Isis continues to do well, although she doesn’t care for the salt water bathing of her back feet. I do both feet because they get filthy, and dog knows what might be in the mud.
We have had some dry days, but not many. All we dog walkers would be delighted with cold and frosty. We long for bracing air, the crunch of crisp earth, clean boots and dry dog towels.
Now and then since Christmas Highbury has looked like this.
But not very often.
On Wednesday there’s a light frost when Isis and I emerge and make our way to the car. I even have to scrape a thin layer of ice from the windscreen. That’s what you expect to do in Britain in the winter, but this year it’s almost become a novelty.
We make for Kings Heath Park. When we reach the pond, I remove Hairy One’s lead and allow her to choose our destination. As usual, she walks past the mallards and seagulls, joins the path along the side of the old tennis court, turns left as we approach the basketball court, pops up to walk along the edge of the tennis court, then descends in order to trot through the gap which takes her into the Colour Garden.
This is the route she learned from R and S who took her out for months when I was incapacitated a couple of years ago.
The ground is firm and frosty. Oh joy! Isis runs and twirls round the main shrubbery for over an hour.
When we return to the car, all her little paws are clean and pink.
Remember the orange stick?
She continues to ignore it in the house, and over time I forget that once or twice she enjoyed playing with it in the park.
Lately, she’s persisted in hiding any toy we take with us, or trotting off with it in the direction of the car park.
Maybe the negelected orange stick should be taken out again.
I carry it with me when we’re park walking, and when she’s played for half an hour or so, throw it casually to a spot where she’ll come across it.
She soon develops a routine. She quickly sniffs it out, but she doesn’t collect it immediately. She trots off, executes a few nonchalant spurts and twirls, and then returns to the stick. Holding it aloft, she trots around squeaking it triumphantly – well, she looks triumphant, anyway.
When she gets tired – which isn’t very often – she’ll lie in a safe place with the orange stick and squeak it vigorously. It sounds like a treeful of birds. Then she’s off again, with or without the stick.
She enjoys herself immensely.*
* Her tail isn’t drooping because she’s nervous, but because we’re out during Storm Dennis, and the wind is attacking her rump!
*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