Monday, 9 April 2018

Meet Max the Rescue Dog

When my husband and I first met, he had a Briard called Bill. He was the soppiest dog you could meet. Sadly, following a stroke, Bill went to the rainbow bridge just after I moved in. Despite my husband always having had a dog, we decided not to get another straight away - it meant we were freer during the early days of our relationship. When we decided to get married on the Isle of Skye 18 months later, we didn't need to put a dog into kennels. However, we always knew we'd get a dog after the wedding. Just like we knew that dog would be a rescue dog. What we didn't know was when and how old that dog might be until February this year.

Meet Max, a 13 year old Cocker Spaniel. Despite suffering severe neglect with his previous owner, he surprised all the staff at the local RSPCA shelter by pulling through. He has the most wonderful temperament, and despite living with the effects of the neglect, he loves life. He's deaf and his eyesight is poor, but that doesn't stop him from wanting to be involved in everything we do. He follows us everywhere, until tiredness gets the better of him and he takes a nap.

Looking after a dog is hard work. I'm up an hour or two earlier each day and, rain or shine, he's taken on walks. My coat and boots are always muddy. We probably spend more on food and treats for Max and our cat than on ourselves. Giving a dog a home isn't something to do on a whim, but what you get back is a hundred times more than what you put in. Seeing that wagging tail and happy face when I return home from work is all the reward I need.

We're not sure how long we'll be blessed to have him in our lives (his breed's average life expectancy is 12 to 15 years), but any sorrow we'll feel when we lose him will be outweighed by knowing we gave him a happy end of life. In the end, that's all that matters.

If you're considering adopting a rescue dog, there are lots of organisations out there looking for both permanent and foster homes.  They will work carefully with you to find the right dog to suit you and your lifestyle. It can take a while to find that dog, but you'll be thoroughly rewarded when you take your new companion home. The wait, as they say, really is worth it.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

IWSG: Set Fire to the Rain

It's the first Wednesday of the month, so time for another Insecure Writer's Support Group post. Before I answer this month's question, you can learn more about the IWSG group, it's founder Alex J. Cavanaugh, and purpose here. The awesome co-hosts for April's post are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara NarayanPlease drop by and thank them for all their hard work.

Now for April's question:

When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

I watched a Ted lecture recently, where the speaker talked about the one quality that distinguished the students who went on to achieve the education and career they wanted and those that did not. That quality was grit. The determination to keep going, despite any obstacles and setbacks along the way. If they fell, they picked themselves up and found another way. They never gave up.

I used to have an abundance of grit. A well of determination I could draw on whenever it was needed. When my writing life seemed overcast and like sailing troubled waters, I dug deep into that source and used the fire it gave me to put out the rain. Here's the thing, though: That fire came as much from others as myself. It came from you, my fellow writers and bloggers. I was inspired and motivated by those who'd strolled the path before me and those who were walking it with me. When I had the chance to give back, it felt good to be helping others.

For a long time I lost that grit and fire. I stopped writing, and I dropped out of the blogging and writing community. I didn't realise just how much I needed both until I really started writing again, and then signed up for April's Camp NaNoWriMo. It's only day four, but my cabin mates are already inspiring and motivating me. I can feel that grit returning. I hope I'm doing the same for them.

My camp goal is 60 hours of writing. My specific goals are as follows:

  • Outline adult science fiction series
  • Plot book one of adult science fiction series
  • First read-through and edit of YA science fiction book

What do you do when your writing life is cloudy or filled with rain? What's fueling your grit and determination to keep going no matter what life throws at you? Are any of you doing Camp NaNoWriMo? How is it going?