When Alayne and I were looking at properties over the winter, our main focus was on how suitable the buildings would be for the animals. There was no "perfect" place with just the right set of facilities for a sanctuary like ours, and given the disabilities our animals have, we could never had expected to find a property that didn't need modifications of some sort. But one of the things we liked a lot about this place in Lancaster was just how well suited it already was for what we did. And the only modifications we needed on the main house for the disabled dogs were ramps and railings.
So back in early April when I first came out to get Internet access installed and to prepare for moving in, I had the good fortune to meet a neighbor of ours, Jim D., who is an amazing builder and craftsman (as well as an incredibly nice guy who's been immensely helpful!). Jim has been building the ramps we needed on both the front and back of the house for the dogs. In the photo above -- yes, that's blind Molly modeling -- you can see what the changes look like.
Here's another view taken a bit later the same evening, and Molly is still modeling:
There was an existing ramp coming out the main front door in the center of the two wings, but it went to the driveway on the left and needed to be rebuilt anyway, so we did that and added a new ramp that went into the yard. This is the way I take the "front yard dogs" out in the morning:
We still need to add lattice to the bottom of the ramps -- you can see the sheets of lattice leaning up against the fence on the left in the photo above.
For the railings, I asked Jim to add what I call a "Dachshund rail" at the bottom, to keep the little ones from inadvertently -- or intentionally! -- going off the side:
At the back of the house, there was a steep set of stairs coming out of the dog wing, so Jim made a landing off the door and then a ramp coming down the side of the building:
This is how I take the "back yard" dogs out of the building in the morning. Some, like blind Patti and blind Willie, are already just following me out the door, down the ramp and over to the yards, all on their own ... and doing the reverse in the evening. My goal is to have them all trained to do that!