Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday September 2nd 2019
It’s Wednesday morning. It’s raining, so I take Isis to Kings Heath Park for a change. She is so intrigued with all the smells which have accumulated since she last visited, that she is determined to check out every one. After twenty minutes, we’ve still not arrived at the bottom bowling green.
She marks each outstanding smell so assiduously that she soon runs out of pee. I point this out to her, but, undeterred, she continues to mark.
Thrilled to play in her Colour Garden again, she races round and round her bed of shrubs gleefully, until I rudely interrupt her to take her home.
Isis spends several hours on her own today, so in the early evening, off we go to desport ourselves for an hour or so in Highbury.
We’re wet and tired but happy when we set off for home. I’m looking forward to a lazy evening under a fleece on the day bed with Isis.
Since it’s raining, I look for my house key before getting out of the car. I look for a long time. I search. I rummage through bags and pockets. I get out of the car, and poke disconsolately in the rain, among the saturated heap of grass cuttings on the side of the drive.
We return to the park where I scour the ground, trudging up and down between the car and the spot where earlier I sat to watch Hairy One playing.
I have spare keys, but they, of course, are unavailable: one is in the house, while the other is with a friend who is not in Birmingham at present.
I lose things so frequently that it’s quite tedious. But this evening’s situation is more than tedious. I repeat a few choice and very impolite words over and over again.
Good job that my pet’s a dog and not a parrot.
I ring my very good friend A. Of course, she tells me, Isis and I can stay with her overnight.
Fortunately, I’d posted on Hairy One’s blog the night before; also, by sheer luck, I’d given Daisy her thyroid tablet and had fed both furries before leaving for Highbury.
We have to park some distance from A.’s house, and I expect to struggle with getting Isis to walk along Pershore Road, especially as it’s very dull and all the vehicles have headlights on. But she’s unbelievably co-operative, and only refuses to walk when we’re traversing the zebra crossing.
Not the optimum choice for a stand-off, but, fortunately, she responds to some frantic chin tapping, and, at last, the soggy pair of us arrive on A.’s doorstep.
Isis has never been to the house before, and is obviously surprised to be ushered in.
I expect her to be frightened and desperate to leave, but she’s neither. She knows A. well but is, of course, completely thrown by the new surroundings.
I keep her on her lead, and for the first hour she stands still on a rug in the sitting room, now and again gingerly extending an exploratory front paw.
She allows me to guide her into the kitchen for a drink of water and back to the rug. A. kindly covers her sofa with an old sheet, and I lift Isis up onto it. She settles down between us and, after a while, relaxes.
So far, so good.
A. and I chat until after midnight.
Then I lift Isis down and manouevre her out into the garden and back. She seems quite at ease.
I guide her with lead and chin taps up the stairs and into the spare bedroom. She lies on the floor, but nothing I do will get her to attempt to jump onto the bed.
When I lift her up, she lies down immediately but won’t move an inch in any direction. Clearly, she is afraid of falling off the bed.
I have to shuffle her along with my legs so that there’s room for me as well! All night she sleeps pushed up against me. Once or twice, she gives a little growl, but settles as soon as I lay my hand on her side.
In the morning, she stays on the bed when I go to the bathroom. Again, she’ll not move until I pick her up and put her down on the floor.
This is the first time that Isis has stayed in a strange house, except for her two abortive visits to Wales soon after she came to live with me.
She’s behaved very well, and I am very proud of her.
At the same time, watching how restricted her movements are in a new environment, I’m reminded of the challenges she has had to face, and still has to face, every day of her life.
Today, I watch her racing around yet another area of the park which she has mapped out. She has learned where the trees and bushes are and races around fearlessly. When we’re walking in less familiar areas, naturally, I have to protect her from obstacles. Sometimes, I’m not quick enough, and she trips over a bramble or bangs her head on a log. She never makes a fuss. She just shakes her head and carries on. Bumps are rare, though. She has taught herself the layout of most parts of her two parks.
How brave and clever she is.
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