Polly has taught me many things from her rough beginnings in a hoarding type situation when she came to us at just five weeks old, and then over the next eight years. There is no doubt she’s taught me far more than I’ve taught her. I’m sure that’s the point of dogs in our lives anyway, so I watch for those lessons.
The last few months have been riddled with lessons from my old gray girl. She was in pain in her back, then one leg, then the other, then both. X-rays revealed the CCL (ACL in humans) in both hind legs were ruptured. But worse, she has Canine degenerative lumbosacral stenosis (DLSS) in her spine. Her age and this condition rule out her being a good candidate for surgery on her legs.
What does this mean for Polly? Well, for now she’s on low doses of anti-inflammatory and pain medications that are keeping her comfortable and functional. She’s also on supplements to help rebuild her ligaments and boost overall health. Rest assured, she has the best veterinarian care in our area. When the time comes that she is no longer enjoying life, we will help her over the Rainbow Bridge with all the love and care our girl deserves.
But she’s still having too much fun for that, due in part to her Orthodog brace. It’s amazing how well she walks with this brace and my vet was shocked when I sent a video. I added a shearling pad (a gift to Polly from a dear friend) to cushion her back and a couple of modifications to the straps to make it go on and off faster. It’s made all the difference for Polly. The long mountain hikes are beyond her now, but she loves to go for walks around the cabin.
She gets excited when I get the brace out, it supports her knee joints and gives her confidence. She wears it with dignity, grace, and a great deal of silliness because even that can’t stop the urge for good roll in the cool grass.
Polly loves the simple things. A pleasant walk, her bed on the porch and the one inside by the big window where she can watch the rabbits. She loves snuggling her giant stuffed animals, a ride in the car, and breakfast in bed. Mostly, Polly loves to be with us. Those are the things she thinks about. This dog doesn’t mope around feeling sorry for herself. She revels in everything she does, whether it’s standing (and wiggling!) for me to put her brace on for a fun walk, sleeping in the sun, or riding in the car.
Life threw Polly a one-two punch, but she threw it right back, and I learned something in the process.
Life lessons from a Great Dane: Do Great things, and when you can’t, make what you can do Great.
Part 2 of the building of my tiny writer’s studio. Click here for part one.
In keeping with the KISS theory (Keep It Simple, Stupid), which always seems to work best for me, my husband and I decided the new studio would be pretty minimal. Many years ago, my father and I build some cabinets for our basement at home, and I wanted to used them for this project. Everything else was designed around them.
But first, it needed windows (and all the framing that goes along with that), insulation, wall coverings, flooring, and wiring. Having an electrician in the family didn’t hurt. Thank you, nephew!
My writing studio project was underway!
It had to be small, warm, and welcoming. It had to be rustic and charming. It had to be off-grid friendly and work with our solar system. It had to be mobile so if I move I can take it with me.
And it had to be cheap. Wait… bad choice of terms. Well within the limited budget I had for such a project. There, that sounds better.
A year later, it is all that—and so much more.
But let’s go back to the beginning. Life in a 700 square foot, one bedroom, one bathroom cabin that I share with my husband and three dogs doesn’t leave much for room space hogging writerly things like books (so many books!), desk, files, printers, and the big one: privacy.
I am not one of those writers who functions well in coffee shops or on subways. To be honest, I’ve never been on a subway in my life so I’m guessing here, but I know my best writing comes when I’m surrounded by the sounds of nature. A trickling stream, birds, wind in the trees. The noise of a radio, TV, or people pulls me out of that creative sweet spot when I’m in the zone.
The goal was a private place to write and unless I wanted to sequester myself in the cabin bathroom (which, face it, can only be private for so long) we had to look elsewhere. The combination of limited budget and limited time meant doing it ourselves, but with a head start. I have long been enamored with the tiny house movement, and the idea of a tiny writing studio on wheels was perfect.
Last winter we bought a used trailer and ordered a shed shell from a local company. And my tiny studio project had begun.
Elk hold a special place in my heart. They are wild, free, and majestic. They also have their silly, playful moments. To be close enough to smell them and hear the chirping calls of the cows to their calves is an unforgettable experience. A day among the elk is pure soulshine.
This was my day not long ago. And it was spectacular.