Because of health conditions, my daughter and I began sheltering in place before most, we have currently been in shelter in place for 40 days and when this article is published, we will have been sheltering in place for 42 days. I really thought when we entered this season we would have time to rest, catch up and share some laughs. We have definitely shared some laughs and made memories, but the rest has eluded us.

On day three of shelter in place, our special needs lab was placed on a diet. For his huge size, my Raf is all heart. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, but his health is requiring him to lose 30 pounds. Raf enjoys life to the fullest, he always finds the silver lining, sleeps without a care and eats with more gusto than I have ever seen in any dog or person. Being placed on a diet was more than a punishment for Raf, it was plain torture. As hard as it was, I explained to Raf having him around for longer and making sure his time with us was quality time and was far more important than eating. And so, on day 3 we entered into the diet phase.

Let me tell you, if you have never been in the diet phase with a dog, you have never experienced fits. Raf struggles with allergies and the trip to the vet which resulted in the diet was to treat an ear infection. Always the softy, Raf was expecting a hot bowl of chicken soup when we got home, his favorite treats, and pampering. Instead, he was placed on a diet. The heart ache, disappointment and howling was enough to break my resolve, thankfully my daughter intervened.

We plodded along, following the diet, hoping for quick results. Just when we thought Raf was adjusting to the diet, his stomach decided otherwise. Week three was filled with an epic battle on heartburn and stomach acid. The good news, Raf is ok and my house has never been cleaner. The bad news, I was exhausted. Raf has adjusted to his diet, his stomach has settled, and we have started daily walks. Every day he is walking farther and farther. He is happier, laughs more and even is jumping again. The diet is already a success.

As trivial as this may seem it made me appreciate family and moments. We are all struggling with stress, loss and fear. None of us knows what to expect, what is coming or what our new normal will be. We have all missed special occasions, we missed by dad’s 69th birthday. I haven’t seen my parents in eight weeks, I cannot tell you how I miss them.

But I do know this, we are going to make it. Some of us are native Okies, others of us are transplants, regardless of how we arrived, we have tamed the prairie, conquered the harsh weather and carved out a home. We have the grit our forefathers in us of, we have what it takes to survive this, just as a few generations ago, the residents of this area survived the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. We have the grit and tenacity to overcome shelter in place, we have the strength we need to survive shelter in place, rebuild our lives and come out ahead on the other side. If we band together, support each other, reach out to our neighbors and buy local, I can promise you we will each survive.

Times are difficult, some are facing heartbreaking decisions, some are watching their dreams crumble, but this I know, it will take a lot more than this to stop humanity, to permanently devastate us. We have what it takes to make it.

I love to hear from my readers, you can reach me at believestrengthpassion@gmail.com.

Sara Orellana-Paape lives in Lawton.

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