an itchy dog

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday August 15th 2021

 

you have to smile

Isis is almost invariably quiet and relaxed when she travels. As soon as she jumps into the car, she settles on the back seat (with her safety harness on, of course) and, sensibly, she’ll not stand up while we’re moving.

Imagine my surprise one day this week when she begins wagging her tail and leaping up and down.

I glance behind me. She’s very animated. What on earth’s going on?

I know that it’s begun to rain, but surely she can’t tell that from inside the car?

Ah, but she can. The little sun roof is open.

 

One day

on one of our walks , we come across this, lying like a gem on the canal path.

 

 

 

 

A jay’s feather, I think.

 

It’s Tuesday. We’ve only been back from our walk for thirty minutes, but Isis is still keen to come with me wherever it is I’m going, and is excited to have her harness put on again. (I don’t tell her we’re off to the vet’s.)

Ever since I left her at the kennels for ten days, she has nibbled her right leg. Then she begins on her left foot.

The nibbling is a stress reaction. What’s  she worried about? Are her anal glands bothering her? I have been doing some major sorting and furniture moving:  is this making her feel insecure? Is she not getting enough attention?

Who knows?

About ten days ago I notice that the bald patches on her leg and foot are healing. That’s a relief.

The relief is short lived, however. She begins scratching herself every now and again. Hmmm.

She waits until the vets have closed their doors on Saturday, then she begins in earnest.

My relaxed Kindle reading  is rudely interrupted. Jolt. Jolt. Jolt. I’m bounced up and down by Isis vigorously scratching various areas of her anatomy.

For two evenings, until, thankfully, she falls asleep, it’s scritch, scritch, scritch from her and prod, prod, poke from me.

I know she doesn’t have fleas. She’s treated regularly against any marauding mini organism which could venture onto her.

Time and again, I part her hair and inspect her skin: nothing to be seen.

After a couple of days, though, the areas she’s scratched – a pawpit, the back her neck and her belly, are looking very pink. Actually, I realise, even her ears are looking flushed.

On Sunday I complete the haircut I began ten days ago. This should make her feel more comfortable.

Then I bathe her with a calming shampoo followed by numerous rinses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

She doesn’t enjoy it, naturally, but she’s very good.

When I ring the vet on Monday, I am told that there are no appointments immediately available, but if I ring at eight on Tuesday morning and ask for a ‘same day’ consultation they will try to fit Isis in. In the meantime, I need to ask her previous two vet practices to forward her medical records.

Our appointment is at five. Typically, once the appointment is made, Isis stops scratching. Oh dear. The vet will wonder what we’re there for.

Fivelands has a very strict Covid routine, which is good. I phone to announce our arrival, then sit on a bench in the shade with Isis at my feet, and wait.

A cheerful young black labrador is being examined in a corner by the hedge; the silent occupant of a cat carrier arrives, held aloft, followed by a bouncy black and white spotted patient who strains eagerly on his lead.

The vet and nurse arrive, and I explain the problem. Isis stands quietly as the vet parts her hair. Yes, he can see that her skin is very pink. He tells me about treatment options, and we agree that at this stage he’ll give her a short term steroid injection to calm the inflammation and we’ll monitor her from there.

She has not seen a vet here before, as our previous three visits have been for anal gland emptying, and the veterinary nurses have dealt with her. She always returns calm and collected and they always tell me what a good girl she’s been

The vet takes her lead. She is not keen to accompany him into the building and pulls away as they walk. But although she seems anxious, she doesn’t refuse to go in.

They bring her back after about twenty minutes. They have given her the injection, sorted her anal glands and weighed her.

I am horrified to hear that she now weighs 16.75 kilos. No wonder I struggle to lift her. But the vet tells me that she has lost some weight –  last time she came, about a month ago, she was 17.25!

And how did she behave? “She’s very good,” the vet tells me, “She has a very kind nature.”

Aw.

When I look back to her early vet visits, when she leapt and twirled in the waiting room and had to be muzzled for her examinations, I still can’t quite believe the transformation.

Back in the car, I fuss her and tell her what a good dog she is.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

Posted in a very good dog, a vet visit, dear little Isis, Isis at home, Jasmine Fields, learning to trust, off to the vet, oh dear, poor Isis, rain, self-harming, something's not right, these dogs!, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Isis is overcome

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday August 8th 2021

 

A few weeks ago,  it was extremely hot – hotter than it’s ever been since Isis came to England.

One day, we get to Highbury just before ten – well before the hottest part of the day.

We meet Y. and Blitzi. Apparently, Blitzi has been swimming in the big pond. Now he’s leaping up and down demanding that the ball be thrown for him, then shooting off at his usual speed. Y thinks it’s too hot for him, but he doesn’t. She’s about to take him home.

Each time I let Isis off, she looks dejected and tries to sneak back to the car park.

Eventually, having retrieved Hairy One for the fourth time, I decide that we’ll have to return home. But before we do, since I’ve not seen Y. for weeks, it’ll be good to have a quick catch up. We seat ourselves on a couple of fallen branches in the shade of a large tree.

Even Blitzi is tired now, and lies down to relax in the cool grass next to his human.

