more British weather!

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!

 

Sunday May 14th 2017

 

Poor Isis has been having a bad time. It seems that whenever we arrive in Kings Heath Park, the sun conspires to frighten her.

Nowadays, whatever the weather, she never, ever, refuses to leave the car. She loves her walks too much for that. But as soon as I attempt to move off towards the main exit, she balks at the brightness. The situation is exacerbated by a vigorous wind which makes the tree branches and their shadows dance menacingly.

She wants to leave the car park by the other exit, but I know that this won’t work. She will be just as reluctant to move out into bright sun; additionally, she will be afraid of  the deep shadows cast by the trees next to the fence. Left to her own devices, she will walk a few feet this way, turn round, then walk a few feet in the opposite direction, winding herself up into a state of near hysteria.

Echoes of the first year I had her.

If the worst comes to the worst, I can pick her up. But although it is relatively easy to carry her downstairs in the morning when she is contented and relaxed, it is damned near impossible to prise her from the ground when she is tense and resistant. And it feels like she has doubled her weight.

Most times it goes like this: Isis struggles until she has pulled her harness over her head. Fortunately, it’s attached to her collar. Grinding my teeth, I undo all the clips and replace the harness. Then I thread the other end of her double-ended lead  through its ring and attach it to the left side of her harness.

This signals “We’re walking, whether you want to or not.”

When she has been whizzing about on her extended lead, or playing free, I use the double ended lead to tell her that play is over and we’re going to walk nicely now. It works like a charm.

But not when the contrast of light and shade is at its most fierce.

It’s only a short walk from the car to the first shrubbery respite stop, and I urge her on, inch by inch, patting her under the chin: the ‘it’s O.K., come on’ message. But on several occasions last week, I resort to hauling her forward a step at a time. This is not ideal, of course, and I’m sure that passers-by think I’m being very cruel.

I know that she is afraid and I feel for her, but I also know that she is not traumatised. She loves her park walks, and as soon as we’ve passed the very big tree just round the corner from the car park, her tail flicks back up and she’s a different dog. When the sun is at its brightest and the shadows very deep, she will flinch now and then as we walk the length of the hawthorn hedge, but reassuring strokes and under the chin taps are all she needs.

When I release her from her lead, she trots to where she feels most comfortable and usually she’s fine. Experience tells me that as long as she is able to choose the itinerary on the way back, she’ll still be a little jumpy, but she’ll be O.K.

Fortunately, these negative moments don’t put her off her walks. Before we leave home she always leaps around with huge excitement as I attempt to secure her harness, and although she freezes at the brightness of the front drive (tap, tap, cuddle, cuddle) sidles nervously through the gate (more taps and cuddles) and zig-zags across the pavement (pat, pat) she leaps into the car with alacrity.

The rain forecast for Sunday fails to materialise. It’s warm and bright all day. Poor Isis is tetchy and growly all evening, and, to prolong her misery, it’s still unseasonably light at bedtime. Three or four times I cover her eyes with the Doggles. Three or four times she pulls them off again. Eventually, I take her outside and then send her upstairs to bed.

Unfortunately, ear-piercing shrieks from above force me into an early night.

Neither of us gets much sleep as every half hour or so she wakes with screams of annoyance.

I cover her eyes with her Doggles. She removes them. I replace them. Several times. I tighten the strap of the Doggles. She still wakes up “Nyarr-nyarr-nyyarr,  nYAFF, n-YAFF! N-YAFF! Followed by strangulated screeches and growls.

After each episode, I touch her gently and wait for her to calm down. Although she sounds ferocious, and I do not use the word lightly, I know that when she is fully conscious, she won’t bite me.

I drape her head with a cotton cushion cover. Still she wakes up. Eventually, I tighten the straps of the Doggles yet again and replace them, drop the cushion cover over her head once more and cover her entire body with a folded sheet.

Eventually, she falls asleep. It’s almost five a.m., and the sky is lightening.

 

*****

But, whoopee! By Monday the sun has retreated. The shadows are banished. The sky is grey, the drizzle is intermittent and Isis is very, very happy.

In the morning we stay in the park for hours, and she runs and leaps and dances. By the time she’s had her riotous evening prance, she’s exhausted.

