Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday December 13th 2015
Well, life is full of surprises!
Turn time back a couple of weeks and Isis finds a ball in the park. It’s a small, orange, rubber ball. She surprises me by pawing and sniffing it. Previously, apart from her giant gym ball, she’s taken very little interest in balls. On this occasion, she soon abandons it and gallops off purposefully.
At the beginning of this week, she finds a tennis ball. Now, after a little pawing and sniffing, she grabs it and runs a few steps with it in her mouth. Hmmm! Then she tosses it aside and gallops a loop or two, or three before stopping and, nose to the ground, performing her small-mammal hunting routine. Ah! A squirrel or a rat has passed this way. But no, after much serious snuffling and many short, zig-zag forays, she finds the ball and wags delightedly.
Again, looking very triumphant, she trots around for a minute or two before tossing the ball aside and continuing with her vigorous circuit training.
I am delighted. She has invented a new game. Now, every day, she incorporates playing with the ball into her park walks. She hunts it, trots around with it, lies down on the grass and chomps on it, then leaps up and tosses it aside before she begins the routine all over again.
I fantasize about teaching her to retrieve. It should be possible.
Bev., watching Hairy One trotting around on the end of her long string of leads, says that it looks as though I am breaking in a wild pony. A very apt observation, I think. It’s quite exhilarating watching her race around – Isis, not Bev., I mean.
It can also be quite hazardous for the absent-minded.
My left knee has an old injury caused by a very sweet German Shepherd called Rosie who tripped me up when I was crossing a main road with her several years ago. Now and again I emit a loud shriek when I forget the injury and kneel on the sore bit. At the moment, I also have bursitis in my right knee: what a crock.
With the ball comes a new risk. When Isis is galloping around in loops, it’s pretty easy to anticipate her next move. But when she flings away the ball and commences her running, she is likely to set off at great speed in any direction. If I take my eye off the ball – metaphorically and literally – she smacks into me at knee height and at great speed. “Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!”, I bellow as I endeavour to remain upright. Isis gallops on undeterred. She seldom even shakes her head.
Slowly, slowly, my concentration, when I’m breaking in the wild pony, is beginning to improve.
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.co.uk