the other extreme?



A post should appear every Sunday


Sunday December 5th 2021


I’m a happy blogger again, so here’s a public THANK YOto Kerry at AEZA cat and dog rescue (see footer) who emailed me a copy of the accidentally erased ‘duck with the orange feet.’

To my delight, the post is now back on site in its correct chronological order.




Shortly after complaining about Isis’s lack of interest in her new honking duck toy, I recorded this:







On Sunday, when we wake up to the first scattering of snow this year, Isis is thrilled. Usually, she considers being sent outside when I get up just the annoying prerequisite for getting her breakfast.

Naturally, breakfast looms large on a dog’s agenda. But today, stimulated by the snow, she explores the terrain and then launches herself into a series of little games.

Before breakfast, she dances in the back garden for about thirty minutes. After breakfast, she asks to be let out again. She plays for a further ten minutes. I notice that several times she goes up to the little, home made gate and nuzzles it. On the other side is the path leading to the big gate to the lane.

Ah. Of course, she would love to play in the lane on a day like this. If the scattering of snow survives until tomorrow, she can play there.

The next day I pile on the layers, pick up Honking Duck, and off we go into the lane. The snow is still there. I toss Honking Duck aside, knowing that, after a sniff around, she’ll find him.

She does. She picks him up and trots around with him for a while. After this, her greatest desire is to lie in the grass and squeeze the honks out of him.

She lies down tentatively, wriggles a little, then rises again. She does this several times.

Strange, she’s not usually so particular about where she lies.

But then I realise what’s going on. It’s bitterly cold today, and the snow has turned into ice. Although the rest of her is protected by a thick undercoat and a long, hairy overcoat, her underside is not. Every time she lies down, her bare, pink skin meets the ice. Hardy though she is, this is obviously a discomfort too far. Each time she tries to settle down, she barely manages to squeeze out one honk before she rises to her feet again.

After ten minutes, she strides purposefully to the gate.









S** this for a game of soldiers. She’s had enough, thank you.

O.K. We’ll go to Highbury instead.

Isis is very keen to have her harness put on. As usual, she wags her tail and jiggles around in the porch.

There’s only one problem: she’ll not let go of Honking Duck.

Have you tried getting a harness over a hairy head with a large rubber duck clenched between its jaws?

Not easy. But eventually we succeed.

I expect her to drop her toy once we leave the house.

She doesn’t.

Well, never mind, she’ll drop it once we reach the car.

She doesn’t.

It is more difficult to jump onto the back seat of the car with a mouth full of duck. But after a few adjustments, she manages it.

Funny little dog. She’s sure to leave it in the car when I let her out.

She doesn’t.

Despite my mutterings, cajolings, and quick, sneaky tugs she hangs on to that ruddy duck. (Unfortunately, I’ve not taught her a ‘drop’ command.

Silly me.)

She’s never exited the car with a toy before.


I know exactly what will happen. Once we’re well away from the car, she’ll pick up a scent, drop H.D. and Human will have to carry him around for the rest of the walk.

Little toad.

But I’m wrong. She doesn’t let go of him. She doesn’t explore. She doesn’t sniff. She doesn’t mark interesting spots. She doesn’t even poop.

She refuses to walk until I put her on the lead; then she plods round the park as slowly as she can, looking morose.

However much I cajole her, whisper obsceneties into her beautiful ears and attempt to prise her teeth apart, she will not surrender H.D.

“You didn’t even like him yesterday,” I mutter, “you unspeakable animal.”

What an unedifying spectacle. What a miserable walk. What on earth’s the matter with her?

I’ll never know.

It’s not until well over an hour later, when we are within a few feet of the exit gate, that she executes a brief twirl, drops H.D. unceremoniously on the asphalt and abandons him.

She doesn’t even look back.

When she’s hopped back into the car, I place her toy next to her on the back seat. She ignores him.

When we reach home, she leaves the car without a backward glance, leaving me to carry in the toy from which, only fifteen minutes ago, she refused to be parted.

In the house, she behaves perfectly normally (for a podengo, that is). She eats a hearty meal, she stretches out and falls asleep. Next day we have a delightful walk.

On our own.



Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or go to







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