Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Wednesday May 24th 2017
It’s Monday and a text arrives from M. She asks if Isis and I would like to drop in for coffee on our way back from the park.
Yes, I would love to. Just fancy a coffee.
The question is, should I take Isis with me, or should I take her home and come back alone?
She has been invited, of course, so it might be churlish to exclude her.
Yet there are several good reasons for my deliberations.
First, as we know, Isis is not the perfect guest. She took friend in Wales’ home apart on her second visit and has been banned from visiting ever since.
Then there was the time that May, M.’s little border collie, came to our house. Unfortunately, having pinched one of Hairy One’s toys from the back room, she was about to exit when Hairy One came in unexpectedly from the garden and tried to enter the room. They met half way through the door, and May, who no doubt had a guilty conscience, must have thought that Isis was about to challenge her over the toy, and snapped at her.
Poor Isis was petrified and retreated under my desk until May had gone home. Now, if she smells May – or any other dog, for that matter – arriving, she scuttles upstairs as fast as her sturdy little legs can carry her.
In addition to these mishaps, there’s the fact that Isis is very reluctant to approach, let alone enter, any building other than her own home.
Last, but not least, one must consider that May might not welcome the intrusion.
“Don’t be a coward,” I tell myself. “Most of these negatives happened a long time ago, and May has always been very gentle with Isis when we meet, as we often do, in the park.”
I take a deep breath and let Isis out of the car. This is a very important occasion. It will be her first social call since that fateful Christmas visit to Wales in 2014.
I ‘OK pat’ her along the path to the front door. She stands nervously by the step, her tail between her legs.
There’s no reply when I ring the bell. Then I notice that the back gate has been left open and realise that M. must be in her back garden.
O.K. patting as we advance, I persuade Isis to follow me along the side of the house and into the garden.
Her tail remains between her legs, and she’s slinking. Although she’s very thirsty and she’s not had breakfast, she turns away from the proffered drink and gravy bones. But she gingerly sniffs at and recognises M. She also recognises D., who’s visiting too.
May, who appears to be perfectly relaxed about the arrangements, greets the hairy visitor very politely.
After a while, I let her Isis off her lead. She carefully navigates the pots on the patio before arriving at the head of the flight of steps which leads down to the lawn. We watch, impressed, as she descends very cautiously, sniffing and feeling with an outstretched paw, where each step begins and ends until she reaches the grass.
She sniffs her way slowly round the garden. She jumps back smartly when she stumbles into May who is stretched out on the lawn. Dear little May doesn’t say a word.
Isis continues to explore. I’ve arranged some boxes along the front of M.’s newly planted little vegetable garden to protect the seedlings from the marauding canine, but I’ve not noticed the small bird bath in the middle of the lawn.
Poor Isis walks into it with a thump, then, to our amusement, growls at it threateningly.
But her tail soon rises and she continues her exploration.
Later on, she stands by my chair on the patio, drinks a little water and nibbles three gravy bones.
We humans natter about this and that, May digs a hole or two in the lawn, as you do, and Isis continues to stand quietly beside me.
It’s a lovely warm spring day. The coffee’s good. So is the company.
So that’s all right then.
Well done little dog.
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