Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday June 16th 2019
This morning I oversleep, and when I arrive downstairs, am met with my deserts. On the mat by the front door.
“It’s not your fault dear,” I assure Isis who is looking not afraid – I’m glad to say – but a little uncertain.
I collect a poo bag and usher her out into the garden.
Yes, usher. For almost five years Isis skipped happily out of the back door via a step comprising four concrete blocks. One day, for no apparent reason, she refuses to set a paw on the step. Instead, when desperate, she skitters from the kitchen floor, clears the step and lands crookedly on the path. I can only surmise that she must have tripped one day and has now developed a step phobia.
Adopted Niece visits, and with a little help from me, moves the blocks away from the door.
Now, of course, the step down from the kitchen is deeper. It’s well within Isis’s capabilities, but, of course, she doesn’t know this, so she refuses to go out into the garden alone.
We’re working on it. Several times a day, for a week or so, I put her on a very short lead, give her the ‘step down’ signal, and help her descend. Over the last seven days, I’ve not clipped the lead on her collar, just looped it through, so when she moves away, she’s free.
She still won’t go out without the lead, but she’s navigating the step more confidently.
Today, we’re off to Highbury.
It’s not unknown for me to drop the house keys on my way to the car. So far, I’ve found them on the drive or in the gutter when we’ve returned home. Once, recently, I inadvertently hauled them out of my pocket with the car keys when we were about to leave the park. Fortunately, they were still on the car park when I returned to look for them.
I’ve ‘lost’ them frequently lately as my old waterproof jacket has holes in its pocket. But, after a brief panic, I’ve eventually been able to extract them from the lining.
When let her out of the car in Highbury, Hairy One follows a set routine. She makes for the long, dense grass a few feet away, and selects a poopworthy spot. This is usually when I pop the car key into my zipped pocket.
Today, as I do this, I realise that the house keys are missing. Leaving Isis to her rain worship, I nip to the car to see if I’ve left them on a seat. I haven’t.
There’s no need to search the lining, as I’ve just replaced the old jacket. I assume I’ve dropped them on the drive again, and continue our walk.
When it’s time to go, Isis ignores the signal and we have another merry romp across the meadow.
Dear little soul!
When we return home, I leave Isis in the car and comb the pavement, the gutter, the drive. There’s no sign of the house keys.
Ji. arrives. Could I have dropped the keys in the dustbin with the poop bag when I left the house this morning?
Ji. holds the lid open while I empty the bin onto the drive.
Isis snoozes calmly in the car. She’s a very tolerant dog in such circumstances.
Perhaps I did drop the keys in the park.
We drive back there. Isis drowses on. I search around the space where we parked, and then, bent double, I scrabble around in the grass we walked through.
No keys. !**$”*! I straighten up and smash my forehead on a low branch. I reel.
Back home, I ring neighbours who have a set of my keys. They’re not at home and won’t be back until late, but they tell me the number of their keypad. The keypad, like all the others I’ve ever tried to open, has its own little foibles. It takes me thirty minutes to crack it.
At last, while Ji. opens our door, I go to the car to fetch Isis who is still lying sleepily on the back seat. What a patient dog.
While Ji. and I drink coffee, Isis, obviously worn out by the day’s adventures, retires to the day bed.
A few hours later, Ji. and I are in the car again. As I very carefully replace the duplicate keys in my pocket, they clink on something. Puzzled, I feel inside the pocket.
Yes. The original ‘lost’ keys are there, trapped, somehow, in the material of the pocket.
Unbelievable. Both Ji. and I had searched the pockets numerous times.
Home again, I decide I deserve a break and sit down for half an hour with my Kindle.
Dog’s tea time. I get up quickly with a plate in one hand, not realising that my right foot has gone numb. My foot folds at the ankle, I crash into the table, dropping the plate which smashes, cutting my hand. I drop to the floor, and stay there, eyes closed, waiting for the pain to ease.
I hear a gentle snuffling behind me, as Isis tries to make sense of the situation – or may be she’s just investigating whether something tasty has fallen onto the floor.
I’ve always been very accident prone, but on this occasion, the pain is particularly sickening, and it’s a long time before I try to test my foot. To my surprise and relief, I can move it around. Nothing broken, it seems.
Very gingerly, I grab a chair and haul myself up. I find it hard to believe, but I am able to put my foot on the floor. Even more surprisingly, I can walk.
Now, I ache all over and my ankle is quite swollen, but I appear to have got off lightly.
And I’ve found my keys.
And Isis has been angelic.
I hope I can still walk in the morning.
*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