Yikes it’s Sunday October 29th and I’ve just discovered that this post hasn’t been published. Don’t know how even I managed that.
⊗ζ!*⊕* (any very coarse words you can imagine).
Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’
Wednesday October 25th 2017
Yes, it’s pay back time for me. Today it’s difficult to identify a bit of me which doesn’t twang, tear, twinge, or ache. All day I’ve been creeping around the house ahhhhing and owwwwing with every movement.
I can’t believe how three gentle little outings at the weekend can do this to a usually hale and active person.
“You never learn”, admonishes Polymath from her hospital bed, “You have to do things very gradually.”
It’s pay back time for Isis too.
As we know, for months after she came to live with me, she transmogrified at mealtimes from a dog into a snarling, raging, monster as she tried to gobble down her food before it was stolen by a hoard of imaginary predators.
Often, once she had cleaned her dish, she would whirl like a snarly dervish and bite viciously at her tail, sometimes making it bleed.
Her behaviour was understandable for a little tied up blind/deaf dog who, I am sure was at the mercy of other animals and must have been at the bottom of the heap when it came to feeding.
Eventually, over many, many months, I was able to train her to relax and eat like a ‘normal’ dog.
What a relief.
There’s a ‘but’ coming, though. When she stays at Holly Trees kennels, she is, of course, aware that there are other creatures in close proximity, and at meal times she reverts to her former defensive behaviour.
A, T and W tell me that when they first heard the bloodcurdling racket coming from Hairy One’s run, they rushed to see what on earth was going on. Now they just remark, “Oh, it’s only Isis”, and carry on with whatever they are doing.
Generally, she only stays at the kennels for about a week and it takes just a day or two to remind her that we are not in the Serengeti or at the kennels now.
This time, she spends three weeks at the kennels practising food defence and now I am struggling to retrain her. The routine is two barks and you’re out. Her dish is snatched away and stashed in the front room to the accompaniment of ferocious growling, snarling and barking. Once she is quiet, Human then counts up to thirty – or fifty, depending on the stage of the training – before returning the dish.
The idea is that she then quietly finishes her meal.
This time, of course, Human has not been agile enough to rush into the kitchen and snatch the dish, so Isis has been allowed to get away with a few subdued woofs and even one or two sharp ones.
Predictably, the sound effects become louder and fiercer as time passes. She even resumes her old habit of leaping up the wall, presumably to fend of the little vultures and other cheeky birds which live in the area she came from.
This week I decide that enough is enough, and painful though it is, begin the long haul of retraining. At most meal times I have to remove the dish twice as the naughty little creature challenges me by barking again as soon as her food is returned.
Today I can stand her behaviour no longer. I give her her tea and don a gardening glove. Almost immediately she utters two loud, defiant barks.
That’s it. Whoosh, her meal is removed and shut in the front room.
This time, I retreat to the back room and sit down, trying to ignore the ensuing cacophony from the kitchen, then the scrape, scrape, scrape at the front room door.
After about fifteen minutes, she joins me in the back room, looking sorry for herself.
It is now thirty minutes since I removed her dish. In the past, I’ve only ever kept it from her for a few minutes.
I give it back to her.
She finishes it so quietly that I can’t even hear her chobbling.
And there is certainly no tail chasing: after eating, she leaves the kitchen silently on soft fluffy little white feet.
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