 

 

On Monday night she sleeps like a hairy log. She’s so relaxed that I am even able to read for a couple of hours with the lamp on, a rare luxury.

On Tuesday the drizzle is heavier and it persists all day. Isis is delighted. She runs and runs and runs. Even though I forget to draw the blinds before I go out in the evening, she is fast asleep on the futon when I return home.

Tuesday night is a repeat of Monday night. I read by the light of the lamp. Isis sleeps soundly all night.

Today, it pees it down from dawn to dusk. Isis has more brilliant walks plus twenty soggy but deliriously blissful minutes on the lawn in the middle of the day. I am obliged to dry her three times.

But nothing can spoil her day. As I write, she is spark out on the futon. I will have to wake her up when it’s bed time.

Great!

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, Kings Heath Park, running running, scary shadows, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog, we don't like bright sun | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

revision of ‘some things dogs like to do’

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!

 

Sunday May 14th 2017

 

Well, some of the things which Isis likes to do have changed. During 2015 and 2016 I seemed to spend a disproportionate amount of our outdoor time prising springy sticks from the roof of her mouth or from between her teeth.

In the winter, even when she was persuaded to search for her ball-on-a-string, I had to clear the area of sticks or she would settle down with these and chew them to pieces. She seemed to prefer sharp spiky ones, of course, and often pulled down long, thick, dead bramble stems to play with.

Even before I began experimenting with letting her off the lead in the park, she had lost her interest in chewing sticks. Unfortunately, she also lost interest in playing with toys, including ball-on-a-string.

Exploring, running and dancing are now the things she enjoys most off-lead. On her extension lead she most delights in running as fast as she can, which is very fast. Both off lead, and, unfortunately for me, on lead, wet stuff like rain, hail and snow falling on her are the sources of her greatest ecstasy.

 

 

 

 

 

As long as wet stuff falls, even if it falls for hours, she is crazy about leaping off all four paws and, apparently, attempting to catch it.

No wonder people stare and ask what she’s doing. Several times I’ve been asked if I am training her for performances!

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had fun documenting what other park dogs enjoy doing.

Many dogs, of course, love swimming in the pond and leaping in and out of the stream, but some appear to specialise in making themselves filthy.

Here is Archie whom we met a couple of weeks ago. Whichever way you look at it, it ain’t good!

 

 

 

Well, you see, there was this ditch and I thought ….

 

 

 

Now I’ve turned round, you can hardly see the mud. Can you?

 

 

 

As we know, Fergie and Dougie like to wrestle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Casey loves nothing better than rolling over to elicit a tickle or two  …….

 

 

 

 

 

and eighteen month old Marley has always been ambitious in his choice of ‘sticks’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, Kings Heath Park, park dogs, walking in the park | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

some things dogs like to do

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!

 

Sunday May 14th 2017

 

Well, some of the things which Isis likes to do have changed. During 2015 and 2016 I seemed to spend a disproportionate amount of our outdoor time prising springy sticks from the roof of her mouth or from between her teeth.

In the winter, even when she was persuaded to search for her ball-on-a-string, I had to clear the area of sticks or she would settle down with these and chew them to pieces. She seemed to prefer sharp spiky ones, of course, and often pulled down long, thick, dead bramble stems to play with.

Even before I began experimenting with letting her off the lead in the park, she had lost her interest in chewing sticks. Unfortunately, she also lost interest in playing with toys, including ball-on-a-string.

Exploring, running and dancing are now the things she enjoys most off-lead. On her extension lead she most delights in running as fast as she can, which is very fast. Both off lead, and, unfortunately for me, on lead, wet stuff like rain, hail and snow falling on her is  the source of her greatest ecstasy.

 

 

 

 

 

As long as wet stuff falls, even if it falls for hours, she is crazy about leaping off all four paws and, apparently, attempting to catch it.

No wonder people stare and ask what she’s doing. Several times I’ve been asked if I am training her for performances!

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had fun documenting what other park dogs enjoy doing.

Many dogs, of course, love swimming in the pond and leaping in and out of the stream, but some appear to specialise in making themselves filthy.

Here is Archie whom we met a couple of weeks ago. Whichever way you look at it, it ain’t good!

 

 

 

Well, you see, there was this ditch and I thought ….

