Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday December16th 2015
The back garden becomes more revolting as each day passes. The compacted clay holds murky pools of rainwater. For weeks I’ve searched for a solution. Most surfaces I can think of would hurt her feet. Artificial grass is hideously expensive, not exactly environmentally friendly and I find it unpleasant to touch.
After much research, I come across rubber playground mats. These have holes in them through which the grass grows. The rubber mats, which protect the grass roots from being destroyed, become invisible once they are grassed over.
I also come across some tough grass seed mixture which goes by the delightful name of ‘Sprogs and Dogs’. But if I use grass seed, I reason, it will be summer before Isis can use the garden again, whereas turf could be put down now.
I consult C., an experienced landscape gardener, who tells me that turf won’t be suitable to use with the mats. Seed sown in the spring, he tells me, will grow up through the mats very quickly and is much cheaper than turf. He will check out the rubber mats and give me a price for creating a lawn.
Meanwhile, She With the Very Long Ears is missing her garden. I had dreaded the winter months, thinking that she would be stir crazy, but until today she has been coping much better than I expected.
Because the light fades so quickly, we often do a road walk in the evening rather than a second park walk.
The good news is that she is losing her fear of street lights. Bright lights from approaching cars still alarm her but as long as we walk with our backs facing the oncoming traffic, she seems fine.
The bad news is that now she is more confident, she is no longer content to walk nicely to heel but tugs vigorously on her lead and dances, clacking her little castanet teeth when she feels a rain fly land on her.
I am useless at teaching walking to heel, but I’ll have to set to.
I am attempting to teach Isis to recognise two quick tugs on her lead as a signal that she is about to walk into an obstacle. There is no shortage of obstacles as we dash along the pavement: lamposts, wheelie bins, car bumpers jutting from drives, all have to be carefully circumvented.
Hairy One doesn’t find the instruction very entertaining. Feeling festive, she prefers to nip off a yard or two of the evergreens which peep over front garden fences and wave them around as we proceed along the pavement. With a surreptitious glance around me I retrieve the strands, drop them back over the fences and scuttle off.
Today Isis is bursting with energy. She shakes the bedroom mat and barks until I get up. It’s time to be off, she thinks.
We walk round the park paths with the pack and gallop the field for forty-five minutes on our own. But this is not enough for Isis who protests when I herd her towards the car park and refuses to jump into the car.
After dog’s breakfast I have to go out for an hour. When I return she is snuffling around looking for mischief. She settles down and snoozes – but only for about twenty minutes. Then she gets up and grabs the fireguard. I retrieve it. She grabs it again. And again. When she eventually gets the message that this is not acceptable, she attacks her cardboard box stash.
She begins quite calmly ……………………………………………
then becomes more and more frenetic until
At this point I decide that one park visit and a road walk a day are not enough for this energetic little podengo. We’d better take another trip to the park.
She loves her second park visit and gallops around gleefully for over ninety minutes. But back at home she’s finally rebelling after six weeks of no garden.
At 9.30 p.m. she’s in orbit. She tears up cardboard boxes, empties waste bins and throws around the fireguard.
Then a volley of unnecessarily loud barks announce that she wishes to go outside. We return, she has her Dentistix and then, hallelujah, she climbs the stairs on her way to bed.
Gradually unclenching my fists and jaws, I resume my blog writing.
How many more months of winter have we to endure?
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 email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk