Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday June 3oth 2019
On Thursday, Isis makes her way towards one of her current favourite areas: the tangle of woodland between the two big meadows by the car park.
She looks happy enough, trotting back and forth, but she’s searching for something – probably a fat chewy stick.
She doesn’t find anything tempting. She continues to search. Up and down she goes, sniff, sniff sniffing.
Perhaps she’ll play with her ball if I give it to her. Perhaps. It’s a while since I’ve tried because she usually wants to return to the car with it, to keep it safe from marauding canines, I guess. Or she retreats into a secluded spot and mouths it until we leave. Either way, she doesn’t get much exercise.
May be now she’ll play with it.
I give it to her.
A big mistake. True to form, she picks up the ball, noses her way into the strip and lies down.
(I know, I know, she has a stick in her mouth, not a ball. The image is from my media gallery, but this is her retreating spot.)
After a few minutes, she moves further back and settles behind that branch next to the oak leaves. I can still make out her fragments of white though.
So that’s O.K.
I sit on my log and read the news. It’s quite safe. I’ll hear her bell if she moves.
All goes well. Not a sound. Every few minutes I look up to double check she’s still there. Yes, there she is. No problem.
Then I look up and I can’t see her.
Impossible ! I’ve not heard a sound.
I leap up and dash over to the woody strip.
I peer into the dense foliage. No Isis. I push my way a few feet in, then I’m blocked by an impenetrable wall of saplings and brambles.
Room for a medium sized podengo to squeeze through, but not a human, even a slight one.
She could have sniffed her way through to the other meadow, might even now be wandering into the paths of vehicles arriving on and leaving the car park.
I stumble hastily around the edge of the woodland and into the adjacent meadow. It’s Isis free, as is the car park.
I feel my limbs tighten. I need to keep calm and think quickly.
O.K. There’s not been time for her to move any further away than I can see. She has to be in the area between the two meadows. I hurry in among the trees, and follow the narrow path.
Stretches of it are so overgrown now that they’re hardly visible, and I’m surprised to realise how difficult it is to follow without having Isis leading the way. I take the wrong turn two or three times.
Every few steps, I’m bending down, or standing on tiptoe, parting branches and peering into the dense shadows, anxious to glimpse a patch of white.
No patch of white. No trace of Isis. Not even a strand of white hair.
I emerge onto the meadow, and immediately begin searching the edge of the wood again.
Whoops! A spot of white. I investigate. It’s fluffy with a yellow ball in its mouth. A podengo. My podengo.
And why didn’t I hear her bell? Why was unaware of her movement?
The answer is very straightforward: she’s not moved. She’s in exactly the same spot as she was when I last saw her. Yes, I remember the shapes of the branches now.
I had been looking in the wrong place, a few yards further along.
I reach into the undergrowth and tap her gently beneath her chin. She wags her tail, stretches, and walks with me to the edge of the car park.
*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