Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday July 7th 2019
Sometimes, lovely things happen in the park. One morning recently Bev and I sat on a log, and Nancy decided it was just the right moment for a cuddle. She struggled to get all her paws on my lap at once, but she did try very hard.
Bev leapt into action and caught our soppy exchange.
I was very sad, some months ago, to hear that little Bertie had died. I could only imagine the grief of his humans I. and S. He was brought from Ireland by a rescue organisation, and once adopted over here, led the life of Riley.
Bev and I met S. a couple of weeks ago. She told us they were about to adopt another needy dog. One day this week, I. spots Isis waltzing up and down her woodside patch and comes over. With him is Jack, until recently a Romanian street dog.
The very woolly Jack had just had a summer trim. Unsurprisingly, he is nervous of strangers, but he is doing fine, and has bonded well with his humans.
He couldn’t have a more caring home.
The following day, Isis and I drive into the park. J. has told me how much her Martha enjoys sitting on her lap and taking a ride in the park, but I’ve not been in the right place at the right time to capture her riding.
Suddenly, there they are, leaving as we’re arriving. True, Martha isn’t sitting on J.’s lap, but the opportunity is too good to miss, so I pull onto the side and ask for a photo.
Sadly, little Martha was obviously traumatised before J. adopted her, and suffers from extreme separation anxiety. Training exercises haven’t helped. If J. has to leave her at home, even with someone whom Martha knows very well, trusts and is happy to walk with, she is still quite beside herself by the time J. returns home. The little dog greets her human as though she had never expected to see her again.
Today, as Ji. and I walk with Isis in Highbury, he goes ahead. I am surprised to see him fussing a small dog and then sitting next to a lady on a bench, chatting as though he’d known them for years.
I leave Isis to play nearby, and walk over to join them. It’s not until the lady waves that I realise it’s Is. and Zelda from France.
When I call, “Zelda!” the little dog races towards me and throws herself on me. It’s a while since I saw her. It’s a joyful reunion.
They’re on their way to the Community Orchard, to join the other volunteers who are working to return the site to how it was before the fire.
I don’t work in the orchard, but, like many other Highburyites, try to contribute a little to the much loved park. I decided that this year I would pick up all the bits of plastic I came across.
I break my record one day this week. Under a tree, I find seventy plastic beakers, the sort provided for water machines. I also find their packaging, torn into three and scattered over the grass, and two screwed up serviettes.
On the way to the car park, I add a plastic bottle top.
Seventy-six bits of litter to bin.I don’t think I’ll manage to better that. I hope not, anyway.
To be fair, most people who use the park respect it. Usually, for example, when you see a family leaving their picnic spot, there’s no sign left behind that anyone has been there.
And considering that the park is accessible to anyone, twenty-four hours a day, there are very few people who abuse the space.
Most people feel themselves very lucky to live in a city which has so many parks as Birmingham does.
*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