Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday March 12th 2017
A long, tall, thick hedge divides the old bowling green from the next level up. There was once a gap in the hedge which a person could walk through, but now the top of the hedge has knitted itself back together, and there’s only a low, round, dog-sized hole.
Now, Isis has popped through this hole once or twice before and, as if by magic, has found herself on the other side of the hedge. Always she has stayed and played on the side she’s landed on, or followed the hedge to its end and pottered back down or up to where she was before the magic happened.
I think that magic is around quite often for a blind dog and s/he just takes it in her/his stride. Things just happen, for no conceivable reason and might or might not occur again.
On Saturday, it’s different. Isis dances and pounces round one of her favourite fir trees for half an hour or so, while members of the tai-chi group who practise in the park on Saturday mornings, watch her, transfixed.
They tell me that they could watch her all day and ask if she is trying to catch flies! I explain her sensory disabilities and what I think she is doing. Reluctantly they tear themselves away, telling each other they must get some work done.
Isis sniffs her way along the hedge, finds the hole, and pops through it.
Expecting her to meander off along the hedge, I scramble quickly up the bank and watch her closely.
It’s as though she’s having a light bulb moment. She doesn’t dance or set off along the hedge. She hesitates, then begins to sniff all around her. I think she is searching for the hole. She is.
She finds it and, very carefully, little toes spread, she sniffs her way back through and pops out.
It’s as if she’s suddenly discovered that arriving on the other side of the hedge is not magic at all. It’s something a dog can choose to do.
I pat her and she wags her tail vigorously. She seems very pleased with herself. Like a small child who has learned a new skill, she repeats the process over and over and over again.
I can’t believe how many times she does it. If I try to video her, she’ll sure loose interest by the time I get my phone out.
But she doesn’t.
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