it’s my tree! it’s my tree!



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


Wednesday June 21st 2017


Suddenly, one day last week, when we cross the road from the car park in Highbury, Isis springs through the long grasses of the meadow and before I know it, we are heading for  the fallen tree. The one she was so passionate about last year.





The one where the sticky plant grows in profusion.




and covers Isis from head to foot with its little green and brown burrs which have to be picked from her hair one by one.

The tree which has branches shooting out in all directions, so that when she ducks and dives in and out of them, she weaves an impenetrable web with her extending lead. The only way I can untangle the lead is by crawling after her, inch by inch. This involves squirming under and over the tree trunk, fighting one’s way through swathes of seeding weeds and being prodded all over by sharp twigs. One tries not to think about the insect life which might at any moment drop down one’s neck.

Three or four clambourings was quite sufficient, thank you, and I began to give the tree a wide birth. She would eventually forget it, I hoped. (Silly me.) I felt guilty because she  enjoyed the tree so much, but enough, after all, is enough.

Today, though, Hairy One’s joy at her rediscovery of the tree gets to me and I don’t have the heart to deny her her pleasure.

Ah, though, it suddenly strikes me. It’s different now. Last summer she had never been off her lead except in the garden. Now I can set her free. I know that she will stay in the vicinity of the tree.

Brilliant. She can scrabble under and scramble over the trunk, burrow through the undergrowth, dart in and out of the low branches, and





make little tunnels to wriggle through and follow the scents.




Hairy One’s three main tunnels



Isis has a wonderful time. Her tail doesn’t stop wagging. She is enraptured by all she can smell and feel.

And all I have to do is sit on the trunk and watch her.


This is the life!


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, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged | Leave a comment

Isis and the ginger cat



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


Sunday June 18th 2017


Once, years ago, I was good at handling chaos. This was a daily requirement at the comprehensive schools in which I worked. Then, I coped well. If someone threw up in the wastepaper bin while I was reading to the class, at the same time as keeping a preemptive eye on what the potential disruptives might be about to do, I could respond to a messenger sent from the head without losing my place in the book.

Alas, I no longer have this expertise.

It’s Thursday and I’m still tired from my Welsh exertions: I demolished my friend’s fence and emptied her under stairs cupboard.

It’s the Kindle’s fault; I can’t seem to switch it off at night.

I’m coming round from a quick snooze when the phone rings. It’s N., the butcher opposite my house. A small cat has followed a customer over the very busy road, causing  two cars to pull up very smartly. N. informs me that he has advised the customer to bring the cat over to me. (He can’t allow an animal to stay in his shop because of hygiene regulations.)

Thanks N.

The door bell rings as I stumble downstairs. On the doorstep is a smartly dressed, elderly man clutching a small, ginger, Persian cat. Since Isis is loose in the house, I step outside.

“I only went over to buy a pork pie”, explains Smartly Dressed man. “I came on the bus. I don’t know what to do with the cat.”

“Nor do I”, I answer unhelpfully, eying Isis. Fast asleep only a minute ago, now she is very much awake, and her  spotty pink nose is zig-zagging energetically against the inside glass of the porch door like a slug on speed.

She will, I fear, eat the cat if she has the opportunity.

I pick up the very purrful kitty. Isis, who is now even more interested in what is going on outside, begins to spin gleefully in the porch.

I have no crate, cat food, or cat tray. But small kitty cannot, of course, be left to wander across the road.


Handing kitty back to Smartly Dressed Man, I coax Isis into the back room and shut her in. Unimpressed, she begins leaping up and down, clattering at the door.

Just as I pick up purring kitty again, A. arrives to collect the old lawn mower I had offered him via our local Freegle (the recycling by gifting organisation).

Now, the lawnmower, the smartly dressed man, the Freegler, kitty and I are all squashed into the little porch. I feel like one of those characters in a t.v. cartoon whose eyes spin round when they’re very confused.

At this point, Smartly Dressed man, who is looking a little wan, asks if he may sit down as he feels weak.

I invite him in, place kitty in the kitchen with a drink of water, and close the door very firmly.

Isis is beside herself with excitement. I check her door, too, before returning to the mêlée.

