Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday 11th September 2016
Isis loves hunting.
At night her final pee is heralded by an intake of breath as she attempts to shove me out of the way so she can be first through the back door. Then the breath is let out fiercely in a sharp warning bark as she leaps into the darkness of the garden. The vocals, I think, are aimed at the cats or rats which have dared to cross her territory since she last went out. I hold the lead and brace myself against her sharp tugs, the fulcrum in the centre of an invisible circle as she bounds in every direction, pursuing the scents.
When out on her walks she almost never barks – perhaps she wants to conceal her finds from any marauding thieves – but pursues the wonderful smells with just as much enthusiasm.
On Friday morning, we walk around the pond in Kings Heath Park. Nancy and Rufus are in front and Kasey well behind. Suddenly, Isis springs into action, zig-zagging to the edge of the path where she springs and pounces like a cat, front paws together – ZIP! She pounces again and then again. A large rat shoots from the undergrowth a few centimetres from her and dashes towards the pond. I am very impressed.
In Highbury Park on Saturday, the foliage is silver with rain, and Isis loops through the short grass like a snail on speed, brushing the surface with her snuffling nose as she swerves this way and that, leaving a dark green trail behind her.
The huge patches of rose bay willow herb present a different challenge and require another technique. Now she pushes the tall plants aside with her muzzle and charges into their density. Much excited rooting at the base of the plants. When it’s dry the sounds of snapping stems and tearing leaves follow in her wake. Now, only spluttery FUFFs and squelchy gloops mark her progress, betraying her position in the middle (of course) of the little plantation.
She winds her way so intricately through the plants that by the time she has used up the full stretch of her extending lead, there is no possibility of her extricating herself. I follow her, disentangling the lead as I go. I release the ungrateful Hairy One, who, of course, would prefer to stay and hunt. She knows that she is about to catch a mouse.
As I steer her away, I realise that the string dangling against my thigh has lost its ball. I guess that they parted ways in the thickest part of the patch. Isis, of course, is perfectly willing to go back to search for the ball. Drenched and rather tired, I decline her offer.
Today the sun is out but the ground is still saturated from yesterday’s steady drizzle. I attempt to distract Isis, but she, naturally, is intent on pursuing her botanic studies. Back she trots among the plants. This time I follow. After many happy twists and turns, she leads us back to a little ring in the middle of the plot. She snuffles around. And there is our ball.
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