Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’
Sunday 28th January 2018
A. comments that she hadn’t heard of any plans for a gate. That must mean I didn’t mention any.
The rheumatology doctor tells me that after a few weeks’ monitoring on the new medication- the name of which I’ve forgotten – there is no reason why, at last, I shouldn’t have the first of the shoulder operations. Hurray! At last! Across the dim light at the end of the long tunnel, there’s the possibility of driving again, walking Isis and returning to my art group.
At the bottom of our garden is a lane. To Isis and me it’s The Lane. Most houses have a garden gate which leads onto it. Polymath lived here at least ten years before I took over the house and at the bottom of this garden there are not even any fairies, just a very old, dilapidated, interior door nailed across the gateway.
Even though, two years ago, specially tough grass seed called Sprogs and Dogs was sown onto rubber matting to create a durable play area for Isis, the hoped for lawn which, by now should be green and vigorous, has not materialised.
Honestly, I did the right things, keeping both shoes and paws off it for a year, cutting it at the right time and even buying a new lawn mower. Sick titter.
It only took Isis a matter of days to kick start its demise. Within weeks it was becoming bald. It now looks like the head of someone suffering from acute and extensive alopecia.
Hugely disappointing. And a very expensive mistake.
It felt like an investment for both me and Isis. O.K., she’d wear it down a bit in the winter, but it’d grow back in by spring. She’d have a year round safe play area and I’d have a decent lawn on which to sip beer with J. on balmy summer days.
Admittedly, the grass didn’t grow that well in the first place but with Hairy One’s pounding, no chance!
Best not to think about it.
With all the heavy rain we’ve had – for ever, it seems – the area where the lawn was supposed to be has become a sticky lake of mud with a few clumps of defeated looking grass here and there.
For weeks we got into The Lane through the large security gates six houses down the road. This, however, as I have mentioned before, necessitated sashaying along the pavement with Hairy One’s running lead attached to a belt around my waist. It also required me to unlock and open the heavy gates.
Isis, of course, failed to appreciate the precariousness of my situation: the closer we got to the gates, the more excited she became.
Not only did the shoulder injury prevent me from using my arms for balance, it also meant that I had no way to stop myself from falling on my face.
We managed though, until the joint swelling began. When it hit my feet, the short walk was impossible.
On the Pet Angels’ days off, Isis had no walk.
In December procrastinating Human finally got round to asking handy man T. for an estimate of the cost of supplying and fitting a gate; he was also asked to replace her Heath Robinson stair guard because, once Hairy One sneaked upstairs, Human could no longer carry her down.
Both have added hugely to our health and safety.
The new stair gate does not disintegrate when you move it, or slide into the hall in the middle of the night. Or fall forward and smack us on the head when we stand in front of it.
Isis knows exactly where we are going when she smells that I am carrying the belt and running lead, putting on boots and gathering dog bags. After only three outings via the gate, she trots down the garden on her own and waits for me at the bottom.
Unfortunately she’s not quite so obliging when it comes to our return: hence the belt and lead.
Not yet. She’ll soon learn.
Most importantly, she can go out to play every day.
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