A., who works as a volunteer for a children’s charity, relates the interesting story of why he became a volunteer while Smartly Dressed Man rests in the front room, Isis leaps up and down in the back room, and kitty rolls joyfully around on the kitchen floor.

When A. has departed with the mower, I locate paper and pen for Smartly Dressed Man who wants to leave his telephone number so that he can hear the fate of the lost cat.

As I wave him off, the school crossing patrol man T., who knows N. the butcher, comes over to discuss the little cat.

Just then a young couple with a labrador come along the pavement towards us.

“Ah,” says T., “Here’s a young man who will help.” And he introduces Tb., who, apparently, is very nifty with I.T. and will be happy to take photos of ginger cat and put them out over all of his networks.

Tb. and I repair to the kitchen. It is only when we reach the kitchen door that I realise I’ve  left the door knob on the inside of the door.

Since I’m an expert procrastinator, none of the doors downstairs have both of their knobs, so every room has a pair of pliers in it. Retrieving a pair, I manage to open the kitchen door. As Tb. squats to take a photo, kitty dashes out of the kitchen to greet him. Kitty, whom I have by now identified as female and quite advanced in years, rolls on the floor, purring loudly.

In a couple of minutes, images of her are zooming all over the West Midlands.

Then the pace hots up. Tb. very kindly offers to take lost cat down to the vet at the bottom of the road to have her chip read. T. offers to fetch a cat carrier from home and rides off speedily on his tricycle.

In the end, T. takes kitty to the vet on the back of his tricycle, Tb. and his partner and the patient labrador set off for home, and N. prepares to lock up his shop for the day.

When released from the back room, Isis, delirious with delight, shoots into the kitchen on the trail of our departed feline visitor. She investigates every  millimeter the cat has walked, sniffing her way from the kitchen, along the hall, into the porch, down to the gate and out onto the pavement.


What an exciting afternoon!


P.S. The next day N. tells me that as kitty’s scan was being read, her owners saw her on line and rushed to collect her. Apparently, kitty is fifteen.


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 Isis at home | Tagged , | 2 Comments

home again!



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


Wednesday June 11th 2017


As she leaves Holly Trees, a dog worries a little about where she might be going next. But she recognises the familiar smell of her scruffy old car. Sniff. Sniff. Yes, here’s the edge of the door arch where she puts her front paws to jump in.


Sniffy-sniff-sniff. Here’s her fleece blanket. SNIFF – Lily’s sat on that.

Ji.’s with us. That could mean Highbury Park. Well, it feels O.K. to lie down, stretch out her paws and relax.

The car stops. Ji. opens her door. Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. She draws in her breath. Then gives a happy, spluttery sniff. It smells like the park.



She hurries out of the car. On the gravel car park, a slight hesitation. Is the sun threatening to shine at her? No. And who cares anyway? Her lead’s being exchanged for her running extension.


KERWHOOSH! The meadow grasses have grown exponentially since she was last here. With the lead as her pivot, she gallops past the wavering buttercups, leaps over clumps of dandelions, scampers through the clover, a dog reborn.

Remembering, as she always does, her preferred place to scramble down the bank, she lands with a quiet splosh in the little stream, has a drink, then turning herself round, pees. She always does this. It seems very anti-social to me, but then, she’s a dog. I think she does it to claim the stream as her water source.

Next, a climb up the slope to her beloved fir trees, which, of course, she greets ecstatically.

We have been joined by B. and her two sweet schnauzers, Ziggy and Laurie, who soon observe two more schnauzers, playing with their human who is sitting under a nearby tree. Armfuls of schnauzers, all very pleased to be meeting.

Then there’s M. with Bill, a pretty, deep brown cocker spaniel.

I go over to greet them all, feeling fleetingly sad, as I often do, that Isis, who can’t read dog body language, can’t enjoy the company of other dogs.

But there she is, tail as high as a demented flag, racing around from tree to tree, leaping and clicking her teeth, watched solicitously by Ji.

When she has played fir tree games for about forty minutes, I take her over the grass, well past the bench which Ji. and I like to sit on when we’re feeling lazy, to the edge of the beech wood. Feeling unusually obliging, she plays there while we sit and watch her.