Isis isn’t keen to lie down. Reluctantly, she sits.

But she’s restless, and soon she’s showing signs of distress. We drive home with all the windows and the sun roof open, and hastily retreat indoors.

Isis jumps onto the day bed. Now she’s breathing very quickly and her flanks are heaving. I fan her with my hands. This seems to bring her some relief, but she can’t settle. She sits up, then lies in a Trafalgar Square Lions pose, then she’s up again, down again, up again.

I soak a tea towel in cool water, wring it out and spread it over her. (I don’t tell her it has a large ginger cat on it.)

Within minutes, she lies on her side, relaxes, stretches out her legs and falls asleep.

She sleeps well past her teatime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goodness me! Poor Isis.

I stay downstairs with her that night, and monitor her body heat.

I’m shocked. I had been warned before I adopted her that Portuguese and Spanish dogs, used to a warm climate, need to be protected from the cold when they are rehomed in cooler climates, but it hadn’t occurred to me that a Portuguese dog wouldn’t cope with the heat.

But, for a brief period, it is record breakingly hot here. For three or four days, we stay inside, and I cool her with the wet tea towel when necessary.

After this, until the temperature drops, we only venture out very early in the morning.

Isis doesn’t have a cool mat, as she’s not had a problem with heat before, even on the midsummer beaches in Wales. Several people I know have bought cool beds for their dogs, and the dogs have happily used them.

Not every dog though.

Bev orders one for Rufus, whose coat is very thick and curly. He often becomes uncomfortable in the heat. He refuses to lie on it.

Bev moves it all over the garden, placing it in numerous temptingly cool, shady places, but the ungrateful Rufus just looks pained and moves somewhere else.

By the time she’s finished trying to persuade him to use it, I think she’s ready to stretch out on it herself.

I’m pretty sure Isis won’t accept a cool mat, but am so concerned about her becoming overheated, I order one for her anyway.

When the mat arrives, Isis is snoozing in the front room, so I shake it out and spread it on the day bed to let it settle. Then I join her – not for a snooze, but to drink my coffee.

Later on,  I go upstairs and she makes her way to the back room.

I give her time to settle, then creep surreptitiously to the other end of the room to observe what’s happening.

‘She won’t like it,’ I tell myself.

I’m right.

She doesn’t.

 

 

 

 

Eew – what’s this?

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll just keep as far away from it as I can. Eek! Now it’s touching my paw …….

 

 

 

 

This feels safer. If it attacks I’ll just bite it.

 

 

 

She continues to avoid her lovely, new cool mat.

I remove the mat, but a few days later, it’s quite hot again; also I’m replacing some floorboards in the front room, so have rolled up her rug and left her nowhere to lie.

I spread her new mat out in front of my chair where she likes to recline while I have my first coffee of the day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well, well, well.

It’s been much cooler since then, in fact, some people confess to having switched their central heating back on.

That’s Britain for you.

We’ll see what happens if we have any more heatwaves.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

Posted in crisis, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, Isis at home, Isis says "No"., oh dear, park dogs, park people, poor Isis, sleeping, something's not right, these dogs!, VERY early in the morning., walking in the park, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

perfect weather

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

We’ve had a lovely week, Human and me. It’s rained nearly every day.

Last Sunday when we first get to Highbury though, Human bullies me. She makes me walk up to the little path which goes from right near where we drive into the park up to the little hills where I used to play round the big holly tree. I don’t do that anymore. Now I’m a groan up, sefisticated dog and I don’t run round trees any more. I don’t play with hedges any more eyether. If it’s a dry day I consentrate on the sents.

Human likes me to run around and get lots of exersize. Silly Human. I’m not a pup any more. I have a very, very descrimernating nose. She so doesn’t understand how much infermashon there is in one drop of someone else’s pee, or where they’ve put their swetty feet, or where their fur has touched the leafs as they ran past, or where they’ve sneezed on a twig.

We go to Highbury again the next day. This time there’s a bit of sun witch I don’t like. We don’t get out of the car in the car park like yesterday. We get out in the road under the trees and go past the house where the park man lives. He’s at home. I can smell him. He’s got a big hairy dog. But she’s all right. She doesn’t bark at you or sniff your bottom.

Human lets me choose where I want to go, so I walk all round the shrubberry. I sniff and sniff and sniff for ages. That was very good. Then I walk to those big pine trees I used to play in for hours when I was an unserfisticated pup. Today, of coarse, I just visit them for old time’s sake. I think silly Human ecspects me to run round and round them like I used to. She can be very rediculus. I just want a sniff or two. Nothing intresting there, so I strol in a dignifide way over to my speshul place in the tall plants, past the old half chopped down oak tree.

Usyerly she puts me on the lead and takes me away from my speshul place or she runs in frunt of me and stops me going there, but she lets me today. Dog knows why. She’s not a logicle  person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, today she lets me go where I want so I lie in the water in my speshul place. I can feel the water along the back of my legs and all underneath me. It’s lovely.

The next day it’s dry when we leave home. Disserpointing. But when I smell Highbury Park through the window, it’s raining. How ecsiting. We don’t stop there thow, we go to Holder’s Lane.

