Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday September 28th 2016
Something is different in Highbury Park when Isis arrives there on Monday: the long grass has been cut on her hunting ground. Clearly surprised, she trots back and forth on the wide stretches between the paths, nose to the ground, sniffing, sniffing.
Then, it seems as though a whole acre of smells has been uncovered. Wild with excitement, she breaks into a run and gallops over the newly exposed surface, stopping only to snuffle loudly under mounds of cut grass or scratch up the odd root.
She spends about forty minutes exploring this new doggy heaven before, it appears, nostalgia for the old scene hits her and she sniffs her way towards what is probably the only swathe of long grass remaining. This area is littered with fallen trees and stringy saplings among which it has not been possible to drive the mowing machine.
As Isis sets off towards the mini jungle, I notice a large arched tree trunk lying ahead of us. Beneath it is a little tunnel, the entrance of which is partly concealed by weeds.
“Now, Isis,” I say, “I don’t think it’s a good idea to go under there, in fact ……………………….” I am interrupted mid sentence, lurching forward as she puts on a spurt and disappears through the entrance.
“And I’m definitely not following you,” I add lamely.
Yes, I know I’m talking to a deaf dog, of course. Even so, I’m sure the naughty little creature is well aware of what the tugs on the lead mean and she’s determined that she’ll do what she wants.
She disappears under the tree trunk.
I peer over the top of the trunk. She’s thrilled to have achieved her objective and is rooting around among the weeds. I begin to wind in the extension lead but then discover that she has wound it around a thick swatch of grasses and a branch. Of course she has. There is no way to dislodge her. And the lead is too short to allow me to climb over the trunk.
Cursing, I crawl through the tunnel towards the little pest.
I struggle to untangle the lead and usher Hairy One out.
Then I notice.
Her hair is knotted with hundreds of burrs.
At home, first, I attempt to brush them out. But this has no effect except for pulling her hair. I soon discover that the only way to do it is to remove them one by one between index finger and thumb. It takes three sessions to coax them from her soft, fine coat. During the first, that evening, I manage to free her right ear. The second, after she has retired to bed, clears her cheeks and whiskers. Then the poor little soul, who is exhausted, falls asleep. The following morning, as soon as she wakes up, I tackle her left ear and her chin.
She’s beginning to look like Isis again.
I give her lots of pats and kisses. She’s been unbelievably patient, and although she’s taken my hand in her mouth and emitted quiet little growls now and again, she’s not once attempted to bite me, even when I teased the stubborn burrs from around her mouth.
I am very impressed. What a little heroine.
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