what a day! part 1



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


Wednesday February 7th 2018


Oh, so got the date wrong on last Wednesday then. Par for the course.

Now, I know that if I read in a newspaper column what follows, I wouldn’t believe it. I’d be sure that the writer had made up bits, exaggerated others or at least conflated incidents which actually happened over a much longer period, or happened to someone else.

I assure you that the following did happen exactly as told, and all in one day: last Monday.

The catalogue of woe begins with Isis.

Isis is enjoying her lane play.






She’s really laid claim to the space. Now that we enter through our own garden gate, she tends to stick to ‘our end’ of the lane; consequently, there is a trampled muddy path down the middle of the once green track. There are also slain brambles scattered across it. Yards of them!

My lawn had no chance of surviving.

Today it’s all my fault. I haven’t given Isis her snake, and I don’t notice that she is playing with sticks.

I glance up from reading the news on my phone (shame on me) to see her whirling round angrily, attacking her tail. Something must be caught in her hair. I walk over to see what is  bothering her and find nothing.

Then she begins to paw at her mouth frantically. Must be ‘stick mouth’- my blog friend A’s name for such incidents. Poor Isis is quite distressed but refuses to let me examine her mouth.

Just as I am about to take her back to the house, she shakes her head and gallops down to her favourite dancing corner. This is a frequent response to anticipation of the walk ending.

She seems fine now. The stick must have been dislodged.

Usually, when I place my hand on her back and grasp her collar, she surrenders. But not today.

She begins to twirl again angrily, growling and grabbing at her tail. Then she tears at her mouth so fiercely that she makes her lip bleed.

She doesn’t want me to peer into her mouth, and clamps her jaws tightly shut. After a while her jaws slacken and I manage to insert a finger. She tries to close her mouth, but she doesn’t attempt to bite me. It’s no-go time.

“Dear, dear, dear”, I repeat over and over again as I always do when she is unhappy or frightened. I know that she can’t hear me, but perhaps she can feel the rhythm. Or perhaps the chant just makes me feel better.

She licks her lips and I hastily prise open her jaws. Yes, there’s a nasty, short, thick little stick jammed tight against the roof of her mouth and both ends of it are wedged firmly between her teeth. She closes her mouth again.

It appears that this stick must be hurting her a lot because, after initial reluctance, she  usually allows me to help her. This time it takes a lot of persuasion. Eventually I manage to grab the stick. Whether she bites me or not, I have to hold onto it. She might not let me have another go. It’s hard to shift. There’s no space between the roof of her mouth and the stick, and the blasted thing won’t break or bend.

I have to twist it and pull and pull as hard as I can. After about a very long minute, it comes loose, falls onto her tongue and slides off into the grass.

We’re both mightily relieved.

“What a good girl”, I tell her, patting her flank. She wags her tail heartily.



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

*So far I’ve been lucky and had no noticeable side effects from the nasty Methotrexate. I was horrified to discover a couple of days ago that it’s a chemotherapy drug.

Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, dear little Isis, I'm off my lead!, relationship building, strange behaviour, twirling | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

goodbye futon!



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


Sunday February 5th 2018


Goodness me. Futon seems to be the most frequently mentioned object in the blog. Probably because I have always spent so much  lying on it, usually thinking about the tasks that I ought to be doing. Now, hopefully, it will soon be claimed by someone else. I’ve put it on Birmingham Freegle (our local ‘recycle, don’t landfill’) group.

It’s an excellent wooden futon frame, but it doesn’t have a mattress. That might put people off. I found the original one too heavy to handle and very uncomfortable, so I’ve been using foam cushions.

We’ll see.

On Thursday the futon is moved away from its space. The reason for its abandonment is the anticipated arrival of a gifted day bed, a delightfully comfortable single-bed sized piece of furniture. It belonged to Polymath who no longer has a use for it.

I love it.

Unfortunately, Isis has different sentiments.

On Sunday, the intruder arrives. It is propped up against the back room wall, waiting to be assembled. As soon as she comes into the room, Isis begins to attack it, dancing and mouthing. She is not exactly aggressive, but definitely aroused. Perhaps she can smell Polymath. Or Adopted Niece, or Daisy. Or even previous dog Ellie. All of them have slept on it many times, as have I.

Her fervid interest amuses me for a while, but after an hour or so it becomes very irritating. I pick her up and place her on the futon. She gets off and returns to her quarry.

Eventually, after numerous attempts to distract her, I bellow, “NO!” She pauses, then realises that she is tired and returns to the futon.