 

 

 

Now I’ve turned round, you can hardly see the mud. Can you?

 

 

 

As we know, Fergie and Dougie like to wrestle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While Casey loves nothing better than rolling over to elicit a tickle or two  …….

 

 

 

 

 

 

and eighteen month old Marley has always been ambitious in his choice of ‘sticks’.

 

 

 

 

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

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Shimono

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!

 

Wednesday May 10th 2017

 

Last Saturday a lively little staffie which I’d not met before trotted up to Isis while she was executing a slow waltz in Highbury Park.

Isis, of course, ignored her and continued her dance, whereupon little staffie approached me and looked up, waiting for me to succumb to her charms.

I asked her person whether his dog liked to be fussed and he assured me that there was nothing she liked better. She enjoyed some strokes and pats  before trotting off in search of entertainment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I asked her age – as you do – and her person told me that she’s about ten.

She was so obviously well bonded with her owner and so responsive to him that I assumed that he’d had her from a puppy. I was wrong, it turned out. He had, he explained, had her for less than two years.

Although he had always liked dogs, he had not been looking to acquire one. He had a much loved cat at home and was perfectly happy with him.

One evening, however, as he was returning home from work, he stood at the junction of two very busy roads waiting for the pedestrian lights to change. To his horror he saw a small, brown dog trotting up and down on the opposite pavement. He watched the dog  anxiously. Was it with someone? If not, would a passer-by intervene if it left the pavement?

Traffic swung into the road from the busy junction and roared by on both sides of the road. The dog approached the kerb, veered away, approached again.

The lights seemed permanently stuck on red. By the time they changed to green the man’s  hands were clenched and his stomach churning.

He dashed across the road and carefully approached the dog. He looked for an owner, expecting that at any minute some distraught person would rush up and claim the animal. He questioned passers-by. No, it didn’t belong to anyone, and no-one could recall having seen it in the area before.

The small brown dog was a female, he noted, and she had no I. D.  He had nothing with which to secure her, not even a piece of string.

He looked at her.

She looked at him.

He stepped back away from the pavement.

She stepped back away from the pavement too.

They eyeballed one another.

He moved a step or two forward.

So did she.

They looked at each other again. She, beseechingly, he felt.

He melted.

She followed him all the way home.

When they reached his house, he turned and regarded her very seriously.

“O.K. then”, he said, “You can come in – but if you chase my cat, you’re out.”

Resident feline, not thrilled at the appearance of a strange dog, hissed fiercely. After that, the animals got on famously.

When she was taken to be checked out next day the vet found her microchip and attempted to contact the owner. But no-one wanted to claim her.

“If you want her”,  said the vet, “keep her.”

He called her ‘Shimono’.

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in Highbury Park, park dogs, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Highbury Park joy

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!

 

Sunday May 7th 2017

 

Saturday and off we go to Highbury Park. It’s dull and drizzly with a cold, sharp breeze. No bright sun or heavy shadows. Perfect for Isis.

Soon after we arrive, we bump into S. with Teddy and Casey. Then along comes L. with Dougie and Fergie. We make our way up past the Community Orchard towards the woodland path.

“Let Isis lead”, says L. as usual, and Isis, full of confidence, sets off merrily.

 

 

 

 

 

She soon decides on her path. As we walk, she mingles with the other dogs quite happily. She knows them all well and doesn’t flinch when they brush past her. They, in turn, are very tolerant of her odd behaviour. With the exception of very young puppies, dogs who know her just seem to accept that she is different. None of them growl when she walks into them, they just turn their heads smartly, see that it’s her and carry on with their doggy pursuits.

Isis stops so frequently to investigate alluring scents that Fergie’s in the lead by the time  the little pack sets off up the almost vertical bank which leads up to the old ‘lookout post’. Isis is now the last in the line. Without hesitation, she climbs up after them.

When they’ve passed the post, the others descend again to the lower track while Isis carries on along the higher path. I stay up there too, of course, to keep an eye on her.

Soon, I see her turn off the path to scramble down to the lower level again, but lose sight of her when she vanishes into the trees.

I am hurrying after her when L and S call up to me that Isis has rejoined them. Apparently, I’ve missed a brilliant photo opportunity: Isis was happily standing in the middle of the pack with the other four milling around her.