Fortunately, there are brambles straggling across the nearby path into the woods. Not surprisingly, she doesn’t care for brambles. That’s good. She won’t wander out of sight.  When we’re walking together, I lift the nasty things aside so they can’t bite her. On her own, she’s begun to avoid brambly and hedgy barriers, and carefully sniffs out gaps between them.

After a further half hour or so, Ji. and I begin to walk back down towards the pond. Isis follows, walking tentatively, following the zig-zags of our scents until she catches up and bumps against my legs.

When directed to ‘the clean pool’, she refuses to drink, but when I encourage her to find her way over the stepping stones across the little waterfall, she pauses on the stones to drink where the water is running fastest.

A dog likes to be home again. Sniff-sniff-sniff. It’s her porch. Still the same smell it had when she last sniffed it: dry mud, dust, old boots.

Today she doesn’t retire, as she usually does, to the back room for a twenty minute snooze, but follows us into the front room and, while we indulge in coffee and cake, she stretches herself out on the rug, sighing contentedly.

In the evening, we stay at home and she plays for an hour in her garden.

Her garden!

She’s so delighted to be there again that she tears round the lawn in wild loops before discovering her snakes, toys which she’s not played with for almost two years: she wasn’t allowed to access the lawn last year as it had been re-seeded.

(We won’t dwell on why the lawn needed re-seeding.)

















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

a stay at Holly Trees



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


Sunday June 11th 2017


While I am in Wales visiting Polymath, Isis has a restful week boarding at Holly Trees Kennels/ HART (Holly Trees Animal Rescue Trust). Here, I am always assured by Ray, Tracy, Adam and Wendy, she behaves consistently impeccably.

They are all very kind and tolerant at Holly Trees, and allow ‘impeccably’ to include Isis dancing multiple jigs while they attempt to harness her to take her outside, and Isis defending her food so noisily that she can be heard all over the kennels. As I’ve mentioned before, they also allow her to occupy herself by tearing cardboard boxes into tiny bits.

Even before I’ve left her, I’m looking forward to collecting her a week later. There can be few experiences more heart-warming than being reunited with your dog.

In the past, bringing Isis home was a strange experience, as she never demonstrated any  emotion at all when I collected her. She just followed me passively on the end of her lead,  like a stiff little robot or a passed round parcel.

She doesn’t go crazy today, but when she picks up my scent she wriggles with excitement, and now and again she nudges my hand gently with her deliciously cool, wet, spotty, pink nose.

There is no doubt that she is very happy for when Tracy, Ji. and I pat her, her lovely, hairy tail wags and wags and wags.

I go weak at the knees.

I forgot to put treats in her going away bag, but no problem, Ray tells me, as she’s happy to eat their treats. He picks up a nice, green, dental chew.

“What!”, say I, “She refuses to eat those at home.”

“Well, she gobbles them up here,” Ray assures me, bending down to offer her the chew.  But the little toad barely sniffs at it before turning away her head.

Clearly, we’re both liars.

She is very well cared for at Holly Trees, and obviously feels happy and secure. And she always comes back home looking and smelling as clean and as sweet as she did when she went away.






When I first had Isis, I couldn’t imagine a kennels being willing to take her on, but they’re brilliant with her at Ray’s. No need for me to wonder whether she’s O.K.

No need for me to phone to see how she’s settling in.

I do, of course.


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, relationship building | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

what’s this then?



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


Wednesday June 7th 2017


Isis and I find the Kings Heath Park lot on the level above the old bowling green this morning.





What a wonderful variety of dogs: sweet little Ruby and Millie the pugs, Malamute pup Reggie, growing fast; naughty terripoo Maggie; mud bath aficionado Scout and Charlie the cockerpoos; stalwart labradoodles Nancy and Rufus; Jack Russell Louis, and, of course, aloof from the others, my hairy podengo, Isis.

I’m lucky today. Generally, naughty Scout rushes up and jumps on poor Isis who, ruffled by the unannounced assault, departs hastily through the gap in the hedge. But now Scout is engrossed in her play with the other pups, so while Isis amuses herself, happily uninterrupted, behind us, I take in the scene. It’s lovely to watch all these dogs, from a few months old to seven years, mingling so contentedly.

