Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday April 19th 2017
It’s usually quite straightforward to keep an eye on Isis when she’s free in the park. I know her habits and what she is likely to do in various environments. When she is taken to the top of the pine avenue, she always chooses to spiral gradually down hill. If we’re up on her favourite grass mound, she likes to spend most of her time on the highest point, behind a large tree. In the landscaped area, she has earmarked two ‘special’ trees, a dense fir and a spreading holly. If she’s not prancing around either of these, she’ll be playing in the shrubbery.
I often think what a good thing it is that dogs aren’t green: if they were, it’d be a hell of a job to find them. Under the circumstances, it’s very helpful that Isis is mostly a very bright white. When she’s rollicking behind trees, bushes or hedges, one can usually see a flash of ears, trunk or tail.
It’s Tuesday morning and a group of dog walkers is gathered down on the old bowling green. Up on the bank, Isis is trotting around contentedly behind her little fir tree. Often she will play in this area for forty minutes or more before moving off to fresh pastures.
But today puppy Ben has joined us. He is only four months and has yet to learn how to approach a lady. He bounds over to Isis and leaps on her joyfully. She is not amused. He runs off nonchalantly to do other silly things. Isis resumes her routines. All is well. For now.
But Ben dashes over to the fir tree again. Isis nyaffs at him and he retreats.
Hairy One has had enough. She pops round the hedge and onto the grass of the level above. She often does this and it’s not difficult to keep an eye on her as little white dots are easily visible through the leaves of the hedge.
I turn to speak to R. and greyhound George who have joined us on the grass. I glance back at the hedge. Strange. I can no longer see any white along the other side of the hedge. She can’t have gone far. I can’t have taken my eyes off her for more than a minute, if that.
She must just have moved further away from the hedge. I scramble up the bank and scan the area behind the hedge.
It is shockingly empty.
There is no sign of Isis.
R. and George, Ben, his person and her grandson O, aged twelve race up the bank and join in the search. They dash into the garden by the current bowling green, I run around the shrubbery at one end of the basketball court and R. follows the main path.
There is no sign of her anywhere. She’s gone. My dog has gone.
I ask a walker who appears over the horizon. No, she’s not been spotted trotting past the T.V. gardens, nor has she been seen on the the path which runs from the pond to the basketball court.
I pant into the bowling green garden and see O. well ahead me. I have searched all of Hairy One’s favourite places. No sight nor sound of my little Isis. I’ve lost her. I can’t believe what I’ve done.
Suddenly, O. turns round and calls out to me, “They’ve found her!”
We run through the thick shrubbery and onto the old tennis courts. There is Isis standing on the grass looking bewildered and very worried. The others have caught up with her. And a very kind man who has taken a great interest in Isis ever since I first had her is standing nearby with his little black Staffie. He caught sight of her as he was walking along the path past the old tennis courts, he tells me. He knew that Isis shouldn’t be there on her own and had waited with her. If she had moved away he would have put her on his lead.
By now S. has arrived with George’s ‘brother’ Bertie. S. and R. tell me that when Bertie becomes worried after galloping off further than he should, he usually goes to the old tennis courts. Hairy One knows R. well but, clearly shaken by her misadventure, refuses the offer of a treat.
I can’t thank everyone enough for their support. It’s so reassuring to know that little Staffie’s person was watching over Isis and wouldn’t have left her. And I know I would have been dithering with anxiety if I’d been searching for her on my own.
Thank goodness for kind people who care about dogs.
Talking of which …………………………………………
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