Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’
Sunday June 3rd 2018
Ji., Isis and I have a perfect walk in Highbury Park today. It’s warm and sunny but the shadows are light. The sun stays out so there are no nasty changes of light. We walk up to the avenue of pines where Isis runs and leaps and twirls with her usual enthusiasm and vigour while we watch and chat.
After half an hour, I approach Isis as she emerges from beneath a pine after a short rest. I offer her my right hand to sniff, then place my left hand on her back. She stands still and wags her tail as I clip on her harness. As usual.
We meander over to the pond and see the Highbury moorhen hatchlings for the first time. We walk a little further and stop by the ‘clean pool’ -as I call it – so that Isis can have a drink of running water.
We set off for the walled garden, Ji., as always, sensibly taking the tarmacked main path, Isis, as always, insisting on taking the narrow, muddy little track which is full of obstacles like saplings, logs, brambles and stones. She loves making her way along here off-lead. She knows every twist and turn, and though I’m beside or just behind her, hand outstretched ready to preempt her banging her little spotty nose on a tree or scratching it on the brambles, she rarely needs my assistance, thank you.
I interfere only once. That’s when she is determined to follow her usual path which loops off from the main track avoiding a little log fence put there, I think, to create a diversion and make the little walk more interesting. But it has rained heavily for a few nights, and the loop has a huge, mud filled dip in it.
It’s always a challenge to persuade my little companion to deviate from what she considers the ‘right’ way, and today is no exception; however, with an under-the-chin tap here and an encouraging prod there, I manage to guide her over the log pile, through an overgrowth of weeds, across the park road, into the bluebelled wood and out onto the edge of the landscaped area.
All this without her lead. Clever little dog.
We usually ended our ramblings here when we walked round the park with L., Dougie and Fergie. The poodles chased each other, pursued squeaky little tennis balls and greeted any dogs and people who walked within a few hundred yards of them.
Although she was always very relaxed with Dougie and Fergie, Isis, of course, always played on her own, dashing round a particularly huge, wide fir tree which is surrounded by bushes and shrubs, and disappearing into the tall undergrowth and onto the narrow little almost track that runs all the way down this part of the park’s perimeter. Ji. and I sit on an old, fallen tree trunk and keep an eye on the little reprobate.
Many’s the time that the three of us have had to fight our way through the brambles and shrubs to bring her back to the fold. Fortunately, at the moment, the brambles are too dense for even her to penetrate.
After a couple of hours, we make our way back to the car. We have all enjoyed ourselves, and Isis has been at her most exuberant.
Which makes what happens next even more inexplicable than it might have been.
When we reach home and I lead her from the car, Hairy One puts her tail between her legs and lies on the pavement. It takes much effort to get her to move to the gate. She walks abjectly up to the front door. As soon as she gets in the hall, she lies down again looking despondent.
After a while, tail still drooping and head hanging dolefully, she retreats into the back room and lies on the day bed. Her habit is to sleep here for about twenty minutes while we make coffee, and then join us in the front room. True, she grumbles now and then at the sunlight, but nowadays she’ll put up with it and stay with us.
Today she’ll not come out of the back room. Not even for her tea at six o’clock. Even though there’s a fat sardine chopped into it. And every now and then, she wakes up and angrily dives at her tail, growling and barking.
It’s seven-thirty and she still refuses to budge.
By now I am very concerned about her?
What on earth is wrong?
to be continued ……………………………………………………….
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