Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday November 16th 2016
When Hairy One’s last ball-on-a-string died of exhaustion, I bought two replacements from Sainsbury’s. They are bright, almost fluorescent and very squishy, even jelly like. The other dogs love them. Unfortunately, they don’t appeal to Isis. On the first day I give her one, she picks it up a couple of times, but soon drops it. The next day she hunts for it but after opening her mouth to pick it up, changes her mind and abandons it. The day after that she sniffs at it but picks it up gingerly at the rope end. She does this again but after that finds the ball, sniffs at it and dashes off.
I conclude that she doesn’t like the feel of it. Shame I bought two! But Bev. comes to the rescue. Nancy and Rufus have lost one of their Sainsbury’s balls and aren’t very interested in the harder replacement they’ve been given. We swop. The two labradoodles snatch their ball delightedly before we have time to take the label off, and when I throw Hairy One’s for her, she grabs it and carries it with her usual enthusiasm. Great.
But this week Isis has other preoccupations. She has discovered that the tickly things which have been brushing her eyebrows and nestling in her whiskers are coming from trees.
Now, as we know, Isis has a very ambivalent relationship with trees. When the sun shines brightly behind them, their black shadows terrify her, and when a very strong wind causes their branches to thrash around, she cowers beneath them, her tail clenched into her stomach.
But at present trees hold a magnetic fascination for her. As soon as she feels a delightful crunching beneath her paws, she begins to prance and lifts up her head apparently waiting for delicious leaf-flies to fall. When a flurry of them swirls around her she is beside herself with joy, twirling, leaping up, snapping her teeth at them, trying to grab them as she does raindrops.
Most of the trees in Kings Heath Park are deciduous, and she will happily spend hours leaping and bounding beneath a small group of them. Every now and then, failing to catch a leaf, she ducks her head down and snatches one or two from the grass.
Hairy One’s unusual activities often attract attention, and so it is with the leaf hunting. “What’s she doing?”, Je., like other dog walkers, enquires, fascinated.
And I attempt to interpret her behaviour. “It’s like when she chases the rain flies”, I explain inanely, “Only it’s leaves.”
“Ooo!”, exclaims Je., “She’s caught one!”
But I think she snatched it from the grass. I gaze at her suspiciously.
She eats the evidence.
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