Isis doesn’t get up until 8.00 a.m. today so we have a gentle start. “Just as well”, I think as the day unfolds.
We have a pleasant walk. It’s a murky day so no shadows to spook Isis. And the weather behaves as forecast. No rain until lunch time.
I visit my friend E and try again to persuade Gracie, her beautiful standard poodle cross, that I am harmless. Again I fail. I am sad that she is afraid of me. No dog has responded to me like this before.
The behaviour is the legacy of Ellie, my previous dog, who loved all dogs, particularly Gracie’s predecessor Bess. But Ellie was an alpha female. She loved E and Bess and was not amused when she visited and found the curly interloper there. She exuded menace and Gracie has never forgotten it.
E is unwell and I offer to take the dog to the park. She is an obedient dog and she’ll be fine E. assures me giving me an orange ball and the ball launcher.
As we leave the house the heavens open – of course.
Gracie chases the ball enthusiastically but won’t bring it back to me. Oh. I begin to suspect that it will not be easy to put this dog back on the lead.
During the ensuing forty minutes we squelch back and forth across the grass. Gradually, Gracie brings the ball closer to me. But she still stops a few feet away.
No, of course she will not allow me to get close enough to put on her lead. My sweet talk has no effect on her. What’s worse, she has her eye on the open gate which leads to the very busy main road. Four times I retreat further into the park and get her to follow me.
Then she turns her back on me and departs.
Trying to keep calm I walk quickly to the road. The good news: no corpse. The bad news: no dog. A van driver tells me she has set off down Abbotts road. This road leads to the road where she lives. No corpse in Abbotts road. No dog either. She must have raced home. Her road is busy too. One more corner to turn. One more possibility of finding a dead dog in the gutter.
I turn the corner. She’s standing on her doorstep. She glances over her shoulder at me. Hugely relieved, but afraid that she might run away again, I keep my distance and phone E. who lets her in.
E. is horrified when I tell her the story. Very apologetic, she gives me a hug.
“Don’t worry. I had a bloody wonderful time”, I say.
I arrive home dripping from head to foot. But it’s not quite wet enough for Isis. She’s peed on the mat.
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