Posts are published each Sunday
Sunday July 6th 2021
I’m wrong. Isis is affected by being away from home.
She has worried her right front leg, her usual target when something is upsetting her. It’s quite a big patch, and once home she continues to nibble at it. I treat it with Sudacreme. It’s healing now.
She barks when I feed her in the morning, but this, too, fades after a few days.
Her ‘nightmares’, which had become rare, come back. Several times in the weeks following her return from the kennels, she wakes snarling and growling and so distressed that I can’t touch her until I’ve managed to wake her up.
Another thing. Now, Isis is always excited when we step into the porch ready for our walk. Excitement I expect.
But not this far off the scale. Now, every morning for three weeks she goes absolutely berserk.
The weather was poor while I was away, so she might not have had her two fifteen minute sessions a day on the little exercise field at the kennels. Even so, I am surprised, to say the least, at the extent of her craziness.
Oh wild, wild, dangerous dog! She not only bucks and twists and barks and snaps as I wrestle with her to get her harness on, but growls and snarls too. She does very realistic mock attacks, pretending to bite the lead, herself and me. To spice up the act a bit, she lets out a long and loud podengo howl:
I am used to Isis acting strangely, but this is well beyond strange. Anyone who knew her less well would be very frightened. I actually wonder, briefly, if I should be frightened. But no, I don’t need to be. It’s just my Isis being her unpredictable self.
In the prison service, they call it gate fever. Her wildness seems to be pure exuberance. If I bellow angrily in one of her ears – the left one I think – she’ll stop but I don’t want to cow her. Thank goodness, she eventually returns to her ‘normal’ pre-walk performance; that is, she does all the silly things she is doing now but leaves out the fierce growling, snarling and mock biting.
So this week, after each porch performance, we set off down the front path and towards the gate looking, to all intents and purposes, like a normal dog owner walking her normal dog.
On Monday we have a lovely walk from the car park in Holder’s Lane into Cannon Hill Park, past the lake where Bev and I saw the heron catch the fish, past the boating kiosk, up to the little station and back through the woods.
When we reach the enclosure where the silt from the dredged ponds is stored, Isis strides confidently to the left. I patiently retrieve her, persuade her to turn round, and urge her to the right. She turns back. The fourth time she attempts to turn left, I put her on her lead and insist that she comes with me. After a few yards, we reach a dead end.
Yes Isis. Sorry. You are quite right. We need to turn left.
The next day we reacquaint ourselves with Jasmine Fields. It’s rather bright today, so she’ll enjoy walking along the shady little track which overlooks the canal.
It appears that extra drainage pipes have been installed since we last came because there’s a new mound on the field. It must smell very enticing as, despite the bright sun, the contrary Isis insists on spending about thirty minutes dancing on it.
What on earth has inspired her? On closer inspection, I find feathers from a recently predated pigeon, but she is not usually interested in dead birds. Then I realise that she’s doing her rain dance. The sky has become very dark and there’s moisture in the air.
Then the sun emerges again and she’s happy to follow me to the little track. Her exertions on the mound have made her thirsty, and she’s searching for water. I have to watch her very carefully as she walks right to the edge of the tow path and sniffs at the water. She’s never yet attempted to drink from the canal, and I don’t think she will today; nevertheless, the water looks particularly revolting this morning, and the prospect of leaping in to rescue her is not frightfully appealing.
She’s a little leary of the brightness when we eventually climb the steps and re- emerge onto the field. She’s enjoyed herself though.
On Wednesday, it’s Highbury. We’ve not been here for several weeks. Because it’s very warm and sunny, I park in Yew Tree road in the shade of trees at the perimeter of the park. The car will be cool for Hairy when we return, and her bottle of water won’t get warm.
It takes longer than usual to walk along the narrow track to the orchard, as virtually every leaf stem is a magnet to Hairy One’s wiggling pink and black spotty nose.
Fully informed now about who’s been walking in the park since she was last here, Isis is happy to return to the car.
As usual, although she’s obviously ready for a drink, she’ll not have one until she’s back in the car, and only then if I sit beside her on the back seat, between her and the open door and allow plenty of time for her to sniff around in every direction to make absolutely certain that it’s safe enough to drink.
Yes, all is well. Lap. Lap. Lap.
On Thursday it’s spotting with rain as we leave the house. The spots are very infrequent, but still promising enough to persuade Isis that she would like a pavement walk.
Disappointingly, the one or two spots do not translate into rain, and halfway to Kings Heath park, her enthusiasm begins to wane.
You can always tell. First she slows down, then she walks to the edge of the grass verge and indicates that she wishes to cross the road. After a few minutes, she wants to cross back. We could cross and recross all day. But it doesn’t strike me as a particularly stimulating activity.
She knows where she doesn’t want to go but not where she does. I mutter imprecations. In the end, Human can stand it no more and sets off towards home. Now, of course, my stubborn little companion wants to go towards the park.
” Never again,” I mutter irritably. “Never again unless it’s b. pouring. Do you hear me?”
No, she doesn’t. If she could she’d not take any notice. She’s that kind of dog. She sniffs every weed, tree, wall, fence and spike of grass as we wend our way slowly, very, very slowly, home.
To be fair, it’s very close, and I think she feels over heated. Once home, she stretches herself out and sleeps soundly.
On Friday it’s cooler and it rains so we go to Highbury again, this time to walk along the track next to the railway line and up beyond the small pond to the landscaped mounds. Here, Isis dances to her heart’s content.
On Saturday, it’s very hot and sunny. For the first time in ages, Hairy refuses to go out of the front door. She backs away and slinks into the kitchen. O.K. it’ll have to be the lane today.
I collect a toy from her box and we make our way down the garden to the back gate. She walks beside me into the lane. It’s overgrown and there’s plenty of shade. I settle into my old garden chair and prepare to read the news.
I don’t get far though: after only a few minutes Isis carries her toy towards me, pokes open the gate with her paw and disappears into the garden.
It’s too hot for her, I realise. She doesn’t want to stay outside.
Once back in her house, she stretches out and sleeps.
“What’s the matter with you?”, I ask. ” You’re Portuguese. You’re supposed to be fine with the heat.”
She doesn’t say a word.