THREE YEARS AGO TODAY
MY BEAUTIFUL ISIS CAME TO LIVE WITH ME
Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’
Sunday August 27th 2017
Kings Heath Park is very busy this week, I hear. It usually is when the weather is good in the summer, particularly leading up to and over bank holidays.
So perhaps it’s OK that Isis and I have seldom been in the park over the last two weeks.
For several months now, I have had a problem with my right shoulder which makes driving extremely painful.
A scan last week revealed that I have torn a shoulder tendon which has in turn displaced a biceps tendon. So, I know why it hurts but, as yet, I don’t know what, if any, treatment is available for it. I hope to find out next Tuesday.
Naturally inclined towards pessimism, I imagine worst case scenarios, such as being told that there isn’t any treatment, it’ll just take twelve months (or more) to heal itself. Or, alternatively, it’ll be like it is now for ever.
Anyway, moaning over.
Another reason for absenting ourselves from Kings Heath Park is that the sun has been popping out relentlessly and creating very strong shadows which still terrify poor Isis. It’s impossible to avoid the shadows.
Highbury is the much bigger park by far, and it is usually possible to escape from dappled areas into open, shadowless ones, to find spaces where she feels relaxed.
So I’ve been driving Isis to Highbury once a day and letting her play there for a couple of hours or more. Then, in the evening, we go for a sniff and pee road walk – I hasten to add that I use the word ‘we’ very loosely. I just walk.
Fortunately, Isis now usually walks very nicely on her lead. Otherwise, slinged, or unslinged, at the moment it would be impossible to take her on a road walk.
Bright dog that she is, Isis has learned to discriminate between her extension lead which means that she can go nuts, and her walking lead which means she is expected to behave more sedately. If she is in any doubt about this, we attach a second strand of her lead to one of the side rings of her Mekuti harness.
Although my last little dog Ellie was very obedient and walked close to me beautifully off-lead (not on the road, obviously) Isis is the first dog I have ever succeeded in training to walk beside me on the lead without pulling.
I think my previous failures result from a wandering mind and lack of consistency.
With little Isis, of course, I have to concentrate. Or cope with the guilt when she bangs her head on a car bumper, wall end, gate post or bin.
It suddenly dawns on me that this hasn’t happened for a long time.
Even though the bin men have been on go-slow for several smelly weeks now, which means that there have been rubbish bins permanently lining the pavements.
Dozy as ever, I have only just realized that very often, just as I am about to guide her around an obstacle, she has already realised that it is there, and is carefully walking round it.
Nor does she now try to escape into every ungated front garden we come across, or follow every trail which leads off the pavement. She rarely leaps across me or tries to shoot into the road.
One evening last week, my heart sinks when it begins to drizzle halfway round our route. But she doesn’t jerk and drag me all over the place like a rag doll in her attempt to grab mouthfuls of delicious dampness.
Although I’m sure that she will still revert to this wild behaviour when fat raindrops fall, I am very grateful for her restraint on this occasion.
And very impressed.
Actually, I am very impressed with her all round.
Next week it will be the third anniversary of her arrival in Kings Heath.
I thought that I would be getting a very shy, retiring little dog who would be psychologically damaged for the rest of her life, and unlikely to even want to be taken to the park.
I couldn’t have been more mistaken.
Tonight, walking into the garden where she is engrossed in playing with one of her snakes, I touch her gently.
She immediately turns and walks into the house.
I follow with a smug smirk on my face.
But, to indulge in a mixed metaphor or two, pride comes before a fall, and there are tears before bedtime.
But that’s another story.
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