a ball for Isis



Posting days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.




On Wednesday evening I notice something unusual going on. Isis has found the ball on a rope. When May the border collie visited several months ago she had a good chew on it. It is the most dilapidated item in Hairy One’s generally ignored toy collection. Now she is lying down with the ball in her mouth and the string dangling over her front paws. I can hear a rhythmic glop-glopping as she turns it over and over in her mouth.

It’s so unusual for Isis to be still rather than in motion that I check her every fifteen minutes through the window. Most times she’s still lying down mouthing the ball but has moved to a different spot. Very strange. Although she will shake a rubber snake now and then, sticks, wire netting and sheets of metal are her usual choice. True, her stick collection has been culled. Even so.

Apparently she is still angry with me after I refused to allow her to consume a second helping of whatever revolting snack she found in the park this morning, for she doesn’t come in of her own accord. It is eleven o’clock and dark when I bring her in.

Next day, as soon as I let her out,  she’s off in search of the ball on a rope. I am working outside so am able to observe her closely. She lies on the remains of the canvas from her tunnel. (This she knows this belongs to her. Several times I have placed it beneath the big plastic table thinking she will enjoy lying on it when she retreats there for a quick rest in the shade. Silly me. No sooner does she discover what I’ve done than she drags it back to her favourite spot by the washing whirligig.)

So, she lies on the blue canvas mouthing her ball on a string. Every few minutes, she gets up and has a little trot. Then she searches for her new toy. Each time, sniffing intently, nose to the ground, she finds it very quickly.

I am fascinated. She’s never related to a toy like this before. For one thing, she appears to have no intention of deconstructing it. On the contrary, she is treating it with unheard of gentleness. “Ah”, I think to myself, “This is a jumping off point for teaching her to fetch”. I am quite excited.

She plays with Ball-on-String all day until, sadly, it disintegrates.

She stands next to the soggy collapsed shape looking down at it. I think she looks quite downcast and rush into the house to make her two replacements.

Much to my surprise, she accepts one, carefully nibbling off the long loop I’ve created at the end of the string before taking the ball into her mouth.

Hmmm. Toys. This could open up  a lot of possibilities. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.


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 kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.com

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