What was that all about? She’s not visibly upset. She’s definitely not afraid. Perhaps she’s challenging it, I decide, just feels that it shouldn’t be there.

On Friday afternoon C. assembles the day bed for me. I can’t wait to sink onto it.

Wonderful. I lie there all evening, waiting for Isis to join me.

She doesn’t.

Now and again she approaches the bed and sniffs. Then she returns to her futon.


On Saturday morning I make my way downstairs expecting to find white fluff on the bed cover. (Hairy One’s downy undercoat is beginning to loosen. It gradually comes to the surface in dear little wedges and can be plucked out, or gradually frees itself).

No, not a white hair to be found. Clearly, she has stayed on her futon.

Perhaps she is nervous of the new bed after all.

I spend as much time as I can revelling in its comfort: Isis sticks obdurately to her favoured resting place.

This morning I am sure that Hairy One must have succumbed to the delights of the day bed. But no, again not a hair, not a wrinkle in evidence.

When when we retire to our back room den, she snoozes on her futon. Later it’s the futon or her bed or the rug.

Now I’m thinking that her attack on the day bed was an expression of disgust. She is, after all, very attached to her futon.




She sleeps on it every night – in my place, of course – and shares it reluctantly with me at other times. It’s been her sleeping place for more than three years.

I think she is cross with the new bed because it has usurped her futon.

Oh dear.


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, Isis at home, sleeping arrangements, strange behaviour | Tagged , | 1 Comment

a magical walk



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


Wednesday January 31st 2018


Thoughts of the summer in Highbury Park assail me. Way back when life was drifting along nicely, I took these photos of Isis in Highbury and made some notes of thoughts I had.

Sometimes, you return from your walk knowing that your dog hasn’t had a brilliant time because she had to hang around on her lead while you’ve been yattering to your mates.

Sometimes this summer, Isis has been afraid of the bright sun and shadows and hasn’t enjoyed herself at all.

But this turns out to be a magical day.

I release her from her lead  and immediately she begins to race around a clump of trees and shrubs.












There really is magic in Highbury Park.

Must be the fairies.

The fairies, of course, live in fairy sized houses. You can judge the size of this one by comparing its front door with the sycamore keys, and the tiny blue and silver stars which a child must have left.





The one below is slightly larger. Perhaps a bigger family lives here. What do you call a baby fairy: a fairilet, a fairifant?







Sadly, the fairy houses’ doors are tightly locked. And no-one I know has ever seen a fairy enter or exit his or her home.

Apparently, there are two more fairy homes in the park. Isis and I will search for  them when we can go to Highbury again.


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

*Hospital again today, this time for a doctor to check hand and foot joints, then Doctor S. to discuss my horrible Methotrexate prescription. After this, X-Rays of chest, hands and feet. When these are done, The radiographer ‘phones the results through to Dr. S who tells me it’s OK to begin taking the Methotrexate once a week. You can choose the day you take it. I decide to take it at midnight on Sunday, so I can go to bed before the side effects hit me.

Then off to the pharmacy to pick it up with all the other stuff needed to stop it destroying my system (my observation, not the official one).

So on Sundays it’ll be the Methotrexate, on Mondays Folic Acid, and seven days a week, steroid, calcium, Omeprazole, and vitamin D. Can’t wait.

Posted in Highbury Park, I'm off my lead!, running running, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

hello gate!



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


Sunday 28th January 2018


A. comments that she hadn’t heard of any plans for a gate. That must mean I didn’t mention any.

The rheumatology doctor tells me that after a few weeks’ monitoring on the new medication- the name of which I’ve forgotten – there is no reason why, at last, I shouldn’t have the first of the shoulder operations. Hurray! At last! Across the dim light at the end of the long tunnel, there’s the possibility of driving again, walking Isis and returning to my art group.

At the bottom of our garden is a lane. To Isis and me it’s The Lane. Most houses have a garden gate which leads onto it. Polymath  lived here at least ten years before I took over the house and at the bottom of this garden there are not even any fairies, just a very old, dilapidated, interior door nailed across the gateway.

Even though, two years ago, specially tough grass seed called Sprogs and Dogs was sown onto rubber matting to create a durable play area for Isis, the hoped for lawn which, by now should be green and vigorous, has not materialised.

Honestly, I did the right things, keeping both shoes and paws off it for a year, cutting it at the right time and even buying a new lawn mower. Sick titter.

It only took Isis a matter of days to kick start its demise. Within weeks it was becoming bald. It now looks like the head of someone suffering from acute and extensive alopecia.

