Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday March 15th 2020
How wonderful that it’s still light at six in the evening! Now, at last, it’s practical for me to give Isis two walks a day without getting up at the crack of dawn.
As we know, I am the antithesis of the early riser.
For some time now, Isis and I have met up with Bev and the doodles in Highbury Park between nine and ten in the morning. But they all go away for two weeks, then Bev has a fearsome cold, and, predictably, I regress.
Despite my daily vows to retire before midnight and get up at eight, I consistently fail to achieve either.
This is less than ideal, as I get nothing done at home, but there is one lovely outcome: because Isis and I spend a good part of every afternoon in Highbury, we meet many new people.
The main path through the park runs alongside the area where Isis plays. I sit on one of two quite comfortable felled trees and enjoy watching the following scenario.
Isis leaps around as usual, executing little ‘invitation to play’ bows to her friends – the hedgerows, shrubs and brambles.
People pass along the path from or to the High Street. At some points, Isis is invisible from the path because of the dips and rises of the landscaping. I can always tell when someone’s suddenly spotted her because, inevitably, the spotter does a double take. If he or she is part of a group, I hear, for example, “Ryan/ Helen, look at that dog.”
Sometimes people carry on but keep turning their heads back towards ‘that dog.’ Sometimes they return at the end of their walk and have a closer look. Often, if I am sitting near to the path, people will call or come over to ask what Isis is doing. Then, of course, we get into conversation.
Several times this week, I hear a person who has already discovered Isis explain her to the rest of the group.
Others, who have brought their dogs up onto the grass, will stand and watch Isis for several minutes before coming over to ask me about her, what she is doing, why, what breed she is, and where she came from.
Usually people want to know how she manages not to bang into things at home, how I get her to come to me and whether she knows where I am.
Without exception, they express empathy with her.
Only this week, I have a very interesting conversation with a delightful young guy who has spent time in Portugal and is aware of the plight of abandoned dogs there. He has his own rescued lurcher with him, and is intrigued by Isis. “She’s so lovely,” he says.
It’s just as well that she is unaware of all the compliments which come her way. She’s already quite assured enough of her own importance.
Here is a selection of comments from this week:
“That’s the sweetest thing I’ve seen today.” (Young woman who has just watched Isis playing with the bramble ‘hedge’ and has asked me what she’s doing.)
“She’s very cute.” (Young girl passing by with her friend.)
“She’s very beautiful.” (Two longstanding and two new male admirers.)
“Those ears. Wow!”
‘Those ears’ are her most remarked upon feature. Friend Y. has been telling me for months that there’s a tree in the landscaped area of the park which reminds her so much of Hairy One’s ears that she calls it ‘The Isis Tree.’
I’d not managed to identify the tree, but this week I meet Y and Blitzi not far from it, and she points it out to me.
Immediately, it’s clear how the soubriquet fits.
Yes, the fall of the dangly growth from the branches is strikingly similar to the fall of the hair from Hairy One’s ears!
*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