A post should appear every Sunday.
Sunday October 23rd 2022
This really isn’t the best week I’ve ever had.
Mealtimes have been easy since best quality minced beef has been added to Hairy One’s breakfast. On Tuesday evening though, I absent-mindedly serve her minced beef for her supper too, instead of her usual sardine.
I note that there are only three tins of sardines left, so the following day I stock up with half a dozen tins while I’m in Lidl’s. Good. These will last her for a while.
That evening, as usual, I serve her a plump sardine with her kibble.
She stands by her dish and sniffs. Then she walks out of the kitchen. Oh dear, she must be feeling off-colour: she’s seemed fine all day, but we all go off our food sometimes. I leave her dish on its stand in case she comes round later.
She doesn’t, but she greets me with her usual enthusiasm in the morning, bouncing up and down on the daybed as I attempt to secure her collar round her neck. I throw away the uneaten meal, and offer her a replacement. She’s still not interested though. This is very strange. A few weeks ago, she would have been thrilled to have a sardine added to her kibble breakfast. Perhaps a good walk will whet her appetite.
I haven’t had the heart to deprive her of her bedtime treats, and note that her enthusiasm for gravy bones, Markies and Schmackos is undiminished. She is obviously not unwell.
But she continues to ignore her breakfast. This is ridiculous. As the day goes on though, it suddenly dawns on me that she might be holding out for the mince. I look at her. She lifts up her head, but won’t even approach her dish.
I can’t believe it. Normally, she has a good appetite. Yes, I must be right: she’s convinced that if she refuses to eat for long enough, I’ll give in and produce mince with everything.
I am determined not to be manipulated. “There are thousands of poor, starving dogs who’d be grateful for kibble and sardine”, I tell her.
She is unmoved.
Time passes. Friday evening comes, and Isis is still steadfastly refusing to eat either kibbles on their own or kibbles with sardines.
She’s not eaten a meal since Wednesday morning. I look at her. She’s small and dependent. I’m big and powerful. She’ll be ill if she carries on like this.
I get out the mince, put a tablespoonful into her dish, pour a little boiling water on top, stir until it exudes a thin gravy, then add the kibble.
She’s at the kitchen door, wrinkling her nose. I give her the ‘eat it’ signal, and retreat.
I can’t hear a sound from the kitchen. She is so quiet that I have to check her dish to be sure she’s eaten at all.
As the strip light flickers on, it reveals a dish licked to a high polish.
She trots to her dog bed, grabs Squirrel by its neck and shakes it victoriously.
Preparing Isis for the great outdoors is so much easier now. The old harness had a separate space for each front leg, so that no sooner had I managed to insert a second leg, than she withdrew the first and so on and on and on – a veritable Hokey Cokey.*
You just pop her new Easyfit harness over her head, click on one strap, and away we go.
On Sunday Isis decides to frighten Human to death. We walk across Jasmin Fields, down the steps to the canal towpath, along to Brandwood End Tunnel and then back through one of the woodland paths. It’s muddy underfoot, and soon Hairy’s pads are black.
About halfway along the path I glance behind me to check that she is keeping up with me, and all I can see is an Isis shaped gap. I retrace my footsteps, expecting to find her round a bend in the path, but she’s not there.
I’m anxious now, and stride back to the beginning of the path. Has she wandered down one of several other tracks? Each one leads back to Jasmin Fields, and she’s familiar with all of them. I search the area. There’s no sign of her, and I hear no tinkling bell betraying her presence.
I decide that the best plan is to get back to the Fields as quickly as possible, in case she decides to walk through the gate and cross the road to the car.
I rush back to the path we had taken, and break into a trot. Now that it’s twenty minutes since I last saw her, nasty possibilities flash into my mind, and I’m becoming increasingly afraid for her.
The path seems to go on for ever. About three quarters of the way along it, I stumble round a tight bend, and there, standing a few yards in front of me, is my Isis. She’s picked up my scent and is facing me, waiting for me to approach her.
She doesn’t look at all bothered, and obviously she doesn’t think she’s lost. Where the hell has she been?
She looks rather surprised that I am making such a fuss of her, and soon turns round and walks ahead of me.
It’s then that I notice how clean and pink her previously black pads have become.
The penny drops. She’s not been wandering through the woods, she’s been sniffing around in the wet grass. She must have been ahead of me, not behind me, must have walked on until she reached the Fields, and then, after a while, decided that she’d better come back and fetch me.
Very sensible from her point of view, I suppose.
*The Hokey Cokey
You put your right leg inYour right leg out In, out, in, out You shake it all about
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.