnight, she accepts that it’s bedtime for dogs and is chin-tapped out into the garden. As usual, while she is out I lay her bedtime treat trail out in the back room.

She returns, finds all the treats and goes to bed.

She barks spasmodically until after three a.m. Then she’s quiet.

Almost always she picks up my scent as I walk down the hall, but when I go down next morning, she’s still spark out. She’s exhausted herself. When I place my hand close to her nose, she wakes, sits up and wags away happily while I cuddle and pat her.

She appears to be back to her ‘normal’ self again, except that she sits down by the kitchen door instead of the back door and refuses to move until she’s chin-tapped outside.

Well, I can cope with that.

 

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, Isis at home, strange behaviour | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

what’s up, Hairy One?

 

 

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

 

Sunday June 3rd 2018

 

Ji., Isis and I have a perfect walk in Highbury Park today. It’s warm and sunny but the shadows are light. The sun stays out so there are no nasty changes of light. We walk up to the avenue of pines where Isis runs and leaps and twirls with her usual enthusiasm and vigour while we watch and chat.

After half an hour, I approach Isis as she emerges from beneath a pine after a short rest. I offer her my right hand to sniff, then place my left hand on her back. She stands still and wags her tail as I clip on her harness. As usual.

We meander over to the pond and see the Highbury moorhen hatchlings for the first time. We walk a little further and stop by the ‘clean pool’ -as I call it – so that Isis can have a drink of running water.

We set off for the walled garden, Ji., as always, sensibly taking the tarmacked main path, Isis, as always, insisting on taking the narrow, muddy little track which is full of obstacles like saplings, logs, brambles and stones. She loves making her way along here off-lead. She knows every twist and turn, and though I’m beside or just behind her, hand outstretched ready to preempt her banging her little spotty nose on a tree or scratching it on the brambles, she rarely needs my assistance, thank you.

I interfere only once. That’s when she is determined to follow her usual path  which loops off from the main track avoiding a little log fence put there, I think, to create a diversion and make the little walk more interesting. But it has rained heavily for a few nights, and the loop has a huge, mud filled dip in it.

It’s always a challenge to persuade my little companion to deviate from what she considers the ‘right’ way, and today is no exception; however, with an under-the-chin tap here and an encouraging prod there, I manage to guide her over the log pile, through an overgrowth of weeds, across the park road, into the bluebelled wood and out onto the edge of the landscaped area.

All this without her lead. Clever little dog.

 

 

 

 

 

We usually ended our ramblings here when we walked round the park with L., Dougie and Fergie. The poodles  chased each other, pursued squeaky little tennis balls and greeted any dogs and people who walked within a few hundred yards of them.

Although she was always very relaxed with Dougie and Fergie, Isis, of course, always played on her own, dashing round a particularly huge, wide fir tree which is surrounded by bushes and shrubs, and disappearing into the tall undergrowth and onto the narrow little almost track that runs all the way down this part of the park’s perimeter. Ji. and I sit on an old, fallen tree trunk and keep an eye on the little reprobate.

Many’s the time that the three of us have had to fight our way through the brambles and shrubs to bring her back to the fold. Fortunately, at the moment, the brambles are too dense for even her to penetrate.

After a couple of hours, we make our way back to the car. We have all enjoyed ourselves, and Isis has been at her most exuberant.

Which makes what happens next even more inexplicable than it might have been.

When we reach home and I lead her from the car, Hairy One puts her tail between her legs and lies on the pavement. It takes much effort to get her to move to the gate. She walks abjectly up to the front door. As soon as she gets in the hall, she lies down again looking despondent.

After a while, tail still drooping and head hanging dolefully, she retreats into the back room and lies on the day bed. Her habit is to sleep here for about twenty minutes while we make coffee, and then join us in the front room. True, she grumbles now and then at the sunlight, but nowadays she’ll put up with it and stay with us.

Today she’ll not come out of the back room. Not even for her tea at six o’clock. Even though there’s a fat sardine chopped into it. And every now and then, she wakes up and angrily dives at her tail, growling and barking.

It’s seven-thirty and she still refuses to budge.

By now I am very concerned about her?

What on earth is wrong?

 

to be continued ……………………………………………………….

 

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, deaf/blind dog plays, Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, Isis at home, strange behaviour, walking in the park | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

but it doesn’t make sense, Isis

 

 

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

 

Wednesday May 30th 2018

 

Since May 5th, that horrible day in the lane over three weeks ago when Isis was badly spooked by the sun flicking in and out, and I thought that something had cut her eye, she still has issues about coming out of the kitchen into the back garden.

She no longer refuses to move unless I put her on the lead. That’s something. But she will not put a paw over the threshold until I give her the under-the-chin tap which indicates that all is well and she should follow me.

There are, though, two exceptions. One is at night when it’s dark. That’s fine. No fears. Perfectly understandable: the sun isn’t likely to pop in and out at night.

That makes sense, then.

