Posting days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Often I begin paragraphs with ‘Well’ but perhaps this is inevitable when talking about Isis.
So here I go again.
Well, how did Isis respond to a reinforced tunnel? Did she like it? Yes, she loved it.
After three days of careful preparation: digging up the raspberry patch, measuring, sawing, treating raw wood with pet-safe preservative, constructing two wooden end frames, joining them with long struts, I deconstruct the rest of the aluminium shed and arrange its panels inside the wooden structure. Isis, of course, helps by running up the panels as I wrestle with them.
Finally, I raise the aluminium ‘roof’ and pop the tunnel inside.
I look at my work with some satisfaction.
Not bad. Now she can enjoy her tunnel without being able to bite it from the outside. And the end frames will make it impossible for her to pull it out, extend it and attack it.
I watch her through the back window for about ten minutes. She examines the exterior of my creation, then walks through the tunnel. Good. Solution. Well worth the effort.
I sit down and listen to the radio for about fifteen minutes. Then I glance out of the window again.
I can hardly believe it.
In that short time she has managed to deconstruct the whole project.
Hmmm. What now?
I return the tunnel to its carcass, sort out some thick chunks of decking and place them under the rims of the two ends. Now the upper edge of each rim is elevated and closer to the tops of the square frames. She’ll not be able to pull out the tunnel now.
Next, I wedge the whole frame well into the tree. Now it’ll be impossible for her to move the structure.
Good. I watch her again for a while. She pops inside her tunnel and pops out again, pops back in and lies down, leaves it and returns. Again she settles.
I return indoors to eat and listen to the Archers.
After about twenty minutes I glance through the window again.
This time she hasn’t turned the frame over. She’s simply pulled it from its base and is busy trying to extract the entire length of the tunnel, like a hungry thrush removing a snail from its shell.
I walk up the garden, gently remove the tunnel from her mouth, concertina it and replace it in the garage. As I do so, I mutter to myself, “Better screw it to the b. fence, or,” with a sideways glance at Hairy One, “screw you to the b. fence.”
Poor Isis loves to play fight with the tunnel and sniffs around searching for it. Having satisfied herself that it has gone, she looks very sad and lies down, defeated.
I feel really mean. What a shame. She was so happy playing with her tunnel.
How can I protect the tunnel so that she can continue to enjoy it? A tricky one.
But Polymath has a brainwave. I could wrap it in wire netting.
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