Then, suddenly, through a gap in the hedge, walks a man whom we’ve not met before. He has a lead in his hand, and there, on the other end of it is a tiny black and tan cat-sized creature stepping daintily through the grass.

There are several small canines here today, but none as small as this.





“Behold a baby Manchester terrier,” I think, smugly.  No-one else recognises its breed. And, I hasten to add, I am only able to identify it because my previous dog Ellie had a Manchester terrier dad, and I was so fascinated when I met him that I spent ages looking at the breed at Crufts.

The stranger introduces himself. Like most dog owners, I remember the dogs’ names much more readily than those of their owners, so I’ve forgotten this nice man’s name. The beautiful little pup is ‘Pixie’.

I’d forgotten how delicately made Manchesters are. And this little dog is exquisite.





We all watch as she slowly emerges from behind her owner’s legs, watching the noisy goings on with some trepidation,






yet, at the same time, very tempted to be part of the dog scene.






Most pups are overwhelmed when they meet our lot for the first time, but this Pixie is a surprisingly daring little dog, and soon makes little forays into the crowd. Everybody falls for her, of course, and the old bowling green echoes with cries of







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 I'm off my lead!, Kings Heath Park, park dogs | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Isis can find me!


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


Sunday June 4th 2017


When, on one or two occasions, Isis, off-lead in the park, arrives next to me, gives me a sniff and wags her tail, I assume that she just happens to have come across me.

Over several weeks, however, I am proved wrong. It becomes clear that she is searching for and finding me.

I observe her tactics. First she lifts her head and, turning it this way and that, sniffs hard and long.

I imagine her eyebrows are drawn down and her nose is wrinkled with concentration.

When she’s decided in which direction to go, she sets off. She alternates between sniffing the air and following scents on the ground. She is not, of course, able to run straight towards me, as a sighted dog can. But moving a few metres sideways, a few forwards, a few back, she traces an intricate pattern of curves, zig-zags and overlappings, following the meandering scent waves until she finds me.

When I welcome her with admiring pats and cuddles, she is clearly very pleased and wags her tail with unusual vigour.

On my phone I have a lovely video of the dear little creature doing her ‘search and find’.

But here the boasting has to end. After hours and hours of trying, and help from WordPress support, I still can’t get the *!*!*!* thing to upload. I could upload it via  YouTube, of course. But not only is it a very long time since I’ve used YouTube so I’ve forgotten the procedure, I’ve also mislaid my password and I’m too damn frustrated to go through the hassle of retrieving it.

So you’ll just have to take my word for it!



Fair play, she’s telling the truth, honest. I’m a very good sniffer.




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, I'm off my lead!, Kings Heath Park, running running, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Isis visits Lily



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


Wednesday May 31st 2017


Polymath tells me that in the last post Isis gave the impression that Lily’s person was about to be incarcerated. Not so. She was doubled up with pain and taken off to hospital  in an ambulance.  She came back home on Sunday evening and was reunited with Lily on Monday.

Lily is only two years old and an extremely lively little dog. She was already six months old when J. took her on and had not had a very good start in life. Manic but very sweet sums her up, I think.

She loves being in a car. When we arrive at dog training she refuses to leave the car and J. has to heave her out. The same thing happens when we arrive back at her house. The only time she is willing to jump off the back seat is when she realises she’s in the park!

J. and I wondered what would happen when Lily was returned home, J. being of the opinion that Lily would, as usual, glue herself to the car seat.

She sat up very straight as I parked in her road, her little brown nose pressed against the window, and her ears twitching.

This time she needed no persuasion to exit the car. She popped out with a look of delighted disbelief on her little face and hurried to the front door. When it opened, she shot in and down the hall. She was, of course, delighted to see her person.

Because J. needs time to recover, Lily comes with Isis and me for long morning walks. When I picked her up yesterday, I thought that she might be reluctant to come with us in case she was being taken away again. When she was staying with us she flattened herself on the floor each time I tried to put her harness on her, something she never does at home. She must have been afraid that she was to be taken away somewhere else.

