A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday June 20th 2021
Today we meet M and his little dog Rosie in Highbury. Recently they camped in Cornwall, and M tells me how much Rosie enjoys being on holiday with him. He can’t imagine going away and leaving her behind. He is surprised when I tell him how cool and collected Isis was when I picked her up from Hollytrees. He is sure if it were Rosie, she would rush up and leap all over him. We decide that most dogs are ecstatic to see their people again.
He finds Hairy One’s detachment very strange. I am a little surprised myself. It has taken her a very long time, but even over the last two years I have seen changes in her: she has come to enjoy being stroked and patted, even, when I wake her in the morning, she accepts a gentle hug.
I replay yesterday’s reunion scene in my mind. I was inordinately disappointed that I was too late to pick her up last night, and I can’t wait to see her.
I stand impatiently on the yard, peering in the direction of her kennel block.
At last she emerges, walking calmly at the end of her lead.
She’s here! I reach out to hug her. Yes, she recognises my scent – of course she does – but she seems quite aloof.
She’s simply not interested. And she’s not desperate to leave with me. I am almost certain that if one of her kennel carers offered to take her off somewhere, she’d go quite happily.
Why is it, I ask myself, that I care that I’m so much more excited to be reunited with her than she is with me? Why do we humans have to feel that we’re so special?
Why are we so needy?
I really am very pleased that Isis doesn’t display separation anxiety. It is good that she feels so at home at Hollytrees.
It really is.
She does sniff me and wag her tail. She is keen to scramble into the car. She’s definitely pleased to be back at her own front door. So what am I complaining about?
I intend to take her to the park but she doesn’t want to know. She doesn’t even want to re-acquaint herself with her back garden.
She retires to the day bed and goes to sleep.
O.K. No walk then.
Later, when I go into the other room, she follows me. She doesn’t lie on my feet though, as she usually does.
At night she waits for her bedtime treats. She pokes her nose under the cushions and sniffs out the bits of gravy bones as usual. I try to make a fuss of her, but she’s not very responsive.
She sleeps soundly until I wake her on Wednesday morning.
She is keen for her walk and very thorough in her investigations of the scents which have accumulated since she was last in Highbury.
We return home. I have to go out for about half an hour. I can’t remember where or why, but by the time I get back, I’m feeling the lack of sleep last night, and creep onto the day bed for a snooze.
After flattening the imaginary prairie grass with three decisive turns, Isis settles down at the other end of the day bed with her back to me.
I switch on the radio and close my eyes.
After about ten minutes, I feel the mattress moving.
Then, flumph! She lies down between my legs.
She wriggles and pushes herself closer and closer.
Then, to my astonishment, she carefully hooks first her left leg, then her right over my left thigh, stretches out her neck, places her head between her paws, and, with a deep sigh, closes her eyes.
I gently stroke her head, and we both drift off to sleep.
*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