Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Wednesday March 13th 2019
To set the scene: it’s two weeks ago, and, yes, we’re in Highbury again.
As usual, Isis leads us through the woody strip. Now she’s settled herself close to its edge. It’s like a small doggie lay-by. She feels very safe here.
I straddle one of my favourite roosting spots, the fattest branch of a fallen tree about a hundred yards away.
She’s found something. It’s sticking out either side of her mouth. It’s a thick stick, I think. She’s mouthing it, giving it a good chew, pinning it down and picking it up again.
It looks safe enough.
She’s very engaged with it.
I drift off into a myriad of fleeting thoughts.
Suddenly, I’m aware of the approach of two dog walkers with their six charges. They’re frequently in the park. They always keep a close eye on the dogs which are well behaved and friendly.
Penny, one particularly sweet little cockapoo, approaches Isis, as she has before. She sniffs Hairy One gently, hangs around for a minute or two and then trots off to join her group.
All seems well.
But then I become aware that the Hairy One is doing something very odd. Very odd indeed. Instead of distancing herself from the other dogs, she’s following them.
My first thought is that the wind is blowing in the wrong direction so she is unable to pick up their scent. I shadow her closely, ready to comfort her when she suddenly becomes aware of the proximity of the multi-dog group.
But I’m wrong. She must know how close they are: she’s within sniffing distance of Penny now.
Oh my dog! She’s sniffing around the whole group. She’s almost mingling.
This is unheard of. I can’t believe it.
Suddenly, I spot Hairy One’s snake. It’s in Penny’s mouth.
I tell one of the dog walkers that the snake belongs to Isis, the lady offers Penny a treat and retrieves the snake.
I walk a few steps away from the group before dropping it a few feet away from Isis.
Her sniffing now becomes almost frantic. She falls on snake, picks him up and trots away, well away from the other dogs, back to her lay-by.
Then dozy person remembers …………………….
Two or three days ago, while Isis was playing in her lay-by with her snake, another dog approached. As always, poor Isis dropped her toy as soon as the other dog came up to her. She does this even if the interloper is only a puppy.
I always feel sad when this happens, sad that she accepts so readily that she is comes at the bottom of the heap.
Today, though, I am immensely impressed with her determination to claim her treasure.
Now, she doesn’t want to hang around. She’s keen to get back to her car. Usually, we make our way in loops and leaps. Today, though, she trots along close by my side.
She can’t wait to get into the car, and when she sits down she drops the snake on her blanket with an air of huge relief.
Oh dear, it’s obviously very risky playing in the park with something as precious as her snake.
Obviously, it’s all too much for a dog.
I’ll take her tugger to the park instead. She’s doesn’t rate that.
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