It’s poring. It’s wonderful. I’m so ecsited I can’t keep still. Human will be able to feel the lovely rain too. She left her coat at home.

We go to Cannon Hill. I can’t tell you what an amazing time we have. I trot, and bownce and twirl and dance and dance and dance.

We go all the way round the big lake and back through the woods. I don’t have to go on my lead at all. I only smell four peepul in all of the park. Funny, isn’t it. Perhaps they’re still in bed.

When we get back to the car, she raps me up in my drying thing and pats me all over. Then I have a drink.

When we get home, she takes all of her clothes off and drops them on the floor. Then I get dried again before I have a rest.

On Wensday it’s raining so when we go out of the gate, I pull her so quickly down the road she nearly trips up. Something very rude buzzes in my ear and she makes me slow down and walk next to her.

How silly. One day she wants me to run fast and get ecsersize, another day she makes me walk slowly.

Anyway, the smells are great. It’s a long time sinse we walked to Kings Heath Park and you wouldn’t beleeve how many dogs have peed on the pavement or how many kitties and foxes and squirrels have jumped on the walls.

It’s nice and wet so we have a very good time. We always have an argument when it’s time to go home thow. I keep pulling Human towards the car park so we can ride home in the car, but she keeps grumbling and hissing down my ears and poking me when I sit down. She always makes me walk home.

Still, the rain comes again when we leave the park so that cheers me up.

On Thursday it’s raining again so we wander all over Highbury Park, just enjoying getting wet.

And on Friday I have a lovely serprize. We go to Clowes Woods and it’s poring with rain. I can’t lift my tail high enuff to show how pleesed I am.

Soon, my tail goes down again because Rufus rushes up and bashes me in the face. It hurts. But I can’t snap at him because he’s my frend and he loves me.

Thank Dog, he goes off again with Nancy and leaves me to sniff. And how I sniff and sniff and sniff. Often I stand in the same place for ages. I think the Humans want me to hurry up, but I pretend I don’t notis and keep on sniffing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s just wonderful to be here again. I thort I was coming last week but I think Human thort it wood be too muddy. I bet it wasn’t. Today it’s just perfect.

Only one thing annoys me and Rufus and Nancy. When we walk a long way by the side of the lakes, we suddenly came to a fence. And it’s very strong. Even I can’t get throo. What a cheek.

 

 

 

Photo by Bev Dakin

 

 

 

It’s a brillient walk, thow, and on the way back when we come to a clearing, I have to do a rain dance to celerbrate.

The next day is Saterday, I think. And it’s raining again!!!!! Oh joy!

Human takes us to Holder’s Lane but this time we go the other way. At the start, I’m fed up becorz she makes me walk down past the boring car park. She won’t let me go up to the woods until I’ve done two poos and she’s put them in the bin. I think that’s very unreesernable. I like doing the first two poos in the woods. I think there aren’t any bins in the woods so she has to carry the poos a very long way. How lazy can you get?

After that, today is great fun. When we get to the woods, she lets me go where I want and she follows me. I take her into a bit of the woods we’ve never been to before, and then I lead her to a very small path. I can smell the fields. We keep coming to little tracks going down to the fields. I stop and sniff them but they’re all boring.

Then I find one that goes straight down like wen you fall off something tall. It’s very, very steep and it’s muddy and slidy. I choose this one and I walk down the middle. She walks on the grass at the side. Tee-hee.

It takes us down to the cricket field, past all the people.

It starts to por down. Oh, it’s abserlootly wunderful. I want to dance on the cricket pich, but she won’t let me. I keep running on to it, and she keeps dragging me off again. I try so many times, I feel quite cross. In the end, I have to dance on the rest of the field.

It’s a lovely walk thow. We get abserlootly soked.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

Posted in a joyful dog, Clowse Woods, Highbury Park, Holders Lane Woods, Isis is no angel, Kings Heath Park, park dogs, rain, rain and more rain, scenting, these dogs!, twirling, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog, we don't like bright sun, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

I wanna go HOME!

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday July 25th 2021

 

We have had two weeks of very hot sun. Unheard of. We don’t do very hot sun in Britain.

Poor Isis does not fare well. One day in the first week I take her to Highbury. We’re there by nine but she isn’t happy. Already it’s very warm and, it seems, getting warmer every minute. The trees cast very dark shadows. The ground is striped with bright light and deep shade.

Isis is downcast. Her tail is tucked so far under her that it’s not visible at all. She creeps around restlessly, ducking and flinching.

We meet Y and Blitzi. Blitzi is very happy. He’s spent the last hour on a loop, leaping into the pond for a swim and scrambling out for a shake.

I stop for a chat. We’ve not been in the park for an hour yet, but Isis slinks off towards the car park. She wants to go home.

For the next three days she doesn’t want to leave the house. She’s even reluctant to go into the garden.

I try taking her for a road walk in the evening. She refuses to walk.

I take her out into the lane and give her a squeaky toy. After a few minutes, she wants to return, but I don’t open the gate. She brings the toy and lies as close to my chair as she can get.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s where she stays. After half an hour we return to the house.

