very good news



Thursday August 31st 2017


Brilliant news! A has just told me that Shimono (still not sure how her name is spelled) is back home.

Apparently, she had been taken to Birmingham Dogs’ Home.



I’ve not been able to get to Highbury this week, but I can imagine how hugely relieved her owner is.

I guess it’s still a mystery how she got from A to B without being spotted.

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we all fall out



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


Wednesday August 30th 2017


Dear, dear, dear – as I say to Isis when when she is upset because something, like a prickly leaf or an empty beechnut case, is suck in her hair. It’s Sunday 27th, the very anniversary of her adoption and we fall out big time.

Daisy starts it.

A demure little cat, who mostly minds her own business, she spends the daylight hours upstairs doing kitty things, like playing in her crackle bag






making cosy little nests in the bed







and preparing herself for a good night’s sleep.






But, being a cat, she becomes restless in the early hours, sneaks out of the bedroom and creeps downstairs.

Now and then, I think, she pops into the back room where Isis is fast asleep, and has a good nose around, for sometimes, when I wake Isis in the morning, she leaps up as though stung by a hornet, and circles, sniffing and snapping indignantly.

It is certain that she now goes into Hairy One’s dining room on a regular basis, drinks from her water bowl and scents the feeding stand and door frame.

Neither Isis nor I have ever caught her in the act, of course. But we know. We know because Isis, trained painstakingly over the years to eat her food like a normal dog, begins to revert to her previous food defending behaviour. Instead of munching contentedly, she snatches mouthfuls of food while growling and barking ferociously at an imagined crowd of marauding creatures.


Human cleans carefully around Hairy One’s dining area with pet disinfectant.

But this doesn’t pacify Isis, and Human reluctantly goes back to the training routine. Every time Isis barks, her food is removed. When she calms down, the food is returned. After a few days of this, she improves.

By dog’s  breakfast time last Sunday, she’s almost back to normal.

The sun is very bright so we stay at home all day and Isis plays with her toys in the garden. She would like to stay out there until dark, and it’s well past dog’s tea time when I bring her in.

She’s very hungry. She sits nicely waiting for the signal to eat. But almost immediately after she begins her meal, she emits loud, growly barks.

I pick up her dish.

She flies into a fury and sinks her teeth into both sides of my hand. It feels like they’re meeting in the middle.

I give her a sharp smack on her flank.

What a horrible end to her anniversary 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 or

Posted in food rage, Isis and Daisy | Tagged , | 3 Comments

pride comes before a fall




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


Sunday August 27th 2017


Kings Heath Park is very busy this week, I hear. It usually is when the weather is good in the summer, particularly leading up to and over bank holidays.

So perhaps it’s OK that Isis and I have seldom been in the park over the last two weeks.

For several months now, I have had a problem with my right shoulder which makes  driving  extremely painful.

A scan last week revealed that I have torn a shoulder tendon which has in turn displaced a biceps tendon. So, I know why it hurts but, as yet, I don’t know what, if any, treatment is available for it. I hope to find out next Tuesday.

Naturally inclined towards pessimism, I imagine worst case scenarios, such as being told that there isn’t any treatment, it’ll just take twelve months (or more) to heal itself. Or, alternatively, it’ll be like it is now for ever.

Anyway, moaning over.

Another reason for absenting ourselves from Kings Heath Park is that the sun has been popping out relentlessly and creating very strong shadows which still terrify poor Isis. It’s impossible to avoid the shadows.

Highbury is the  much bigger park by far, and it is usually possible to escape from dappled areas into open, shadowless ones, to find spaces where she feels relaxed.

So I’ve been driving Isis to Highbury once a day and letting her play there for a couple of hours or more. Then, in the evening, we go for a sniff and pee road walk – I hasten to add that I use the word ‘we’ very loosely. I just walk.

Fortunately, Isis now usually walks very nicely on her lead. Otherwise, slinged, or unslinged, at the moment it would be impossible to take her on a road walk.

Bright dog that she is, Isis has learned to discriminate between her extension lead which means that she can go nuts, and her walking lead which means she is expected to behave more sedately. If she is in any doubt about this, we attach a second strand of her lead to one of the side rings of her Mekuti harness.

Although my last little dog Ellie was very obedient and walked close to me beautifully off-lead (not on the road, obviously) Isis is the first dog I have ever succeeded in training to walk beside me on the lead without pulling.

I think my previous failures result from a wandering mind and lack of consistency.

With little Isis, of course, I have to concentrate. Or cope with the guilt when she bangs her head on a car bumper, wall end, gate post or bin.