The other exception is when she realises that our destination is the lane. Yes, believe it or not, the  lane. Now, of course, one would expect that after the nasty weather events of May 5th, the last place Isis would want to be, at least for a while, would be the lane.

Not so. Even the day following the trauma, she is keen to return to her lane. True, for the first week the resurgence of nightmares persists, she is hesitant when I open the gate to the lane, and she plays in the shade at the edges of the track. She’s not got over the episode, but she definitely wants to be there.

 

 

 

 

Since the fateful day, every morning and afternoon at pee time, I step briskly out of the back door, willing her to follow me. And every morning and afternoon  she stays in the kitchen until I return and under-chin- tap her.

By contrast, every time I gather up my phone, a slice of foam in a plastic bag to sit on and a handful of poo bags, she twirls by the back door, wagging ecstatically, well before I drape her lead round my neck and open the door. How she knows we’re going into the lane, I can’t fathom. I suppose she must smell the items I’m collecting, or follow a pattern of movements I make. Strange.

Even more strange to me is the fact that she can’t wait to rush out into the back garden when she’s on her way to the scary lane but insists that she’s too afraid to go into the same back garden for a pee.

Is there some perfect dog sense at play here, some esoteric canine knowledge that a mere human is just too dim to access?

 

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 I'm off my lead!, Isis at home, strange behaviour, we don't like bright sun | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

the snake is dead – long live the snake

 

 

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

 

Sunday May 27th 2018

 

Hairy One’s done well this week.

Twice Human drops off on the day bed, and Isis sleeps soundly without any nightmares: not a sound all night, even when I accidentally poke her with an errant foot.

(This earns me very baleful glares from Daisy in the morning. Poor Daisy. Night times are her time for attention. When I drop off downstairs, she not only misses her kitty cuddles but her bedtime Dreamies as well. When I return to the usual routine, she scoffs her Dreamies and then burrows under the duvet as far away from me as possible. See if she cares! She’s a cat.)

Isis enjoys all her time in the park, even when the sun is bright.

 

 

 

 

 

Rather than refusing to leave the car park, or creeping along looking miserable, she makes nests under the fallen tree in Highbury Park and in her favourite shrubbery in Kings Heath Park. When the sun behaves itself, she runs and twirls around the perimeter of the tree or shrubbery perfectly happily. When sun and clouds play silly beggars and brightness and darkness flicker on and off, she retreats to one of her nests until the world becomes stable again.

Clever little Isis.

I continue to take her special ball with us into the lane every time we go there. It’s at least a week now since she laid Green Snake’s body parts to rest on the back room rug, and, on Monday, at last, she picks up her special ball, squeaks it loudly and then trots off to her lane nest under the ivy which grows on the fence.

Silence.

Minutes pass.

And then, from the ivy nest,

squEEEEEEEEEE- AYAK- AYAK!

SquEEEEEEEEEE- AYAK- AYAK! 

SquEEEEEEEEEE- AYAK- AYAK! 

Excellent. At last she’s playing with a different toy. I won’t need to try to resurrect Green Snake.

A few days later, I take Brown Snake into the lane and drop him casually on the grass. She sniffs him out immediately, snatches him up and with happily waving tail bears him off to the ivy nest.

Excellent.

I feel the relief of parents who have managed to wash and dry their toddler’s comfort blanket before s/he wakes up and discovers it’s missing.

 

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, deaf/blind dog plays, Highbury Park, Isis and Daisy, Isis at home, Kings Heath Park, running running, scary shadows | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

the snakeophile

 

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

 

Wednesday May 23rd 2018

 

As we know, Hairy One is inordinately fond of her snakes. She must have had them for at least three years. Two are very well preserved. These are her house snakes which she keeps in the back room. If I move them anywhere else, they are returned within minutes. If I clear them away into her toy box, she gets them out again.

The other two are outdoor snakes and have fared less well. She’s not a destructive dog where toys are concerned, she just plays with them very enthusiastically. One has died and disappeared into overgrown borders. The other, Green Snake, is slowly disintegrating.

Green Snake spends the winter and early spring at the bottom of the garden, on a block of concrete near the gate which leads into the lane.

When I open the gate, I toss him into the lane, and Isis sniffs him out, picks him up and trots off to play with him. Her favourite game seems to be whirling round with him at break-neck speed, tossing him aside, running off to investigate kitty and fox scents, then returning to hunt for him.

This game she’ll happily play for hours.

So that she’ll not be too upset when he finally meets his end, I attempt to wean her onto other toys. I leave all his disintegrating bits on the concrete post in the garden and take one of her house snakes into the lane. She ignores it and searches assiduously for Green Snake. Eventually she tracks him down and brings a fragment of him back into the lane to play with.

On subsequent days, I take out other toys and close the garden gate behind us. She ignores the other toys and searches for Green Snake. When she can’t find him, she goes off and plays with sticks and brambles.

Sigh.

Then I remember that farmers have a way of getting a ewe who has lost her own lamb to accept an infant lamb rejected by its own mother. Yes, they wrap the orphaned infant in the fleece of the dead lamb.

Feeling rather silly, I thread a bit of Green Snake onto a house snake and drop it in the lane. Isis picks it up immediately, clamping her jaw around the bit of Green Snake.

Oh yes! Aren’t I clever? Yes, too clever by halves. As Isis thrashes around, house snake is rapidly jettisoned and she continues playing with the green rubber skin fragment.

Hmmm. I think that the infant lamb trick will work, but can’t think of a safe way of fixing the skin fragments onto the whole snake. Have to work on that. Meanwhile, I continue to present her with some of her neglected toys.

To go back a bit, at Christmas, a kind friend gave Isis a wonderful present. It’s a special ball for a visually impaired dog. It’s very brightly coloured, deeply textured, has an appetising, beefy smell and emits a very loud, squawky squeak.

 

 

 

 

 

For weeks the ingrate ignores it, of course. Then one day I notice that it’s disappeared under the day bed, so she’s obviously made contact with it. I begin taking it into the front room and placing it on the rug. After a while she sniffs it out and nudges it with her nose.

I keep taking it with us into the lane. Again, Isis sniffs it out but doesn’t play with it. Then, on Monday, she finds it, picks it up, trots around making it squeak and carries it into her favourite nest under the ivy, from whence the squeaking continues.

Great.

In the days preceding this breakthrough, she must have carried Green Snake, bit by bit, from the garden into the house. I notice her drop his tail by the back door one day but have no idea of her grand plan. She is so hairy that it’s impossible to see a small fragment in her mouth.

Then, on Sunday, I see all of his remains on her rug in the back room with the house snakes.

Being an ignorant human, I find this most amusing, and rush to get my camera.

I gather up some bits of snake and sneak past Isis who appears to be fast asleep on the day bed.

I carefully arrange three pieces on a kitchen tile. Just as I am depressing the shutter, I am aware of a hairy presence at my feet, and I get this photo: a ghostly image of Isis in action. She moves so quickly that it’s impossible to be certain of what she’s doing. She seems to be snatching away the tail   …………………….

 

 

My snake!

 

 

 

but, at the last minute, obviously, she changes her mind  …………………………….

 

 

 

 

 

By the time I return to the back room, she’s lying down again. Where’s the bit of snake? I lift her lip. Yes, she has it in her mouth.

You are a very entertaining little dog, Isis.

But there’s being attached to one’s toys, and there’s being obsessed with them.

 

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 deaf/blind dog plays, dear little Isis, Isis at home, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

I need to SMELL you

 

 

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

 

Sunday May 20th 2018

 

We’ve had a good week, Isis and I.

Thankfully, Hairy One’s nightmares have returned to their previous frequency: usually only one or two snarly episodes a night and these are over in a few seconds.

They usually occur soon after she goes to sleep, whether she’s alone at night or sharing the day bed with me at other times.

I’ve just been refreshing my knowledge of sleep patterns, and this has confirmed my growing conviction that the distress occurs during the first, non-rem stages  of sleep when consciousness is only slightly lower than when we’re awake. Of course, I’ve no idea whether animals’ sleep patterns are similar to ours.

Just checked it out. Most mammals, including dogs apparently, have rem and non-rem sleep.

If I’m with Isis, I can tell when she’s about to have a snarly sleep interruption as her lips twitch and she emits little growls. If I don’t intervene, she soon leaps up snarling. Once she’s on her feet she wakes up, checks out her patch and lies down again.

Nowadays, if I see the early signs I can usually stop her at the growly stage. As we know, not so long ago, touching her while she was sleeping was like dropping a match on a petrol spillage. It took stupid Human years to realise that however gentle the touch, it would alarm her. Even so, over the years, she began to come out of the ‘nightmare’ more quickly.

Since I have learned never to touch Isis without first placing a hand in front of her muzzle so that she can pick up my scent, I can usually pre-empt traumas.

I had always assumed that if I was in the same room as she was, she would automatically know it was me. Two things happened to sharpen up my wits. First Hannah of http://www.pawfectdogsense.co.uk informed me that scents do not travel in straight lines, but move in the air in waves and loops, so if dogs are relying only on their noses to track down something, it can take them a while to find it.

(I always wondered why my very smart little dog Ellie never went straight to a  ball if she couldn’t see it, but instead ran hither and thither trying to find it.)

The second pointer only happened a few months ago. A visitor and I were working on my PC and Isis was lying on the futon. When we got up, my friend went to the door first and Isis immediately followed, tail in the air. Much to my surprise, when Isis sniffed her, the previously jaunty tail went down and Isis stopped dead in her tracks.

Clearly, she had mistaken my friend for me and was shocked when she sniffed her closely. Once I offered my hand to Hairy One for her to sniff, she wagged her tail and followed us out.

Similarly, I now realise, I need to let her sniff my hand before I touch her wherever we are. If I don’t, the poor little thing jumps and flinches.

It’s a damn good job that dogs learn more quickly that humans, or we’d never have the patience to train them!

 

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 nightmares | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments