Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday September August 31st 2016
The middle of the week isn’t much fun for poor Isis. The weather is changeable. The sun shines brightly, then pops in. Then it is dark, then out pops the sun again making scary dark shadows. She cringes, crawls along the edges of the shadow and loses her nerve. I have to cajole her to stay in the park. She hurries back into her car, glad to be safe again.
We need a change. So, beginning on Thursday we go early in the morning (well, early for me) to Kings Heath Park and in the afternoon to Highbury Park where there are larger open areas. She is much happier, back to her usual enthusiastic self. First she snuffles her way off the path and into the long grass. It’s dogs’ heaven. The smells! The trails! Off she rockets, nose down.
After half an hour’s following the scents she leaps up in the air and begins to pronk, bouncing over the the tussocks, back to earth, up again. Now you see her, now you don’t. She’s panting and her tongue is hanging out but still she pronks. Then she circles and clacks her teeth, then picks up another scent, then celebrates with another pronk or two. Another half hour passes, then another.
She lies down defiantly when I tug at her lead and suggest that it’s time to go to the stream for a drink. At last, distracted by the arrival of Dougie and Fergie the miniature poodles, she allows me to shift her out of the long grass and onto the path. We all walk, run or twirl, according to our natures, down to the stream. After a few judicious explorings, Isis scrabbles vertically down the bank and into the water for a drink. As one can see, it’s quite a steep bank – but that doesn’t deter Isis.
That was a good drink.
It would be nice if she comes back the way she went. She doesn’t, of course. As always, she prefers to exit via the opposite bank necessitating my jumping over the stream to follow her.
This is the sequence she follows: she drops into the stream and wades across and up the opposite bank. I follow her. She turns round and retraces her pawsteps, hesitating for a minute or so on the original bank. Then she does it again. And again. And again. Eight times.
Then, thank heaven, she discovers the joy of water hunting. She stretches out her little hairy pink toes and feels the pebbles shifting under them. Oh joy! Something’s moving under her feet. She wiggles her toes and ducks her head into the water to search for the source of movement. Delighted with her new discovery, she does it again and again. Soon she paddles off beneath the overhanging weeds and low branches which have created a tunnel about four metres long over the stream. I can’t see her now but can hear happy sploshes and glugs as she continues to hunt.
Eventually, from beneath the tunnel comes a tearing sound and she reappears by the entrance with a mouthful of leaves.
In vain do I indicate that it’s almost certainly time to go home. She disappears again, finds a broken off fir tree branch and strips off clusters of needles.
After a very long time, she is willing to be led away from the stream and back along the path to the car park.
She has been playing in the park for almost two and a half hours.
She is a very happy dog. And when she goes upstairs that night I don’t hear a comment until morning.
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 email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk