I’ve mentioned before that my indoor photo studio is set up in our attic. It gives me a lot of space to work, and it’s a fun, creative space for me. I can keep a lot of props and backdrops up there and switch them relatively easily. Bunny considers this her own sacred space and she makes it clear that she does not like my husband up there messing around when I am not up there. In her mind, it’s the space where she and I work our magic on photos and if I go up there just to tinker with things or work on another project, she still has to be up there with me. Unfortunately, the stairs up to the attic are really steep and narrow. I think the Mayan pyramid makers built those steps.
Recently, we’ve run into a problem. The problem is that Bunny can go up the stairs with no problem. Coming down the stairs has become very difficult for her, however. The last couple of times we went up, Mr. Taleteller ended up carrying her back down. This is not acceptable to her royal highness and she avoids it at all costs. As a matter of fact, he almost has to corner her to get his hands on her to carry her down. I don’t blame her. Going down those steps is a scary prospect from a much higher elevation when you’re being carried.
When he’s not home, we’ve been going to lengths to make sure she doesn’t get up there because I can’t carry her back down and no amount of cajoling will get her to try to walk down beside me while I hold on and support her. She makes sure I know she’s not happy, but I’d rather have her unhappy and safe than risk her and I both breaking our necks together trying to get her back down.
Over the weekend, I wanted to take a few pictures of Flattery for her birthday. My husband was going out on an errand, so he helped me get Flattery up and made a little barricade with the baby gate to keep Bunny in the living room while we were upstairs. Flattery and I got things done relatively quickly and I was looking forward to coming back downstairs, sitting down with the girls and working on the pictures I’d taken.
No sooner did Flattery and I get done, though, than I heard the familiar sounds of Bunny’s footsteps on the stairs. I shouted “No” and ran to the stairway, but she was already halfway up and was not slowing down or stopping. For her part, Flattery immediately sped downstairs, hoping for another treat. Bunny was feeling quite pleased with herself, though and went right over to the studio and laid down in a perfect pose in front of the backdrop. I tried not to panic and told myself that maybe if I was crafty, I could get her to walk down the stairs with me.
I picked up the camera and we set up a photo shoot. Now she was really happy, giving me her best model poses and clearly very happy with herself for outsmarting Mr. Taleteller’s barricade. I ran downstairs for a prop from the kitchen table and saw that she’d taken the blanket he’d put up over my my chair and flung it across the room so she could sneak through and go upstairs. I took my time upstairs and things went well. We got finished and I turned off the photo lights and turned on the overhead light, just like I always do when we’re finished taking pictures.
She walked with me to the top of the stairs before she realized the steps were waiting. I sat down, thinking I could go down on my backside like a toddler and let her lean against me for support on the way down. She wasn’t having it. I could feel her heart start to race when she thought I was going to make her go down. I didn’t push the issue, hoping I could gain her trust, but she went back to the daybed, her favorite spot of all in the attic, and laid down. I called my husband, who decided to come back early from his errand to bring her down.
So, in spite of the things I needed to get done that night, I found myself stuck in the attic with my senior hound. I had a strong suspicion that she’d try to come downstairs on her own and fall or get upset and have an accident, so I didn’t want to leave her alone. She seemed quite happy to be reclining on her chosen throne while I sat on the floor playing with my phone and talking to her.
I wish she would realize that what goes up must come down before she stubbornly marches up there. We have discussed moving the studio to another part of the house that she can access easier, but there isn’t another spot that will work well. We have started giving her supplements and are hoping that will help a bit in time, but we aren’t holding our breath for that. What I do know is that we need to avoid getting stuck in the attic again, because it’s not as much fun for me as it seems to be for her.