Hugely disappointing. And a very expensive mistake.

It felt like an investment for both me and Isis. O.K., she’d wear it down a bit in the winter, but it’d grow back in by spring. She’d have a year round safe play area and I’d have a decent lawn on which to sip beer with J. on balmy summer days.


Admittedly, the grass didn’t grow that well in the first place but with Hairy One’s pounding, no chance!

Another sigh.

Best not to think about it.

With all the heavy rain we’ve had – for ever, it seems – the area where the lawn was supposed to be has become a sticky lake of mud with a few clumps of defeated looking grass here and there.

For weeks we got into The Lane through the large security gates six houses down the road. This, however, as I have mentioned before, necessitated sashaying along the pavement with Hairy One’s running lead attached to a belt around my waist. It also required me to unlock and open the heavy gates.

Isis, of course, failed to appreciate the precariousness of my situation: the closer we got to the gates, the more excited she became.





Not only did the shoulder injury prevent me from using my arms for balance, it also meant that I had no way to stop myself from falling on my face.

We managed though, until the joint swelling began. When it hit my feet, the short walk was impossible.

On the Pet Angels’ days off, Isis had no walk.

In December procrastinating Human finally got round to asking handy man T. for an estimate of the cost of supplying and fitting a gate; he was also asked to replace her Heath Robinson stair guard because, once Hairy One sneaked upstairs, Human could no longer carry her down.

Both have added hugely to our health and safety.

The new stair gate does not disintegrate when you move it, or slide into the hall in the middle of the night. Or fall forward and smack us on the head when we stand in front of it.

Isis knows exactly where we are going when she smells that I am carrying the belt and running lead, putting on boots and gathering dog bags. After only three outings via the gate, she trots down the garden on her own and waits for me at the bottom.

Unfortunately she’s not quite so obliging when it comes to our return: hence the belt and lead.

Not yet. She’ll soon learn.

Most importantly, she can go out to play every day.







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, deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead!, running running, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

sorry Isis, sorry Daisy



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


Wednesday January 24th 2018


Not a brilliant week so far.

Tuesday is rheumatology appointment day. My appointment is at ten-thirty. It’s an easy journey as the bus stop is virtually opposite my house, but the  18 is a very unreliable ‘ten minute’ service. Unfortunately, a bus leaves the stop as I am locking my door and I have to wait twenty minutes for the next one. At Northfield station, the usually very reliable train is delayed for six minutes.

I steam into the Q.E. hospital with about three minutes to spare. Phew!

The Rheumatology Department is impressive. The staff couldn’t be more friendly, empathetic, professional.

“Have you experienced  ……. ?”, asks the doctor. Yes, I have: acute joint pain, swelling, exhaustion, depression, anaemia, severe stiffness in the morning, weight loss ………  It’s yes to everything, I think, except for mouth and eye ulcers. But my right eye has been sore for two days and, ironically, in the evening I discover a small ulcer!

Yes, I have rheumatoid arthritis. Now, I’m not glad about this, but it could have been something much worse.

J., the research lady tells me that she has had rheumatoid for twenty-three years. She drives, has a demanding, full time job, a child to care for, and she seems very fit, so that’s encouraging.

Because I agree to join the patient research group, there are lengthy discussions and a multitude of questionnaires interspersed among the physical tests, and five hours have passed before I leave. There are more investigations to be done but I am worrying about Isis and Daisy so I am told that the other checks can be done next week when I begin on the medication. This should be as effective as steroids, I’m told, but without the negative side effects.

I am so exhausted I’m almost plaiting my feet but I’m treated to a taxi home where I  discover that Hairy and Furry have survived.

They are both sound asleep. A baleful yowl floats down the stairs to inform me that a Daisy cat’s dish has been licked clean and starvation will soon ensue.

Isis, obviously aware that Human has been missing for longer than a dog expects, is behind the front door. I place my hand close to her nose. When she breathes in my scent, she leaps up in a paroxysm of wagging and accepts repeated apologetic hugs.

She hasn’t allowed me to move out of reach since, though this morning she can’t wait to leap out into the rain with Pet Angel R. and trot off to the park.

I was awake all of last night, mind churning, and feel more and more grotty as the day goes on. Eventually, I doze off with Isis on the futon this evening, just in time to miss my Ocado on-line shopping delivery.

They have to dispose of all perishable goods. That costs me over sixty pounds. And I’ve no milk.

I also forget that it’s blog night. That’s why I’m late.

So it’s sorry everyone.


