yes, you’re my neighbour



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!



Sunday November 8th 2015



The garden is revolting. Soggy and slippery. No place for even an outdoor dog.







We do our best to entertain her







but Isis is clearly fed up;


S** this for a game of soldiers.

S** this for a game of soldiers.


however, something positive emerges from this dreary November state of affairs: Isis begins to learn to play indoors. To play with toys, that is, as distinct from emptying waste bins and shredding cardboard boxes. I tempt her to play with Chicken Wrap and with a tuggy I make from strips of her old dog tunnel. Almost always I initiate the play, but she will now continue on her own for a few minutes.

And, for the first time, I succeed in building on ‘good morning’ rough-housing and get her to play-fight with big futon teddy and me at other times.



Socialising continues to progress, albeit slowly. In Highbury Park this week she is sniffed by at least half a dozen dogs over the hour we spend there. And although she is still very timid with dogs she doesn’t know, her tail no longer curls nervously against her underside.

And she is growing much more trustful of people whom she knows.

A few days ago, I let her out of the car and slam the door shut leaving all my keys inside on the back seat.

The good news is I am outside my house and my neighbours L. and S., who have my spare keys, are at home.

Isis, of  course, wishes to go indoors for her breakfast and refuses to move from our front gate. I have to carry her next door. But to my astonishment, when my neighbours open their door, she hops into the hall and sits down. She has only been in one house – that of my friend in Wales – before. As I explain my latest key problem, Isis settles on their comfortable carpet and lies there quite relaxed. She knows their smells of course. Still, this feels like a breakthrough. I’d better begin taking her visiting.

The bad news is that when I try the spare porch key it refuses to turn. Foolishly, I did not try it out before leaving it next door.

But again I am undeservedly lucky. My other neighbour, B. draws up in his car. Fortunately he has his hearing aid in so I am able to explain that I need to climb over his fence to open my back door.

Again, Isis, who knows beyond doubt that she should be eating her breakfast by now, refuses to budge. Again I am obliged to pick up the little reprobate and carry her round to B.’s entry.

Soon B. appears with a step ladder, takes Hairy One’s lead and watches with some anxiety as I hoist myself over the fence. It is wooden, not metal, but even so I don’t like the look of the sharp palings and ease myself over very cautiously.

Isis, whom B. leads back to the gate, is totally unfazed by the drama.

I’m very impressed by how calm and well-behaved she has been.

Well done Isis!


Since Hairy One first came, I have worried about what would happen to her in an emergency situation, where I could leave her if I needed to be away. A pending visit to Birmingham Dental Hospital reminds me of the urgent need to suss out a ‘just in case’ safe place for her. I am also wondering whether I might be able to bring myself to leave her behind for a few days over Christmas. Understandably, Polymath, the most tolerant and pro-creature person one could meet, does not wish Isis to wreck her home and put her stair lift out of action for a third time.

On Monday morning I phone Ray Deddicoat, whom I have known for many years, and tell him about Isis and her issues. “No problem,” says Ray, with characteristic optimism. In the afternoon I visit Holly Trees Animal Rescue Centre which also has a kennels and cattery. Ray shows me round the new kennel blocks which are impressive. Each enclosure has a large, heated, sleeping area and a separate run to which the guests have access at all times. There is a large grass area for twice daily outdoor exercise.

Ray peers through the car window at the oblivious Isis who reminds him of a straying dog  from Spain which he recently had to rescue.

I know that Isis would be safe and well cared for at Ray’s. But I still keep imagining   how horrible it would be to drive off and leave her.

On bad tooth day I leave my keys with N., the butcher, another good neighbour, in case I have to phone a friend to let Isis out. I note his horror at the thought that I might be expecting him to enter the house with its resident wild animal!


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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2 Responses to yes, you’re my neighbour

  1. Amber L says:

    The things we go through… Your back yard looks like mine! We are still having heavy rain every few days since the huge flood, and I feel like my yard may never be dry again 😦 I’m fortunate that my dogs are ok with a twice-a-day sitter coming to the house to feed them when I am gone for several days – but they are elderly and basically sedentary, unlike Isis 🙂 However, this Christmas they will be joined by my daughter’s young dog, so we’ll see how that goes!


    • Thanks for the empathy: cheered me up at 1.30 a.m. when Isis was still irritable and growly. I hope your yard does get dry again. I think I will have do something drastic like getting some artificial grass to keep Isis and I from descending into mutually assured madness!
      I don’t think that your lot will appreciate the company of a dynamic puppy over Christmas. You’re going to have fun!


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