But I needn’t have worried. Each time we arrive to collect her, she is eager to be put into her harness and can’t wait to jump into the car.

Today when I return her, J. insists that Isis comes in too.

For the first time, Isis allows herself to be guided in through a strange front door, and, sniffing everything she passes – doors, walls, floor and furniture – follows me to the back of the house.

J. and I go into the kitchen to make coffee. When, on my return, I behold Isis executing a recce dance on the carpet, I decide that perhaps she should be introduced to the garden.

We take our coffee outside into J.s beautifully tended garden which is full of flowers. But we don’t have to worry about Isis trampling them since they are all growing in containers.  That’s the good news. The bad news is that there are dozens of pots and troughs for poor Isis to crash into.

Lily runs around the garden, wagging excitedly. Large amounts of soil have been dug out of several of the large pots, and J. believes that a fox visited overnight. Lily, who appears to be of the same opinion, dashes back and forth excitedly, nose to the ground.

Isis has never shown much interest in foxes. Cat scents, however, send her into paroxysms of excitement. There is an area at the bottom of the garden which is frequented by neighbouring cats who pop over the fence and onto next door’s garage roof in order to tease Lily.

We watch, fascinated, as Isis sniffs her way cautiously towards the path. She lifts her front paws high off the ground, like a canine goose stepper, only placing a paw firmly on the path when she is sure there is no obstacle in the way. She spends at least an hour in the garden, navigating her way round dozens of containers without once banging into one.

She carefully climbs the four steps up to the concrete area frequented by cats, and, stretching out her toes to gauge the depth of the steps, makes her way down again. She does this at least half a dozen times. She is enthralled by the scents and each time she ascends, stops at the top to leap and twirl.

Now and then she makes her way down to where we are sitting, then checks me out and gives J. a quick sniff before winding her way carefully in and out of a curve of giant flower pots and back to the cat platform.

I am delighted. And I am very impressed with Hairy One. She is even more confident today than she was during her first social call last week. She is surprisingly eager to explore and her tail stays high throughout the visit.





Proud of my little dog?



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, relationship building, twirling | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Isis has a visitor



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


Sunday May 28th 2017



Well, well, what’s this then?

It smells like a dog.



It definitely IS a dog.



It smells the same as the car smells on Wednesday mornings. (Human leaves me home alone for over an hour and a half every Tuesday. She takes that Lily and her person to dog training.)

My god, it smells like Lily’s in the house.

S-nuffle ……… S-NUFFLE!




Shucks! Bloomin’ Lily IS in the house.




I can see why she needs training. When she’s not following Human everywhere, she’s trailing after me.

Her person was taken away on Friday in a big white van with flashing blue lights so she thinks we’re going to disappear too. Silly dog.

You’re supposed to be kind to animals in distress. When I’m in distress, I can’t eat my tea. But her tea disappeared very quickly. One minute I could smell it, the next the smell had  gone.

I’ve had hours in the park this morning, so I don’t really mind playing in the garden on my own instead of going out again.

Sigh. But I’m not on my own. She’s out here as well. I’ll just ignore her and carry on twirling by the fence.

She’s running round sniffing everywhere. I can feel her racing past me. What a bore.

Good lord! I can smell something very unpleasant. I can’t believe it. She’s peeing on my lawn.

Human needn’t think I’m eating my tea when I can smell that Lily on the other side of the door.

Good. She’s been taken away somewhere. I thought Human would be impressed if I left my tea and ran back out into the garden. Especially as I’ve got a sardine with my meal. She knows I’d have to be seriously upset to leave a sardine.

Thank heaven I can go up to bed soon. She won’t be allowed up there.

Phew! That’s a relief.


I’ll be safe up here in our bedroom. Human’ll be up soon and I can go to sleep. In fact ………………… I’m ………….. feeling………… quite dozy ………… already …….

What can I smell? It’s that damned Lily again. She’s up here. She’s come into my bedroom.


What the hell’s Human up to? It’s well past Lily’s bedtime. She’s only two.

At last. She’s gone. My Doggles are on. Goodnight.


She’s still following us around. What a wimp. I never used to do that.

