an embarrassing animal



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’


Sunday January 14th 2018


Isis is a very lucky little dog. The Pet Angels take her for walks in Kings Heath Park during the week and neighbours M and J take her on Sunday.

As we know, bright sunbeams are a no-no. Hairy One is genuinely afraid. Her people understand that and the exercise has to be aborted, as it was last Wednesday.

But what’s your excuse for Friday, Isis?

It’s a beautifully dull and cloudy day. There’s not even a hint of sun. But as Bertie,  George and Isis walk along Grove Road, the little saboteur bucks and dives and refuses to move. Apparently, there’s a certain spot which spooks her every time.

Oh dear.

R has the idea of crossing the road and walking on the opposite pavement. It works. What patience.

They reach the park and Isis has a wonderful time dashing around her favourite shrubbery.

Today I draw back the blind and breathe a sigh of relief. The clouds are heavy. It’s an extremely dull day. There’s not even a hint of sun.

M and J arrive and the eager Isis dashes out: although she is taken outside as soon as I go down in the morning, she seems determined to deposit a pre-walk poop on the front ‘lawn’.

Oh Isis! Must you?

While M. removes the heap, J takes the bull by the horns and, crossing the road, sets off at a brisk pace along the opposite pavement. They have been talking to S and R who advised that distraction and/or taking a different path can work with Hairy One.

Isis sits down, her head turned back over her shoulder. Ah, she’s just waiting for M to catch up.

M. catches up.

Isis still sits.

The kind volunteers persist. Several times over the next fifteen minutes, I cringe to see M’s purple beanie hat passing the house.

They hate giving up on Isis, but what can one do? She refuses to leave our section of the road.

She makes her ignominious return, scrabbling her way over the threshold.

She’s cross, not frightened, explains M, and, sure enough, she’s right. As M unclips the  harness, the shameful animal stands calmly in the porch, wagging her tail and looking perfectly happy. She is obviously pleased to be home.

Oh Isis! What a wasted opportunity.

I mull over possible reasons for her behaviour, wondering whether it could simply be a reaction to Wednesday’s sun experience. This seems unlikely: she had a very good time in the park on Friday: when she returned, she meandered down the hall with a look of utter satisfaction on her face, stretched out on her futon and slept soundly for two hours.

Think again.

From the end of September up to January, I’ve rarely left the house, and except for her walks, Isis was seldom parted from me.

Since then I have been visiting a friend several times a week. I am away for up to three hours.

I have noticed some changes in Hairy One’s behaviour. She follows me as I  move around the house, or, if she is unsure of my whereabouts, searches me out anxiously.

We follow a regular bedtime routine: Isis is let out into the garden while I hide treats around the room. When she returns, she stands while I take off her collar and we exchange pats for wags. She disappears into the back room. I go upstairs.

Very recently, if, before going to bed, I open the front door or even touch it to check that it’s locked, Isis emerges from her room and comes to find me. Once she is satisfied that I’m still in the house, she trots back to bed.

I wonder whether she is suffering from separation anxiety.

Dear me.


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 or

Human made a mistake. Her steroid dose has been reduced from 30mg to 10mg a day. Today is her third day on the lower dose and although some of the symptoms are beginning to return, they’re nowhere near as bad – yet, at least – as they were at their worst. Still mobile today and just over a week to the rheumatology appointment, Teresa may permitting.



This entry was posted in Kings Heath Park, scary shadows, strange behaviour, we don't like bright sun and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to an embarrassing animal

  1. Anonymous says:

    I recognise this! Martha has separation anxiety, and becomes quite distressed if she thinks I am going out without her. I go out once a week without her, to a sign language class, for about 2.5 hours. Despite always having a very well-known dog-sitter, who cuddles her on the sofa all the time I am out, she is always overcome with delight when I return, pinning me to the sofa to make sure I don’t go out again.I think it’s because she is a rescue dog, and although she has lived with me for 3.5 years, she has never forgotten her earlier experiences.


    • Poor little Martha. It’s sad, isn’t that their past stays with them. Not surprising though. And it’s amazing how they can be trusting and happy again. I think you’re right: it does seem to be separation anxiety. Thankfully, there’s no evidence that she has been in distress while I’ve been out. She’s always fast asleep when I get home and though she is happy to see me, she doesn’t appear to be anxious.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.