Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday June 22nd 2016
Isis has really taken to balls. Her favourite is Ball on a String. Her last ball on a string was chewed virtually flat before she dropped it in the park one day and I didn’t notice.
The current one I found weeks ago in the middle of a service road where there were no dogs to whom I could return it. Isis accepted it readily, and so far it has withstood hours of being chomped. Generally, any toy on a string has its string nibbled off very quickly but Ball on a String has escaped this fate, and has prevented the little toad from chewing and swallowing sticks.
Our game goes like this: I dangle Ball on a String in front of Hairy One’s nose, then fling it as far away as I can, urging her to hunt it down. Off she goes, nose to the ground, a dog on a mission, circling until she gets its scent, then closing in and grabbing it. Often, she celebrates her kill with a triumphant jog, head held high, ball in mouth, string dangling. Then it’s time to settle down for a long, long chew.
The downside of this otherwise great game, is that Isis, naturally, refuses to release her prey. Human, who is anxious for Isis to have as much exercise as possible, intervenes. But the tug of war which ensues is not only most undignified – it’s O.K. for dogs to stick their rumps in the air, but less so humans – it’s enervating too. Then a dog trainer advises that the best way to retrieve a ball from a dog’s mouth is to hook your finger behind the ball and tug.
Human hooks her finger behind Ball on a String ….. and tugs. Splog! Out shoots the ball. Crunch! Isis clamps her mouth shut. On my left index finger. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrg!” I shriek, as the jagged pain from the impaled finger screams its way up my arm and tugs at my armpit. And “Isis! Leggoooooooo!”, I bellow at my deaf dog.
Fortunately, she either tastes the blood or feels that it’s me, not the ball between her teeth. She opens her mouth and I drop on the grass with a gasp of relief.
When I’ve exhausted the tissues I happen to have in my pocket, I wrap lime tree leaves round the finger to stem the bleeding. Never mind, Isis and I have a jar of Sudocrem each. When we get home, I reach for hers. (Mine’s upstairs.)
Now, I encourage her to run and explore. Clearing the sticks is much easier than it was as the park grass is mowed at least twice a week and the sticks macerated into bits too small for even Isis to be tempted. So I can withhold the ball until about fifteen minutes before it’s time to go home and she can lie down and savour it before carrying it back to the car.
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