Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’
Sunday June10th 2018
All in all, Isis is a much happier little dog this week. She is still diving at her tail and biting off little swathes of hair but she has an appointment with the vet at Newbrook Farm next Tuesday.
She is also barking after I leave her at night. But the barking episodes are not going on for so many hours.
Sometimes she refuses to leave the kitchen until I’ve chin-tapped her out, but often she pops out with me. Progress.
Because Human gets up late every morning this week, the lower bowling green is empty when we get to Kings Heath Park. Isis seems very pleased and runs around more freely than she has for a very long time, sprinting up and down, apparently revelling in the space. She even reacquaints herself with her favourite fir tree on the bank.
Every now and then she sniffs her way towards me to check where I am before dancing off again to play.
I am thrilled that she’s returned to her old stamping ground which she so enjoyed before she was worried by an influx of puppies.
After the old bowling green, she enjoys a wander through the puddles in the little lane by the railway track. I try to discourage her from wandering into mud because Alabama Rot seems to be getting closer and closer to us: recently it has reached the Lickey Hills. She, of course, makes a beeline for the mud. Fortunately, the long, damp grass soon wipes her clean so I don’t often have to wash her feet.
At the beginning of the week, she moves from the lane to the Colour Garden, but on Thursday she emerges from the muddy track, turns left, and follows the old t.v. garden fence as she always did before she became obsessed with the Colour Garden.
She dances along the edge of the little wood, then out onto the newly mown grass. She’s ecstatic, ducking to sniff the grass and dancing to celebrate the smell of it.
On her second visit to the wood, she explores all the little paths and invisible animal trails, sniffing and wagging, sniffing and wagging.
On Saturday she spends only twenty minutes or so on the bowling green before making her way to the track then along the fence to the wood.
It’s her third visit. After two days of scent revision, she’s on top form. Today she’s ready to tackle the thickest of thickets. After a very brief sniff along the main path, she fights her way through a tangle of undergrowth which any sensible dog would eschew, and wriggles into a morass of brambles, saplings and weeds.
I wait for the almost inevitable outcome: having shoved her way into the middle of a thicket, Isis finds her way blocked. She can’t, of course, see how she can navigate her way around the obstacles, neither can she see any other escape route. As for the way she came in, well, that seems to have disappeared.
Her strategy in this situation is to stand stock still.
She doesn’t struggle so there’s no waving foliage to offer a clue to her whereabouts.
She doesn’t whimper or bark, and because she’s not moving, there’s no ringing bell to guide me.
On several occasions, I’ve not realised her predicament and the poor little creature has been ‘stuck’ for up to ten minutes.
The thicket she chooses is particularly impenetrable and I hope against hope that she will not get ‘stuck’.
She does, of course.
I stumble around peering through the multitude of stems into the dim interior, trying to locate Isis and find the least prickly way in.
There’s no unprickly way in, naturally, but eventually I spot her. I take the plunge and scramble towards her.
True to form, there she stands like a sad little white statue, trapped by spiky brambles and thick stems.
Is she waiting to be rescued or is she simply resigned to her fate, I wonder, and what would she do if no-one came to release her?
I let her sniff me, then place a hand on her back. As always nowadays, she wags vigorously and allows me to guide her out.
Needless to say, within minutes she’s enjoying herself immensely, diving into the edge of another natural maze.
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