Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday January 6th 2016
And this is where last Sunday’s trouble began. With a filthy dog who, like most dogs, prefers to let the furnishings gradually soak up the dirt rather than to be assaulted with a damp cloth.
Her expression conveys foreboding, I think.
On Monday and Tuesday we return to the river Rea but this time we stay on the stretches of long grass which have not served as unofficial football pitches or cycle tracks. Wonderful. Not a mud patch in sight. Isis tears up and down, gallops round and round, hunts and pounces on twiggy branches and enjoys herself immensely. And, then, wonder of wonders, when all the running is done, result! She’s tired, wet and happy – but clean!
This is our cunning plan, then, for avoiding washing reluctant canine: a civilised walk on her ordinary lead in Kings Heath Park in the morning and a wild canter on her retractable lead by the side of the Rea in the afternoon.
Looking at today’s photo, I am very surprised at Hairy One’s slim waistline and the length of her legs. When her hair is dry, she looks very solid and her legs appear quite short. I know that she is still gaining weight as we checked her out on the scales at RSPCA Newbrook Farm yesterday. She is now 13.55 kilos.
It appears that her visits to the vet will be very regular. Since Christmas she had been nyaff-nyaffing very irritably at her rear end again so although it was only November when she last had her anal glands emptied, I decided to have them checked again. Sure enough, another emptying was called for. James, the vet, told me that some dogs need this procedure monthly. I am astonished. I had no idea.
It is sad to think that poor little Isis must have been very uncomfortable for most of her life. No wonder she has rages. At least now I am able to recognise the signs (atypically, she does not smell) so she can be treated as soon as the problem arises.
A wonderful calm has begun to descend over our kitchen at dog feeding time. No longer does Hairy One bark, yip, growl or spin while her meal is being prepared. No longer does she jump at the wall, snarling and yapping to ward of the meal thieves which she is convinced surround her.
An altogether different routine now appears to be established. We wander into the kitchen around 10.30 a.m. or 6.00 p.m. Isis stands by her bowl looking hopeful. Her water bowl is removed for refilling. Her meal is assembled and popped into her stand. She walks behind me and sits by my left leg. I touch her beneath her chin then back off. She begins to eat. I love to hear her crunching her Burns instead of choking down unchewed mouthfuls. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! She eats steadily with none of the former outbursts of hysteria.
Yesterday, preoccupied, I put down her bowl and walk into the back room. I have forgotten to give her the ‘eat it’ signal. I turn back and to my astonishment, she is still sitting waiting for the signal! True, only a few seconds have elapsed, but even so, I am very impressed.
We are still working on establishing a calm ending to her eating routine. Although she no longer flies into an uncontrollable rage as soon as her dish is empty, she still tends to do a rudimentary spin. This can be pre-empted if I wait, treat in hand until she has eaten the last scrap, then pat her gently on her side and let her take the treat. Generally, she’ll then return calmly to her dish while I replace her water bowl. I hope that with a gentle ending like this, repeated over a few more weeks, the residual anger will just tail off.
I still find the improvement amazing. It has taken a very long time to achieve but it is worth every minute spent just to see Isis eating like a normal dog.
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