Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday September 16th 2018
Lucky today. Ji. is just finishing cutting back the brambles, teasels and unidentified shrub which I planted in the front garden years ago, having mistaken it as a cutting for an ornamental orange blossom.
Isis is dancing and playing with a ball in the back garden where she’s been for at least two hours.
While Hairy One cavorts in the garden, Daisy has some quality time downstairs contentedly sitting on my lap.
And all this before the rain begins.
It’s pleasant to sit in the front room with plenty of light and minus the shrub’s maniacal fingers drumming on the glass.
Only one fly in the ointment, and it’s a whopping, hairy, white bluebottle of a fly too: I’ve had to recommence dog’s dining room training.
My (very bored) long-term blog readers may recall that after months and months of work, Isis was finally able to eat without caterwauling, screeching, barking, snapping and leaping at imaginary marauders whom she was convinced were hellbent on snatching her meal.
For a couple of years, quiet reigned in the dining room. B blips were rare.
Unfortunately, after Isis was left at Ray’s Hollytrees kennels for three weeks while I was ill last Autumn, she resumed her bad habit.
After more weeks of effort, her rages subsided considerably, but did not completely stop.
I should have known better, having been an inner city secondary school teacher for thirteen years, and having looked after cats and dogs for even longer. Unless unwanted behaviour is eradicated, it will resurface.
I blush to think about the pompous and smug post I wrote on July 18th this year. Embarrassingly, I ended it with
“You’ve come a long way, little Isis”, I tell her. “We can put up with a bark or two.”
Unfortunately, the bark or two escalated, and while friend A. looked after Isis and Daisy when I was away in August, she reported that there was not one quiet mealtime.
Regressed dog. Stupid Human.
We must begin again.
So we resume our training. Again, as soon as she emits a bark, I remove her food. Without exception. At least this time round she only requires one removal per meal. She protests noisily, of course. Once she is calm and quiet again, the dish is returned and she eats without any vocals.
So far, she has had her meal removed every breakfast time, but her manners have been perfect at teatime. Strange. Never mind, it’s progress.
Yesterday she managed to eat both meals without interruption.
Dog, it’s wearing. But I can never get away with ‘can’t be bothered’ where Isis is concerned. She is the living epitome of the expression ‘Give an inch and he’ll take an ell.’
Hmmmm. You’d not believe this to look at her.
Here she is, at this very moment, the subject of this monologue, sleeping angelically. Like most dogs and cats, she always makes a beeline for my place on the day bed. It’s not possible, I think, for her to squirm herself any further into my end.
Note her unoccupied dog blanket in the background.
Oh. It’s six p.m. Let’s see what happens. There’s sardine with her biscuits tonight. She’ll definitely be tempted to defend that.
I serve her meal and exit the kitchen.
Eventually, there’s a subdued ‘woof, woof.’
I hurry into the kitchen.
No, all is well. She’s just announcing that she’s finished. She’s standing by her licked clean dish looking content.
Just breakfast to conquer, then – as long as I don’t leave her in the kennels again.
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