It suddenly dawns on me that this hasn’t happened for a long time.

Even though the bin men have been on go-slow for several smelly weeks now, which means that there have been rubbish bins permanently lining the pavements.

Dozy as ever, I have only just realized that very often, just as I am about to guide her around an obstacle, she has already realised that it is there, and is carefully walking round it.

Nor does she now try to escape into every ungated front garden we come across, or follow every trail which leads off the pavement. She rarely leaps across me or tries to shoot into the road.

One evening last week, my heart sinks when it begins to drizzle halfway round our route. But she doesn’t jerk and drag me all over the place like a rag doll in her attempt to grab mouthfuls of delicious dampness.

Although I’m sure that she will still revert to this wild behaviour when fat raindrops fall, I am very grateful for her restraint on this occasion.

And very impressed.


Actually, I am very impressed with her all round.





Next week it will be the third anniversary of her arrival in Kings Heath.

I thought that I would be getting a very shy, retiring little dog who would be psychologically damaged for the rest of her life, and unlikely to even want to be taken to the park.

I couldn’t have been more mistaken.

Tonight, walking into the garden where she is engrossed in playing with one of her snakes, I touch her gently.

She immediately turns and walks into the house.

I follow with a smug smirk on my face.

But, to indulge in a mixed metaphor or two, pride comes before a fall, and there are tears before bedtime.

But that’s another story.


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 or

Posted in clever girl, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, Kings Heath Park, scary shadows, we don't like bright sun, we don't like the dark | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments





Friday August 25th 2017


Beautiful, sweet-natured, brindle, ten year old staffie, Shimono, disappeared from Moor Green Lane on her way to Highbury Park last night.

Her owner stopped to pick up after her and when he straightened up she had vanished.

She barely leaves his side, so we are wondering if she was stolen, although he neither saw nor heard a vehicle or a person.

Her owner spent last night walking around the area calling her. He is distraught.

She is a hefty girl and wears a decorative harness.

If you’re a Midlander, please keep an eye out for her.


My mobile no is: 07518818840

Thanks, Pat



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another case of burr-measles




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


Sunday August 20th 2017


Poor Isis was so traumatised by the fickle sun last Tuesday that I decide to avoid Kings Heath Park while the weather is unsettled. Because Highbury Park is much bigger, there are very large areas where trees do not cast frightening shadows.

On Wednesday, then, off we go to Highbury.

Once in the park, I commiserate with Isis and tell her that, as compensation for her nasty experience, she can choose where she wants to play and what she wants to do.

She is very happy to follow her nose without any bossy tugging from me, and heads off to her favourite fallen tree.

Oh. But then, I think it was winter time when she got covered in burrs. I recall being surprised because all the burr bearing plants were brown and dead.

Now the plants are green and very alive, so they won’t drop their burrs as freely.

Will they?

And I did promise her a good time today.

Didn’t I?

I release her from her lead, and off she trots, ready for adventure.

Sniff. Sniff. Snifferty-sniff.

Yes! It really is her lovely fallen tree.












And here is where she made those lovely tunnels last year.

And there’s still a little lead-in hole left! Very exciting for a dog.







How wonderful.

In she dives.

And she plays, and plays and plays. We spend over an hour here.

But what’s the matter with Isis?

Oh, nothing. She’s just sheltering from the sun.








There’s a scattering of burrs on the end of her tail. Nothing to worry about, though.

A few minutes later, I take a closer look, just to make sure she’s O.K.

Oh dear me.







Rather more than a scattering of burrs on her tail, I fear.


Time for a closer close-up.









It can’t be as bad as it seems.

Let’s have another look.









But it can. And it is.

I pat her little head. It’s like stroking coconut matting.

My heart sinks.

But she doesn’t seem disturbed, and off we go to the pine trees.

It’s while she is pine dancing that my phone rings. It’s L. She’s just arrived in the park with Dougie and Fergie and asks where we are.

I tell her, but soon Isis wanders across the grass, and past the edge of the little beech wood before disappearing into her much loved boggy rosebay willow herb patch.

Almost immediately, L. appears walking with Js. and his dogs Pixie and Bertie.

I smile to myself. They’re in for a surprise.

I show them one of the close up photos. They are very taken aback, but nothing prepares them for the reality.

Isis eventually emerges from the bog. She looks like a monster from a story book.

Jaws drop.

She no longer looks nonchalant. Now she looks pathetic. To make matters worse, the sun is ducking and diving again. She cowers and I kneel down beside her.

I stroke her, then begin combing through the hairy tangles on the back of her neck with my fingernails. Last time she had the burr-measles, I tried a variety of brushes and a metal comb before discovering that not only are fingernails more effective, but Isis is more relaxed with them than she is with grooming tools.

L. sits down behind Isis. As she does so, the sun blinks again and Isis wriggles herself  against L.’s lap. L. begins to de-burr Hairy One’s lower back.

Soon she is joined by Js. who tackles the left flank.

Thank goodness for kind park friends.

The other dogs wonder what’s going on. They suspect favouritism, and close in to investigate. Poor Isis just retreats backwards, even closer to L. and Js. The other dogs soon discover that nothing nice is happening and wander off again.

We continue to work on poor Isis.

By the time we decide she’s had enough, her back and flanks are clear.

Her head, whiskers, underside and the inside of her legs are still to be done, but we’ve made a good start.

It takes three days, in all, to clear all the burrs.


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 or

Posted in Highbury Park, scary shadows, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

oh dear, oh dear, oh dear



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


Wednesday August 16th 2017


Poor Isis has a rough time in Kings Heath Park on Tuesday. She begins her walk happily enough, dancing under the trees and shrubs by the railway line.

But when she emerges, the sun is playing nasty tricks on her, doing what she most hates: popping in and out. It’s bright light, shadow, bright light, shadow. She crouches close to the ground by the TV Garden fence and resists all my attempts to coax her to move on.

She is very, very frightened.

The scenario is rare nowadays. Normally when she is this frightened, the only thing to do is to pick her up and carry her to ‘safety’. As my right arm is still out of action, I can’t pick her up. And there’s no-one around to help.

Feeling monstrous, I drag her over to the lower bowing green, and up onto the bank. Then, keeping her on her extended lead, I sit on the grass and let her sniff around.

It’s no good, though. She doesn’t want to sniff. She doesn’t want to be there. She doesn’t feel safe.

As soon as she can, she slips through the hole in the hedge onto the next level, and stands on the grass.


Unable, at present, to crawl through the hole without falling over (yes, I’ve tried) I am just about to scramble to my feet to walk round the hedge to disentangle her, when I hear L. calling Dougie on the other side of the fence.

I hear her commiserating with Isis and call through the hedge to ask her if she’ll detach the hairy creature from her lead.

She kindly obliges. Once free, Isis looks calmer. As I expect, she makes her way, ducking and diving in and out of the black shadows towards the Colour Garden.

Unfortunately, as she arrives at the edge of the garden, the sun blasts out again. Poor Isis panics and scuttles into the darkness of the border.

She cowers beneath the thick foliage, her tail stiff and flat against her underside.

She’s a pathetic sight.

Normally, I would wriggle into her retreat and comfort her. Compassionate L does just that. She crawls into the shrubbery and kneels next to poor Isis, stroking her and commiserating.

But Isis won’t be coaxed out.

I explain to Liz that once Hairy One’s out in the sunshine, in a space which has no shadows, she’ll come round.

Now, as it happens, L. practised carrying Isis only the day before when she was spooked in the car park. Again by the sun, I think. The poor little creature pulled away from my side and began scrabbling frantically in the sharp-edged gravel, scraping her pink pads.

In one quick swoop, L. gathered up the astonished Hairy One







and carried her to the car.

Not a snap, not a growl. After an initial wriggle or two, Isis settled in L’s arms and allowed  herself to be carried.







I am very impressed. Enormous progress for Isis who was once frightened of everyone.

So again L. comes to the rescue.

She sweeps Isis out from under the leafy tunnel, and places her in a carefully selected spot on the sunny grass, well away from threatening shadows.

Sure enough, Isis, now in a very familiar place, begins to revive.

First her tail detaches itself from her underside and hangs straight down. Then she sniffs her way into one of the beds.

Soon, her tail takes up its usual vertical curl.

Then she emerges and begins to play.

She is still jumpy when the light changes, but she’s much more confident now she’s in one of her safe play places.


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 or

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

back in the saddle again …………………….



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


Sunday August 13th 2017


Isis is delighted to return to Kings Heath Park and spends most of her first walk down on the little, woody path near the railway line.

Because her hawk bell is so distinctive and its sound carries so well, I am able to chat to the dog crowd on the old bowling green while she leaps and bounds beneath the dripping canopy.

I know why she has chosen to stay here today. The rain fizzled out as we arrived at the park, so no nice sploshy drops are falling from the sky.

Very disappointing for a dog.

But under the trees, of course, it’s still raining. That’s what happens under trees, Isis has noted. And what’s more, if a dog snatches at low hanging leaves and branches and shakes them vigorously, she can dislodge quite a shower.

