Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday April 12th 2017
This week we’ve reverted to our winter coats, hats and gloves as the temperature has plunged again. The sun drenched weekend seems like a fantasy.
But it happened, and here is Isis, last Sunday evening, sleeping off a lovely weekend.
On both Saturday and Sunday we spend over two and a half hours in the warm sun in Highbury Park.
On Saturday, Dougie the miniature poodle finds us before we reach the stream. Close behind him are brother Fergie and, following after, owner L.
Hardly have we finished our greetings when we bump into Jack Russel squirreller Lola and her person Jo. We all walk up the slope to the little beech wood, through to the back paths, and onto Hairy One’s favourite hillock. Here, Dougie and Lola look for squirrels to annoy, Fergie and L. play with a squeaky ball and Isis twirls endlessly in the shade beneath the trees.
Then we set off along the top path, strolling across the twiggy, branch-shadowed little tracks, weaving our way towards the Community Orchard.
We all notice how confident and chirpy Isis is. Jo. hasn’t seen her following the paths off-lead before and is amazed. Hairy One is getting to know these paths very well and for much of the time trots ahead of the group, tail waving high. None of the three dogs react when Isis walks into them, nor does Isis react when they brush past her.
I notice that when we come to forks in the path, she drops back and lifts her face up to me. I think that she’s checking which route we are taking, because, when I direct her with a touch or two, she trots off and takes the lead again.
We walk down the slope alongside the Community Orchard and back into the main park again.
Isis goes back on her lead. But soon, a determined tugging tells us that she wishes to be free again so that she can follow the little track which leads up to the walled garden and onto the undulating landscaped area where there are favourite trees to worship and shrubs and scrubby areas to explore.
On Sunday, after a preliminary prance on the meadow and a quick drink from the stream, Isis is taken up to her beloved pine avenue. After thirty minutes of dancing, prancing and pruning, she must, I decide, be ready to move on, so I capture her and and walk her to the bench at the edge of the little beech wood. Optimistically, I release her and sink onto the bench next to Ji.
She snuffles perfunctorily among the daffodils. But her heart isn’t in it. She soon sniffs her way back across the field to the pines and resumes her dance routine.
Once Hairy One pops behind a pine tree, it’s impossible to see her from the bench, so lazy Human is obliged to plod back across the field. I give her another ten minutes in the avenue and then recapture her, suggesting for a second time that it might be nice for a dog to trot around in the vicinity of the bench.
Pointing her in the opposite direction from the pines, I sink to rest once more. Then I watch as she weaves her way across the field, back to her piny dance floor.
Reluctantly, we follow her.
We are still there when we are discovered by a joyful Dougie, followed by an equally joyful Fergie. Ji. watches over Isis who waltzes in and out of the trees for at least another twenty minutes. Then off we go around the pond, across the stepping stones. When, once before, I led Isis across these stones, she was very jittery and uncertain. But now she is happy to follow the others. She explores each stone with her front paws, apparently to determine where it begins and ends, then steps forward confidently.
After we emerge onto the field, we meet Y. with Bo and Ruffi.
Thirteen weeks ago Y. collected Bo from the rescue centre almost as soon as the dog arrived from Serbia. The poor little creature was in a terrible state, miserable and stinking of the faeces and urine which matted her coat. Pitifully thin, she weighed just over five kilos.
I’d not seen Bo since her first appearance in the park almost three months ago. Her coat had been recently shaved, and her backbone and ribs were clearly visible.
I’d received updates from L. on how well she was progressing, but wasn’t prepared for the transformation. In only eleven weeks, the once pathetic, head-hanging, nervous little wreck has become a beautiful, bouncy, mischievous dog with soft, thick hair and weighing fifteen kilos.
The fine weather has brought out the family picnickers, and, before Y. can stop them, naughty Bo. grabs a cupcake and Ruffy devours it. Fortunately, the picknicking family waves aside poor Y.’s apologies, and our group slinks off to the landscaped mounds where we humans sit on a fallen tree trunk and the dogs play and rest.
Except for Isis who plays and plays and plays some more.
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