Well that wasn’t exactly a rip-roaring success.

I can’t blame her. I don’t feel like doing anything either, and succumb to a doze on the day bed. As the evening draws on, I am aroused by loud clunks and clanks. What the hell’s going on, I wonder.

It’s Isis throwing her toys around the room.

This is a dog who needs exercise.

I must make a sacrifice for my hairy podengo. A big one.

I must take her out very early in the morning.

The next day is Monday, and I wrench myself away from my Emma mattress at an hour too obscene to name.

We’re going  to Kings Heath Park. This is her home park, this is where, years ago, she eventually learned to feel safe outside the bounds of her own back garden. It’s a default go-to place for her when she’s having a bad time.

We arrive soon after seven. It’s cool and fresh. The sun is already quite bright, but not yet strong enough to make black shadows.

Isis is jumpy and wary, but her tail is unfurled part way, and she lingers to sniff the new scents. After an hour, she suggests that it’s time to go home, and that’s fine.

We go to Kings Heath Park on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. Isis copes quite well, but still thinks an hour is enough.

On Thursday Bev suggests that we meet up in Clowse Woods. She was there with Rufus and Nancy the previous day, and tells me that the woods were shady and cool. And, as an added bonus, almost all of the mud which accumulated during our weeks and weeks of rain, has dried out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What an excellent idea. Soon after we arrive, Hairy One’s tail unfolds, and she’s eager to follow all the scents she comes across. Since there are hundreds of tempting scents, we amble rather than walk.

We are in the woods for almost two hours and Isis doesn’t show any signs of being desperate to leave.

On Friday it’s quite dull and Isis is fine with a slow wander around Highbury. On Saturday It’s overcast, and she is keen to hop out of the car. She can smell rain on the air. Only a few tiny spots materialise, but she leaps up to greet them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have a very enjoyable walk.

This is more like you, my dog.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

Posted in a terrified dog, Clowse Woods, dear little Isis, Highbury Park, Holders Lane Woods, Isis says "No"., Kings Heath Park, oh dear, poor Isis, scary shadows, scenting, VERY early in the morning., walking in the park, walking with Rufus and Nancy, we don't like bright light, we don't like bright sun, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

hairs and paint

 

 

A post should appear every Sunday

 

Sunday July 18th 2021

 

It’s past mid July, and Isis is still shedding pretty little wedges of bright white undercoat. Although they continue to drop daily, they are, I have to admit, dropping much less frequently, so, hopefully, we will avoid the ultimate nightmare scenario  ……………………..

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are still some nasty moments though. Rather a lot of these occurred yesterday.

I have just finished replacing and varnishing a number of floorboards. Gaps were left after the removal, several years ago, of a defunct gas fire. I’d disguised the problem by shoving a large bookcase on top of the gaps. A few weeks ago, I wanted to get rid of the bookcase: hence the repairs.

I suvey my handiwork. It’s not perfect, but I’m quite pleased with myself. Not bad for an amateur, I decide.

Unfortunately, the only paint I can find is very old. Foolishly, I use it. Although it is water based, it is extremely sticky.

I fit a new section of skirting board, then apply the first coat of paint.

Hmmmm. Nasty stuff. I shouldn’t have used it. I’ll buy some new paint to finish the job.

I take the tin and my brush into the kitchen and turn on the tap.

I forget that, inevitably, I am carrying a generous share of Hairy One’s coat about my person: let’s face it, being hairily compromised is not one’s first consideration when concentrating on household tasks.

I attempt to  wash out my brush with detergent and water.

Suddenly, the brush, the sink, the draining board, a nearby saucepan – in fact, everything within reach of my panicky fingers – is coated with sticky paint.

Then, as though drawn by some malevolent magnetic power, dog hairs fly from the ether and adhere to the paint.

Now I have hairy utensils, a hairy draining board and a hairy sink.

I try to wipe the saucepan, but my fingers are now webbed with paint and hairs.

At this point, Isis, wondering, no doubt, what is going on, and, maybe, wanting a pat, strolls into the kitchen.

Oh no!

I am in no position, of course, to give her touch commands.

“Please, please, don’t come any closer, and please, please don’t shake yourself, dear,” I beg silently.

Thankfully, she does neither. She stands still just inside the kitchen and looks puzzled.

Transfixed by the chaos, I become aware that a patch of sticky hair-paint has even reached the floor.

How on earth did that happen?

Ah yes, it must have trickled from the brush down my arm to my elbow, then dribbled over my t-shirt and onto my shorts before continuing its journey down my right leg and  plopping onto my Crocs. After that, it would have been easy for it to dribble onto the floor.

No mystery there, then. In fact I can see the snail-like trail.

I jerk myself out of my reverie, and gaze into the sink.

Where on earth do I begin?

I grab the handwash, but hastily drop it when I see the gluey white prints I’ve just deposited on the bottle.

“Now, Pat,” I say aloud, “You have to begin somewhere. Just do it.”

It’s a long and thankless task, but I eventually succeed in removing from everything the glutinous blobs which lurk like sticky spiders, hoping to entrap whatever crosses their path.

