Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday December 2nd 2018
Poor Isis. On Saturday a puppy follows her, jumping up on her all the way from the field above the old bowling green to Hairy One’s dancing mound and into the Colour Garden. The little pest doesn’t return to her (obviously untrained) owner until Isis retreats into her favourite flower bed and leans into a shrub.
She recovers quickly, though, much more quickly than she would have done even a few months ago. After two under-the-chin taps she comes out of the bed and carries on playing as if nothing has happened.
Unfortunately, today, too, is not without trauma.
We are in Highbury by 11.00 a.m. so that Isis can have a good, long walk. Over the last few weeks, her interest in her much loved pine avenue appears to have waned.
On two occasions, she disappears rapidly from the avenue and in the blink of an eye appears at the edge of the beech wood. Today, she’s not even interested enough to approach the pines, but makes straight for the wood.
Much to her annoyance, I refuse to allow her to wade through the thick mud of the path we usually take, and insist instead that we walk along a different route.
After a short temper tantrum, she acquiesces and we make our way uphill towards the back of Highbury Hall (where Neville Chamberlain used to live). Generally, Isis quickens her pace at this point and trots towards the garden at the back so that I have to pelt after her to turn her round before she trespasses on the elegant lawn.
She must have become bored with being diverted, for today she turns off right and makes her way towards a large grassy mound on which she used to love to dance. And dance. And dance.
I’m hoping that she’ll carry on up over the mound to the track which will take us through the top woodland walk and down into the Community Orchard.
She doesn’t. She loves to explore the slopes below the mound, and down she goes, sniffing her way along little dead ends, stopping when she’s confronted with impenetrable brambles or stems.
I watch her carefully, ready to dissuade her from disappearing into undergrowth or beneath shrubs from which I will struggle to extricate her.
Suddenly, she is walking towards the side edge of a wall I didn’t know existed.
By the time I realise this, she has already reached what on the photo above is the far right.
From where I am standing, also far to the right and facing the tree, I can’t see how steep the drop is. I can only see the edge.
I can do nothing to stop her. As I lurch forward, she walks across the leaf covered grass and disappears over the edge of the highest section.
She doesn’t make a sound, not even a squeak.
I shoot round the trees just in time to see poor Isis on her side in the leaves a couple of feet from the base of the wall. I see that it’s a four foot drop from the edge. As I watch, she squirms to her feet, shakes herself and slowly moves further down the slope. Thank goodness she fell onto a thick layer of leaves and not onto packed earth or concrete.
Unsurprisingly, she looks dazed.
I scrabble down after her, comfort her, turn her round, guide her back up the slope, over the mound and onto the top track.
Usually, once she’s on this track, she moves forward quite confidently. Today, though, she doesn’t walk in front of me, stopping every now and then for me to catch up so that she can check on me. She stays by my side and needs much encouragement to continue.
She loves Highbury and never wants to leave. But today, once we’ve made our way down from the orchard, Isis still off lead, she walks back and forth, back and forth for at least five minutes. I can’t imagine what she’s doing, but now realise that she must have been working out which direction she needed to take. Incredibly, she doesn’t stop to play in the rose bay willow herb patch, but sniffs her way slowly, carefully, looping across the field, onto the main path and towards the car park. It’s quite a stretch and takes her about ten minutes.
She’s never done this before. She’s never walked to the car park off lead. She’s never willingly even approached the car park.
Today I’ve parked in a place I’ve not parked before, on the far side, the side closest to the exit. To my astonishment, she walks straight to the car and waits by the door to be let in.
When we get home, she’ll not get out of the car. She’s obviously afraid and doesn’t trust that the pavement will be where it should be.
I have to pull her out on her blanket.
Thankfully, she doesn’t appear to be hurt. I feel all over her body. I can’t detect any lumps or grazes and she doesn’t flinch. I hate to think about the injuries she could have sustained.
So sorry little dog.
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