Wilda falls from grace


And whose fault was it that the images of Wilda were not appearing on gmail last night? Yes, mine, of course. Today I discover my phone won’t send messages either. I’ve accidentally switched it to flight mode.

Must be the anaesthetic.



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Thursday August 16th 2018 (Just pretend it’s Wednesday.)


Remember the lovely Wilda? She with the two inch long eyelashes? She who was the ring bearer at J. and L.’s wedding?

If you do, then you will be as aghast as I am when I meet the disgraced one in Kings Heath Park.

I am just congratulating Isis on how beautifully she is walking on her lead, and there they are by the cafe area: J, baby M, just over a year old, and little Wilda who is wagging her tail off at my feet in expectation of a gravy bone.

But dear, oh dear, oh dear, what’s this?





Poor little Wilda. What has she done to deserve such barbarism?

Since baby M. became mobile, explains J., Wilda has turned into a terrible scavenger. After much practice following M. around the house and gobbling up bits of dropped biscuit, she graduates to picking up nasty things in the park and up-chucking them at home.

Dogs have such endearing habits.

On this particular day, J. reaches the end of her tether. Naughty Wilda, having enjoyed some unspeakable snacks in the park, comes into the house and promptly vomits all over the carpet.

Scarcely has poor J. cleaned up after Wilda when baby M. poos copiously close by and also, naturally, on the carpet

During her pregnancy, J. had looked forward to the joys of motherhood and spending halcyon days at home with baby and Wilda.

“But it’s not the glamorous life I imagined”, she sighs.

Like Popeye the Sailor Man, this is all she can stand and she can’t stand no more.

Next day she stops off at the pet shop and buys a muzzle.

But J is too kind-hearted to deprive Wilda of her gravy bone, and removes the muzzle so that the naughty little creature can eat her treat.


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 a very naughty dog, Kings Heath Park, park dogs, the dogs of King's Heath Park, walking in the park | Tagged , | 2 Comments

oh Isis, Isis!



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday August 12th 2018


I have no idea whether you’ll be able to access this post as Facebook no longer allows Publicise connections to Facebook profiles, only to Facebook pages.

I, of course, don’t know a page from a profile.

I’ve read the information about how to allow publication via a different set-up. In fact, I’ve read it x times. I’ve made notes too, but I’m none the wiser, just a hell of a lot more irritated, so let’s get on with the post and see what happens. When I’m feeling less malevolent I’ll consult the WordPress Gurus. They’re very patient.

In the meantime, thanks a million Facebook. I love you too.

I came home after my second shoulder operation on Friday August 3rd. My School friend M picked me up the following Sunday as she and her partner G had invited me to stay with them in Uppingham to be ‘looked after’. And looked after I was – brilliantly.

I stayed until Thursday, leaving Isis and Daisy in the capable hands of animal sitting friend A.

Both Isis and Daisy know A. well so I was confident that they would both be excellent clients.

Daisy was.

Looking back, I should have been more alert to the fact that A.’s texts contained glowing accounts of how sweet and companionable Daisy was but very little about Isis other than a request for advice about how to deal with her worrying her feet, gnawing her leg and harbouring vast amounts of seeds and burrs about her face and ears.

Kindly A. did not alert me to the hassle she was putting up with. When I returned home I discovered that Isis had been very difficult indeed.

She’d barked throughout the night and much of the morning, worried her feet continuously, barbered her front right leg and raised merry hell at mealtimes.

She’d refused to allow A. to remove her burgeoning collection of seeds and burrs or clean the mud off her muzzle.

Worst off all she’d uttered growly threats and snapped when A. attempted to groom her, sometimes just when she approached her. A. described Hairy One’s behaviour as very grumpy and unpredictable.

I was mortified. Fortunately A. and I know each other very well and she believes that I’d not have left Isis with her if I’d even suspected that there might be problems.

A., quite understandably, would not want to look after Isis again.

If Isis was unable to settle with A., she’d certainly not cope with any other sitter, so, sadly, when I need to leave her in the future, it’ll have to be kennels.

When I had the first operation, A. looked after the three of us and Isis was perfectly calm.

It seems that things feel very different to her when her human leaves home. As soon as I return, she sleeps through the night, is calm during the day and reverts to ‘normal’ mode.

I think that now she has bonded, I am her security and she can’t cope with this security being taken away.

It will need someone with Ray and his staff’s extensive experience with damaged animals to look after her in my absence.

Poor A.

