Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday December 20th 2015
It is now close to sixteen months since Isis came. I have noticed significant changes in her over the last two or three months, and so have other people. Hardly a day passes without people commenting on how different Isis is now, how much more confident, how much more relaxed and how happy she appears. I glow with pride.
Now when I return home and she smells me, her tail wags with delight. I feel hugely privileged to be welcomed like this. Her greetings were such a long time coming that they make me feel quite soppy every time. And whereas she used to be frightened and hostile if I touched her unexpectedly, now she wags with pleasure.
Grooming and drying are straightforward now: she no longer regards them as acts of aggression – although she only allows her underside and the inside of her legs to be brushed on the bedside mat during our first-thing-in-the-morning playtime! When I give her a brush or towel to sniff she immediately pops into her bed and sits down.
She still flinches away when someone she’s not met before attempts to pat her but she is no longer afraid when strangers walk close to her or stop to chat.
And what about other dogs? Well, she seems to have decided, perhaps they’re not about to attack her. Until very recently, she pulled away, tail between her legs when dogs other than Conchobhar, Rufus, Ben and Nancy came by. And it was impossible to persuade her to join a group of people with dogs, even to hover on the outer fringes of the gathering.
One morning this week she is prancing around the big field when she suddenly catches the scent of Conchobhar about a hundred yards away. I am amazed when she dashes up to him and nuzzles his face. It is even more astonishing since Keiko who has a loud bark and a mean right hook, is standing within a few feet of him.
Many dogs dash up to greet us in the park. This used to frighten poor Isis, but now her tail stays up and and she continues with her doggy business.
Today Hairy One surprises Ji. and me. The sun is quite bright when we arrive at Highbury Park and I have to give her harness a little tweak to get her to leave the car. We wait with the car door open, expecting that she will hop back into her safe place. But she doesn’t: she cowers against the car. She appears to be ambivalent. She wants to run but she’s afraid of the sun and the shadows. Very, very slowly, she follows me around the car, creeps under the barrier bars and, still very hesitant, heads for the grass. Running has won!
Although the sun pops in and out several times during her hour in the park, and now and then she jumps away from a looming tree and flattens herself on the ground, she gets up again and she doesn’t pull to return to the car.
Another battle won, little Isis.
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