It’s Monday and we are in Highbury Park. As we walk along the bank of the stream I observe Isis carefully sniffing the edge of the bank and stepping back from it. I guess that she is sussing out where it’s safe to walk. Sensible dog. My mind drifts.
I am suddenly brought back to earth by a loud “Splosh”. Poor Isis has walked over the edge and into the air before hitting the stream. She is scrambling back up the bank with a look of horror on her face.
As soon as her feet are on firm ground she flies into a spinning rage, grabbing at a back foot and tearing hairs out of her thigh.
Amazingly, she allows me to examine her foot. No sign of damage. And she’s not limping. Several times she attacks her foot ferociously. I examine her again, carefully pressing her pads, toes, leg. Nothing appears to hurt her.
She seems to enjoy the rest of her walk but on the way back, the attacks resume.
At home she rages off and on. Eventually, she falls asleep.
Time for evening walk. We park. She leaves the car a little reluctantly, walks a few steps and then sits down. I give her lead an encouraging tweak. She lies down. I try the opposite direction. Again she walks a few steps, sits, then when I encourage her to walk, lies down very firmly. She’s not going anywhere. We return home.
For the next three hours, she snarls, growls, snatches at her feet, snoozes fitfully for a few minutes, then begins all over again. At about seven, in desperation, I carry her upstairs and leave her on the bed. The blinds are drawn and the room is dark. There are only four brief yips over the next three hours.
At 10.30 I fetch her down to take her into the garden. Back in the house she’s off again, attacking her feet and yipping.
Before I start yipping myself, I take her back upstairs. Silence. She sleeps until nearly eight a.m.
Both Amanda and the Welsh Encyclopaedia think Isis is suffering from stress. Amanda wonders what I’d feel like if, without any warning and unable to see, I dropped off the edge of the world and landed in icy water. The adrenalin and cortisol are racing round the poor little creature’s body, they point out. The Welsh Encyclopaedia doubts Hairy One will ever want me to take her for a walk again.
Fortunately, dogs are very forgiving. Today she is back to (her) normal.
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