Now I feel contaminated all over. Even my face is tingling with hairy paint sensations, and I can feel something twitching in my hair.

I imagine my skin is spattered with nasty bits.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!

I race upstairs to the bathroom and peer into the mirror.

To my surprise, there’s nothing on my face or in my hair; nevertheless, the sensations refuse to go away.

I stop for a coffee.

There are even hairs sticking to the blasted biscuits I nibble.

Past caring, I peel off the hairs and eat the biscuits anyway.

 

Isis came from Aeza cat and dog rescue in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact kerry@azea.org or go to http://www.dogwatch.co.uk.

Posted in Isis at home, oh dear, something's not right, these dogs!, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

it’s all too much ……..

My apologies for the second debacle. I thought that I had it sorted. I still have no idea why the blog didn’t publish. The week before, it disappeared altogether and neither the revisions nor the autosave would materialise, so I had to rewrite the post.

Can’t blame the computer for the date being incorrect though: I checked it on the June calender instead of July.

Yesterday, the excellent James replaced the hard drive. So here’s hoping.

 

Posts are supposed to be published each Sunday!

 

Sunday July  11th 2021

On our walk today, Isis becomes very irritated by the bits of park she has inadvertently  gathered in her hair. She nips at her side, legs and tail. I disentangle a couple of dried weeds from one of her hind legs, and all seems well.

When we reach home, I can only see a few burrs. I’ll soon remove those.

She settles, obediently but without relish, on an old sheet in the hall and I set to; however, there is much more to it than meets the eye. When I run my fingers through her hair, I discover that the mere scattering of seeds on her nose and whiskers is nothing to what lurks deeper in her dense coat.

And what I intend to be a quick seed pod, grass seed and burr harvest, soon turns into a full groom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s angelic. The very thorough groom takes about forty minutes, but she utters not even the quietest of growls.

Something’s not right though. Today as I brush and comb my hairy pet, I realise that she’s still moulting her undercoat.

 

 

 

 

 

This is a ridiculous amount of hair. It’s July.

The weather continues to be ridiculous too. On some days this week it’s so humid that we drip under our waterproof jackets, then a day later, it’s decidedly chilly and we can’t make up our minds whether a sweater is called for too.

Perhaps Isis, also, is uncertain how much coat she needs, and that’s why she’s keeping some in reserve!

‘Uncertain’ definitely describes her demeanour this week. Very uncertain.

One day I take her to Highbury and park near the exit from the ‘wild’ track which begins just above the orchard. She usually enjoys this walk as it’s shady and full of lovely smells.

The Himalayan balsam plants have grown since we were last here, especially along the final stretchof track. I didn’t realise until I checked them out today, that they are the tallest annual plant in the UK and can grow up to three metres.

Brambles and stinging nettles lean across the path. I usually lift them aside so that Isis can pass without being entangled or stung, but this time there are so many that I arm myself with a stinger stick.

Poor Hairy One begins to look very unhappy. Soon, her tail disappears beneath her undercarriage.

Then she sits down looking very mournful. Oh dear, the only time she’s ever done this before is when she was ill almost a year ago.

I tap her onwards. But after only a few steps she sits down again. Then she lies down. Now I’m getting worried.

She continues to sit or lie down every yard we walk. It takes a lot of cajoling to get her up on her feet again.

I am very anxious about her. She’s too heavy for me to lift, let alone carry. I wonder if she’ll make it to the end of the track. Always the optimist, I find myself fantasising about an epitaph for her blog.

I am very relieved indeed when we emerge into the park. She looks very limp, but at least if she collapses now, there’ll be someone around who is willing to help me carry her.

I fasten her into her harness, and slowly, very, very slowly she creeps by my side to the car. I help her in. I try to persuade her to have a little water, but she’s not interested. Her head sinks onto her paws.

Oh dear.

It’s a very warm day. Is she overheated? Has she got sunstroke? Does she have heart failure? Has she caught some life threatening virus?

I think back: she was fine until we approached this last part of our walk. A little jumpy, yes. But she always is when, like today, the sun  pops out brightly, then the sky clouds over, then it’s sunny again.

Yes, as we know, she doesn’t like today’s kind of weather. It makes her nervous, sometimes very frightened indeed. It must be the light and shade shifts.

Or is it the proliferation of stingers and brambles? Could be, but she usually either barges through them, or, more likely nowadays, stands and waits for Human to deal with them for her.

It’s not until we reach home that I think about the Himalayan balsam plants on either side of the track. They tower over my head. I didn’t realise until I checked them out today, that they are the tallest annual plant in the UK and can grow up to three metres. I guess that Isis perceives them as dark shadows looming over her.

Walking through the tunnel of plants is a strange experience for me. I try to imagine what it feels like for Isis, so much smaller, and unable to see what they are.

When the shadows of trees are very dense, or there is a strong breeze moving their branches, Isis will flinch, crouch close to the ground and scuttle away.

Today, there is nowhere for her to scuttle to – she is completely surrounded.

Eventually, I conclude that it is the Himalayan balsam plants which have upset her.

