Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday February 22nd 2017
It’s Monday morning. As Isis executes her fir tree dance on the bank, I am joined by L. We play with Louis the Jack Russell on the old bowling green.
Isis has been leaping up and down for about forty minutes now. Intermittently, on her way up, or on her way down, she prunes the tree. Nip-snap. Nip-snap.
As we watch, she pauses, cocks her head on one side as though she is thinking, considering her next move.
She must have decided because she begins to move, slowly, deliberately, diagonally, down across the steep bank, towards the right hand side of the green.
She follows the course of the narrow trench which runs all the way round the green, then hesitates for a second or two before striding across it.
Now she is at the base of two flights of concrete steps which lead up to the main, asphalt path.
She hesitates at the bottom of the steps. She loves scrambling over obstacles and up steep inclines. She doesn’t mind if they’re virtually vertical. Sometimes I walk her up the concrete steps, sometimes we clambour up the bank. If given the choice, she never elects to climb the steps.
She climbs the first flight of steps, walks across the flat, rectangular space between the two flights, and then begins to climb again.
L. and I watch, fascinated, wondering what she’ll do next. She walks confidently out onto the main path and turns right.
This path dips deeply down before turning right along the edge of the green, opposite to the bank which was Hairy One’s starting point. This path divides the old green from a wooded area which runs up to the edge of the park next to the railway line. In this area, a narrow, winding, bark path weaves its way through the trees.
Does she know where she is going?
Evidently she does. She turns right at the stop of the steps, disappearing behind the catoneaster, rhododendrons and small ornamental trees.
On the other side of the path is a hawthorn hedge, dense, but not without dog-sized gaps. Quite often dogs pop through the hedge, usually in order to wade into a disgustingly odorous sump of black, greasy mud. They often forget which gap they have come in through, run up and down trying to find a way out, and have to be directed back.
It will be extremely difficult to retrieve Isis if she ventures through the hedge. I’ll have to crawl through. I’ve done it before, a number of times. But not in the rain. And it was always an uncomfortable, very prickly experience.
I needn’t have worried: little white flashes of Isis can be seen every now and then in the interstices of the shrubs.
She is trotting now, and soon emerges from behind the foliage.
Abandoning the asphalt, she continues ahead onto the bark path and follows it through the trees.
“She knows where you are”, asserts L.
Then, opposite us and just short of where the path ends, Isis turns off into the undergrowth, raises her head and sniffs hard.
She emerges onto the main path, walks across it, and picks her way across the grass close to where we are standing.
When I approach her and place a hand on her back, she wags her tail vigorously, and looks very pleased with herself.
Obviously, her sense of direction is far superior to that of her human!
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