Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday March 29th 2017
I think the world of her. Of course. I have huge admiration for her. Of course.
But just in case we’re all in danger of getting carried away, we should remind ourselves that Isis is no angel.
To put it politely, she is an exceptionally determined animal. To put it less politely, she is the most obstinate little beggar I’ve ever shared my home with. And this includes a very recalcitrant shih tzu.
Even so, I was taken aback by an incident which happened last week.
It’s a bright, sunny day in Highbury park and Isis and I enjoy hanging out in all her favourite areas. She cavorts on the meadow, dances around the pine trees, and has a good gallop on the slope below the little beech wood before padding off among the beeches towards the woodland walk. I follow her. It’s been dry and breezy for two days and the boggy parts on the higher ground are drying up nicely. At last.
I have to redirect Hairy One once or twice as we can’t agree on which path to take. She prefers the lower, still mud-sticky route which I, not unreasonably, am attempting to avoid.
So we do have one or two little contretemps, but nothing heavy.
Until, that is, we reach the final stretch. As we descend towards the communal orchard, Isis is drawn towards a right hand fork which – of course – leads onto the claggiest path. In vain do I give her the gentle little cheek pats which indicate the direction we’re taking. Pat, pat on her left cheek, “This way, sweetheart.”
Usually, she complies readily. But not now.
She tries to push past me.
Pat, pat on left cheek again. “This way, sweetheart.”
Her front legs stiffen. Stand-off.
It’s a lovely day and Human is feeling cheerful and tolerant.
Pat, pat. “This way sweetheart.”
“Nyaff!” says sweetheart, flicking her teeth against my hand and looking very cross.
Human’s tolerance evaporates. It’s her turn to snap. “You naughty little dog!”, she snarls before clipping on naughty little dog’s extending lead and giving it a tug.
What does Isis do? Trot obediently after me? Not on your Nelly.
She does what she always does on these occasions. She stiffens her sturdy front legs, spreads out her toes and jerks back her head until the harness is wrapped round her pink spotty nose.
Often I’m tempted to leave her trussed up for a minute or two, but then other, kinder, dog owners rush up, declaring, “Poor little thing! Let me hold the lead while you free her.”
Then I feel impelled to smile benignly and unwrap the irritating little creature. Grrrrrrrrr.
Today we are alone so I scowl at her, flip the harness back again, remove the extending lead and clip on her Makuti walking lead. Both the harness and the cross chest clips. This tells her I mean business. She trots obediently by my side. So I should think.
When we reach the bottom of the community orchard and the mounds of different composts – chippings, leaves, and soil – which are so alluring to Isis, I relent and release her again. Well, she was corrected, shown the right path for a dog to follow, metaphorically speaking, and now we can forget her misdemeanor. We don’t hold grudges.
As I watch her pottering around contentedly, I am startled by a shout, “Pat! Look out! Dougie!”
It’s L., thoughtfully enabling me to avoid being smacked across the back of my knees by Dougie who is hammering his way towards me at full pelt down the slope. I thank L. and tell her about naughty Isis.
I turn to point at the miscreant. But the top of the soil mound upon which she was happily sniffing is empty.
Where the hell is she? She can’t have gone far.
Then I spot her. I can’t believe it. We both gaze open-mouthed back up the slope which we’ve just descended. A hairy white rump is rapidly disappearing into the scrub. I suddenly realise where the little b. is going.
L., Dougie, Fergie and I race after her.
Yes. She’s hurrying to the path I wouldn’t let her take. Before I can grab her, she defiantly plonks both front feet into a pool of thick, slimy mud.
“Well,” says L. “We might as well take this path now.”
So we do.
Isis gets her own way: little toad.
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