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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Rufus and Nancy



Monday January 22nd 2018


Yesterday I posted that Cookie is the only surviving dog from our original bottom bowling green group. How could I have missed out Rufus and Nancy, still youthful and hale and hearty and very much part of the group?

Sorry Rufus. Sorry Nancy.

As an apology, here’s one of my favourite images of you.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment




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


Sunday January 21st 2018


It had been a very long time since I had seen D., who moved away from Kings Heath three years ago, and whose lovely labradoodle Billy died last year. On Thursday, she comes to pick us up for a visit to Kings Heath Park.

Although there’s bright sun, I know that Isis will enjoy playing around her shrubbery when she gets there. I tap her beneath her chin while D. tugs her firmly through the gate. Once the reluctant one realises that I am in the car, she hops in too.

I was very fond of D,’s Billy who stayed with Ellie and me several times when D. was away. He was the most gentle, sweet natured dog you could imagine. Even though he was labrador size and weighed over forty kilos, he would try to back unobtrusively onto one’s knee. He enjoyed a hug or six too, as long as it was in the privacy of the house and not in the park in front of his dog mates.

He was an obliging dog in most ways, but not when it came to getting into a car. My neighbour found it hilarious to watch me trying to get Billy into the car to go to the park. I would open the car door and let Ellie in before bringing him out. Although I dashed after him in a vain attempt to preempt his sitting down, invariably, he beat me to it. If he was sitting down it was sometimes just about possible to place his front legs on the back seat.  But more often than not, he rolled over onto his back on the drive and waved his legs in the air.

Then we really were in trouble. Encouraging pats left him cold. Stern commands didn’t do the trick. Nor did soppy appeals to his better nature: he lay there with his tongue lolling, looking coy.

Fortunately, he was always a treat enthusiast and something specially tempting would get him onto his feet. The battle was not won yet, however. If I was very lucky, and he rose to his feet right next to the car door, I might be able to pop his large hairy front paws onto the back seat while he was still in motion.

More often than not, though, he’d sit down smartly just far enough away from the car to necessitate another treat and much cajoling to motivate him to shuffle forward a foot or two.

Then, of course, there was the challenging task of lifting his feet, now heavy and stiff with resistance, onto the car seat while preventing him from shuffling backwards and out of range again. This, I found, was best done by straddling his shoulders as I heaved.

Now came the final stage of heaving in his rear end. Not easy with a heavy dog who is by now bracing his forelegs against the car seat in an effort to push himself back out again.

At last we would set off for the park where both dogs would have a riotous time with their friends, often rounding the walk off with a dip in the smelly pond. If we managed to pass the pond, Bill would be on constant look out for a puddle. Preferably one lined with thick, black mud.

When we returned to the car park, life was much easier than when we set out as G., well-built and very strong, lifted Bill in for me.

On this Thursday, D. and I let Hairy One play in the Colour Garden, then walk round the park to meet G. We reminisce about past times when a big group of us met up every morning on the old bowling green. Only one of our dogs, Cookie the labradoodle, is left now. Sad. Inevitably.

But it’s good to be back in the park. And I am in for a lovely surprise.  Back in D’s car Isis sits between my feet, but after a few minutes she climbs onto my lap, and there she stays until we reach home.

She’s never sat on my lap before. I’m very touched.

Aw, Isis!







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


Human’s fingers are stiff, but otherwise no deterioration. The rheumatology appointment is next Tuesday, so we will see.

Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, dear little Isis, I'm off my lead!, Kings Heath Park, relationship building | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

after the rain the sun



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


Wednesday January 17th 2018


Monday morning comes. Not only is the day obligingly dull but there’s a light rain falling. Perfect Isis weather.

Hmmmm. It was a dull day yesterday, I muse, nigh on perfect Isis weather but still the little toad refused to leave the road.

The Pet Angels arrive. R guides Hairy One’s spotty nose and waving tail between the gates and off they go.

I wait apprehensively but no-one is brought home in disgrace.

A very long time later, there’s a triumphant return. Isis has excelled herself, R. tells me. She walked briskly to the park without a qualm and had a wonderful time quarrying for a tree root in the park.

She is damp, muddy, very, very happy and not at all eager to to rush back home.

R.has a video to show me. Isis is digging very energetically. Suddenly, she stops and turns towards R. “And?”, she appears to be asking.

I love it. It’s brilliant. Unfortunately, WordPress has been playing silly beggars lately, refusing to accept phone generated photos and videos, so I can’t include it on the blog but R. kindly posts it on my Facebook timeline.