I recall that she tried several times to trot off down the slope which we pass just before entering the plant tunnel. I was surprised because we haven’t been that way for months, and now she automatically just trots past it. Today she obviously didn’t want to go with me onto the track, and I put her on the lead to prevent her from escaping.

Poor little dog.

Isis: Why doesn’t Human just listen to what I’m trying to tell her?

 

 

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 http://www.dogwatch.co.uk

Posted in a terrified dog, crisis, Highbury Park, Isis says "No"., oh dear, poor Isis, scary shadows, something's not right, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

it’s all too much ……..

My apologies for the second debacle. I thought that I had it sorted. I still have no idea why the blog didn’t publish. The week before, it disappeared altogether and neither the revisions nor the autosave would materialise, so I had to rewrite the post.

Can’t blame the computer for the date being incorrect though: I checked it on the June calender instead of July.

Yesterday, the excellent James replaced the hard drive. So here’s hoping.

Posts are supposed to be published each Sunday!

Sunday July  11th 2021

On our walk today, Isis becomes very irritated by the bits of park she has inadvertently  gathered in her hair. She nips at her side, legs and tail. I disentangle a couple of dried weeds from one of her hind legs, and all seems well.

When we reach home, I can only see a few burrs. I’ll soon remove those.

She settles, obediently but without relish, on an old sheet in the hall and I set to; however, there is much more to it than meets the eye. When I run my fingers through her hair, I discover that the mere scattering of seeds on her nose and whiskers is nothing to what lurks deeper in her dense coat.

And what I intend to be a quick seed pod, grass seed and burr harvest, soon turns into a full groom.

She’s angelic. The very thorough groom takes about forty minutes, but she utters not even the quietest of growls.

Something’s not right though. Today as I brush and comb my hairy pet, I realise that she’s still moulting her undercoat.

This is a ridiculous amount of hair. It’s July.

The weather continues to be ridiculous too. On some days this week it’s so humid that we drip under our waterproof jackets, then a day later, it’s decidedly chilly and we can’t make up our minds whether a sweater is called for too.

Perhaps Isis, also, is uncertain how much coat she needs, and that’s why she’s keeping some in reserve!

‘Uncertain’ definitely describes her demeanour this week. Very uncertain.

One day I take her to Highbury and park near the exit from the ‘wild’ track which begins just above the orchard. She usually enjoys this walk as it’s shady and full of lovely smells.

The Himalayan balsam plants have grown since we were last here, especially along the final stretchof track. I didn’t realise until I checked them out today, that they are the tallest annual plant in the UK and can grow up to three metres.

Brambles and stinging nettles lean across the path. I usually lift them aside so that Isis can pass without being entangled or stung, but this time there are so many that I arm myself with a stinger stick.

Poor Hairy One begins to look very unhappy. Soon, her tail disappears beneath her undercarriage.

Then she sits down looking very mournful. Oh dear, the only time she’s ever done this before is when she was ill almost a year ago.

I tap her onwards. But after only a few steps she sits down again. Then she lies down. Now I’m getting worried.

She continues to sit or lie down every yard we walk. It takes a lot of cajoling to get her up on her feet again.

I am very anxious about her. She’s too heavy for me to lift, let alone carry. I wonder if she’ll make it to the end of the track. Always the optimist, I find myself fantasising about an epitaph for her blog.

I am very relieved indeed when we emerge into the park. She looks very limp, but at least if she collapses now, there’ll be someone around who is willing to help me carry her.

I fasten her into her harness, and slowly, very, very slowly she creeps by my side to the car. I help her in. I try to persuade her to have a little water, but she’s not interested. Her head sinks onto her paws.

Oh dear.

It’s a very warm day. Is she overheated? Has she got sunstroke? Does she have heart failure? Has she caught some life threatening virus?

I think back: she was fine until we approached this last part of our walk. A little jumpy, yes. But she always is when, like today, the sun  pops out brightly, then the sky clouds over, then it’s sunny again.

Yes, as we know, she doesn’t like today’s kind of weather. It makes her nervous, sometimes very frightened indeed. It must be the light and shade shifts.

Or is it the proliferation of stingers and brambles? Could be, but she usually either barges through them, or, more likely nowadays, stands and waits for Human to deal with them for her.

It’s not until we reach home that I think about the Himalayan balsam plants on either side of the track. They tower over my head. I didn’t realise until I checked them out today, that they are the tallest annual plant in the UK and can grow up to three metres. I guess that Isis perceives them as dark shadows looming over her.

Walking through the tunnel of plants is a strange experience for me. I try to imagine what it feels like for Isis, so much smaller, and unable to see what they are.

When the shadows of trees are very dense, or there is a strong breeze moving their branches, Isis will flinch, crouch close to the ground and scuttle away.

Today, there is nowhere for her to scuttle to – she is completely surrounded.

Eventually, I conclude that it is the Himalayan balsam plants which have upset her.

I recall that she tried several times to trot off down the slope which we pass just before entering the plant tunnel. I was surprised because we haven’t been that way for months, and now she automatically just trots past it. Today she obviously didn’t want to go with me onto the track, and I put her on the lead to prevent her from escaping.

Poor little dog.

Isis: Why doesn’t Human just listen to what I’m trying to tell her?

