A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday June 5th 2022
The passages in italics are what I imagine Isis might say.
Since I clipped Isis, she has received even more compliments than ever. It seems as though everyone who has not come across her before, stops to ‘oo’ and ‘ah’, and ask what she is and where she comes from, while those who know her, smile even more widely and tell us how sweet she looks.
Sometimes, observing one of us doing something unusual, for example, when the wind is blowing my scent away from her and she is struggling to pick it up, I puff in her direction, or when she is about to walk into people she stops an inch from their shins, or they notice her eyes, passers-by ask me about her eyesight.
But most people are astonished if I tell them that she is blind. They say that they’d never have guessed it, watching her move around so confidently.
When I am asked if it’s all right to touch her, I always tell them to offer their hand to her to sniff first, and warn them that she will just walk off, but it’s nothing personal!
Through lovely Isis, I have met a number of very interesting people.
Well, I don’t like it. You’re using me. You just bathe in my glory. It’s very embarrassing for a dog.
Don’t be silly, Isis. It’s nice that people think you’re beautiful.
Huh! That silly woman the other day felt my neck and squealed to her friend, “Oh, feel her Freda – she’s so soft and fluffy.”
And after that someone else asked if I was a puppy.
Puppy, for dog’s sake! And You just stand there and lap up all the gushing.
Isis, I’m just proud of you.
And that man went all soppy and said, “Oo, a little bear. Couldn’t you just hug her!”
Only because he thought that you were so sweet.
He’d better not try.
Of course he won’t.
Wonder if all humans are such know-alls and show-offs.
It’s just that Humans have more experience of the world, Isis. Dogs need guidance.
Yeah, like the other day when you were lost in Holders Lane woods.
Well, yes …………………………
I can see the scene now. We are making our way back from Canonhill Park to Holders Woods when I decide to take a short cut. After a while, I look ahead and see that our narrow track converges with another, wider one, I ‘know’ that this is the way back; Isis, though, without hesitation, chooses a sharp right fork instead.
Silly dog. She’ll soon realise she’s going the wrong way. I wait. She’ll turn back soon.
She walks steadily on, turning her head round now and again to sniff for me, but showing no inclination to retrace her pawsteps.
I trot after her, catch her up and attach her to the lead. We retrace footsteps, Isis walking obediently beside me.
When we reach the end of the track, I don’t recognise anything. I have no idea where we are.
So I do what I should have done before. Turning Isis round, I release her from the lead and follow her.
She walks back down the track she chose to follow in the first place. Very soon the allotment sheds appear on our left, and we are striding towards the fields, on our way home.
She has a brilliant sense of direction. I have virtually none.
What an arrogant human you are.
Well, that’s a bit harsh.
It isn’t. What about the other day, when we were walking along the twisty little track next to the river?
Oh, yes ……………………………………………….
Since the council workers built up crumbling stretches of the river bank, adventurous dogs have made little dirt channels which they use to get into the water. Several times I’ve encouraged Isis to use them, but she’s always resisted.
Today, though, she stops and sniffs at the edge of the least steep channel. I put a hand lightly on either side of her waist. (This is the ‘It’s O.K. It’s safe to do it’ sign.)
Slowly and carefully, she sniffs her way down to the pebbly river bed.
She is nervous about following me into the shallows, and quickly withdraws a straying paw from the water.
She’s sensible to be cautious: although she ran on the end of a very long rope through dribbles of surf at the edge of the sea when she first came to Wales with me years ago, she’s not walked in a river before, at least not since she was adopted.
We meander along the river bed for a while. Isis is still very careful, but much less nervous. She sniffs around, and even has a quick drink. Then she walks deliberately over to the side of the bed, lifts her head in the direction of the path and sniffs.
“No, you’ll not be able to get up that way,” I tell her. “We’ll walk back the way we came.”
She plants her front paws on the concrete, and explores it with her nose.
and, before I have time to catch an image of her ascent,
she’s at the top.
After further sniffing – presumably to ascertain that she’s back on the path – she turns towards the river.
Presumably she is checking the whereabouts of Human.
On second thoughts, perhaps she has other things on her mind.
And perhaps I’d better do less presuming.
I scramble up after her, scrabbling for footholds on the embedded rocks, grabbing at grass roots, definitely not displaying any of her elegance and athleticism.
She doesn’t actually say, “I’m not only a pretty face!”
But she might just as well.