Today it’s cold, bright and clear. R and I know that the sun will be too much for Isis, so I take her into The Lane.

The gate is proving to be as useful as I hoped it would. Now I don’t even have to clip Isis  onto the elastic running belt round my waist. She knows where we’re going and trots with me down the garden before standing in front of the gate in waggy anticipation.



She’s never quite as keen to return through the gate at the end of the hour though, so we have to take the belt and long lead with us. In addition, I carry a black bin bag to cover the plastic garden chair which now sits on the other side of the gate, and Hairy One’s snake, currently her favourite toy.

As soon as I open the gate, she bursts merrily into the lane before pausing to decide what she’ll do first.




Her choice today is galloping up and down the lane. I like this choice: she remains in full view so I can sit on my chair and just enjoy watching her.



Then she sniffs out Snake whom I have tossed onto the grass. He needs a vigorous shake, of course, before she trots off with him.





And when it’s time to go home, what an obedient little dog she is. Instead of shooting off in the opposite direction as is her wont, she stands still to allow me to clip on her lead and then walks with me to the gate.

Once in the garden she is set free and we make our way towards the house. She’s a happy dog and full of confidence.

Then, wham! She walks into a band of sunlight lying on the grass. Her ears flatten, her tail goes down. She backs towards the fence and cowers, paralysed.

She’ll not move until I put my hand on her collar and guide her towards the back  door. Unfortunately, there’s another sun band lurking on the doorstep. She’s desperate to get inside but she stands still as, keeping one hand on her neck, I unlock the door with the other.

She seems to trust me to keep her safe.

I’m very touched, 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

Human is doing OK. It’s the sixth day of the reduced steroid dose now but the swelling is minimal and the pain greatly reduced.


Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead!, running running, we don't like bright sun | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

an embarrassing animal



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


Sunday January 14th 2018


Isis is a very lucky little dog. The Pet Angels take her for walks in Kings Heath Park during the week and neighbours M and J take her on Sunday.

As we know, bright sunbeams are a no-no. Hairy One is genuinely afraid. Her people understand that and the exercise has to be aborted, as it was last Wednesday.

But what’s your excuse for Friday, Isis?

It’s a beautifully dull and cloudy day. There’s not even a hint of sun. But as Bertie,  George and Isis walk along Grove Road, the little saboteur bucks and dives and refuses to move. Apparently, there’s a certain spot which spooks her every time.

Oh dear.

R has the idea of crossing the road and walking on the opposite pavement. It works. What patience.

They reach the park and Isis has a wonderful time dashing around her favourite shrubbery.

Today I draw back the blind and breathe a sigh of relief. The clouds are heavy. It’s an extremely dull day. There’s not even a hint of sun.

M and J arrive and the eager Isis dashes out: although she is taken outside as soon as I go down in the morning, she seems determined to deposit a pre-walk poop on the front ‘lawn’.

Oh Isis! Must you?

While M. removes the heap, J takes the bull by the horns and, crossing the road, sets off at a brisk pace along the opposite pavement. They have been talking to S and R who advised that distraction and/or taking a different path can work with Hairy One.

Isis sits down, her head turned back over her shoulder. Ah, she’s just waiting for M to catch up.

M. catches up.

Isis still sits.

The kind volunteers persist. Several times over the next fifteen minutes, I cringe to see M’s purple beanie hat passing the house.

They hate giving up on Isis, but what can one do? She refuses to leave our section of the road.

She makes her ignominious return, scrabbling her way over the threshold.

She’s cross, not frightened, explains M, and, sure enough, she’s right. As M unclips the  harness, the shameful animal stands calmly in the porch, wagging her tail and looking perfectly happy. She is obviously pleased to be home.

Oh Isis! What a wasted opportunity.

I mull over possible reasons for her behaviour, wondering whether it could simply be a reaction to Wednesday’s sun experience. This seems unlikely: she had a very good time in the park on Friday: when she returned, she meandered down the hall with a look of utter satisfaction on her face, stretched out on her futon and slept soundly for two hours.

Think again.

From the end of September up to January, I’ve rarely left the house, and except for her walks, Isis was seldom parted from me.

Since then I have been visiting a friend several times a week. I am away for up to three hours.

I have noticed some changes in Hairy One’s behaviour. She follows me as I  move around the house, or, if she is unsure of my whereabouts, searches me out anxiously.

We follow a regular bedtime routine: Isis is let out into the garden while I hide treats around the room. When she returns, she stands while I take off her collar and we exchange pats for wags. She disappears into the back room. I go upstairs.