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 http://www.dogwatch.co.uk

Posted in a terrified dog, crisis, Highbury Park, Isis says "No"., oh dear, poor Isis, scary shadows, something's not right, strange behaviour | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ARRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOWHOOOOOO!

 

Posts are published each Sunday

 

Sunday July 6th 2021

 

I’m wrong. Isis is affected by being away from home.

She has worried her right front leg, her usual target when something is upsetting her. It’s quite a big patch, and once home she continues to nibble at it. I treat it with Sudacreme. It’s healing now.

She barks when I feed her in the morning, but this, too, fades after a few days.

Her ‘nightmares’, which had become rare, come back. Several times in the weeks following her return from the kennels, she wakes snarling and growling and so distressed that I can’t touch her until I’ve managed to wake her up.

Another thing. Now, Isis is always excited when we step into the porch ready for our walk. Excitement I expect.

But not this far off the scale. Now, every morning for three weeks she goes absolutely berserk.

The weather was poor while I was away, so she might not have had her two fifteen minute sessions a day on the little exercise field at the kennels.  Even so, I am surprised, to say the least, at the extent of her craziness.

Oh wild, wild, dangerous dog! She not only bucks and twists  and barks and snaps as I wrestle with her to get her harness on, but growls and snarls too. She does very realistic mock attacks, pretending to bite the lead, herself and me. To spice up the act a bit, she lets out a long and loud podengo howl:

ARRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOWHOOOOOO!

I am used to Isis acting strangely, but this is well beyond strange. Anyone who knew her less well would be very frightened. I actually wonder, briefly, if I should be frightened. But no, I don’t need to be. It’s just my Isis being her unpredictable self.

In the prison service, they call it gate fever. Her wildness seems to be pure exuberance. If I bellow angrily in one of her ears – the left one I think – she’ll stop but I don’t want to cow her. Thank goodness, she eventually returns to her ‘normal’ pre-walk performance; that is, she does all the silly things she is doing now but leaves out the fierce growling, snarling and mock biting.

So this week, after each porch performance, we set off down the front path and towards the gate looking, to all intents and purposes, like a normal dog owner walking her normal dog.

On Monday we have a lovely walk from the car park in Holder’s Lane into Cannon Hill Park, past the lake where Bev and I saw the heron catch the fish, past the boating kiosk,  up to the little station and back through the woods.

When we reach the enclosure where the silt from the dredged ponds is stored, Isis strides confidently to the left. I patiently retrieve her, persuade her to turn round, and urge her to the right. She turns back. The fourth time she attempts to turn left, I put her on her lead and insist that she comes with me. After a few yards, we reach a dead end.

Yes Isis. Sorry. You are quite right. We need to turn left.

The next day we reacquaint ourselves with Jasmine Fields. It’s rather bright today, so she’ll enjoy walking along the shady little track which overlooks the canal.

It appears that extra drainage pipes have been installed since we last came because there’s a new mound on the field. It must smell very enticing as, despite the bright sun, the contrary Isis insists on spending about thirty minutes dancing on it.

What on earth has inspired her? On closer inspection, I find feathers from a recently  predated pigeon, but she is not usually interested in dead birds. Then I realise that she’s doing  her rain dance. The sky has become very dark and there’s moisture in the air.

Then the sun emerges again and she’s happy to follow me to the little track. Her exertions on the mound have made her thirsty, and she’s searching for water. I have to watch her very carefully as she walks right to the edge of the tow path and sniffs at the water. She’s never yet attempted to drink from the canal, and I don’t think she will today; nevertheless, the water looks particularly revolting this morning, and the prospect of leaping in to rescue her is not frightfully appealing.

She’s a little leary of the brightness when we eventually climb the steps and re- emerge onto the field. She’s enjoyed herself though.

On Wednesday, it’s Highbury. We’ve not been here for several weeks. Because it’s very warm and sunny, I park in Yew Tree road in the shade of trees at the perimeter of the park. The car will be cool for Hairy when we return, and her bottle of water won’t get warm.

It takes longer than usual to walk along the narrow track to the orchard, as virtually every leaf stem is a magnet to Hairy One’s wiggling pink and black spotty nose.

Fully informed now about who’s been walking in the park since she was last here, Isis is happy to return to the car.

 

 

 

 

As usual, although she’s obviously ready for a drink, she’ll not have one until she’s back in the car, and only then if I sit beside her on the back seat, between her and the open door and allow plenty of time for her to sniff around in every direction to make absolutely certain that it’s safe enough to drink.

Yes, all is well. Lap. Lap. Lap.

On Thursday it’s spotting with rain as we leave the house. The spots are very infrequent, but still promising enough to persuade Isis that she would like a pavement walk.

Disappointingly, the one or two spots do not translate into rain, and halfway to Kings Heath park, her enthusiasm begins to wane.

You can always tell. First she slows down, then she walks to the edge of the grass verge and indicates that she wishes to cross the road. After a few minutes, she wants to cross back. We could cross and recross all day. But it doesn’t strike me as a particularly stimulating activity.

She knows where she doesn’t want to go but not where she does. I mutter imprecations. In the end, Human can stand it no more and sets off towards home. Now, of course, my stubborn little companion wants to go towards the park.

