Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday December 23rd 2018
Yesterday was grey and overcast with occasional drifts of fine rain, and Isis enjoyed herself immensely.
Recently, once we’ve walked to the top of the pine avenue, I let her off the lead and allow her to choose her itinerary. I favour the higher ground because it’s drier. She chooses the lowest path.
As we squelch and slither, a voice hails us from above.
It’s R. with his dog Daisy. He’s standing on the topmost, now horizontal, branch of the huge beech tree which was brought down by a storm over a year ago. Daisy is sitting patiently on the lowest branch waiting for him.
He comes down to greet us. I’ve not seen him for at least eighteen months, and we stand and chat for about thirty minutes.
Daisy, a sweet black spaniel, stands or sits close to her person while we chat.
Not our Isis. She finds a large expanse of mud and dances in it. Each time she pops out to check in with me, she is blacker than the time before, but she’s enjoying herself so much, I just let her return to her mud patch until, eventually, she comes back, walks past me and sets off towards the bee hives.
I recapture her and we descend to the main path, visit the ‘clean pool’ – as I call it – to give Hairy a good wash, then, released once more, she sets off in the direction of the walled garden, turns left and scrambles up the bank and onto the higher, landscaped level. Here she trots around a big tree surrounded by holly and other shrubs until she comes to find me and I put her back on lead.
In the car park we meet Y and Blitzi. We’ve not met up with them since last summer, so I usher Isis into the car and have another long chat.
Polymath is expecting me to visit. I’m very late. Highbury is more than half way between home and Selly Park where she now lives, so I decide to go straight there, taking Isis with me.
She has visited twice before but finds the stairs scary, particularly coming back down them. (Claustraphobic Human avoids the lift.)
With encouragement, Isis makes her way upstairs. But silly Human turns sharply at the top, causing poor Isis to skid on the highly polished floor.
“Oh dog! That’ll be it,” I think, “it’s going to be hell getting her to walk now.”
It is. Gentle tugs at the lead are useless. She braces herself and skitters on the shiny surface. In the end, it’s a slack lead and continuous ‘come on, it’s all right’ taps under the chin which do the trick as we make our very, very, slow trek to Polymath’s door.
Polymath, as always, is very pleased to see one of the animals. (Daisy has also made two visits.)
I’ve forgotten to put a drinking bowl in the new car but A. kindly brings Isis a plastic tumbler. Although Isis looks rather surprised at this unusual dog bowl, she has a drink.
Even though she must be tired after her whirl in the park, Isis is not a dog who is able to relax in an unfamiliar environment. We have to draw the curtains as the sun has decided to peer in at us, then we have to switch the overhead light off because it’s bothering her.
She leaps up and woofs a deep warning when carers enter the room, and Polymath has to keep assuring them that she is not an aggressive dog. I note with interest that whereas females only get a muffled ‘yaff’, when D., a male nurse, comes into the room, he is assailed by three full throated barks.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have brought her.
But Polymath disagrees. She thinks that Isis has been quite a good dog considering that it’s only her third visit, I’ve not brought her bed and she had to drink from a plastic cup! And, although she was restive, she stayed beside me most of the time.
Polymath is sure that the more Isis visits, the more relaxed she’ll be.
Perhaps she’s right; certainly, our journey down the two long flights of stairs is accomplished more easily than before. She responds well to the reassurances I give her. There are no refusals. Her tail is not between her legs, and she navigates each step carefully but more confidently than before.
I’ll take her again on Christmas Day with her bed, a bowl, and a chunk or two of cheese
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 email@example.com or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk