Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday April 18th 2021
Oh dear. Not the best of weeks.
My car has an appointment with the garage. For a long time now the steering lock has been temperamental. Every now and again, when the engine’s switched off, the lock refuses to release the key. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it is, to put it mildly, rather inconvenient.
It’s not a wonderful idea to park a car outside one’s home with the keys in the lock. It has to be fixed. Unfortunately, the lock has to be mailed, repaired and returned. This means that we’ll be car-less until the weekend. This wouldn’t be such a big deal for me, but it is, of course, a very big deal for Isis.
Before I drop off the car, we head for Holders Lane. It’s one of those days which Isis hates: the sun is bright and the shadows are strong. We walk away from the sun towards the main park. No problems. We only have a few yards to go before we can turn off into the wooded area which skirts the edge of Cannon Hill. All’s well.
We meet up with the doodles team and have a pleasant stroll along the little tracks.
We had planned to walk back to the fields alongside Holders Lane, but when we turn round, Isis is very twitchy, even in the woods, for now, of course, we are walking towards the sun. All she wants to do is get back to the safety of the car, so we split and return home.
I had hoped that it would be a dull and overcast until the weekend so that Isis would be happy to go for road walks, but the forecast promises bright, sunny weather for the rest of the week.
I’m not looking forward to the next few days.
I manage to persuade Isis to come with me into the lane. I give her several toys, but she ignores them. She glues her tail to her underside and hangs around close to me. Then she paws at the gate. She wants to go inside.
I hate for her not to have a walk, although, actually, it seems to bother her less than me. All she appears to want is to stay very close to Human and sleep on the day bed.
As it happens, that’s all I want to do too. I don’t know whether it’s my second Covid jab catching up with me, or the jarringly painful tooth I’ve endured for two weeks, but I’m spent. I should be grateful that Hairy One doesn’t want to go out, but paradoxically, I feel guilty.
We both sleep all day and most of the evening. Isis sleeps all night too.
I don’t. I have an appointment with the dentist at 8.15.
She’s still sound asleep when I leave. And sleeping still when I return, clutching a pack of antibiotics and feeling sorry for myself. The tooth, apparently, is cracked down to the root and is infected. It will have to come out. The dentist will make a referral to the dental hospital. Oh dear.
Time to let Isis out.
The sun is streaming down, and she is very reluctant to emerge from the house. When I usher her out of the back door, she turns round and, before I can stop her, rushes back inside and plants herself firmly on the day bed.
I virtually have to peel her from her blanket, and, eventually, manage to persuade her that she has to go into the garden. I push against her reluctant bottom until she’s over the threshold. She stands on the path, hunched up, with a disappeared tail. She looks very frightened.
I change my footwear for the third time today and we go into the garden side by side.
She wants her breakfast but, by now, she has worked herself into such a state that she is afraid of the light coming through the very small pane in the front door. She barks angrily.
She leaves her breakfast uneaten and retreats to the day bed. I swallow an antibiotic and a painkiller before eating mine. Then I join her on the day bed. As the day passes, she pushes herself closer and closer to me, until she’s virtually under my arm.
Her breakfast remains uneaten as we sleep away another day.
She’s not had a walk for two days. By 7.15 the sun has gone in. Will she come for a road walk now?
Yes, she will. In fact, she’s quite enthusiastic.
On the outward journey, that is. Once we make our way home, she segues into her go slow act. I don’t know why she does this, but that’s Isis. Even when she choses to walk to Kings Heath Park she does the go slow on the way home. Unless it’s raining, of course, or snowing.
Her stand-offs are very irritating, necessitating as they do, harness heaves and rear end pokes every few feet.
Obviously the walk was good for her, though. She is very chirpy now we’re home, and plays happily with her toys.
I’ve come round now and am tackling a few long neglected tasks.
Isis hasn’t come round. The sun is still very bright and she flinches and creeps when I take her into the garden. Back in the house, when I leave a room, she soon follows.
There is no way she’ll go into the lane, thank you. And no, thanks again, she doesn’t wish for an evening road walk. The sun’s gone in, but she doesn’t like the look of the light.
Another day without a walk.
Obligingly, the sun pops in around lunchtime, so I rush Isis into the lane while the going is good. She’s much better today. Visiting Kitty is sitting watching her, and Hairy One is most excited. She sniffs her way towards her prey; Visiting Kitty, of course, neatly sidesteps Hairy One, then comes to greet me.
Now Isis is happily playing with one of her ex-squeaky toys. When the sun comes out, she just retreats to a shady spot. When it fades, she drops the toy and leaps about. At least she’s getting some exercise.
I contact the garage. The lock is back and they’re about to refit it. I can collect the car from 4.30 onwards.
Isis is very pleased when she realises I’m going out. She’s wants to come too. She leaps about as I fit her into her harness. She’s delighted when I clip on her lead. She strolls out to the gate, and walks jauntily to where the car should be.
Her tail droops.
Will she walk?
Back in we go. Harness and lead are returned to their box.
The sun is still bright, but that’s OK. Her car’s there. We head for Highbury and park in the road, close to the gatehouse. From here we can walk in the shade to the woods.
Isis is jumpy when we emerge from the shade, but we’ve had a good long walk. At home she’s chirpy and contented.
She’s a funny little dog. She’s made a lot of progress with her sun fears. It’s not that long ago since she’d not follow me into the hall when the sun was strong, let alone into the porch and out of the gate.
The front of the house faces south and the sun glares into the porch. Now, though, she dances eagerly, play growling and yipping as her harness is put on. She can’t wait to get out of the door.
True, she flinches as she waits for me to let her into the car, but she’s fine once inside. Nowadays she doesn’t even seem to mind when the sun flickers at her through the windows.
Nor does she refuse to leave the car for her walk, although she’s very hesitant and jumpy once out in the open.
Today, as usual, she chooses to follow the little paths which are mainly in the shade. It’ll be a week tomorrow since she last visited Holders Woods. She needs reassurance when she comes to patches of sunlight, but mostly she is relaxed and happy ……
until we reach home and I open the car door for her.
On bright days, it goes like this:
I can’t see you so you can’t see me.
I’m not coming out. It’s dangerous. Something will get me. Nooooooooooo.
Hm. It’s still there. Let me in. Quick !
Much better now.
What do you make of that?
How come she tolerates the sun’s glare on the way to the car, but is afraid to leave the car on the way back to the house?
Answers on a gravy bone. Chicken flavour, please.
*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 firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk