Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday January 3rd 2016
Well, Isis and I have fallen out. Twice since Christmas. She has done what she’d not done since last April: bitten me. I have done what I swore I would never do again whatever the provocation: smacked her.
Very, very slowly, Hairy One’s food manners have improved – but more about her progress in that area next Wednesday.
A week ago today, the day I fetch her back from Holly Trees, I ignore the couple of yaps she utters while she eats her evening meal. She is disorientated and needs time to resettle.
The next morning when she barks, I remove her food. Although she always protests when her meal disappears, she has not snapped at me for weeks and I discarded my gardening gloves long ago.
At the kennels, of course, she did not follow her usual feeding routine and no doubt had a woof or two when she fancied. Needless to say, she does not take kindly to her food being whisked away and gives my hand a sharp nip as it exits left with her dish.
This evening, after a lovely ninety minutes prance (with Isis, I hasten to add) on the grass by the river Rea, I open the car door to release her from her safety strap. But two low, warning growls tell me something is wrong. The clip on the safety strap has embedded itself in her long, thick, winter coat, no doubt as she settled herself into her back seat nest to come home.
This is a challenging situation. The scenario is very similar to that in which, very early on in our relationship, several clips jammed around her neck as she twirled round in the car on her way to the park. She was in pain and when I attempted to release her, she was so terrified that she attacked me viciously. Obviously, I had to continue, and, as some will recall, I ended up at the local out of hours surgery.
This time, I comfort her and reassure her that I’ll sort it out and I won’t hurt her.
The hair is knotted very tightly around the clip and it takes me four or five minutes to disentangle it. The dear little creature is impressively trusting, standing absolutely still without a sound until I’ve finished.
I give her a special treat.
She was bathed only yesterday and I want to avoid another double sink job, so I soak a towel in warm water and commence to wipe her down very gently. As I wipe her underside and the inside of her back legs, she utters threatening growls. Then, as usual when she is upset or thwarted, she flies into a rage and attacks herself.
Finding it very difficult to remain calm when she attacks herself, I angrily sweep her up and put her in the sink. To the accompaniment of threatening growls, the offending areas are washed.
When I lift her down she rushes into the back room and leaps onto the futon. I tuck a towel under part of her but when I try to move the rest of her onto it, she attacks herself fiercely again. Irritated, I intercept.
Bite two. Very cross dog. Lots of blood.
The worst thing is, I now realise, both bites could have been avoided. They occurred because Isis was stressed and Human had become too cocky. Earlier in the week I should have worn my gloves to take away her food bowl. And today, moving her onto the towel was obviously the last straw.
Now she curls into a damp, miserable heap in my futon space. Although, nowadays, she usually concedes the space after a grumble, I decide that this is not the time to challenge her.
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