My apologies for the second debacle. I thought that I had it sorted. I still have no idea why the blog didn’t publish. The week before, it disappeared altogether and neither the revisions nor the autosave would materialise, so I had to rewrite the post.
Can’t blame the computer for the date being incorrect though: I checked it on the June calender instead of July.
Yesterday, the excellent James replaced the hard drive. So here’s hoping.
Posts are supposed to be published each Sunday!
Sunday July 11th 2021
On our walk today, Isis becomes very irritated by the bits of park she has inadvertently gathered in her hair. She nips at her side, legs and tail. I disentangle a couple of dried weeds from one of her hind legs, and all seems well.
When we reach home, I can only see a few burrs. I’ll soon remove those.
She settles, obediently but without relish, on an old sheet in the hall and I set to; however, there is much more to it than meets the eye. When I run my fingers through her hair, I discover that the mere scattering of seeds on her nose and whiskers is nothing to what lurks deeper in her dense coat.
And what I intend to be a quick seed pod, grass seed and burr harvest, soon turns into a full groom.
She’s angelic. The very thorough groom takes about forty minutes, but she utters not even the quietest of growls.
Something’s not right though. Today as I brush and comb my hairy pet, I realise that she’s still moulting her undercoat.
This is a ridiculous amount of hair. It’s July.
The weather continues to be ridiculous too. On some days this week it’s so humid that we drip under our waterproof jackets, then a day later, it’s decidedly chilly and we can’t make up our minds whether a sweater is called for too.
Perhaps Isis, also, is uncertain how much coat she needs, and that’s why she’s keeping some in reserve!
‘Uncertain’ definitely describes her demeanour this week. Very uncertain.
One day I take her to Highbury and park near the exit from the ‘wild’ track which begins just above the orchard. She usually enjoys this walk as it’s shady and full of lovely smells.
The Himalayan balsam plants have grown since we were last here, especially along the final stretchof track. I didn’t realise until I checked them out today, that they are the tallest annual plant in the UK and can grow up to three metres.
Brambles and stinging nettles lean across the path. I usually lift them aside so that Isis can pass without being entangled or stung, but this time there are so many that I arm myself with a stinger stick.
Poor Hairy One begins to look very unhappy. Soon, her tail disappears beneath her undercarriage.
Then she sits down looking very mournful. Oh dear, the only time she’s ever done this before is when she was ill almost a year ago.
I tap her onwards. But after only a few steps she sits down again. Then she lies down. Now I’m getting worried.
She continues to sit or lie down every yard we walk. It takes a lot of cajoling to get her up on her feet again.
I am very anxious about her. She’s too heavy for me to lift, let alone carry. I wonder if she’ll make it to the end of the track. Always the optimist, I find myself fantasising about an epitaph for her blog.
I am very relieved indeed when we emerge into the park. She looks very limp, but at least if she collapses now, there’ll be someone around who is willing to help me carry her.
I fasten her into her harness, and slowly, very, very slowly she creeps by my side to the car. I help her in. I try to persuade her to have a little water, but she’s not interested. Her head sinks onto her paws.
It’s a very warm day. Is she overheated? Has she got sunstroke? Does she have heart failure? Has she caught some life threatening virus?
I think back: she was fine until we approached this last part of our walk. A little jumpy, yes. But she always is when, like today, the sun pops out brightly, then the sky clouds over, then it’s sunny again.
Yes, as we know, she doesn’t like today’s kind of weather. It makes her nervous, sometimes very frightened indeed. It must be the light and shade shifts.
Or is it the proliferation of stingers and brambles? Could be, but she usually either barges through them, or, more likely nowadays, stands and waits for Human to deal with them for her.
It’s not until we reach home that I think about the Himalayan balsam plants on either side of the track. They tower over my head. I didn’t realise until I checked them out today, that they are the tallest annual plant in the UK and can grow up to three metres. I guess that Isis perceives them as dark shadows looming over her.
Walking through the tunnel of plants is a strange experience for me. I try to imagine what it feels like for Isis, so much smaller, and unable to see what they are.
When the shadows of trees are very dense, or there is a strong breeze moving their branches, Isis will flinch, crouch close to the ground and scuttle away.
Today, there is nowhere for her to scuttle to – she is completely surrounded.
Eventually, I conclude that it is the Himalayan balsam plants which have upset her.
I recall that she tried several times to trot off down the slope which we pass just before entering the plant tunnel. I was surprised because we haven’t been that way for months, and now she automatically just trots past it. Today she obviously didn’t want to go with me onto the track, and I put her on the lead to prevent her from escaping.
Poor little dog.
Isis: Why doesn’t Human just listen to what I’m trying to tell her?
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 http://www.dogwatch.co.uk