We walk back into the main area of the park, pausing on the expanse of grass between the beech wood and the pond. Isis is very familiar with this area, and wanders off on her own to check what’s going on in the undergrowth at the edge of the wood. The other dogs think it would be fun to race along the length of the pond and annoy the ducks. We call them away,and they race around enjoying manic chasing games.

It’s only six months since Casey and Teddy left their Serbian rescue centre, and less than a year since poodle Fergie (the grey one) joined poodle Dougie in his new home. It’s a joy to watch the four little re-homed dogs belting around without a care in the world.

When they’re exhausted they stop for treats. It’s time to go home, and I am about to walk up to retrieve Isis when I see that she has turned to face us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I watch her, enchanted, as she sniffs her way towards me. She walks down the slope slowly and very deliberately, her head moving from side to side as she tries to locate me.

She arrives at my side. Clever little dog.

I pat her and put her on her lead. She wags her tail and we all move off.

We remind one another of the time, not so long ago, when she was frightened if another dog approached her, and terrified if one touched her.

Today, not only has she been off lead for virtually all of her time in the park, she has also become part of the pack.

I think she’s a remarkable little dog.

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in clever girl, dear little Isis, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Wilda’s special holiday

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!

 

Wednesday May 3rd 2017

 

Some lucky dogs are taken to the seaside. Isis, unfortunately, is no longer one of them. Since she behaved so disgracefully when visiting Polymath in Wales, she is no longer welcome.

This may seem harsh, but she did, if you recall, empty a full cat tray by running up and down the hall and shaking its contents onto the carpet; tear up substantial areas of the kitchen floor; and grab the stair lift  seat between her teeth and shake it until it surrendered and had to be resuscitated by the engineer. The latter escapade cost over two hundred pounds.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that she is no longer on the guest list.

Some dogs, though, are not like Isis. Not in the least.

One of these admirable animals is Wilda.

Wilda is so sweet and well behaved that anyone would be delighted to take her on holiday with them.

In fact, she is so angelic that J. and L. even arranged a holiday especially for her.

 

Mum went –

 

 

dad too, of course.

 

 

Naturally, grandma and granddad were invited,

 

 

 

as this was a very, very, special holiday.

 

For, unbeknown to Wilda, this would be the last time that she would be the primary apple of everyone’s eye. The last time that there would be just a threesome at home. Or a fivesome on holiday.

If you look carefully at the first photo you will understand why. Yes, Wilda is sitting comfortably on a very large bump.

“Poor little dog”, worried grandma, looking at Wilda’s beautiful, fluttering eyelashes, “she will feel pushed out, abandoned. However much we try to compensate, she’s bound to be very depressed.”

So they all got together and decided that Wilda should have a special holiday before The Event. No matter that the new arrival had no nursery and might have to sleep in a drawer, Wilda would have one, last, totally dog-centred holiday.

Now, Wilda is a happy little dog, who enjoys going anywhere with her people. But best of all she loves the seaside.

The decision was unanimous. Wilda’s special holiday would be a week in Cumbria, by the sea.

As one can see, she had a wonderful week.

 

 

 

 

 

Only one thing disappointed and mystified her. Every time J. got up for a nocturnal pee, she made no attempt to open the front door and take Wilda out onto the beach. How could anyone not want to rush out onto the beach at two in the morning? Or three? Or five?

Nevertheless, it was a delightful holiday.

Although, personally, I think that the dining arrangements were a bit over the top!

 

 

 

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in park dogs | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

disappearing dog

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!

 

Sunday April 30th 2017

 

In case anyone is wondering, Isis and I are still working on the very early stages of our foundation course for recall training. We continue to do our whistle practice every day.

Isis is still alarmed by the sound of the whistle but no longer runs away. We had to abandon the cuddles on the futon designed to reassure her when I blow the nasty whistle. I usually get away with a little fuss first thing in the morning or if she becomes afraid when off lead in the park. On most other occasions, she makes it abundantly clear that I’d better keep my hands to myself.

