A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday August 22nd 2021
you have to smile: J. has mobility problems now and can no longer come with us to Highbury on Sundays. Instead, Isis and I visit him. He has a very nice flat in a sheltered housing complex.
Today, we are sitting on J.’s patio, when, to our astonishment, someone unlocks his front door from the outside and lets themselves into the flat. A warm, friendly voice calls out, ‘I’m the carer’, and a cheerful lady in uniform steps into the room and walks over to where we are sitting.
‘I’m your carer!’ the cheerful lady says again, smiling. Jim and I look at each other, speechless.
I am the first to recover. Naturally, I assume that the C.L. (cheerful lady) is addressing J.
The following conversation ensues:
C.L. ‘I’m your carer.’
me: ‘No, you’re not. Jim doesn’t have a carer.’
The C.L. checks the list which she has in her hand.
C.L.: ‘Oh, are you Pat?’
C.L. ‘Oh, hello Pat, I’m your carer.’
me: ‘Er, no you’re not – I’m just visiting.’
The cheerful lady checks the list again. ‘Oh’, she says, looking very confused, ‘Isn’t this Flat 5?’
‘No,’ Jim and I tell her, this is Flat 4!’
The lady’s hand flies to her mouth, and she begins to apologise profusely. I think we manage to convince her that we find it hilarious, and there really isn’t a problem.
At this point, I notice that Isis’s nose is twitching. She has picked up the stranger’s scent. Oh dear.
Fortunately, the intruder leaves before Isis has the chance to chase her off with a fearsome volley of barks!
One day I come across this feather in Holders Woods’ fields and decide to take it in macro. I intend to make some abstract drawings and want to see how much detail I can get of the effect of the water drops on the pattern of the feather.
First, I have to capture naughty Isis as I know she will head off in the direction of the car as soon as she senses that I’m distracted.
It’s not easy to take a photo with the hairy pest tugging vigorously on the other end of the lead, but it’s worth the effort.
No wonder Isis pulls such a punch: when we visited the vet’s last week, he told me she weighed 17.25 kilos.
‘Good grief!’ I gasped in dismay, she’s really put on weight.’
‘No, she’s lost a little,’ replies the vet. ‘When she came a few weeks ago, she weighed 17.75.’
Real horror now. My svelte little Isis weighing in at close on 18 kilos! That’s virtually twice the weight she was when I had her.
Of course, she needed to put on weight then, and she did, eventually reaching and remaining at 14.80 – 15.25.
I recall that the veterinary nurse did tell me Isis’s weight at our previous visit, but I was distracted and forgot to listen. I realised this as I drove away, but didn’t like to go back to ask. I don’t feel that the explanation ‘I forgot to listen,’ is cute when one’s past the age of seven.
Anyway, having installed Isis in her rear seat, and myself in the driving seat, I turn round to face her.
‘YOU ARE A FAT GIRL,’ I tell her firmly but quietly (the windows are open and I don’t want anyone to overhear this sensitive information.)
She ignores me and settles down for the journey.
How could I have allowed my Isis to become overweight? I’ve never had an overweight animal before.
True, I have struggled more and more with lifting her up for her bath. It feels like hauling a hundredweight of coal slack. But then, she’s not bathed very often, so I thought it was because I was getting older and weaker.
When we get home I size up my fat dog. I must admit that I expected her to look slim and athletic once she’d finished moulting.
Then I was sure that she’d be sylphlike when I’d trimmed her.
I try to persuade myself that I’m imagining things.
On Thursday, I tell Bev the sad saga. She sniggers knowingly.
‘Did you notice that she was putting on weight?’, I ask.
‘At first I thought it was just her hair’, admits Bev. ‘But when she looked the same size after she’d been trimmed ………………..’
I must take action.
I can’t believe that I’ve been over-feeding Isis, but I know she’s not pregnant, and she appears to be very healthy, so I must be guilty.
‘But I don’t give her much’, I whine, responding like all owners of overweight animals do.
A review of her intake is not difficult. I always weigh her food, a habit, I suppose from when she was such a thin, hungry little creature and needed to put on weight.
Now for an action plan.
A friend who knew me very well often told me that I tend to go to extremes. Remembering this, I decide not to stop feeding Isis until she’s next weighed in a month’s time.*
Instead, I review her food and treats:
75 grammes of Royal Canin Gastrointestinal dry food for breakfast,
75 grammes of Royal Canin Gastrointestinal dry food for tea, plus one sardine or a few forkfuls of Chappie
two tiny little mini treats (smaller than my small fingernail) when we return from her walk
four small gravy bones, one Markie (smallest size) at bedtime.
Although this doesn’t seem a lot, obviously it’s more than she needs.
I am now feeding her only 60 grammes of Royal Canin for each meal, and reducing the extra fish or meat added at teatime. I cut out one of the bedtime gravy bones, substituting a mini treat.
Poor Isis can’t believe that Human is deliberately starving her, and returns to her bowl after eating to check that it really is empty.
Human, of course, feels guilty and worries about her dog being hungry.
Such is the fate of a dog’s human.
* For those who do not know me very well, and feel they must call the RSPCA, this sentence was written in jest!