Poor little 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


Posted in a very naughty dog, food rage, Isis and Daisy, Isis at home, Isis is no angel, nightmares, self-damaging, self-harming, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

an ecstasy of rain



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


There will not be a post on Sunday August 5th or Wednesday August 8th as Human is having an operation on her shoulder (left one this time) this Friday.

Hopefully, normal service will be resumed on Sunday 12th, although posts may be shorter for a while!



Wednesday August 1st 2018


Our heatwave breaks at the weekend. By Sunday the weather is absolutely perfect for my hairy podengo.

Isis and I go to Kings Heath Park.

We see only three other dogs in over an hour and a half. As we virtually have the park to ourselves, I set Isis free once we’ve passed the car park and off she goes.

Oh, the wonder of it! The ecstasy when she feels rain on her face! Her tail flies up like a kite and her long, pink tongue licks at the rain drops on her nose.

It’s wild and she loves it. The wind whistles through the trees, makes twigs and leaves trundle over the grass, flicks drops of rain from the hedges and spreads out her ears like damp streamers.





Rain drops bounce off her nose and turn her tail into strings. She twists and twirls and leaps and spins and she runs and runs and runs.





Technically, this phone video isn’t great, but it is full of wind and wetness, so  try not to go cross-eyed, turn up your speakers, and just think of it as an animated Monet!


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, dear little Isis, I'm off my lead!, Kings Heath Park, running running, twirling, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

claws, thorns and prickles



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday July 29th 2018


This week I work hard to avoid being covered from head to foot in Elastoplast. (I don’t own shares in Elastoplast. There are many other products – as they say on the B.B.C.)

I may have mentioned before that for months now we’ve had the company of Visiting Kitty on our evening sojourns in the lane.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am very fond of cats, and I’m a great admirer of Visiting Kitty. Whom, in order to conserve my energy, I will refer to from now on as V.K. But V.K., like numerous other delightful felines with whom I’ve spent time, has a markedly capricious nature.

On three occasions he lulls me into a false sense of security. Each time his strategy is exactly the same. Underside up, he squirms floppily at my feet and switches on his most melodious purr. Then he looks up at me with huge, limpid  eyes. He wiggles his bottom seductively and smiles, inviting a tummy tickle.

I lean down with a stupid grin on my face and, very, very gently tickle him. I’m sure you know the rest ………… yes, of course, he switches into attack mode, grabs my left lower arm with his front claws and shreds the skin of my underarm with his back claws. For good measure he bites my right hand when I use it in a vain attempt to detach his claws from my arm.

To add insult to injury, he flashes his tail and glares at me as though I am assaulting him.

Hence, in the following photo, taken on a very hot evening this week, you will observe that I have hastily moved my feet from kitty’s reach.






Daisy, by the way, never scratches or bites anyone.

She does chase dogs though.

V.K. doesn’t. He keeps well out of their way. He only descends from a garage roof once he has made absolutely certain that Isis is at a safe distance and engrossed in play. Usually he waits until she is in her ivy den.

Sensible cat.

My hairy podengo is much less sensible.

One night she is playing at the opposite end of the lane from her ivy nest. She is  close to the bend in the lane. If she disappears round the corner, she’s out of sight and I need to follow.

It’s very hot and I’m very tired.

I look up and she’s vanished.

I’ll have to drag myself all the way down the lane.


But as I heave myself, muttering obscenities, from the garden chair, I hear panting and the tinkling of her bell.

I scan the lane.

No sign of Isis, but the panting and tinkling seem very close indeed.

It takes me several minutes to discover her whereabouts.

I walk past her several times before I see her.

When I find her, I can’t believe it –





who the hell chooses to nest in a bramble bush?

Yes, I know: Isis.

It’s time to go in. I can’t alert Isis to this, of course, except by touch.


On the following night I let Isis out into the garden. After a short silence, there’s a burst of excited woofs. The sort of woofs which mean ‘I’ve found something very interesting!’

I dash out. There is Isis leaping backwards and forwards, tail wagging ten to the dozen. Each leap forward brings her within two feet of ‘it’. She pushes her front legs out stiffly and pulls her head well back before jumping backwards as if keen not to get too close to the shape.

I tap her into the kitchen and return for a better look.

The beautiful, rounded shape is an adult hedgehog, and s/he’s in a perfect, rolled up sphere.

I’m thrilled. It’s more years ago than I can remember since I’ve seen a healthy hedgehog. Even my friend N. who lives in rural Cornwall tells me he’s not seen one for at least five years.

