Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Summer 2014 catch-up

It’s been a while!

And Bella is still our sweet little Shiba doggy!

              She still goes for a nice long walk in the morning, sometimes down to Pin Mill and depending on the tide times, a paddle; and sometimes just around the fields. Sometimes obedient and loving and responsive, sometimes pully and willful and exhausting!

               She still gets her lunch time walks although we haven’t been behind the Red Lion pub for some time, in fact only once after the Bunny Incident!

               I had listened to the stories of how Bella “caught another rabbit today” and how said rabbit was eventually prised from Bella’s strong jaws and ‘discarded’. Remember, that Bella is ALWAYS on the lead. She is NEVER let off the lead outside the house!  I saw first hand how quick she is as she leapt into the weeds alongside the path just a couple of metres in front of me and emerged with a teeny little bunny in her jaws. The poor thing would have been dead the moment she touched it :(  And Bella stood. There was no ways she was going to let her prize go. But it was as if she didn’t know what she was supposed to do. No matter of coaxing her to ‘DROP!’ ‘Drop It!’ made any difference. Bella stood with her jaws tightly locked on to the poor ex-bunny. I tried holding her snout to make her drop it; I tried prising her jaws open; I tried giving her a fright and poking her in the ribs. Even if she did drop it, I thought, how was I going to stop her picking it up again. I only have two hands! Two hands to open the jaws, two elbows to shove her out the way once she’d dropped it and two legs to block her? I have no idea how the problem eventually panned out, but the bunny was dropped and I dragged her away immediately. Needless to say, I dragged her back towards the way we’d come and she was restrained to walk behind me all the way home, leaving a dead little bunny on the footpath – sorry!  Straight to bed for her and stern looks and a pointing finger every time she ventured off that brown sheepskin bed. Yes, she did look sorry for herself and no, I don’t have any photos!

     The back garden has been out of bounds for months. But with the summery weather I did let her come out with me when I was hanging out the washing, or the odd time I managed to sit outside and relax with a glass of something cold! However, before walking out the back door, Bella had to sit and listen to the riot act: “STAY ON THE GRASS!” It worked for a few weeks. We were able to let her come outside with us, after reading the riot act each time, and she wandered around, rolled on the grass, chewed random sticks and seemed very calm and peaceful. Until one day we could do nothing but watch as the 8 foot high laurel hedge quivered as she disappeared underneath it, climbed over the wire fence behind it and into our neighbour’s garden – again! So unfortunately, the lead is back, even in our own back garden. It gives a new meaning to the little boy's request: "Please sir, can I have my ball back!"

     On the positive side, she’s less hyperactive when she sees a cat on the 9.30pm ‘cat walk’ (our nickname as that’s when the cats are all out!) She still does the lunge, the excitement level tops out, but it doesn’t last as long and she comes away easier than before. So I suppose after two-and-a-half years that’s progress!

    And also on the positive side, she takes less time to investigate a ‘stranger’ in her home. Previously she would retreat to her corner and not be coaxed by any means into a room with a non-resident in. Now, after perhaps an hour, that person gets the privilege of a nose touching a foot, until the human moves or speaks! Although once said human has vacated the premises, she thinks it's time to celebrate! Like last night, she 'put up' with our dinner guest, quietly accepting his presence in her kitchen, which doubles as a dining room, and allowing us to sit in the lounge and talk while she sulked in her bed in the kitchen. We'd stolen her time she has with us after supper, she missed an ear rub! So when our guest left, she did her manic run around the house, picking up a critter on the way to throw into the air in celebration, lunged at Daddy (ouch!) staffie-style and looked generally happy! Snob!