Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday July 5th 2020
The edges of the loop which holds the D ring of Hairy One’s harness is beginning to fray. I noticed months ago, and told myself I must order a new one.
I check the loop regularly. Each time I decide it’s OK for now but I must order a new one.
It’s a ‘Comfifit’ harness, strong, black nylon with a soft fleece lining. It was Ellie’s, so it’s done very well. Isis inherited it for ‘temporary’ wear last autumn when the Big Muds began, and I lost her Mekuti harness somewhere in the quagmire.
It’s Friday, and Isis shoots eagerly out of the door for her evening walk. The sun is obscured by thick clouds. Just right for my Hairy One.
But we’ve not gone far when a glimmer of sun seeps through the cloud.
Isis looks troubled and turns left down the first road we come to. OK, not our usual route when we set off, but a road we often use on our way home. If it makes her feel happier, we’ll go with it.
She trots along the road casting only the occasional watchful glance over her shoulder. That’s better.
Then we reach the top of the road. Right turn Isis?
OK, we’ll go left.
She sits down.
No, she doesn’t want to go right. Or left. Or back the way we came.
I notice that across the main road, it’s shady. We cross. But once on the pavement, she refuses to move.
Poor Isis. She’s too heavy for me to carry now, so all I can do is urge her on with a tug and a shove.
When we get to Featherstone Road, I decide, we’ll cross over. She is very familiar with this road, we’ll be walking with our backs to the sun, and she’ll realise that we’re on the way home.
At last we are opposite the junction where I plan to turn off. We make our way towards the edge of the verge.
Just as we’re about to cross, I see C. with her little Westie Bonnie.
I turn around to greet them, restraining Isis who can’t wait to cross. Obviously, she’s recognised the smell of Featherstone Road and is determined not to retrace even one pawstep.
I speak briefly to C whom I’ve known for a very long time, but not seen for months. Isis pulls hard in an attempt to dislodge my left arm from its socket.
I am just about to say goodbye when Isis gives the heave of all heaves.
She then tugs repeatedly, flinging back her head for extra momentum.
Unbeknown to me, this causes the D ring to saw through its holding loop.
The frayed loop breaks. I make a grab for her, but I’m too late, and Isis stumbles across the road in front of an oncoming car.
C and I gasp and freeze in horror. Isis is moving too slowly for the car to miss her. I fantasise a blood soaked Isis, forced up, over the wing of the car, across the bonnet, over the roof, then dead on the road.
Isis is still only three quarters of the way across the path of the car when it stops dead. In fact, her tail touches the bumper. She continues to walk slowly across the main road and stops, hunched on the edge of the pavement opposite.
The driver is pale and shocked. I breathe, “Thank you so much.” and, “I’m very sorry.”
He murmurs an acknowledgement and drives away as I collect my Isis.
C and I exchange “Are you all rights?”across the road.
Isis and I walk home.
I’m not enjoying telling this story. I feel sick when I recall last Friday’s evening walk.
I really didn’t want to write it, but I thought that if it prompts any dog owner to check their dog’s lead, collar and harness before every walk, my confession will have been worthwhile.
*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