Hi everyone After having a browse through this site, I decided to join last night. I have trouble sleeping, hence the stupid 'o' clock time of posting this intro. I own Missy, a 9 year old Staffie and over the years, have previously owned a Gordon Setter, a cat, 2 budgies, a few rabbits, several Syrian hamsters, a Chinese hamster, Roborovski hamsters, Dwarf Russian hamsters, mice, rats and for a few years, I bred gerbils, (had around 200 at one point ). My health isn't too good unfortunately . I was diagnosed with arthritis of my spine back in 2007, which got so bad to the point I was medically retired from my last job in 2011. I now also have symptoms of early stage rheumatoid arthritis...2 lots of blood tests showed high levels of inflamation and foot x-rays have shown some joint degeneration. I'm now waiting for an appointment to see a rheumatologist. I'm bored senseless being stuck at home all day, every day and having to take pain medication every few hours. I've always been active and loved working, so its very depressing now that I can't do the things I used to enjoy. I did train my dog to assist me around the house though. She's amazing I rehomed her when she was 18 months old and hadn't been trained. She was extremely hyperactive and very excitable when I first got her. Within our first year together, she became highly obedient and very well mannered. We started doing agility classes, which she was exceptionally good at, but I had to give up because my legs started giving way when I was running round the agility course with her. It wasn't long after that when I found out that I had arthritis of my spine and a prolapsed disc that was crushing my sciatic nerve. It was after I had back surgery for the prolapsed disc that I started to train her to pick things up for me and fetch things for me when I'm in too much pain to do it myself. I hate not being able to work now. Being disabled and having to rely on benefits really sucks I've worked for nearly 30 years in all sorts of jobs before becoming crippled with pain 24/7. I spend a lot of time wondering what sort of work I could do that would fit in around my pain and the medication I have to take. It isn't easy though because traveling is a major hinderance because of my constant pain and living in a quiet village with a limited bus service. I can't drive now due to the pain meds I have to take. Would there be much interest in pet portraits ? THAT is something that I COULD do because I could fit it in around my pain and physical limitations. I know that there are a lot of artists out there who specialize in pet portraits, but I also know that many are fully booked up in the approach to Christmas. Would there be any use for another one ? My plan, if it happens, would be to draw pets in charcoal, graphite pencil and pastels. I'm currently sitting drawing friends pets/horses and my own pets I've had over the years when I can....just to break up the day and take my mind off the constant daily pain. Any willing volunteers interested in a sample drawing of your own pets ?