A post should appear each Sunday!
Sunday July 24th 2022
This week we survive Monday and Tuesday’s unprecedented heat.
After much persuasion, and with great reluctance, Isis visits the back garden twice during the day. She is shocked at the fierce brightness of the sun, and refuses to walk out onto the grass without me. She rushes back in as fast as she can.
She doesn’t eat her breakfast on either day.
It would be cooler for both of us if we flaked out in separate places, but she insists on togetherness, and joins me on the day bed. We keep our distance though. She settles on her cool mat on one side, and dozes in fits and starts, while I stretch out on the other side and read, listen to the radio, or let my mind drift where it will.
I am fine. The back room, icy in the winter, is the coolest room in the house now. I think about those poor people who live in the upper floors of high rise blocks. I feel fortunate.
My skin is pleasantly cold to the touch, while poor Isis feels very warm. The hotter it becomes, the more restless she gets. Every ten minutes or so, she growls, sits up and pants. I discover that if I stroke her head very lightly, she relaxes and goes back to sleep.
On Tuesday, it’s time to soak an old tea towel and place it over her shoulders and neck. After pulling it off three or four times, she relaxes and rests.
Now she looks much more comfortable.
Then, in the early evening, she does the last thing that I would expect an overheated dog to do. She stands up, walks towards me, and presses herself as close to me as she can. Her tail flops across my throat; her head rests on my knee.
As long as I keep absolutely still, she sleeps soundly. Quite literally, if I inadvertantly twitch a muscle, she growls in her sleep.
Strange little dog: she is more relaxed than she has been since our two day heatwave began. So, of course, I keep very still. For about forty minutes.
When she wakes, she’s like a different dog.
On Wednesday we return to a typical July day. It’s dull and breezy, warm, but not hot. Isis can’t wait to have her harness on, and rush out of the front door.
Kings Heath Park is our go-to destination on Wednesdays as it’s only a few minutes away so I have plenty of time to get my stuff together for art group.
We’re in the park before eight, as are quite a few other dog walkers. Everyone is smiling and saying, “Isn’t this lovely?” or “What a relief!” or “It’s a beautiful day.”
Even the dogs look relieved.
This park is the first one which Isis came to after arriving from Portugal. More often than not, she refused to leave the car, and I had to take her home again. When I did manage to persuade her to walk, it was a stop and start affair. She’d be bullied into taking a step, then she’d stop again. Of course, I had no idea that she was so fearful of bright light and of shadows.
I expected her to be shy of strangers and maybe other dogs, but she wasn’t just shy, she was terrified. There were several areas of the park which she refused point blank to approach, and I had to pick her up and carry her.
Over the years, she grew to know the park and to enjoy being there.
Now it’s one of her favourite places.
to be continued ………………………………………
Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.