the case of the sunny park



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!


Wednesday February 17th 2016


After a few days of bright sun and frost, back again to all day rain.

Even when it is dull and wet Isis cannot be persuaded to enjoy the clean Reaside grass again. Whatever she experienced in that weird, early evening light three weeks ago, was very traumatic. Although we go back to Reaside and try again on two or three occasions at different times of day and in different weather conditions, her gaze always returns to that dangerous spot where she first saw  …….  what?

Twice a day we walk in Kings Heath Park. When the frost comes we can run on the grass again. The sun is out now and very bright. But Isis doesn’t hesitate to jump out of the car. It’s a long time since she’s hesitated. She lifts her head up towards the sky and cowers a little as we make our way from the car park, but after a few tugs she walks beside me, and, tail up again, begins to trot.

On one morning when the sun is particularly bright, she digs her heels in and won’t move so I carry her for a few metres. Once out of the car park, though, she follows Rufus and Nancy onto the grass, and she trots, best paw forward, along the tree lined path. Last summer this was one of her no-go areas. Strange.

When we reach the opposite side of the field and move along the parallel tree lined path, she flinches as we approach the tall trees and creeps towards each one, close to the ground. The closer she gets, the more she flinches. But now she goes right up to each tree and sniffs nervously around its roots. It is as though she expects it to rear up from the ground and grab her.

We have all conjectured many times about what exactly spooks her. Perhaps when she was a puppy she was frightened by shadows of people towering over her with arms outstretched. Perhaps where she lived in Portugal there weren’t big trees. Perhaps there was something which regularly passed between her and the sun and scared her.

For a long time I assumed that it was the sun per se which frightens her. Then I believed that it was the shadows. Or very tall trees.

Today the jigsaw pieces seem, at last, to heave themselves together and I realise that it is the position and intensity of the sun or the light in relation to large objects, especially trees, which determine whether or not she feels threatened.

Fortunately, the more familiar she becomes with ‘her’ park, the more confident she is and, even if she has a bad experience one day, she is still keen to be there the next day.  Also, of course, she hasn’t had her garden to run in, and, for Isis, life is not life without running.


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 or

This entry was posted in scary shadows, strange behaviour, walking in the park, we don't like bright sun and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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