A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday June 26th 2022
June has been a difficult time for us, as there have been so many flickery days: days when sun and shade have alternated minute by minute, causing poor Isis to be fearful and jumpy.
Every morning, when I attempt to harness her, she still acts like a crazy dog, throwing herself around the porch, wagging, spinning, yapping and howling like a wolf. Frequently, just as I’ve succeeded in inserting a dancing paw into the first loop of her harness, she jumps out of it and I have to begin again.
Hers is a frightening performance: she even utters ferocious growls and grabs my hand for a pretend bite. I could forgive anyone watching this performance for thinking that she is out of control and attacking me.
To be sure, it’s not easy to temper her exuberance, and sometimes I have to resort to blowing on her face to calm her, but it seems a shame to dampen her enthusiasm.
She can’t wait to squeeze past the door and onto the path. Although she hesitates at the gate if the sun is exceptionally bright, she can always be persuaded to cross the pavement to her car.
So it’s sad to see her deflated and reluctant to move when we leave the car to begin our walk.
On these chameleon days, we often go to Holders Lane because there are so many little meandering tracks that we can take to avoid the bright sun/deep shadow contrasts which frighten little Hairy so much.
If we park in Moor Green Lane, we can stop close to the gate through which we can access one of her favourite places. This is the first track off to the left, which winds through dense clusters of saplings, old, decaying trees and tall, dense undergrowth.
Here, Isis relaxes because it’s virtually impossible for even the brightest shaft of sunlight to penetrate the layered canopy above her.
Whatever the season, she seems to feel safe and confident here.
Many little creatures must live in this straggly woodland because Isis soon becomes engrossed with the scents, stopping to snuffle in the ivy, scratch up leaves to uncover promising whiffs, or let her spotty nose hover over the bark of a fallen branch.
When every smell has been investigated, every trail pursued, we emerge onto the first of the playing fields.
More often than not, the field is empty, and Isis likes to explore on her own. She knows where I am, and finds her way back to me when she feels like it. Then she will walk by my side across the field.
Today, unfortunately, a trio of friendly little dogs rush over to greet her, so she hurries off, tail between her legs, in the direction from which we have just come, and takes refuge under a tree. By this time, the pesky little dogs have been called to order by their people, and have lost interest in the unsociable Isis who stands as still as a statue beneath her tree and waits for me to rescue her.
Once she’s on her lead, her tail pops up, and she’s happy to walk with me towards the trickle of stream where she likes to stop for a drink before we approach Canonhill.