A post should appear every Sunday
Sunday April 16th 2023
When we leave Highbury there is seldom any need to worry about the state of Hairy One’s feet. Generally, like the rest of her, they remain fairly clean. Today, though, after another week’s worth of rain, and a good tramp through endless metres of churned up mud, she is wearing bobbly black ankle socks.
I take her to the clean pool, and after she’s had a long drink, guide her further into the running water, hoping to rinse off the worst of the muck. Then I carefully guide her out, skirting the swamp between the pool and the path.
Hmm. She’s hardly pristine, but most of the thickest mud has come off. We make our way round the corner, where it is necessary to herd the long-suffering animal past huge black puddles on the right, and a gully full of murky land drainage water on the left.
Although we both wish to walk onto the big field, we disagree about where to join it. Isis has an overwhelming desire to squelch through the adjacent boggy area, while I prefer that we walk a little further along the path, and join the field where the grass is green, springy and CLEAN.
I don’t know what’s the matter with me nowadays. I used to feel sorry for pristine little fluffy, white dogs whose owners keep them on the lead so that they won’t get dirty. Now I’m bent on keeping Hairy One’s feet clean. Perhaps my head has been turned by all the admiration she receives on a daily basis: or perhaps I’ve simply become more and more lazy, and just want to avoid having to leave her in the porch while I fetch her wash bowl from the kitchen, and clean her four hairy feet in the cold front garden.
I rather think it’s the latter.
Anyway, we reach the car with no further mud threats, I spread out her quick drying microfibre towel on the back seat, exactly where her feet will go – I’ve learned the hard way that attempting to rearrange her feet once she has settled in her space, is to Isis tantamount to declaring war.
In these situations, each move I make is accompanied by ferocious growling – from Isis, not from me, although I have been known to growl back. Each time I gently move one of her feet, she quickly twitches it back to its original off-towel position. What a drama queen she is when I touch her feet: I feel rather like an inexperienced juggler trying to keep four balls in the air at once.
But I refuse to be intimidated by her commentary, and eventually ensure that all four feet are on the towel. It’s much easier, though, to think ahead as I do today, so that she automatically walks onto the towel, and we both remain calm.
I need to trim the long fur between her toes and pads, as I’m sure that they must be very uncomfortable when coated in mud. In preparation for this mega operation, I have been trying to desensitise her; when she is relaxed and contented, as she usually is, I make sure that I stroke her legs and feet briefly at every opportunity
When we exit the park with Nancy and Bev, I leave Isis in the car and stand by Nancy’s ramp with a tasty chew. She has never cared for her ramp, so Bev always throws a treat into the dog compartment to encourage her. Nancy is obssessive about treats, so, although she wriggles ecstatically at the thought of a final reward, she remains in situ until she receives it, even putting up with a kiss on the head before I return to my own car.
Here, settled contentedly on her soft towel, an angelic Isis awaits me. She lifts her head as she feels me move into the driving seat, and off we go.
Today, our next stop is the Co-op on Vicarage Road. I open the small sun roof so that she has air, and then pop into the shop. When I return, her little head is down on the seat. She’s having a post walk snooze, but is awake and alert as soon as she feels the car door open.
She’s a very patient little dog, and waits calmly on her seat while I take the shopping into the house. I note that her feet quite definitely fall short of show dog standard, but at least they’re dry.
Before she eats, I give her a thorough groom. I observe with some misgivings that the brushes fill up with hair at an alarming rate. There’s no doubt that the moult of the century is fast approaching. I’m glad I haven’t hoovered recently since any housework would have been a complete waste of time. Might as well put it off until after she’s shed her bucketfuls of hair.
I make her an appointment for Tuesday to have her anal glands emptied and her nails cut. I must trim off the wavy clumps of hair between her pads and around her feet, or the vetinarary nurse won’t be able to find her nails, let alone trim them.
Grooming her legs, feet and paws will be the stuff of nightmares. I can’t face it today, so decide to work on this week’s post instead.
I will ‘put off until the morrow the evil thereof”, as the old saying – the perfect mantra for the procrastinator – goes.
………………………………………………………………… to be continued.
Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact email@example.com or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.