In the summer when she first came Isis had no problem with popping out in the garden on her own for a pre-bedtime pee.
For several weeks now though she has been fearful of the dark. One night I stood in the back garden for thirty minutes with her on the lead before she peed. I felt very cruel but the only alternative I could come up with was training her to pee on the mat – which even in my scruffy house seems a bit excessive.
For weeks now when I open the back door for her at night she stands on the doorstep peering outside but rarely ventures over the threshold. After a few minutes I let her sniff her lead, clip it onto her collar and out we go to a patch of weeds very close to the house. Very gradually her terror has subsided into anxiety. And now I unclip the lead as soon as she begins to sniff and she’s fine. I retreat inside and she comes back when she’s ready.
And she has always been alarmed by neighbour B.’s automatic security light which is activated if she walks too far from the house.
Last night, however, it’s all change.
Isis doesn’t wait for me to accompany her. She leaps merrily out of the kitchen door and trots into the garden. She is surprised to find that B.’s light is already on. She gazes up at the sky as though entranced and begins to twirl gracefully in the circle of light. As an accompaniment to her twirl she happily snaps at ‘night flies’.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.com