Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday April 19th 2020
Monday 13th: Kings Heath Park
After a brief play on the bank, Isis ascends to the next level. Here, she frisks around in wide laps, revelling in the big, open space.
Then it happens: she comes across a red, child sized ball.
It becomes immediately obvious that she’s always wanted one like this. It’s perfect for a dog, she feels. It’s firm enough to roll when one pats it, yet soft enough to pick up in one’s mouth.
But, sadly, that’s the end of her galloping. She holds the ball aloft as though she’s just won a world cup final and trots off to the path above.
From here, she hastily scrambles up onto the mound which backs onto the basket ball court, and retires into the shrubbery.
Here, she settles herself comfortably and mouths the ball.
Damn. I don’t like it when she is preoccupied with a ball, or a toy, or a stick, especially now that we’re only supposed to leave the house for exercise once a day. She needs her exercise. Silly dog.
I sit on a nearby tree stump and gaze at her. Silly dog continues to lie in exactly the same position in the dead leaves behind the holly bush, mouthing the ball.
Grrrrrrrr. (Human, not Isis.) She’s there for the day.
Half an hour passes, and I can restrain myself no longer. I cut through to the path which runs along the side of the court, drop down into the Colour Garden, and walk to the back of the shrubbery. Ducking under a series of thin, whippy branches, I manage to chin tap Isis out.
Now, surely, she’ll drop the ball and scud round the big, oval plant bed.
No, she won’t.
After only a few minutes, she turns away from such delights and makes her way out onto the old tennis courts.
She has reached the exit gateway before I realise that her lead and harness are no longer round my neck.
Dilemma. I’ll not be able to get her to the car without them. Quite rightly, she’ll never let me haul her across the park by her collar. And if she did allow this, it’d choke her.
It’s not very far to the tree stump where I sat and watched her performing in the shrubbery. The lead and harness must be there.
I’m sure she’ll not go far without me.
I pelt back to the mound.
Yes, there they are, sitting on top of a low growing shrub onto which they must have dropped when I stood up.
I grab them and run.
There’s no sign of Isis when I lurch through the gate, but as I step onto the path, a passing walker points towards a little clearing a few yards away. This is the way Isis always leads me, the direction she always chooses to follow to the car park.
There she stands, waiting for me. She’s still clutching the blasted ball.
Off we set. She has her lead on now, but it’s impossible to put on her harness without handling the ball. In these times of plague, I want to avoid contact with anything which has been handled by a small, drooly, infant germ factory.
Never mind, she always drops whatever she’s carrying before she jumps up onto the back seat.
But not today.
Today she refuses to get into the car.
It’s cold. I begin to shiver. It’s now that I realise my gloves are missing.
I shiver again.
Isis stands there, stiff legged, all four paws planted firmly on the tarmac.
Right, you silly, silly dog, you’ll have to come with me.
I expect her to refuse. She has very strict rules about what we do in specific situations, and when we get back to the car, we don’t set off again on foot, not under any circumstances.
However, she surprises me. She trots off eagerly – perhaps she knows she’s not had enough exercise.
As we make our way towards the exit, the recalcitrant animal tosses the ball into the air and executes a first class twirl.
Off we go again, retracing our steps. This time, she plays happily on the bank above the old bowling green.
As she plays, I talk to C. who’s out with his little dog Daisy. He is the only one of his family who leaves home now, he tells me. His wife and daughter are physically vulnerable and confined to the house. Before moving off, he tells me to phone if I need any shopping, and checks that I have their phone number.
People are very kind.
This time round, Isis makes up for wasted opportunities. After batting across the bank, she trots up to the next level and races exuberantly to and fro on the grass.
When we reach the pond, she decides to deviate from our usual path.
That’s fine – we’ll not find the gloves now, anyway.
But hey! There they are on the path, not far from the main entrance. I must have dropped them when we first began our walk.
Back at the car, my strange little dog jumps straight in, lies down, tucks her front paws under her chest and lays her head on her blanket.
What was all that about then?
*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*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.dogwat