” Never again,” I mutter irritably. “Never again unless it’s b. pouring.  Do you hear me?”

No, she doesn’t. If she could she’d not take any notice. She’s that kind of dog. She sniffs every weed, tree, wall, fence and spike of grass as we wend our way slowly, very, very slowly, home.

To be fair, it’s very close, and I think she feels over heated. Once home, she stretches herself out and sleeps soundly.

On Friday it’s cooler and it rains so we go to Highbury again, this time to walk along the track next to the railway line and up beyond the small pond to the landscaped mounds. Here, Isis dances to her heart’s content.

On Saturday, it’s very hot and sunny. For the first time in ages, Hairy refuses to go out of the front door. She backs away and slinks into the kitchen. O.K. it’ll have to be the lane today.

I collect a toy from her box and we make our way down the garden to the back gate. She walks beside me into the lane. It’s overgrown and there’s plenty of shade. I settle into my old garden chair and prepare to read the news.

I don’t get far though: after only a few minutes Isis carries her toy towards me, pokes open the gate with her paw and disappears into the garden.

Sigh.

It’s too hot for her, I realise. She doesn’t want to stay outside.

Once back in her house, she stretches out and sleeps.

“What’s the matter with you?”, I ask. ” You’re Portuguese. You’re supposed to be fine with the heat.”

She doesn’t say a word.

 

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 http://www.dogwatch.co.uk

Posted in clever girl, clever Isis, Highbury Park, Holders Lane Woods, Isis at home, Isis says "No"., nightmares, rain, scenting, self-harming, strange behaviour, these dogs!, walking in the park, walking my deaf/blind dog, we don't like bright sun, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Windows troublel

June 27th 2021

I am sorry that I am unable to publish today’s post as Windows is playing games with me.

It’s sure to be my fault.

I’m incandescent.

I hope the problem can be solved tomorrow.

Pat

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

it’s human – so what?

 

 

A post should appear each Sunday!

 

Sunday June 20th 2021

 

Today we meet M and his little dog Rosie in Highbury. Recently they camped in Cornwall, and M tells me how much Rosie enjoys being on holiday with him. He can’t imagine going away and leaving her behind. He is surprised when I tell him how cool and collected Isis was when I picked her up from Hollytrees. He is sure if it were Rosie, she would rush up and leap all over him. We decide that most dogs are ecstatic to see their people again.

He finds Hairy One’s detachment very strange. I am a little surprised myself. It has taken her a very long time, but even over the last two years I have seen changes in her: she has come to enjoy being stroked and patted, even, when I wake her in the morning, she accepts a gentle hug.

I replay yesterday’s reunion scene in my mind. I was inordinately disappointed that I was too late to pick her up last night, and I can’t wait to see her.

I stand impatiently on the yard, peering in the direction of her kennel block.

At last she emerges, walking calmly at the end of her lead.

She’s here! I reach out to hug her. Yes, she recognises my scent –  of course she does – but she seems quite aloof.

She’s simply not interested. And she’s not desperate to leave with me. I am almost certain that if one of her kennel carers offered to take her off somewhere, she’d go quite happily.

Why is it, I ask myself, that I care that I’m so much more excited to be reunited with her than she is with me? Why do we humans have to feel that we’re so special?

Why are we so needy?

I really am very pleased that Isis doesn’t display separation anxiety. It is good that she feels so at home at Hollytrees.

It really is.

She does sniff me and wag her tail. She is keen to scramble into the car. She’s definitely pleased to be back at her own front door. So what am I complaining about?

I intend to take her to the park but she doesn’t want to know. She doesn’t even want to re-acquaint herself with her back garden.

She retires to the day bed and goes to sleep.

O.K. No walk then.

Later, when I  go into the other room, she follows me. She doesn’t lie on my feet though, as she usually does.

At night she waits for her bedtime treats. She pokes her nose under the cushions and sniffs out the bits of gravy bones as usual. I try to make a fuss of her, but she’s not very responsive.

She sleeps soundly until I wake her on Wednesday morning.

She  is keen for her walk and very thorough in her investigations of the scents which have accumulated since she was last in Highbury.

We return home. I have to go out for about half an hour. I can’t remember where or why, but by the time I get back, I’m feeling the lack of sleep last night, and creep onto the day bed for a snooze.

After flattening the imaginary prairie grass with three decisive turns, Isis settles down at the other end of the day bed with her back to me.

 

 

 

 

 

O.K.

I switch on the radio and close my eyes.

After about ten minutes, I feel the mattress moving.

Then, flumph! She lies down between my legs.

She wriggles and pushes herself closer and closer.

Oh!

Then, to my astonishment, she carefully hooks first her left leg, then her right over my left thigh, stretches out her neck, places her head between her paws, and, with a deep sigh, closes her eyes.

Ooooh!

I gently stroke her head, and we both drift off to sleep.

 

*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, Highbury Park, Isis at Hollytrees, Isis at home, Isis says "No"., park dogs, park people, relationship building, sleeping, these dogs!, walking in the park, who'd be a human? | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment