A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday February 13th 2022
Isis is a very good little dog. She never destroys things when she is alone, unless I’ve carelessly left a cardboard envelope, folder or box within easy reach. She’s not that interested in the contents and doesn’t mind at all if envelopes contain important letters. She just tears them up along with their contents.
She enjoys swinging folders around before wrenching them apart; it’s just par for the course when the documents fall out onto the floor in a heap. Sometimes she dances on them or chews them, sometimes she doesn’t.
Cardboard boxes she’ll drag down from a chair so that the contents -usually books – drop out, then she’ll rip off the boxes’ flaps and sides before chewing them, leaving a pattern of little sharp tooth marks and piercings over their surfaces.
Usually, her toys are scattered around amongst numerous bits of torn up, hairy cardboard. I feel bound to remove the hair before putting the card in the recycling bin, but hey, she’s a dog. It’s up to a human to keep important stuff in a safe place.
I can deal with that.
She doesn’t whine or bark while I’m out. Come to think of it, I’ve never heard her whine, and nowadays barking is reserved for appropriate occasions.
Indeed, a few weeks ago I get out her Northmate slow feeder again. Long term blog readers might recall that I stopped using it years ago, soon after I bought it because she flew into such a rage when she had to work on releasing a treat. Now she seems to enjoy the challenge, and is even able to hunt out and remove the treats without becoming hysterical.
What a paragon of virtue, you’ll be thinking.
Sadly, the happy state of affairs recounted above no longer obtains.
Hrrrrrrrrumph! How much difference a week makes.
From Monday on, she regresses spectacularly.
I can hardly believe it. The hairy little toad must have read Part 1 of this saga and decided she doesn’t wish to be a paragon of anything, especially virtue.
First, she revives her meal time barking.
On Monday and Tuesday I am not too concerned about it. In the morning on both days, the sun shines extremely brightly on the front of the house. Isis is aware of it, and doesn’t like it. In the evenings, she only utters a few preliminary and quite subdued woofs. I’m sure she will revert to normal as soon as the light settles down.
In fact, her wild behaviour escalates mealtime by mealtime, until she’s not only barking and snarling, but leaping up the wall and driving off imaginary predators, just as she did for a very long time after she came to live with me.
The cacophony is head spinning: her stainless steel dish clatters against its stand, and her full water bowl bounces up and down, smacking against the wall and sloshing its contents onto the kitchen floor.
By Wednesday I decide that something must be done. Yes, I know I should have responded as soon as the retrograde behaviour emerged. I think that I was so incredulous about her antics that I was convinced she would stop and return to ‘normal’ when next fed.
So back we go back to the only response which seems to work: Human signals ‘eat it’, and retires to the back room, a few feet away. There she lurks until a sharp ‘YAFF!’ resounds from the kitchen. (She doesn’t have to wait long.)
Silently and calmly, she whisks away the feeding stand, in the process upending the water bowl and emptying the remaining water onto the floor.
She places the feeding stand on top of the washing machine, and calmly mops the tiles.
She attempts to ignore the outraged roars of outrage from her dear little dog, who is now spinning around in the hall while simultaneously barbering her tail and left back leg.
Once Isis has subsided, her bowl is replaced.
We go through the routine twice each mealtime, apart from this evening, when, apparently paticularly hungry, she desists after one vanished meal.
It’s very wearing.
Altogether, it’s not been the most glorious of weeks.
Last Saturday, I have to admit to myself that yes, I really can smell gas just inside the art room and must call Cadent, the emergency arm of British Gas.
An engineer comes out.
Isis would like to eat him, but I contain her in the front room.
For at least an hour, he tries to find the source of the leak. He can’t. He suggests other possible scenarios: chemicals in the art room? I tell him that no, it’s definitely gas. The smell could be coming up the sewerage pipe and into the bathroom next door? No, I tell him, it’s definitely British Gas gas, not sewage.
Eventually, he has to throw in the sponge and cut off the gas supply.
He asks when the engineer is coming to sort out the leak. He’s shocked when I tell him not until a week next Monday, and tells me the to phone again and tell the office that the heating and hot water are off. I do, and they rearrange the appointment for next Thursday.
The engineer leaves us a fan heater.
My heart sinks. It’s the second week in February, and as the days go by, the temperature drops. It feels much warmer outside than indoors.
On Thursday night I go to bed in my dressing gown and wool gloves.
The prospect of five more days without heating or hot water does not fill me with great joy. But I think about homeless people. At least we have food and a roof over our heads.
And Isis has not eaten the emergency engineer.
Soon, though, she decides it’s a good idea to bark from the time I retire to bed, until three or four in the morning.
So now I’m not only cold and uncomfortable, but also b. tired.
But more of that next week ………..
Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. (And, by the end of the week, she is very fortunate not to have been posted back there!) For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.