I don’t pick her/him up, of course. One must respect wild life.

Besides, I’m running out of antiseptic.


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, dear little Isis, I'm off my lead!, Isis at home, scenting, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

bedtime histrionics part 2



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Wednesday July 25th 2018


A.L., you got it in one! Isis very rarely loses her treats in her bedding but she is convinced that there is still at least one lurking there among the folds.

Even when I’ve searched between her paws for the phantom delicacy and demonstrated that she’s not missed a crumb, she remains disgruntled.

Let’s make things more predictable, I decide: same number of treats in same place every single night.

I don’t know whether dogs can count, and I must admit I don’t believe for one second that the new strategy will work.

Nevertheless, I give it a go. In the face of head ringing  yaps, anything’s worth a try.

I follow a very rigid routine. While Hairy One is in the garden taking a final pee, I plant four gravy bone halves in her main dog bed. That’s the snake repository,  and the first place she’ll check when she comes in.

Next I divide a Schmacko into three and the three pieces into quarters.

Four fragments are set out along the rim of her main dog bed, four arranged on the base of my office chair and then the remaining four are dropped into her bolt hole bed under my desk.

My last task is to break another two gravy bones into four and place them on her pillow on the day bed.

By the third night she is sniffing out her bedtime treats as calmly as the proverbial cucumber. Not a snarl, not a growl rents the air. She doesn’t execute furious twirls. She doesn’t nip her back legs. She doesn’t attack her tail.

She crunches happily on her gravy bones then settles down to sleep.

And we’ve had calm, uneventful bedtimes ever since.





Who’d have believed it?


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, food rage, Isis at home, scenting, strange behaviour, twirling | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

bedtime histrionics



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Sunday July 22nd 2018


We’re going back a few months.

It’s May and I am reviewing Hairy One’s food related behaviour. Yes, her mealtime manners are much improved. She is definitely getting over her three weeks in kennels last September.

While there, you may recall, she raised merry hell as soon as her meal had been served, and continued merry helling until her bowl was empty. One could, apparently, hear her all over Holly Trees. Judging by T.’s description, it may have been possible to hear her all over Wythall.

Now that meal time rages are, hopefully, behind us, we can tackle the bedtime treats issue.

Like most dogs, Isis loves her bedtime treats.

Previous dogs enjoyed hunting all over the room for their treats. To make the hunt more interesting, we tried to use as many different hiding places as possible; high and low; under things, on top of things, inside things.

At first Isis is given her treats. Once she has settled in, I try her on the hunting game.

The good news: once she gets the idea of searching for her rewards, she is surprisingly good at finding them, just as good as the other dogs were.

The bad news: after she searches in one of her two beds or on the futon and eats the treats she finds there, she becomes hysterical and ferrets frantically among the covers, emitting raucous, shrieky barks.

This is not the calming bedtime activity one would wish for.

‘Now, what’s going on here?’, I wonder. It’s very strange. She happily sniffs out and eats the treats placed on chair seats, the edges of drawers at varying heights, and the shelves of the trolley.

So why does she turn from a happy little dog into the hound from hell when the treats are placed on the futon or in one of the dog beds?

I’m used to Hairy One’s strange behaviour, but this particular performance puzzles me for years.

In deference to my neighbours, I just make sure that she gets her bedtime treats before midnight.

Goodness knows why, but suddenly, in April, I remember the first time she became hysterical over a treat. With apologies to readers who have been following the blog since its beginning, I’ll retell the tale.

The culprit, in this story is a sausage. Not any sausage, but the very delicious sausage which I buy her on the way to Wales. I break it up into small sections, give it to her and drive away from Dinkey’s Diner. Suddenly, without even a warning growl, all hell breaks loose on the back seat.

Isis has only been living with me for a few weeks so her behaviour is, to say the least, alarming.

Is she having a fit? Will she attack me?

Managing to avoid driving into a roadside tree or an oncoming truck, I pull up as soon as I can in order to investigate the situation and, hopefully,to calm the irate creature.

Eventually, I discover that a section of sausage has become enveloped in her blanket.

I return the sausage and all is well.

When she flies into nightly treat rages at home, I always give her the benefit of the doubt. I run my fingers round the seams of her beds, shake out her futon  cushions, check the adjacent floor space. Not once do I find a treat.

O.K. There’s no treat uneaten. Isis has not missed a scrap. But still she rages. And Hairy One’a rages, as we know, are nothing if not spectacular.

