Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday January 1st 2017
Although separated from my Isis during a Christmas stay in Wales, I am not completely deprived of animal company. Last time I visited, Daisy cat ignored my advances, refusing to have anything to do with me. This time, she purrs when I tickle her behind her ears; she even comes upstairs and sleeps on my bed.
But I miss naughty Isis and look forward to bringing her home. At Holly Trees, Tracey and Adam assure me that Isis always behaves well, although I am not surprised to hear that she defends her food very noisily, just as she used to at home. It is always clear from her body language that she feels safe and is well looked after. And she can entertain herself by tearing up the large pile of cardboard boxes she’s allowed to take with her.
This is her sixth stay in the kennels. The first few times I collected her, she showed no emotion, just trotted obligingly back to the car with me. Over time she began to show some recognition, giving me a cursory sniff, then a wag or two. This time she wags and wags and executes several little greeting bows.
She pops into the car very swiftly and off we go to the park.
When we return home she wags when we go through the door and wags even more vigorously when I give her little hugs. She tolerates an inordinate number of hugs and cuddles, even kisses on her nose. She behaves impeccably and sleeps through the night without a complaint.
I think she is pleased to be home.
Today, the first day of 2017, a leaden sky hangs over us all day like a protracted sigh. Who the hell wants to get out of bed? She with the pink spotty nose, unfortunately. Reluctantly, I wriggle into my dressing gown and carry the warm hairy creature down the stairs, kissing the top of her head as we go.
2017, I tell myself, will be the year I teach her to walk downstairs steadied by some kind of harness. It may be a long-handled bag with four leg holes cut out of the bottom. We’ll experiment. Some strange shoulder injury has prompted me to think about a strategy for her morning – and, some days, additional – descents. I can still carry her as the shoulder only hurts in certain positions, but next time it could be a knee or a foot.
After what must seem an age to Isis, at last we get in the car. I turn the key. But the engine doesn’t have the strength to turn over. The battery is dead. There’s a problem with the electronics, and I guess that the indicators have been flashing on and off for about twenty four hours.
Sigh. It takes us about twenty five minutes to walk to the park, and it’s slashing down, which means that Isis will leap up and down snatching at the rain flies all the way there. **** and **** and ******!
Off we lurch. I hold the lead down low, close to her shoulder to pre-empt the highest leaps and avoid being tripped up and/or knocked over, although the silly animal still manages to jump sideways and smack her little face on the side of a wall. I rub her face, she shakes her head, and we continue our dance.
For a person, even an outdoor type, Kings Heath Park is not enticing today. The rain drips relentlessly, the grass is sodden and, since I forgot to Dubbin my boots, my feet are damp. Even the squirrels and the little wagtail who trots around pecking at the turf looks bedraggled.
There is, of course, an alternative view.
What a wonderful walk. Rain flies! Rain flies! And big, fat, sploshy ones too. I’m a bit restricted on the way to the park. She’s holding me down, not letting me enjoy the rain. Mean, isn’t it?
But now I’m here, free on the old bowling green. Whoopee! I can run and leap and snap at the rain flies as much as I want. There’s no other dogs on the green. It’s all mine. I gallop and twirl and dance. I could stay here for ever.
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