Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday November 17th 2019
Oh dear. One really has no right to complain about the weather when one sees the plight of the flood victims in the UK and elsewhere who have had to move out of their homes, some for the second or even third time.
I guess that for most of us the continuous rain is, at most, an inconvenience.
In Highbury Park we dog walkers seek the least squelchy areas in which to exercise our pets; alternatively, we give up and accept that they’re certain to return home from their walks covered in mud.
Often, Hairy One’s favourite stamping ground along one of the narrow woodland strips looks green and clean when I first check it out. When she dashes up and down she remains mud free; however, when she decides to run on the spot she soon creates the claggiest mini bog you could imagine.
Usually, I neglect to notice what she is doing until, by the time I approach her to move her on, her underside and legs resemble those of a chocolate dog.
Then off we go to an effective dog washing spot: the little brook which runs down to the stream.
For most of the year the little brook is a slow trickle, emerging from a culvert and disappearing into the stream which flows along the bottom of the meadows. During a dry summer it vanishes altogether.
I have not previously seen it as wide and deep as it is now. And because it has overflowed onto the grass, the water is clean and odourless. Just perfect for rinsing down your revoltingly hound.
Another, even easier, way of cleansing your dog’s undercarriage, legs and paws is to encourage her to play in long, wet grass.
Unfortunately, this isn’t so easy now as it was a few weeks ago, because, at the end of summer, the flower meadow and almost all of the rest of the grass in the park is cut very close to the ground.
An exception is the area around Hairy One’s favourite log on the far left of the flower meadow. Here, one summer several years ago, Isis, having played happily for an hour, emerged from the undergrowth covered in burrs. Since then, I’ve avoided this area in the summer time.
One day recently, Isis plays in a lovely boggy patch. She tramps merrily through all the squishy bits she can find. Her feet are filthy. This isn’t enough though. Not yet. She decides to lie in the mud to chew a stick.
Ah. A brainwave.
It’s almost winter now. The plants which bear the burrs will be dead. I’ll take her to play in the long grass around the log.
Off we go.
Isis is delighted when we get there, and soon disappears into the long grass. She rediscovers the tunnels under the log and beneath the ground hugging branches of the surrounding trees.
For well over an hour I catch only brief glimpses of her as she runs and leaps and pounces among the undergrowth.
With growing satisfaction, I see flashes of clean front paws and clean back legs.
‘What a clever idea of mine’, I think as I entice Isis from one of her hiding places.
Or not …………………………………….
She really doesn’t fancy a photo shoot, and keeps getting up and walking off. I capture a different pose each time I insist on her sitting down again.
I love her expression in each of them, so I’ve included all three.
Well, I didn’t know that the burrs would still be there in November, did I?
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