Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday April 28th 2019
The first time I take her to visit Polymath, Isis is very wary. Nowadays, she is usually happy to pop out of the car when we arrive somewhere, and so she is on this occasion.
She doesn’t mind walking over the grass verge. She’s a little unsure of herself when we cross the drive and walk towards the building, and is very reluctant to follow me through the outside door.
The next door proves even more challenging. It’s operated by keypad and the mechanism only releases the lock for a few seconds. Since Isis is standing resolutely in front of the door, we miss the short window for entrance twice. The third time, I manage to push poor Isis through and to stagger after her into the building.
She doesn’t want to be in this strange place, and fights to leave. Anyone reading the visitors’ book would imagine that I’d either been seriously drunk when I signed it, or been felled by a hit-man half way through the operation.
There is a lift, but silly Human is claustrophobic; thus, to reach Polymath’s floor, we need to climb two long flights of stairs.
Isis is determined that she’ll not plant her front paws on the first step.
After much chin tapping, patting and stroking, she is persuaded to do so. With encouragement, she reaches the top.
Now there’s a new horror awaiting an unsuspecting dog. I’d not foreseen this one, and am unprepared for Hairy One’s terror.
The floor is highly polished. As she dives for a wall to follow, as she always does when in unfamiliar areas, she looses her footing. I try to right her by shortening her lead. She panics, slips over and struggles even more frantically to get to the wall.
With great difficulty, I ease her along. She leans into the wall, and, holding her lead very loosely, I have to chin-tap her across all the open doorways.
After what feels like hours, we finally enter Polymath’s room, where, thankfully, Hairy One’s paws are once more in contact with carpet.
She paces and twirls until all the lights are extinguished and the curtains drawn. Although I manage to sit her down beside me, she soon gets up again. She is restless throughout the visit, pacing up and down, and sniffing at the door.
She accepts water in a disposable pot which she later knocks over. She can smell the biscuit which Polymath holds out for her over the edge of the high- sided bed, but can’t work out how she needs to position herself in order to reach it, so there’s no chance of a friendly pat.
When Polymath needs privacy, Isis and I go into the corridor where I sit on a chair. But Isis won’t sit for more than a few seconds. She’s up and down like a yo-yo.
She wants to leave, and isn’t keen to return to the room.
When we make our way home, there’s the slidy corridor to fight. This time, I’m better prepared. Leaving her lead loose, I let her slink along next to the walls.
The final challenge still awaits us, of course: stairs.
For little Isis, descending is very scary indeed. She stands at the top of the staircase, stiff with terror. A nurse about to come up kindly retreats and waits.
Every step is a struggle, but eventually, we arrive on the first floor.
This time, I stand on the end of the struggling one’s lead while I sign myself out. She shoots to the door as soon as I pick up the lead again.
It’s been an ordeal for her, but once we’re making our way back to the car, her tail begins to re-emerge from her fluffy undercarriage.
Hmmm. Polymath very much wants to see Isis.
We’ll have to work on this one.
*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