She frolics joyfully for almost an hour. She is so delighted with the mini climate by the railway line that she would like to stay all day.

Silly Human is enjoying chatting. In fact, she enjoys it so much, she forgets that it has been raining steadily all night.

When she eventually gets round to collecting her happy dog, she discovers that Isis has stamped the once springy path into a flat, muddy mire, and is  now wearing long, thick, black, knee socks.


Never mind. Hairy One seems to have self cleaning hair. A bit of bouncing around will soon sort her.

I wish houses and cars were self cleaning.

Off we go up the slope with Bev, Nancy and Rufus.

We soon meet lovely Max, one of my Ellie’s favourite boys. When he was a tiny pup, his head and body seemed to outgrow his legs and he had problems bearing his weight. A vet told H., his owner, that it would be best to have him put to sleep.

I can remember, as clearly as yesterday, her telling me this devastating news. We were standing on the slope we have just climbed today, near the hedge at the top of the old bowling green. I’m not a weepy person, normally, but both of us swallowed back tears that morning.

That was over eleven years ago.

Max’s people signed him up for swimming therapy, very gradually the muscles in his back legs strengthened, and he became a fine figure of a dog!

He is eleven now.

Here he is in the background, getting some pats on his way to join his friends Tinkerbell the spaniel, and labradoodles Nancy and Rufus at the Treat Truck.








Nancy never was good at doing the delayed gratification thing. While Rufus sits patiently, she thinks it’s self service today.







Alison and Dave are looking stern and giving her the,  “Pushy dogs don’t get treats,” message.

Nancy doesn’t care. She ‘s not easily offended.

It’s all too much for poor Isis. She sniffs hopefully. She’d like a treat but there are too many people and dogs around.

When order is restored and Nancy’s back on terra firma, Dave throws Isis a treat. Isis eats it and hastily retreats bottom first into a handy shrub.

It’s all too much when you’ve only just returned from Holly Trees Kennels.



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 or

Posted in clever girl, deaf/blind dog plays, I'm off my lead!, Kings Heath Park, park dogs, the dogs of King's Heath Park, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

a cautionary tail



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


Wednesday August 9th 2017


Well, Isis and Daisy have now shared the house for five nights and four days and they’re both still here. Even more impressive, they both have their hair /fur, limbs, tails and ears intact.

This is how their intercourse goes:

Kerplop! Kerplop! Kerplop! Daisy’s little feet are heard on the stairs. Simultaneously, Isis begins to twirl urgently on her hind legs. Round and round she goes, her beautiful pink and black spotty nose sniffing high in the air.

As Isis gets close, Daisy flows rapidly back upstairs.

Today she came down when R. visited. I think that the poor little cat thought it might be her person.

I have refused to let Daisy out, of course, and now the poor little thing has stopped rushing to the back door. While this makes life easier for me, it’s sad, too.

Because her older cat, Polly, hated poor Daisy, a frisky adolescent at the time, when friend Polymath moved to Wales and I took over her old house, Daisy was left with me in Birmingham.

Then, one day, N., who has a shop over the road, told me that Daisy crossed our extremely busy road at least once a day on her way to the cemetery. (No, she wasn’t checking out her family plot, she was after the mice and voles.)

Needless to say, she was whisked off to Wales pretty smartly.

When she has been here another couple of weeks, and I have blocked off the entry, I may allow her out under supervision. But certainly not yet.

Because bad things happen to nice cats. As the following story proves.

Yes, yes, Isis – and Rufus, Nancy, Dougie, Fergie and Lily – I know that this is a dog blog, not a cat blog, but the story needs to be told.

Recently, overhearing someone ask a lady I know whether her cat had been found, I asked her what had happened to the cat.

Her answer was quite chilling.

Six weeks before the lady and her husband were due to go on a fortnight’s holiday, one of their three cats disappeared.

They were, of course, dismayed. Several times a day, week after week, the cat was called from the back door, the front door, and the bedroom windows.

The three cats had been booked into the local Cats’ Protection League cattery for the duration of the holiday. Even though they despaired of ever seeing their little cat again, her people tried to be optimistic and couldn’t bring themselves to alter the cattery booking from three to two felines.

Five weeks and two days after the cat disappeared, the lady’s husband went into a bedroom used mainly for storage, in order to retrieve their passports from a chest of drawers.

As he pulled out the top drawer, he was startled by a faint movement in the drawer beneath.

His stomach lurched when he saw his little lost cat curled in the drawer, thin, limp, and barely able to move.

He immediately called his wife who came home from work and, while he phoned the vet, she grabbed a cup of water and a syringe, cradled the cat on her lap and dripped small droplets of water into her mouth. She wept when the poor little animal desperately tried to lift up her head enough to put her tongue into the cup.

When they took the cat to the vet, the lady was so upset that she keeled over and had to be helped to a chair.

The vet injected water into the space between the car’s two skins in order to re-hydrate her. This procedure was repeated the next day and the next, kitty was fed tiny amounts of food at very frequent intervals, and, amazingly, did so well over the following five days, that she was able to go into the cattery with the others, and their owners were able to go on holiday.

For a while, they couldn’t think how the little cat had managed to get into the drawer. Then, the lady’s husband remembered that six weeks before the holiday date, he had taken out the top drawer to check that their passports etc. were present and correct. Little cat must have crawled, unnoticed, into the drawer below and remained there when the one above was replaced.

They had searched every room in the house, peered repeatedly under and behind every piece of furniture which could be a possible hiding place, and stood in every room calling her.

They had called her many, many times through the window of the room in which she was eventually found, but she didn’t make a sound. No scratching, no mewing. Nothing.

The vet thinks that once she realised that she was trapped, she became virtually paralysed with fright, and entered a state similar to hibernation.

She was very close to death when found.

If she had not been found, she would, of course, have been dead before they returned. They still shudder to think  that while they were searching the house, even standing close to her prison, calling her, she was fading away in the drawer, too frightened to make a sound.

She lost about half her body weight, but, amazingly, she survived.


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 or

Posted in Isis and Daisy, Isis at home | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

yuk, a cat on my blog!



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


Sunday July 23rd 2017


Suddenly, on Saturday evening, I’m taken out of my kennel. As soon as I step outside the kennel block, I can smell Human. About time too. I’ve been here for ages. I should pretend I don’t care,  but my tail gives me away. It won’t stop wagging. I even find my nose pushing into the back of her legs. Very annoying. Humans should be punished for abandoning their dogs.

I’m told that cats can easily get revenge in these situations. They have complete control. They can stop their tails from waving, and they can turn their backs on their humans for days and days, so the humans realize that they’ve done wrong.

Eek! That reminds me. Something horrible has happened.

First, there was this very nasty smell in K’s car. (K gave us a lift home from Holly Trees.) It wasn’t K. I know her smell and it’s quite nice.

I refused to get into the car but that Ray Deddicoat lifted me in.

The nasty smell got stronger and stronger. You won’t believe this – it was a cat!

Anyway, it wasn’t our car, so I knew it would go away soon. K would take it with her.

I was led into the house. Ah! wonderful smells: smelly boots, dirt, bundles of my old hairs, mouldy grass seeds and lots of thick dust.

I love the smell of home.

I was let out into the garden straight away. Wonderful! I love my garden. Human didn’t know we’d had thunderstorms all day in Birmingham and I had a lovely time scratching up the muddy lawn. By the way, what does, “Bloody hell, Isis!”, mean?

Well, I came in for tea. There was a lovely sardine with my Burns. Slurp.

When I’d finished eating, I noticed that K had gone home. But, horror of horrors, the nasty cat smell was now in my house.

Even worse, the nasty smell was very close. Ew! It was on the other side of the kitchen door.


Human opened the door for me and I went out. Very carefully.

The smell was coming from something right next to the kitchen door.

Very, very gently – honestly – I sniffed its fur.







Smack! It bashed me in the face.

I retreated into the kitchen as fast as my paws would take me, and cowered against the back door.

Later, just before bed time, Human let me out into the garden. But when it was time to come in, I could smell IT right by the door. So I ran back in the garden.

When Human came out to bring me in, IT rushed out of the door.

“That’s good”, I thought. “Gone cat.” But stupid human said some very, very rude words and dashed out after IT.

I kept giving little, low, worried woofs every time I smelled a cat smell, but Human told me that I must be kind and polite to ‘Daisy’ because her person is in hospital and Daisy is very sad. And she was eighteen in March.


Still more shocking, she said we both have to be very nice to Daisy, even when she smacks me.

Sigh. I don’t know if I can stand it.

And it’s getting worse all the time.

Today Human was really disgusting. I heard her saying she is very worried because Daisy hasn’t done a poo since she came.

For goodness sake.


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 or

Posted in Isis and Daisy | Tagged , , | 7 Comments


Hello there


I am very sorry but owing to an emergency, there will be no post tomorrow (Wednesday) or next Sunday.



Posted in Uncategorized | 7 Comments