Today in the park is good. Lily stays nearby, but she’s not following me all the time.  She’s sniffing everywhere. And when other dogs come up, they sniff her instead of me. Thankfully. I hate being sniffed.

We all go to bed quite early. B. good job, as well. Human gets up at 4.30 this morning and goes downstairs. I can smell the garden. She must be letting that dog out. She’s paying too much attention to her. I slept through the night when I was two. And I was outside on my own. Pups nowadays don’t know they’re born.

Perhaps she’ll go home tomorrow.


Sigh. She’s still here.

You’ll not believe this. Human makes me share the back seat with Lily, and, even worse, the nasty creature leans on me. Ew! Very scary. I flatten myself against the door.

God, she’s a pest. Can’t imagine why Human makes such a fuss of her.

But I have a smashing time in Highbury Park again. Lily doesn’t even keep checking on me. She hangs out with Dougie and Fergie.

I don’t think Fergie likes her much. I can smell her now. She’s running past me with his ball in her mouth.

Good news. Lily’s just met Bo. They’re chasing each other up and down the stream and round and round the trees. Every time they go past, water flies off them. But at least they  smell much cleaner than they did before.

I don’t smell. Ever.







They’re so immature. I play by myself for hours. I like it that way.

Now I’m lying on the mat by the front door. That Lily keeps making nasty smells.

But at least she’s not following me.

Hopefully, she’ll go to sleep.





Thank goodness for 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 or

Posted in deaf/blind dog, deaf/blind dog plays, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, park dogs | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

an invitation for Isis



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


Wednesday May 24th 2017


It’s Monday and a text arrives from M. She asks if Isis and I would like to drop in for coffee on our way back from the park.

Yes, I would love to. Just fancy a coffee.

The question is, should I take Isis with me, or should I take her home and come back alone?


She has been invited, of course, so it might be churlish to exclude her.

Yet there are several good reasons for my deliberations.

First, as we know, Isis is not the perfect guest. She took friend in Wales’ home apart on her second visit and has been banned from visiting ever since.

Then there was the time that May, M.’s little border collie, came to our house. Unfortunately, having pinched one of Hairy One’s toys from the back room, she was about to exit when Hairy One came in unexpectedly from the garden and tried to enter the room. They met half way through the door, and May, who no doubt had a guilty conscience, must have thought that Isis was about to challenge her over the toy, and snapped at her.

Poor Isis was petrified and retreated under my desk until May had gone home. Now, if she smells May – or any other dog, for that matter – arriving, she scuttles upstairs as fast as her sturdy little legs can carry her.

In addition to these mishaps, there’s the fact that Isis is very reluctant to approach, let alone enter, any building other than her own home.

Last, but not least, one must consider that May might not welcome the intrusion.


“Don’t be a coward,” I tell myself. “Most of these negatives happened a long time ago, and May has always been very gentle with Isis when we meet, as we often do, in the park.”

I take a deep breath and let Isis out of the car. This is a very important occasion. It will be her first social call since that fateful Christmas visit to Wales in 2014.

Here goes.

I ‘OK pat’ her along the path to the front door. She stands nervously by the step, her tail between her legs.

There’s no reply when I ring the bell. Then I notice that the back gate has been left open and realise that M. must be in her back garden.

O.K. patting as we advance, I persuade Isis to follow me along the side of the house and into the garden.

Her tail remains between her legs, and she’s slinking. Although she’s very thirsty and she’s not had breakfast, she turns away from the proffered drink and gravy bones. But she gingerly sniffs at and recognises M. She also recognises D., who’s visiting too.

May, who appears to be perfectly relaxed about the arrangements, greets the hairy visitor very politely.

After a while, I let her Isis off her lead. She carefully navigates the pots on the patio before arriving at the head of the flight of steps which leads down to the lawn.  We watch, impressed, as she descends very cautiously, sniffing and feeling with an outstretched paw, where each step begins and ends until she reaches the grass.

She sniffs her way slowly round the garden. She jumps back smartly when she stumbles into May who is stretched out on the lawn. Dear little May doesn’t say a word.

Isis continues to explore. I’ve arranged some boxes along the front of M.’s newly planted little vegetable garden to protect the seedlings from the marauding canine, but I’ve not noticed the small bird bath in the middle of the lawn.

Poor Isis walks into it with a thump, then, to our amusement, growls at it threateningly.

But her tail soon rises and she continues her exploration.





Later on, she stands by my chair on the patio, drinks a little water and nibbles three gravy bones.

We humans natter about this and that, May digs a hole or two in the lawn, as you do, and Isis continues to stand quietly beside me.

It’s a lovely warm spring day. The coffee’s good. So is the company.

So that’s all right then.

Well done little dog.


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, relationship building | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

a very precious wag



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


Sunday May 21 st 2017


It’s Sunday and Isis, Ji. and I meet up with Dougie, Fergie and L. We usually do on Sunday. Or, to be more accurate, Dougie finds us. Wherever we are in the park, cavorting among the fir trees, wading across the little steam, up in the woodland area or down at the bottom of the orchard, he always sniffs us out. If she sees us before Dougie arrives, L. shouts a warning, “Look out! Dougie’s coming!”

But more often than not Dougie’s too quick and I only realise he’s there when two muddy little front paws strike the back of my legs.

That’s how it is on this day. Then he leaps all over me hoping for a treat. He doesn’t get one. He is rewarded only when he sits and waits.

The trouble with Dougie is that he is so endearing that every passer-by who is not wearing his or her best clothes succumbs to his charms and gives him a treat or a cuddle anyway. This human, however, knows how bright he is and insists that he sits. Which, of course, he eventually does.

Anyway, Dougie and I complete our usual ceremonial greeting, Fergie, who is much more restrained and gentlemanly, approaches politely for his pats and strokes, and we all set off across the meadow towards the walled garden.

Isis is becoming quite confident, over confident, even, and insists on pursuing her own route through the trees to the landscaped area the dogs love to play in.

Dougie can’t wait to set up base under any tree which he suspects contains a squirrel. He is convinced that if he stares long and hard enough, the imagined rodent will fall out of the tree.

Fergie runs ahead of his person and sits like a little monument. He stares straight ahead at L., waiting for her to respond with one of the three squeaky miniature tennis balls which he knows are in her pocket. Why else would we be in the park?

Lately, Isis, feeling that she’s grown too clever for merely leaping around trees, has taken a shine to the shrubbery which is next to a fence dividing the park from the allotments.

Unfortunately, the shrubbery extends the length of this side of the park, running up to Kings Heath High Street in one direction and in the other almost reaching Avenue Road. And Avenue Road terminates in another extremely busy main road leading out of the other end of the High Street.

For the first few weeks after she discovers the shrubbery, Isis happily puthers in and out of it, not too far away from the fallen tree trunk on which at least one of us is sitting and tracking her movements.

On this particular Sunday, she is punching far above her weight, trotting off to the deep and murky little pond several hundreds of yards away, or attempting to plough her way through the undergrowth in the other direction. It’s a very warm day – the warmest this spring, I believe. And, of course, as soon as the tip of her tail fronds vanishes behind  the foliage, I have to leap up and retrieve her.

After many retrievals, she potters off once again. She’s absent for about ten minutes, but I am unconcerned because I can see a distant patch of white hair among the bushes.

But L. is more conscientious. Bent on checking out the adventurous Isis, she and Fergie plough through the undergrowth. When they reach the recreant, they discover her cowering among the brambles. There is an exit – the way she came in. But, of course, poor Isis can’t see it.




(Honestly, I didn’t leave Isis in distress while I fetched my camera. This was taken on a previous occasion when she was still at the puzzled stage, not yet upset!)



L. lifts up Hairy One’s front legs and manages to extricate her from her prison. She manouevres her into the gap. Then, carefully lifting aside any threatening brambles, she guides her out along the narrow path.

I go over to Isis and bend over to pat her.

She carefully sniffs my legs. Then she lifts her head and wags her tail more vigorously than I have ever seen her wag it before.


She was only away for at most ten minutes, and was never completely out of sight, but for Isis, obviously, this had been a very frightening experience.


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!, relationship building, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , | 2 Comments