She calms down only when, after giving her two or three ‘cross finger taps’,






I lead her off to bed.


to be continued …………………


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, food rage, Isis at home, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

table manners reviewed



Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.


Wednesday July 18th 2018


It occurs to me that it’s a long time since we had a table manners update.

Does Isis still growl and snarl between mouthfuls? Does she still jump up the wall to snap and scream at the vultures circling her dining area and round on the hyenas poised behind her ready to snatch her food?

Are our ears yet resounding with the clang of metal bowls and the ring of ragged screeches? Or do dog meal times pass in graceful tranquility.

Well, neither, to be honest.

Things are much better. Most of the time, she is much, much calmer: when she eats, she no longer leaps up the wall or spins round in angry circles.

And I  begin to appreciate the depth of her food related traumas, and learn to be more tolerant.

It’s the heat wave which finally brings home to me the level of her distress, how terrified she must have been during her early years. Blind, deaf and tied up, she must have had to fight for any sustenance which came her way.

Sadly, even water, it seems.

I’ve always had water in the car for her, but she’s always refused it.

In this very hot weather, after she has played, she’s very obviously desperate for a drink, but she’ll not go near the communal water bowl. Even though her tongue is hanging out and her sides are heaving, she balks at walking within four metres of the drinking area.

Each day we take her bottle of water from the fridge and try to park in a shady spot.

One day all the shady spots are taken and when we return to the car, it’s necessary to cool it down before she gets in.




She’s desperate for a drink, so I put her bowl of water in the shade by the car. She turns her head away and continues to pant.

I let her into the car and put her drink on the seat.

Her tongue lolls and her sides heave but she’ll not drink. No way. She can smell people and dogs. She keeps turning her head towards the open door behind her. She doesn’t feel safe.

Now we have a mutually acceptable routine. We always arrive early enough to grab a shady spot. On returning to the car, I open the door nearest the fence and she jumps in. She begins sniffing for the water bowl. I place the bowl beside her, pour in the water and slip in beside her pulling the door to after me. She drinks thirstily, but only enough to keep her going until she reaches home.





At home she gulps down half a bowl of water. She obviously feels much safer in her own territory; nevertheless, I must avoid walking behind or too close to her. If I transgress, she growls defensively or leaves the water and retires to bed.

In perfect dining conditions, i.e. there’s no-one in the kitchen, no movement in the hall, no lingering suggestion that Daisy has been downstairs, no scents of pavement traffic floating through the porch window, and Human is standing motionless in another room, Isis relaxes and all that can be heard is a magical, steady munching.

I no longer take away her food if she relapses and barks, only on the very, very rare occasion when she becomes hysterical.

You may remember that when I followed the ‘if you carry on, your tea is removed’ regime, it appeared to work very well. Eventually, she ate in silence. But as soon as she had finished, she snarled and raged and attacked her tail viciously.

It seemed a crazy thing to do at the time, but now I think that her response  may be similar to that of the Tourette’s child who manages to suppress  the worst of her tics at school, but explodes into tic overdrive as soon as she gets home.

“You’ve come a long way, little Isis”, I tell her. “We can put up with a bark or two.”


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, food rage, Isis at home, Kings Heath Park, relationship building | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Devon Blue



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


Sunday July 15th 2018


Just over a week ago, Isis receives a surprise parcel.

A close friend, K., who reads the blog knows how attached Hairy One is to her snakes. K. has been down in Devon for a while and sends her a new snake.

It’s not just any old snake, he explains, but a lesser spotted Devon grass snake, a very handsome and rare fella, found only in this county.

There’s a slight problem though. He’s a not a rubber reptile: he’s a fabric one. Isis has not met one like this before.

I hope for the best and set him down in an elegant but casual pose close to Hairy One’s bed.

Will she know he’s a snake?

Evidently not.

She ignores him.

She’s no easy pushover, as we know.

After three days and nights he’s still there on the rug, so I pop him into her basket while she’s sleeping. Perhaps she’ll come across him in the morning and welcome him to her world.



On the other hand, Isis being Isis, perhaps she won’t.

Sure enough, next morning I find that she’s ejected him. He’s lying there forlornly, back on the rug.

It’s Saturday evening. Before we go down to the lane, I go to fetch Half-snake for her to play with. (Yes, I’m the one who takes him out. She never does. If I forget she just searches for him in the lane, poking among the grassy clumps and under the brambles looking depressed.)

I wonder whether she’ll play with Devon Blue if I drop him casually in the lane instead of Half-snake.