Very recently, if, before going to bed, I open the front door or even touch it to check that it’s locked, Isis emerges from her room and comes to find me. Once she is satisfied that I’m still in the house, she trots back to bed.

I wonder whether she is suffering from separation anxiety.

Dear me.


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

Human made a mistake. Her steroid dose has been reduced from 30mg to 10mg a day. Today is her third day on the lower dose and although some of the symptoms are beginning to return, they’re nowhere near as bad – yet, at least – as they were at their worst. Still mobile today and just over a week to the rheumatology appointment, Teresa may permitting.



Posted in Kings Heath Park, scary shadows, strange behaviour, we don't like bright sun | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

pesky sun again



*Because so many of you kindly ask how the sick one is, I’ll continue to include a brief bulletin right at the end of the blog, after the information about the Aeza Rescue.


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


Wednesday January 10th 2018


Yes, the sun, a sneaky, slanting one, bursts through the cloud this morning. Its menacing beam freaks out poor Isis, and when the Pet Angels come, she digs in her toes. Literally. Although R. manages to cajole and tug her out to the gate and onto the pavement, they all return minutes later.

“Abhort! Abhort!”, calls S., and Gilbert and George stand, patient as ever,  while the spoiler hurries back into the house.

Even then she is anxious and unsettled when she joins me in the front room. It’s south facing and bright. She lies down close to me, but leaps up and growls when a stripe of sunlight creeps up on her.

For the first two years or so, she is unable to tolerate being in this room at all. Even on dull days the light proves too much for her. She retires to the back room. She prefers to be on her own in there anyway.

Then, gradually, over years rather than months, her desire to be with me draws her in.

This is good, but not exactly relaxing; in fact, it’s quite nerve wracking  as every ten minutes or so, Isis shoots up from the rug, barking, snarling, spinning, biting at herself. I have to warn visitors, or they jump in the air too.

Sometimes her Doggles (dog sunglasses) help, but more often they don’t. She creeps off to lie in the hall, but soon, very cautiously, she comes back and tries again. And again.

Now we have bonded and she has other special human friends, she likes to be around me most of the time, and will come into the front room whenever I am there. She is much more tolerant of the brightness than she used to be and will usually try to put up with it. When, as it is this morning, it’s too much for her, we draw the blinds. Until recently this is  still not enough to make her want to stay. Now, inclusion seems to be everything.

I have written about her blindness before, but as time goes on, I realise that her light/shade issues are not so cut and dried.

My current thinking is that because tissue overgrowth on the surface of her eyes covers all but a minuscule area of her pupils, she is unable to close off light, and brightness blinds her.

This is a strange thing to say about a blind dog. Yet it seems that the tiny little gap in the overgrown tissue on the surfaces of her eyes allows her to navigate. I think she is able to make out vague shapes if her head is lifted at a certain angle.

When at home, in the garden or off lead in the parks or other spaces she knows, she rarely, if ever walks into anything – unless, of course, an unfamiliar object has been placed in her path.

She can certainly perceive shadows and they frighten her. R and S have also observed this. They report that even on ‘Isis favourable’ weather days, there is a certain stretch along the way to Kings Heath Park where she sits or lies down and refuses to budge. R. now kindly carries her through this threat and off they go again.

The first time I take her to the beach when the sun is bright, I expect a refusal; but she can’t wait to scramble onto the sand to run and dance ecstatically on the end her long lead. “She must feel OK because there are no shadows,” I conclude.

Sometimes, in the park, she will lie down, cowering, on dappled grass or squash herself against a bush or hedge, but when she is enticed into the open she is fine again.

Fortunately, when the sun drives her in, or there’s no-one to take her out, she plays energetically in her back room, leaping and flipping one of her snakes around, twirling, attacking her cardboard or punishing other innocent toys




until she is exhausted.



And now we have our own garden gate into The Lane, so when I have the energy, we have that option too.

If other people have experience or knowledge of eye conditions like Hairy One’s, I would be delighted to hear from them.


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


*Sick one is doing well on her high dose of steroids. She can walk short distances with very little pain, and the swelling in the joints is greatly reduced. On Friday the dose will be cut  from 18 mg to 2 mg daily, so we’ll see what happens.

She thinks a lot about being able to drive and to manage Hairy One on her lead again.


Posted in deaf/blind dog plays, Isis at home, Kings Heath Park, relationship building, running, scary shadows, twirling, walking my deaf/blind dog, we don't like bright sun | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments