Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’
Sunday November 26th 2017
It’s true. At the time I absolutely couldn’t believe it.
It happened a week ago. Picture the scene: it’s Saturday and I decide to take Isis to The Lane so that she can play her private doggie games.
As usual, I have to give her rump a few pokes before she eventually sits long enough for me to lock the porch door and step away of my own volition (rather than being propelled towards the gate like a demented kite).
As usual, the naughty little creature sits at the gate to her paradise like the winner of a Crufts obedience class.
We have never before had a problem with the straight section of our lane because, once released, Isis always trots smartly up to the bend for her first dancing session. After that, she continues round the corner.
Today, although the straight section is protected from the sun by a twenty foot privet hedge, at the corner it’s a different story.
As we know, although she is, for all intents and purposes, blind, Isis is very frightened of bright light and dark shadows. I’ve not been able to work out whether these extremes just frighten her or actually hurt her.
Today, the sun smacks her in the face as she’s twirling and bang, her little face hits a garage door. She retraces her steps and, before I can intervene, bang, her face hits the opposite garage door.
I know that Isis has a very clear sense of where the garages are in the lane, and doesn’t bang into them, even when she’s spinning quite fast. Obviously, bright sun can be catastrophic for her.
I comfort her, and, very sensibly, she leaves the sunny patches and retreats towards the gate. Here, she plays very happily in the shade, bouncing joyfully from one side of the path to the other.
Now, the boundaries along the main part of our lane, where she always plays, have been checked very carefully by both me and R, but the gate end hasn’t.
I know what you’re thinking, but no, I don’t neglect my duty. Spotting an empty, garage sized gap between the two garages which are in use, I take up a goal keeper’s position in the middle of the space.
It’s almost time to go when Isis begins to show more than a passing interest in the space. It is then that I notice a tall, strong looking fence which runs across the bottom of the space.
That’s all right then. She can’t escape.
I allow her to pass, and she scrambles speedily over a lorry tyre and a pile of bricks and weaves her way through a plethora of very young saplings.
When she reaches the fence, she eagerly approaches the left hand corner. She sniffs very carefully up and down the fence. I smile to myself. Hard luck, Isis.
Then she sniffs her way along to the opposite corner. She doesn’t come across any missing planks. I smile smugly again.
Then, to my horror, I see her pink nose slowly disappear. There’s a small gap between the fence and the back of the second garage. It’s not visible from where I am standing, but slowly and surely, Hairy One edges her way in.
There’s no way I can stop her. Even at my most agile, I couldn’t make it in time.
Then, to my huge relief, slowly, slowly, a fluffy white tail begins to emerge, then a tousled rump, four legs and a somewhat dishevelled face.
Aha! You bit off more than you could chew there, my naughty little podengo.
I wait for her to make her way back to me.
But she does no such thing.
Having backed out of the gap, she shakes herself, turns herself round and tries again, rump first.
As I stand with my mouth open, she disappears, bit by bit back into the gap. The last glimpse I have of her is her pink spotty nose, then she’s gone.
I really can’t believe what I’ve just witnessed.
With great difficulty, I totter over the old tyre and the rubble and squeeze myself through the saplings.
I can hear her bell tinkling clearly, but by the time I am able to peer down the back of the garage, Isis, of course, is nowhere to be seen. It’s now obvious why she didn’t want to enter the gap face first. It’s packed with dense undergrowth and myriad tall plant stems which are jammed so closely together that a small snake would struggle to get through them.
Although I am very worried about how the hell I can retrieve her, I am in awe. It had taken her only a few seconds to decide that a hairy rump would withstand the undergrowth, stems and prickles better than a bare, pink, spotty nose.
Anyway, never mind admiring her prowess, how do I get her out of there?
There is no way I can pursue her down the gap. I’ll have to exit via the gate and knock on the house owner’s front door.
As I battle my way back to the path, tired, cold, and fed up, I spot a garden gate which I’ve not noticed before. It’s sure to be bolted on the inside though.
I try the latch. The gate opens.
I peer round the gate. On the lawn is a child’s football goal. Isis is dancing round it ecstatically.
“Hello!”, I shriek, “Is there anybody there?”
There’s no answer, no sign of activity.
Feeling like a thief, I creep into the garden, capture Hairy One and hastily retreat.
We haven’t quite had our full hour yet, but, as I explain to Isis, I’ve had enough for one day.
She doesn’t seem to mind. She walks back home beside me, tail held high.
I don’t think she’s smirking.
I know I’m not.
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