Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday January 31st 2016
Should we go to the meadows again or will the fear carry over? While not wanting to reinforce Hairy One’s anxiety, I am reluctant to forego the clean, wet grass of Reaside. I decide to suck it and see. A pleasant surprise awaits: Isis is as excited as ever to arrive.
And there are rain flies, always a welcome extra. For an hour she plays happily. Then, at about four forty, the same time as yesterday, she stops dead, lowers her tail, lifts her head up towards the sky and freezes before flattening herself onto the wet grass at the same spot as yesterday. Weird.
She is, I realise, lifting her head towards the west again. There is no sun to be seen but she must be able to perceive its brightness behind the clouds. She is terrified.
As I try to ease her back along the low railing which divides the grass from the little service road, she backs under the railing like an oiled fish and, facing me, jerks and tugs against the fully stretched lead. I cannot run towards her and allow the lead to slacken in case a car comes along. As I hold tightly to the lead, retracting it as I go, she tugs herself out of the harness and trots onto the road. I nearly produce a litter.
Very fortunately, no vehicles turn into the road as she trots across it, and she stops, momentarily as she comes up against a parked car. I have to grab a handful of her coat and she flashes her head round aggressively. But she stops at my hand without biting me and I am able to reach her collar and hold her while I replace her harness.
She is very anxious to get into her car. At home, while I put stuff away in the porch, I open the front door so that she can go into the hall. When I enter the house, a few seconds later, she is nowhere to be seen. Upon investigation, I discover her on my bed. This is her safest place of all. She eats her evening meal but glances around nervously as she does so and utters muffled woofs. She ignores the chocolate drop trail laid out for her in the back room and her bedtime treat of chopped up Dentistix.
The next morning she has a good walk in Kings Heath Park. She is relaxed and chirpy. As we begin to walk around the pond, she suddenly turns and sets off in the opposite direction. Strange, I think. But I don’t have a dog’s nose. There are Nancy, Rufus and Conchobhar, and, more to the point, Gr. and Bev., who are always generous with their treats.
Isis has begun her day well. In the afternoon, we set off to Reaside at three. I hope that the sun, hidden behind clouds, will still be high enough not to perturb her.
Unfortunately it isn’t and there is no way Hairy One will stay on the meadow. Instead, we walk along the path by the Rea until we reach the rugby fields at the beginning of Cannon Hill Park. We walk along the edge of the field before retracing our footsteps. Although she is not panicky, Isis is reluctant to walk and needs lots of reassurance. Once or twice on the fields she breaks into a normal run but soon comes to a halt and peers nervously up at the western sky. It is as though she suddenly remembers the danger.
Although she spends most of Friday evening upstairs on the bed, she still sleeps soundly until after ten next morning. The stress must have worn her out, poor little dog.
On Saturday, the sun disentangles itself from the clouds and shines very brightly all day. Isis is very frightened and wanders from room to room, scaring herself with each new burst of light.
She reminds me of my grandmother who used to insist on reading the News of the World when it made its way into the house, but complained constantly as she read about how disgusting all the articles were.
Even though I draw the blinds in the back room and the bedroom, she (Hairy One, not my grandmother) gets more and more worked up and is unable to settle anywhere.
At last the sun goes in and we rush to the park. But by the time we arrive, the sun has popped out again. Often, when the sun is high up in the sky in the summer, once she has made it to the middle of the field where there are no shadows, Isis is happy to race around. But not today. I make her exit the car park and she rushes onto the grass, pees mightily and then insists on returning to the car.
She remains anxious and restless for the rest of the day, and is distraught when I have to put a light on.
When it is dark, she settles with me on the futon while I chat to a friend on the phone, and afterwards as I read on the Hudl. But I have to use a tiny torch to allow me to plug in any devices and hide under a fleece so that she is not upset by the glow from the Hudl. Ah me, you’ll have to begin doing Hudl tests on your rescued dogs, Kerry!
It is not until much later, when I join her upstairs that she begins to relax.
This morning, I must be the only person in the West Midlands who is relieved to get up to dull skies and steady drizzle.
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