Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday June 5th 2016
Dividing the futon into ‘hers’ and ‘mine’ areas has been quite successful. Although every now and then Isis decides that she’ll claim my end, she usually sticks to her own. This means that our evenings are generally more peaceful. Not over the last few days though.
On Friday we set off to RSPCA Newbrook Farm for our – well her – monthly anal gland appointment. Since it is half-term, the traffic is wonderfully light and we arrive fifteen minutes early. Time to have another try at persuading Isis to walk from the car park to the hospital entrance. I don’t hold my breath as I open the car door.
She has a good sniff around on the grass, then I give two or three firm tugs and, amazingly, she walks beside me out of the car park, up to the gate, along the buildings, past the stretch where the barks of caged dogs is the loudest, along the path, up to the door of reception and, yes, with a little encouragement, into the reception area. This is the first time she has done it.
Great. I didn’t have to ring for the gate to the disabled parking spaces to be opened. I’m delighted. Even though the staff are very understanding, I always feel rather foolish when we return to the car after her appointment. It’s fine when we arrive. She refuses to move from the side of the car and has to be carried the last few metres, so the problem is plain to see. When we leave, however, Isis, of course is delighted and we are strikingly non-disabled as we leap out of the building and bound towards our privileged parking space. Although I twitch a bit and look very anxious, as though afflicted by some mysterious condition, one or two other pet owners look at us quizzically as they approach reception. Last time we visited, a woman said loudly, “See mum, we could have parked there.”
Oh dear. Well, hopefully, we’ll be able to use the regular car park like everyone else from now on. And I smile to myself as we drive off for a walk in the park. Isis has been particularly irritable over the last few days. Hopefully, now her glands have been attended to, she’ll be more relaxed again.
But she isn’t. Although in the evening she is exhausted from the day’s activities and snoozes happily until bedtime, once upstairs, she becomes restless and growly. She sticks a back foot in her mouth amidst increasingly angry growls, and begins to snarl. I try to intervene before she is beyond calming, but don’t always succeed. Big Polar Bear tries hard too. But despite our best efforts, Hairy One remains irritable and snarly.
After three or four of these episodes, I fetch her Doggles from downstairs and put them on her. She carries on as though she is being murdered. The growling, barking and snarling continues as I struggle to wrap the little ****** in her Thundershirt. I settle back to reading and she pipes down. After a few minutes, I feel her head drop onto my foot, then silence. She sleeps.
I am wondering whether it was being held by the (very nice) veterinary nurse whom she’d not met before which upset her. Usually, I hold her sharp end while the vet does the business. Perhaps Hairy One is having flashbacks.
The ferocious protests begin earlier on Saturday. At eight o’clock Polymath comments on the rising hysteria on the other end of the phone.
“You must have prodded her with your toe or elbow,” she accuses.
“No, I b. well haven’t,” I reply irritably, raising my voice so that I might be heard above the racket. Perhaps sleep deprivation is getting the better of me.
“Well, you know what you’re like. You must have done something.”
Actually, she’s right. I have. Earlier in the day, believe it or not, I cleaned the window sill. In order to do this, I drew back the blinds. I get up, phone in hand, and draw them. The effect is instantaneous, just like throwing a switch.
Bedtime follows the pattern of the night before. Growling, front foot nibbling, back foot stuck in mouth, snarls rising to a crescendo.
But, at last, dim owner has worked out that the light in the bedroom is changing now summer has arrived and that this is most likely to be what is freaking out poor Isis. So, ignoring the ferocious threats from the Hairy One, on with her Doggles, on with her Thundershirt. And then, for the next thirty minutes or so, Human must be hyper-vigilent, every toe frozen until someone is deeply asleep.
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