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Isis plays happily in the garden. I lie happily on the futon. All is calm. One could almost drift off  ……………………

Suddenly, I become aware of a frantic scuffling, first in the kitchen, then in the hall. “What the hell is she doing?” I ask myself, as I hastily abandon  my daydreams and rush from the room.

What indeed? Snuffling breathlessly, nose to the ground, she swirls around the hall half a dozen times before scrambling up the stairs and into the ‘art room’. The ‘art room’ is stuffed with unsorted piles of boxes, paper, card, wood, picture frames – need I go on? What the room least needs is Isis in hunting mood.

I encourage her to leave but, after a brief foray into the bathroom and another into the bedroom, she shoots back in. She dashes in and out four or five times before I succeed  in removing a large pile of boards from the doorway so that I can close the door.

And, inevitably, an unpleasant thought enters my mind: what has she chased upstairs? A giant hairy rat? A very cross cat? An injured bird? Gingerly, hair prickling on the back of my neck, I re-open the door. Very twitchily, I creep round the accessible part of the room. No sound. No sign of anything. I close the door behind me.

I take Isis back downstairs and fix up the stair gate. But I can’t leave the art room door closed. What if some poor creature is hiding and needs to escape? I return and open the door again.

But that night I shudder a little as I walk past the room. And I don’t sleep easily in my bed.

Aren’t dogs lovely?




It’s 10.15 p.m. and even though it’s dark Little Vandal is still cavorting in the garden. I am amazed at her energy. I guess I have forgotten what sparky little dogs of two and a half are like. She’s been in the garden for most of the day in addition to having a forty minute road walk.

With so many interesting things to trample on, uproot and dance around, she is fully occupied and the attempts at self-harming have dropped dramatically; however, gardening is unlikely to be a magical ‘cure’.  I am following up on Kerry’s suggestion and am completing a contact form for a local canine behaviourist.


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

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