A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday June 19th 2022
Off we trog back up to the field, stinking of eau de canal. At least, I imagine that we both stink; however, when we pause by the gate and I bend to fix Hairy One’s harness, I find that she doesn’t smell at all. I don’t know whether or not I do, but I shudder every time I think of all the revolting muck in canal’s murky depths.
But it’s no good changing my revolting jeans until I’ve hosed down Isis, so I harry the reluctant animal into the back garden, switch on the water, and proceed to direct jets of water at her.
Unforgivably, in my struggle to control the hose and prevent Isis from escaping out of range, I have completely forgetten to prepare her for the soaking.
She is horrified when the water hits her, and she tunnels under the nearest – and very dense – bush.
I realise that I’m terrifying her, but it’s a long way back to the tap. She will definitely disappear if I withdraw to turn the water down to a trickle, and then I’ll have to hunt her down, remove her from her new hiding place and wrestle her back to base.
I decide the kindest thing to do is to rinse off the remaining shampoo suds as quickly as I can.
As soon as I squelch away to turn off the tap, she slinks off to her little ramp and stands on it looking utterly dejected.
I dash back to the lawn to retreive her towel, wrap her in it and gently pat her all over.
Although she still looks very sorry for herself, at least she’s less bedraggled.
Once we’re back inside, I dry her until she’s fluffy and warm, then retire for a shower.
By the time I return she’s lying on the day bed, relaxed and sleepy, but still decidedly damp.
Her undercoat is so dense that it takes hours to dry out. It will still be damp at dog’s bedtime, unless I intervene.
Wonder whether she’ll tolerate the hair drier? None of my previous dogs did.
I fetch the drier. This time, I behave more sensibly. I put the drier down on the bed and encourage her to sniff it, before switching it to low heat and a gentle blow. Then I move it backwards and forwards a couple of feet away from her, before directing the warmth onto her back.
She’d prefer not to be blow dried, but she isn’t afraid. With one hand on the back of her neck, and proceeding very slowly, I manage to dry her thoroughly all over.
Now she looks beautiful and her coat is unbelievably soft. Each time I stroke her head, she rewards me with gentle tail wags. She’s a very forgiving little dog.
I wonder how she’ll react when we next walk by the canal. She might refuse to go anywhere near it of course.
Yesterday it rained steadily. As usual, Isis can’t wait to push her way through the front door. She dances merrily to the edge of the pavement and indicates that she wishes to cross the main road and walk down the hill to Broad Lane.
We then walk along Broad Lane, turning off at Jasmine Fields.
Unlike last time, she is perfectly happy to walk down to the gate. We wander round the edge of the field, Isis weaving her way back and forth to investigate the new smells.
Clearly, rainswept isn’t everyone’s first choice. Apart from us, the field is empty.
Isis is about a hundred feet behind me when I spot the fox. The fox sees me and begins to trot away, then changes her mind, turning back towards me. She is only a few feet away when she dives under a low growing shrub and vanishes into dense undergrowth.
Isis smells the fox at about the same time as I first spot it. She runs towards it, head lifted high, pink nose twitching.
She is thrilled, and follows the path the fox took, trotting in front of me, then whirling back snuffling along the path to the low growing shrub. She doesn’t crawl under the shrub after it, but dances at the edge of the undergrowth, snuffling and prancing.
When she’s had her fill of fox hunting, we continue on our homeward loop, advancing along the pavement in dangerously erratic fashion, plodding when the rain pauses, then lurching forward and twirling when it begins again.
Amazingly, I remain on my feet.
It’s been an exhilarating walk!