Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday January 31st 2020
By last Sunday, of course, everywhere is thick with snow, and Isis plays in the lane.
The following day, we go to Highbury again. There are only two cars in the car park. As we arrive, they both leave.
It’s a snowman’s graveyard here. It’s damp and grey. Just as we emerge from the car, a light but steady drizzle begins
There’s not a person or a dog in sight. Isis doesn’t care. She’s fond of drizzle. Although it’s not cold enough to sustain the snowmen, the snow is still firm and crunchy underpaw, and she can dance where she will.
And dance she does. For two and a half hours. Clearly, the thaw has begun. There’ll be no snow to play in tomorrow. I don’t have the heart to take her home sooner.
We finally get home, drizzle drenched but contented. She does not, I note, play with her toys in the evening. She’s flat out.
By Wednesday, I am forced to acknowledge that because of the hugely increased footfall in all of the parks through Lockdown, everywhere will be muddy.
Curse. Groan. Sigh.
I decide that we’ll go to Jasmin Fields. At least we can get filthy somewhere different.
Here, too, dozens of snowmen are in their death throes. Here, too, frequently used areas are virtually ankle deep in mud. Even accessing the dog bag bin presents a significant challenge.
On closer inspection, though, I realise that although the track round the edge of the field is well trodden and squelchy, the grass in the middle is relatively mud free. Efforts to lure Isis onto the nice, clean grass fail miserably, of course, so I stop trying.
But once we reach the opposite side of the field which runs parallel to the canal, and is surrounded by tall hedgerows, we discover that there are two or three large patches of ground which are still covered in snow.
What a gift.
Isis, of course, is thrilled. She is particularly taken with the largest patch on which stands a headless snowman. As we know, she’s always had a penchant for things she can dance around.
She loves the feel of the snow under paw, and the chance to leap against it as though it were a bush. She can even use it as an ice lolly when she feels thirsty.
She is beside herself with joy. She shoots this way and that way, changing direction with a leap and a spin, flying towards me, then veering off so sharply that I almost expect to hear a squeal of brakes.
She skitters around wildly for over an hour. Dog knows how much longer she’ll keep it up. Sadly, this human doesn’t have as much resilience as her dog. Her fingers and toes are burning with the cold.
I round her up and take her home.
What an unexpectedly good time we’ve had.
And what beautifully clean, pink pads she has!
By next day, though,not a speck of ice remains, and the desperate search for mud free grass is on with a vengeance.
Bev tells me that most of Cannon Hill Park is much less revolting than Highbury. She suggests we meet at Holders Lane car park on Friday.
I often brought Ellie, my before Isis dog, here, to Cannon Hill. She enjoyed swimming in the river, snatching balls from games of cricket and, on one occasion, retrieving a child’s Teletubby ball from the middle of a pond, and, cheered by a little group of onlookers, bringing it safely back to land.
But Isis isn’t Ellie, and I’m anticipating problems. As she’s not been to Cannon Hill before, there are no favourite little corners for her to play in. She must be be kept on her lead. To make matters worse, the sun is out.
To my surprise, while Nancy and Rufus forge ahead, she trots along contentedly, absorbed by the new scents. The only time she refuses to move is when we walk up a slope towards the sun in order to avoid a swampy area.
Rufus pops back to see what the problem is, I administer a series of tugs and shoves, and, eventually, she walks with us up the slope and back towards the entrance.
Apart from this little incident, she seems to enjoy the new experience. Bev points out that the two games pitches close to the entrance will be good places for Isis to run, once she’s familiar with these new surroundings. We also earmark several hedged in areas where we think she’d enjoy running free.
Right. I’ll bring her here from now on, until the ground dries out.
Or so I thought at the time ……………………………………
*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