After letting the impatient little creature out of the garden before she shreds the new gate, I toss Devon Blue a few metres away and take up my usual position on the old, green garden chair.



Isis doesn’t appear to pick up his scent, but gallops boisterously up and down the lane, emitting blissful little grunts.



After a while, I take out my phone and begin to read the news.

Next time I look Isis has disappeared from view. So has Devon Blue.

I haven’t even noticed her in the vicinity of the new snake, yet I can hear her bell ringing slowly and rhythmically from beneath the ivy, a sure sign of playful contentment.

When it’s time to fetch her, I walk past the ivy den several times without being able to spot her. In order to locate her, I have to lean down low and part the wall of ivy with both hands. Even then I have to stick my head well in between the dense skeins before I eventually glimpse a small smudge of white feet.

The overhang of foliage is much more extensive than I thought. Isis has made a new den, and there she nestles, as far into the ivy as she can get, next to the fence and a good two yards from the track. She’s lying down with Devon Blue in her mouth and draped across her front legs.

After a good deal of ungainly lurching and stretching, I manage to tap the little creature under her chin and, in her own good time of course, she carries out her prize, threading him carefully through the interwoven stems of ivy and out into the lane.

She walks just in front of me, misses the entrance to our garden,



is gently persuaded to turn around, finds the gate and slowly weaves her way through the undergrowth,



through the gap in the wire, around the brambles and spiky teasels



– which are now encroaching, inch by inch, upon the house – and makes her way to the kitchen door.


In she pops.



Now, she always takes Half-snake, that faithful playmate, into her bed.

Will she confer this very special honour on Devon Blue?

Bingo! She does.



That worked, then.


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, dear little Isis, Isis and the snake, Isis at home, running running, scenting | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

one diary and a gasket



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


Thursday July 12th 2018


The week doesn’t begin well. The car has been spluttering and juddering first thing in the morning since a heating pipe was replaced a couple of weeks ago.

I ignore this, as one does, hoping that it’s a speck of dirt which will work its way through the system.

It doesn’t. Inevitably. The coolant warning light comes on and the car stalls half way across busy Vicarage Road. It’s the rush hour, of course. We stutter our way home.

I look up the problem in my handbook to be certain that I refill the correct container.

It’s a while since I opened the bonnet and it takes me at least ten minutes to work out how to do it. Then, frustratingly, I can’t move the cap on the coolant tank.

This is extremely irritating: before the advent of rheumatoid arthritis my hands were unusually strong. I whinge and mutter obscenities. Fortunately,  my head is far enough under the bonnet for no-one to hear.

C., the garage owner asks whether a neighbour could open it for me. No, I explain. They, too, are slowly disintegrating.

Friendly M. comes to collect the car. He, too, has arthritis, he tells me and his fingers take a good bit of flexing before he can use them. “I hope you’re up to the job, M.”, I quip merrily. He assures me that he is. His right hand is the weaker. He can use his left hand.

He refills the tank but in the end we decide it’s best for him to take the car into the garage because of the juddering.

It’s now far too hot to walk Isis to the park, so she’ll have to make do with the lane.

She’s been such a good dog while I’ve been outside talking to M., hasn’t she?

No, she hasn’t, I discover when I open the front room door to let her out.

She has neatly extracted March, April and May from my current diary and left tiny, deep tooth prints on the cover and through the pages of June and July.

It’s my fault, of course. It usually is. I’d left my two diaries side by side on a coffee table.

Isis is not generally a destructive dog. The only time she attacks my stuff is if I shut her in the front room. I’d only expected to give M. the key but then we got into conversation.

I’m undeservedly lucky though. She chose to destroy my current diary 2017 – 18, not the new one 2018-19 which is lying beside it. And, after all, the months she has removed have already passed and it’s not too hard to write around the tooth marks.






But we only have two challenges. Surely there should be three.

The third doesn’t take long to come.

The gasket on the head of the engine is on its way out. The car could survive for a few weeks doing short local runs. The gasket could, on the other hand, blow at any minute, C. tells me cheerfully. I need to check the coolant level frequently.

At least he’s made sure the cap is loose enough for me to undo.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the

icarage road








Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the

Posted in a very naughty dog, Isis at home, Isis is no angel | Tagged , | 2 Comments

cringe, cringe



Isis: This ‘Wednesday’ post isn’t going to happen until Thursday. I’ve had a very, very, boring afternoon and evening. Human has only just woken up.


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