After tolerating the first three ‘reassuring’ cuddles, she reminds me forcibly that she is not a cuddly dog. Cuddles on the futon are definitely no longer acceptable. Have I taken leave of my senses, she wonders, or am I just trying to annoy her? She growls meaningfully and threatens to nip me. I don’t think she will nip me but I can take a hint.

Perhaps the early ‘cuddle with whistle’ sessions did desensitise her a little. Anyhow, now our training goes like this: I stand two or three feet inside the kitchen door with an enticing  treat in my hand. I blow the whistle in a ‘toot-toot’ rhythm and wait.

Isis responds immediately. She cowers and flattens her lovely ears against her head. But  she is still keen to have the treat. She moves slowly, slowly, from the back room into the hall and then a few inches further, eventually poking her deliciously spotty nose cautiously round the kitchen door to take the treat from my hand. Sometimes she comes a few feet into the kitchen to find me, I stretch out my hand towards her and she licks the treat daintily off my palm before retreating to the back room.

Our progress is very slow. Not usually a problem. I can do slow progress.  Most of the time.

But a wonderful thing happens. As she gains confidence, her obsessive behaviour patterns diminish. The constant twirling, tail chasing and teeth clacking give way to tracking and exploring. I am delighted, of course, but her appetite for exploration grows so fast that today I spend most of our time in Highbury Park chasing her or anxiously charging off in the direction in which she last appeared to be heading.

J. and L. find my speedy exits hilarious.

Here is a very small selection of today’s disappearances.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Polymath advises me to buy Isis a tracking device. Perhaps the local police might lend the little scallywag an electronic tag.

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, teaching my deaf/blind dog, training, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

British weather!

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!

 

Wednesday April 26th 2017

 

Isis is finding the weather very challenging. There are too many of those mornings and late afternoons when the the sun bursts without warning from a navy blue and grey sky. And then, just when a dog’s becoming used to the the change, a huge black cloud swipes the sun away and all the shadows run into each other. Very perplexing for a dog. Very  disturbing.

Although she never refuses to leave the car nowadays – she loves being in the park too much for that – over the last couple of weeks she’s often been anxious and jittery again. She descends quickly to the ground and presses herself against the car. Once the door is closed, she refuses to move forward with me, turns round and pulls away in the opposite direction.

Unfortunately, I know that if we go that way, she’ll balk again at the next corner. And the next.

I also know that if we go forward she will feel completely different once we’ve changed direction and are heading for her favourite spaces. Her discomfort will only last for a minute, I reason, and sometimes, to my shame, I frog march her along a few yards to the fence. Here, she feels safe and will then cross the path and trot happily down to the old bowling green.

But coercion is not what good dog handlers do. I revise my body blocking techniques instead and increase the number of encouraging cheek pats. Slowly, slowly, we emerge.

The weather on Tuesday is particularly frustrating. Although the sky is conveniently  leaden (from Hairy One’s point of view) when we set off for the park, as soon as we leave the car, the sun pops out. Then, just as I’ve almost convinced Isis that it’s perfectly safe to walk on the patch of sun drenched asphalt which leads to the exit, dark clouds race across the sky and everything changes. Now, of course, she knows that am lying. Clearly, it’s very dangerous here today. She was right to be suspicious. She begins tugging backwards until she succeeds in pulling her harness up over her head.

Irritably, I replace it and thread the second clip of her Makuti lead through the chest loop of her harness. This usually conveys a ‘we will now walk like a sensible dog’ message.

We set off. We lurch and stumble as I attempt to body block her and she attempts to trip me up. More little cheek caresses. A tug or two. More pats.

Suddenly, up pop her lovely ears, she raises her magnificent tail and she trots along, head lifted, nose twitching. Now she looks as though she is wondering what the hell I was making such a fuss about.

Although the light continues to change dramatically, which makes her wince, now that she is out in the open there are no stark shadows and she has a good run.

At four forty-five we’re off again. Twice on the way very brief patters of light rain hit the windscreen. Scarcely enough to warrant switching on the wipers. Obviously, it’s not going to be much.

A flash of sunlight as we approach the car park exit distresses Isis, and she makes for the exit which leads straight onto the field. Once there, she leaps into action and races around doing extension lead circuits. I encourage her to run while bit by bit I manage to manoeuvre her across the field and onto the path which will lead us to her favourite areas.

