Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday 23rd October 2016
Months ago now, in Kings Heath Park, Isis veered so suddenly from her path along the hedge on the area above the old bowling green, that I was unable to prevent her from running full tilt into one of the park’s mowers.
Perhaps this was not merely an isolated incident but the beginning of a long-term obsession.
The first few times that she pursues Kevin as he operates the huge mower, I think that perhaps, catching his scent, she has hopes of treats. But she is so uncontrollably excited, I begin to doubt this.
Of course. She can’t see or hear the mower but she can feel the vibrations it’s creating. I decide that she’s fascinated because she can feel it moving.
Every time we pass close to the mower, she races towards it, desperate it appears, to fling herself in front of it. She’s so desperate to catch up with it that I have to fight to keep her clear of its wheels.
At first she only pursues Kevin and his wonderful mowing machine when we happen to come across them. Soon, though, she begins to drag me across the big field in pursuit of her heart’s desire.
This is beginning to be embarrassing. I hope that Kevin doesn’t think I’ve got a girlish crush on him.
I battle to keep her out of his path. Since I’m so unreasonably refusing to allow her to run in front of Kevin, she lurches behind him, panting heavily. I sprint jerkily behind her. Heaving desperately on her lead and cursing between clenched teeth, I try hard to look as if I’m enjoying myself.
It seems to me that every time Kevin turns the mower round, there we are, racing towards him. I wave merrily as I strain to drag Isis off in the opposite direction.
What the hell’s the matter with her? I’ve never seen any other dog behave like this.
One morning she refuses to settle to running or sniffing or hunting Ball on a String. She is restless and wants to move on from the areas in which she usually plays enthusiastically. Tug, tug. Scrabble, scrabble. Her nose points only towards our usual path back to the car park. Strange. She doesn’t appear upset or frightened.
She strides on past the children’s playground, along the edge of the main car park and towards the metal fence which divides the park from the road. She likes to walk back along this fence.
But not today. As soon as she turns the corner into the main field, she leaps towards the grass. I can’t believe it. Yes, it’s Kevin and his wonderful mowing machine.
I manage to hold her back until, reaching the far end of the field, Kevin swerves the machine round to cut a new path. Now I allow the frantic Isis to run along the newly mown stretch, thinking that she’ll enjoy the smells.
She runs, but what she really wants to do is veer off to the right and run towards the mower again.
I give up. This animal is beyond reason.
But the next time we encounter the mower, she bursts onto the scene before I can drag her away. She’s frantic with excitement. She zigzags behind it, nose to the ground, veering from one cut edge to the other. What the hell is she doing?
“It’s as though she’s hunting,” I tell Polymath, having recounted the episodes of mower stalking.
“Ah!”, exclaims my friend, “That’s what she is doing. She knows that vibrations like those bring out little animals. It happens with harvesting.”
I question how on earth Isis could know that. A deaf/blind dog couldn’t have had experience in the field.
“But”, my friend insists, “Isis is a podengo. And podengos are hunting dogs.” My friend is sure that Hairy One’s behaviour must be instinctive.
Now, come on, you Portuguese podengo experts: what do you think?
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