Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday February 10th 2019
It’s Saturday. It’s wet and wild and Isis is having a wonderful time in Highbury Park.
She achieves another first: she walks off-lead from just outside the car park to the edge of the beechwood.
Since Hairy One chooses the itinerary, we do not, of course, walk the usual route down across the meadow, over the bridge across the stream, up the steep tarmac path, past the secret garden and through the pine avenue.
Instead, we follow Isis podengo’s nose. Criss-crossing the wet grass, we visit the smaller of her rosebay willow herb patches. Here she pauses to follow what I assume are the scent tracks of little mammals and to send peemails to previous canine visitors.
Satisfied with her rendezvous, she meanders towards the stream and walks carefully along the bank. It’s not until she has doubled back on herself several times that I realise she’s trying to find the little track which leads to the ‘clean pool’.
She persists – not one to give up, our Isis – until that black and pink spotty nose picks up whatever scents are emanating from the track, and off she goes.
She speeds up as she gets nearer to the pool, and I am forced to speed up too. Whoops! She’s about to launch herself over the boulders at the edge of the little waterfall. I snatch her back just in time and tap her in the direction of the stepping stones.
I want her to have as much freedom as she can but, of course, I don’t want to risk her hurting herself.
She’s a bright little dog, and I think that she will be able to find her way across; nevertheless I’m on tenterhooks as I wait on the bank watching her.
She’s very cautious. She extends a paw, allowing it to hover momentarily over the surface of the water, withdraws it and sniffs out an alternative move. Slowly, but very deliberately, she creeps from stepping stone to stepping stone, testing each foothold before putting her weight on it.
Now she’s scrambling confidently up the other side, crossing the path and heading towards the big rosebay willow herb swathe. Clever dog. She’s found her favourite playground herself from right across the park.
I follow her, a fat, proud smile on my face.
She prances joyfully around the boggy edges of rosebay patch. She must be jumping only in clear water as her pads are still pink and her sturdy little legs are only moderately splattered with mud.
I squelch carefully towards her. She stands quite still as I clip on her lead.
So she is most certainly not to blame for what happens next.
In order to avoid the murky puddle in front of me, I step back.
Not the best idea I’ve ever had.
I trip over a large tussock and land, seat first, in another puddle much deeper than the one I was trying to avoid.
Legs in the air, I wriggle in the icy water.
Isis turns her head towards me curiously as if to say,’Wonder what the hell she’s found to roll in.’
Isis came from the Aeza dog and cat rescue in Portugal. If you would like to see dogs in need of fostering, adoption or sponsoring, from Britain or from abroad, contact Dogwatch UK.