Posting days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
On Sunday Isis leads me a great dance with the tunnel as she works out how she might de-gut it. I am clearing out the large cupboards under the sink. Not through housewifely pride, but because Andy the plumber is coming at nine thirty in the morning to fit a garden tap which will run from the supply in the kitchen. As usual, I am frequently distracted from this delightful task by even more stimulating diversions like rushing into the garden to stuff the tunnel back in its mesh tube.
On one occasion I have almost finished emptying Isis’s cupboard when the tunnel calls. As I dash out of the back door, she dashes in – for a drink of water, I assume.
But no. Always the opportunist, she too is distracted. I re-enter the kitchen to find her with her head stuck firmly in a treats box.
She’s not in the least concerned about the box as she still hasn’t managed to reach the last treat.
On Tuesday it’s rather a growly grooming session. I run my fingers all over her every morning during our greetings play and she’s fine with that but the brush is a different matter. She’ll tolerate very gentle brushing round her head and face but venturing down her back makes her anxious. She snaps at the brush. In this situation I take the advice of Hannah* whose training class Isis and I attended briefly before the sun intervened: I withdraw, taking the treats with me.
It’s Wednesday and Andy the plumber is here. He is kneeling and Isis is busy checking him out. He understands her needs and tells me not to shut her in the garden as he is fine with her roaming around.
Then it’s dog’s breakfast time. Unfortunately, Andy is working by Hairy One’s feeding space so I lure her past him holding her bowl level with her nose. Big mistake. She lunges at the bowl, throwing it in the air. There is a cacophony of clanking bowl, indignant, snarly yipping and loud food-hoovering slurps.
“She has issues,” I explain lamely.
That afternoon I spot her at the bottom of the garden at the far end of her tunnel, tugging away. I tug the near end and she shoots into the tunnel at her end, not in the least bit phased by the movement, and emerges next to me to see what’s going on.
At dog’s tea-time, for the first time since I have stopped holding the bowl, she stays sitting until I tell her she can eat. It’s only for a few seconds but that’s amazing progress for her. Then even more remarkable, she doesn’t complete her meal with a rage spin but follows the trail of carrot slices into the back room and crunches them without a comment.
On Thursday I get a couple of old tyres from the local garage to add to her ‘playground’ area. She smells them from inside the house and barks at them.
She’s won the battle of the tunnel. I find small cuts on her spotty pink nose. She must have got them while pushing against the mesh. I’ll have take the tunnel out of the mesh and surrender.
Yesterday we returned to the park. Isis has hardly been there over the last three weeks because it has been too bright for her. She is very reluctant to walk and I carry her from the car park. Today we are there again. She is unwilling to set off but with much urging and patting she eventually begins to walk with her tail high.
* Hannah runs Pawfect Dogsense which offers a wide range of training opportunities.
Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about the centre’s work and/or adopting an animal from the centre, contact email@example.com or visit www.dogwatchuk.com