concerning old dogs and new tricks


Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday December 1st 2019


Old dogs and new tricks.What’s she on about? Isis isn’t old.

No, but I am. And I have been given an iphone in exchange for two bottles of wine. Slowly and painfully – extremely slowly, and extremely painfully, with an unprecedented amount of blue air forming around me, I erase the old content and set up the phone anew.

Well, almost. The last straw, I mean step, is when the blasted thing asks me to verify my email account and enter the matching password. Seven million times (surely, it must have been) I obediently follow the instructions. This, in itself, is challenging as I’ve not used an iphone before. 

Still no luck.

It keeps telling me that I’ve made an error. Exasperated beyond description, I shriek and curse at the top of my voice. What a good job Isis can’t see or hear me, I think. If she could, she would run all the way back to Portugal.

I limit the phone recovery efforts to one or two sessions a day in an effort to stop before I become completely hysterical.

Isis snoozes calmly through the hassles, unless we’re in the front room and the sun suddenly emerges. When this happens, we’re both hysterical: Isis because she’s been attacked by light and I because I’m so wound up already.

Thank heaven for dog walks.

Every day this week, we both enjoy at least two hours in the pouring rain in Kings Heath Park. This park, like all the other local parks, is full of mud, but the steep bank by the old bowling green drains very well. If she plays there, her pink pads and fluffy white undercarriage remain clean.

We stay a long time so that Hairy One can use up lots of energy. It’s a tricky time of year for walks. Every day this week the sun comes out in the late afternoon and remains  until dusk. As we know, Isis refuses to walk in combinations of sun and shade, and there’s no way she will step out of the front door when it’s dark.

She does, of course, delight in the rain. She loves playing on the bank too, unless a dog she doesn’t know very well joins her, whereupon she departs through the hedge onto the next level. She’ll play there too unless she’s interrupted again, in which case she takes herself off to the Colour Garden.

There’s only one problem with the bank. Planted there, are young fir trees which Isis enjoys decapitating. Standing nearby, preempting her attacks is very monotonous, especially with plump rain drops chasing each other along one’s nose.

Hmmm. How can I distract her? If I give her one of her favourite toys, she’ll want to take it straight back to the car. She’s very protective of her favourites.

I have an idea. Perhaps if I can find something she’s not familiar with, she might behave differently. In the understairs cupboard I dig out a long, sturdy rubber tugger. It belonged to my previous dog Ellie, and I’ve never had the heart to throw it out.

Next day, I drop it near the little, headless tree.

She picks up its scent, and is immediately interested. She dances around it before picking it up and giving it a shake. She plays with it and ignores the fir tree.


The following day, when she runs up the bank and begins to play, I place the tugger close to her, drag it down onto the field and then pull it along a few yards.

Very quickly, she picks up the scent, follows it and claims her prize. I’ll increase the distance each time, and see how far she’ll follow the scent.

That’ll give her a new activity.

I don’t have a new activity. It’s back to the phone for me.

It takes ten days for me to notice that I made a typo the first time I entered my email account. I missed out a letter. At last I understand why the Apple ID code isn’t accepted.

Now what?

I have a brainwave. I’ll erase all content and return the phone to factory status. Then I’ll begin again.

Clever me!

There’s only one problem, I discover: to begin this process, I have to verify my email.


Let’s go for a b. walk, Isis.






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 or





This entry was posted in deaf/blind dog plays, dear little Isis, scary shadows, scenting, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to concerning old dogs and new tricks

  1. Ian Simkin says:

    The joys of technology eh? 😉


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