Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday April 23rd 2017
It happens on Thursday some time between 2.00 and 3.00 a.m. while I’m asleep.
Instantly I’m awake.
Isis! She’s jumped off the bed.
A sudden leap from the bed in the middle of the night suggests only two scenarios: she needs to go out or she’s feeling sick. Neither happens very often. She was taken into the garden before she came upstairs so I’m sure she doesn’t need to go out.
Eek! She’s going to throw up.
I switch on the bedside light and nip out of bed. I regard her suspiciously. Yes, she’s quite rigid and her flanks are heaving. She’d definitely about to vomit. I stroke her reassuringly before dashing next door for an old newspaper.
When I return she’s standing there in the same scrunched up position, flanks still heaving. Then she does something odd. She lifts a front paw and pats the floor tentatively as if she is checking that there is, indeed, a floor there. Oh dear. Something strange is going on here.
Slowly and carefully, I place the newspaper at the business end. I am slow and careful because Isis is very sensitive about being sick. The first time it happened she snapped at me when I stroked her and again when I tried to place newspaper strategically under her nose. I think she was afraid that she would be punished.
Now she doesn’t growl. She looks very peculiar though. She’s moving her head slowly from side to side. She looks anxious and disorientated. She sniffs at the floor as if she’s surprised it’s still there. She finds the newspaper and pats it with her front paws. Then she sniffs it. She looks extremely puzzled.
I’m becoming quite anxious. No, that’s not true – I’m becoming very anxious. Horrible fantasies race through my head. There’s something wrong with her brain. She’s about to have a fit. This is the prelude to an incurable illness.
She lifts her head and sniffs the air. I stroke her very gently, telling her over and over again that everything is O.K. I don’t expect her to be able to hear me, but perhaps she’ll feel reassuring vibes.
Gradually, she appears to coming round. Now she seems to know where she is. She looks more relaxed. She walks normally to the side of the bed. I pat her. She waves her tail and makes her way back to the bottom of the bed.
I switch off the lamp and pat the end of the bed vigorously so that she can feel it move. She jumps back up onto the bed, turns round and round as a dog does, curls up and falls asleep.
At last it dawns on me. I recall the strange sound which woke me up. It wasn’t the usual ‘clunk’ of a dog jumping off the bed. The sound was more like a clunk with scratchy edges – definitely a ‘skrlunk’. It was not the sound of a deliberate descent, but that of a scrabbly accidental descent.
Of course! Poor little Isis had moved in her sleep and fallen off the bed.
No wonder she looked so disorientated. It must be much more difficult to get your bearings if you can’t see.
For the rest of the night we both sleep unusually soundly.
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