As another little splatter of drizzly rain falls we meet M. with her three dogs heading back home.

“Hmm!”, she mutters, “Thought I was going to miss the showers.”

“Well,” I reply with a fool’s certainty, “At least they’re very light and fleeting.”

Isis trots up to her bank above the old bowling green. She has perked up again and is set to have fun.

Unfortunately, the skies flick rapidly from grey to silver and even drag up some sun and blue bits, so Isis becomes twitchy again and, tail down, ears flat, abandons her fir tree friend and scuttles close to the ground through the hole in the hedge.

Sigh. Big one.

Poor little dog. She had a worrying morning walk and I had hoped that this evening she could really enjoy herself as a dog should.

Bloody British weather. How damned irritating.

Then it happens. Simultaneously the sky turns black, a terrific gale swirls around us and an immense clap of thunder explodes overhead. And, just as though some giant has ripped off our sky ceiling, hail belts down on us by the bucket load.

Soon the hail is joined by snow and the bright green all around us rapidly transitions into white. The sky is now black with menacing, bright silver edges.

The hailstones are getting larger, harder and faster.

And poor little Isis?

‘Poor little Isis’ is beside herself.

With delight.

She races wildly round and round in huge, joyful loops, lifting her face to the sky, leaping up on her back legs and snapping at the hailstones. Now snow, too, is falling and we are enveloped in whiteness.

This is wonderful. Hailstones bounce off her nose and wafts of snow cover her ears. Her little feet kick up fragments of ice.

Oh joy!

Oh ecstasy!

The park is empty as far as the eye can see. It’s quite eerie. I pause in my enjoyment of Hairy One’s immense pleasure to take in the fact that we are the tallest objects in a large flat space and thunderclaps mean lightning is on its way. But I reckon the odds are long. And Isis is so happy that it would be unkind to move her on.

I shiver a little and wait for the lightning to strike.

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, Kings Heath Park, running running, scary shadows, twirling, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

skrlunk!

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!

 

Sunday April 23rd 2017

 

It happens on Thursday some time between 2.00 and 3.00 a.m. while I’m asleep.

SKRLUNK!

Instantly I’m awake.

Isis! She’s jumped off the bed.

A sudden leap from the bed in the middle of the night suggests only two scenarios: she needs to go out or she’s feeling sick. Neither happens very often. She was taken into the garden before she came upstairs so I’m sure she doesn’t need to go out.

Eek! She’s going to throw up.

I switch on the bedside light and nip out of bed. I regard her suspiciously. Yes, she’s quite rigid and her flanks are heaving. She’d definitely about to vomit. I stroke her reassuringly before dashing next door for an old newspaper.

When I return she’s standing there in the same scrunched up position, flanks still heaving. Then she does something odd. She lifts a front paw and pats the floor tentatively as if she is checking that there is, indeed, a floor there. Oh dear. Something strange is going on here.

Slowly and carefully, I place the newspaper at the business end. I am slow and careful because Isis is very sensitive about being sick. The first time it happened she snapped at me when I stroked her and again when I tried to place newspaper strategically under her nose. I think she was afraid that she would be punished.

Now she doesn’t growl. She looks very peculiar though. She’s moving her head slowly from side to side. She looks anxious and disorientated. She sniffs at the floor as if she’s surprised it’s still there. She finds the newspaper and pats it with her front paws. Then she sniffs it. She looks extremely puzzled.

 

 

 

 

I’m becoming quite anxious. No, that’s not true – I’m becoming very anxious. Horrible fantasies race through my head. There’s something wrong with her brain. She’s about to have a fit. This is the prelude to an incurable illness.

She lifts her head and sniffs the air. I stroke her very gently, telling her over and over again that everything is O.K. I don’t expect her to be able to hear me, but perhaps she’ll feel reassuring vibes.

Gradually, she appears to coming round. Now she seems to know where she is. She looks more relaxed. She walks normally to the side of the bed. I pat her. She waves her tail and makes her way back to the bottom of the bed.

I switch off the lamp and pat the end of the bed vigorously so that she can feel it move. She jumps back up onto the bed, turns round and round as a dog does, curls up and falls asleep.

