New posting days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
It is Sunday afternoon and Isis lies contentedly on the door mat in the hall. Her whiskers and beard are speckled with soil. She is dreaming about the wonderful holes she found in Highbury Park today …………
In the park we come across an old, decaying tree stump. Its roots spread for several metres under the grass and every now and again short sections of them are visible just above the surface. At intervals around either side of these sections are little round holes.
At first Isis tugs on her lead to be away. She is often required to stand around while human gazes spellbound at something very uninteresting to a dog. But suddenly her nose gives a faint twitch. Then the twitches grow stronger. Wow! Something has made these holes from which enticing scents are wafting.
Plonk! Two fat little paws land either side of the nearest hole. A bright pink nose splotched with black is shoved down it, followed by the rest of a very hairy snout. Ferrfuff! Ferrfuff! She snorts with excitement, her tail flashing back and forth like a feather in a slipstream.
Dancing on the spot, she tears up small clumps of turf and tosses them aside. She begins to dig – tentatively at first for something with enormous teeth might live down there. Then, tossing caution to the winds she bursts into a frenzy of digging. But, to her evident disappointment, the hole’s owner does not emerge.
Judging by the wide scatter of the neat little holes, there is a network of tunnels down there and ratty will be far away by now. But I don’t tell Isis this and she spends a very happy thirty minutes snuffling and digging.
The whistle which Kerry recommended has arrived and Isis seems to be able to hear it! In the house I stand a couple of metres in front of her and blow the whistle. Three out of three times she comes towards me and claims her reward. She could, of course, have been coming in my direction anyway but I don’t think so. Tomorrow I will experiment further. I’m quite excited.
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