At last it dawns on me. I recall the strange sound which woke me up. It wasn’t the usual ‘clunk’ of a dog jumping off the bed. The sound was more like a clunk with scratchy edges – definitely a ‘skrlunk’. It was not the sound of a deliberate descent, but that of a scrabbly accidental descent.

Of course! Poor little Isis had moved in her sleep and fallen off the bed.

No wonder she looked so disorientated. It must be much more difficult to get your bearings if you can’t see.

Phew!

For the rest of the night we both sleep unusually soundly.

 

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in dear little Isis, strange behaviour | Tagged , | 5 Comments

thank goodness dogs aren’t green!

 

 

Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!

 

Wednesday April 19th 2017

 

It’s usually quite straightforward to keep an eye on Isis when she’s free in the park. I know her habits and what she is likely to do in various environments. When she is taken to the top of the pine avenue, she always chooses to spiral gradually down hill. If we’re up on her favourite grass mound, she likes to spend most of her time on the highest point, behind a large tree. In the landscaped area, she has earmarked two ‘special’ trees, a dense fir and a spreading holly. If she’s not prancing around either of these, she’ll be playing in the shrubbery.

I often think what a good thing it is that dogs aren’t green: if they were, it’d be a hell of a job to find them. Under the circumstances, it’s very helpful that Isis is mostly a very bright white. When she’s rollicking behind trees, bushes or hedges, one can usually see a flash of ears, trunk or tail.

It’s Tuesday morning and a group of dog walkers is gathered down on the old bowling green. Up on the bank, Isis is trotting around contentedly behind her little fir tree. Often she will play in this area for forty minutes or more before moving off to fresh pastures.

But today puppy Ben has joined us. He is only four months and has yet to learn how to approach a lady. He bounds over to Isis and leaps on her joyfully. She is not amused. He runs off nonchalantly to do other silly things. Isis resumes her routines. All is well. For now.

But Ben dashes over to the fir tree again. Isis nyaffs at him and he retreats.

Hairy One has had enough. She pops round the hedge and onto the grass of the level above. She often does this and it’s not difficult to keep an eye on her as little white dots are easily visible through the leaves of the hedge.

I turn to speak to R. and greyhound George who have joined us on the grass. I glance back at the hedge. Strange. I can no longer see any white along the other side of the hedge. She can’t have gone far. I can’t have taken my eyes off her for more than a minute, if that.

She must just have moved further away from the hedge. I scramble up the bank and scan the area behind the hedge.

It is shockingly empty.

There is no sign of Isis.

R. and George, Ben, his person and her grandson O, aged twelve race up the bank and join in the search. They dash into the garden by the current bowling green, I run around the shrubbery at one end of the basketball court and R. follows the main path.

There is no sign of her anywhere. She’s gone. My dog has gone.

I ask a walker who appears over the horizon. No, she’s not been spotted trotting past the T.V. gardens, nor has she been seen on the the path which runs from the pond to the basketball court.

I pant into the bowling green garden and see O. well ahead me. I have searched all of Hairy One’s favourite places. No sight nor sound of my little Isis. I’ve lost her. I can’t believe what I’ve done.

Suddenly, O. turns round and calls out to me, “They’ve found her!”

We run through the thick shrubbery and onto the old tennis courts. There is Isis standing on the grass looking bewildered and very worried. The others have caught up with her. And a very kind man who has taken a great interest in Isis ever since I first had her is standing nearby with his little black Staffie. He caught sight of her as he was walking along the path past the old tennis courts, he tells me. He knew that Isis shouldn’t be there on her own and had waited with her. If she had moved away he would have put her on his lead.

By now S. has arrived with George’s ‘brother’  Bertie. S. and R. tell me that when Bertie becomes worried after galloping off further than he should, he usually goes to the old tennis courts. Hairy One knows R. well but, clearly shaken by her misadventure, refuses the offer of a treat.

I can’t thank everyone enough for their support. It’s so reassuring to know that little Staffie’s person was watching over Isis and wouldn’t have left her. And I know I would have been dithering with anxiety if I’d been searching for her on my own.

Thank goodness for kind people who care about dogs.

Talking of which …………………………………………

Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@aeza.org or  www.dogwatchuk.co.uk

Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead!, Kings Heath Park, park dogs | Tagged , | 5 Comments