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Thanks to everyone who took the time to offer well wishes and words of support for my gal Jelly.  She seems to be back to her old sleepy/hungry/cantankerous self. Sadly, however, this rebound will be short-lived.  According to her latest rest results, she’s suffering from an antibiotic resistant infection that has spread through her intestines and kidneys.  The doctors suggest we consider end of life before she develops septic shock.

Very disappointing news.

Capping this blog with some of the highlights from this past long weekend…

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Dinner with actor Roger Cross.

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Rum cake and ice cream from Don’t Call Me Cupcake!

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The gang working on their tans.

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Lulu, all laughs.

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A visit from cousin Clover.

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Thai fried chicken.

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Jodelle steals my Thai iced tea.

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A selection of SOMA Chocolates.

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Akemi out and about.

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Vancouver swag compliments of my foodie friend Nicole.

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Nicole gives Buca Restaurant the thumbs up.

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Preserved tomato, truffled burrata cheese, basil, fresh scorzone truffle pizza.

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Braised pork, 34 year old red wine vinegar, rosemary pizza.

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Gelato trio.

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Tiramisu.

Jelly shares Akemi’s ice cream.

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to some of the blog readars who need some positive thoughts sent their way: paloosa, tinamarlin, phil, Tam Dixon, and Das!

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I was on set Tuesday night when I received a text from Akemi:  “Jelly’s very very sick.”

That was one “very” too many.  I jumped in the car and rushed home, bundled Jelly up and delivered her to the emergency 24 hour animal hospital.  There she remained, overnight, while they ran a battery of tests.  The following morning came the bad news.  Jelly was suffering from a host of maladies: extreme arthritis, internal bleeding, antibiotic-resistant infection,dehydration, and kidney failure.  She was not going to get better. Euthanasia was recommended.

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Akemi and I went into visit her that night after work.  She was atypically quiet. Her appetite was non-existent.  A second doctor who also examined her informed us that she wasn’t going to get any better and that we should consider euthanasia as the humane option.

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We visited her the next night and she was still unresponsive, lethargic, and not at all interested in eating.  Over the past months, she’d been going downhill and had all but lost the ability to walk, managing the briefest of carpet runs (covering the distance from our apartment door the elevators in a blazing five full minutes) with the assistance of a harness for her gimpy hind legs – but I held out hope because she seemed to be in good spirits and she was still enjoying her food.  But that was no longer the case.  And so, after much agonizing, I made the decision.

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Word had gotten around set and the response was swift.  Melissa (TWO) texted me, Marc (ONE) called, and I even received an unexpected hug from resident Dark Matter bad boy Anthony (THREE).  It was all very touching – but, of course, didn’t make what I was about to do any easier.

I picked Jelly up after main unit wrap on Friday night and brought her home for her last weekend with us.  But I had decided that I would make it her best weekend ever!  Akemi got her ground beef and vanilla ice cream and, Saturday, she joined us for a patio brunch and enjoyed mini blueberry muffins and the attention of a dozen passersby who stopped to shower her with attention.

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I looked up a mobile veterinary service that would come to the house so that Jelly could leave us surrounded by the comforts of home (away from home).  I was ready.  Akemi was ready.

IMG_7565However, Jelly, it turns out, was not.  She rallied.  Like the Boston Red Sox in the ALC Championship series, she came back from certain death.  She perked up.  Her appetite returned.  And suddenly, miraculously, she was back to her normal self. Today, she spent the afternoon sunning herself and chowing down on fresh chicken breast.

Hey, what's all the fuss?

Hey, what’s all the fuss?

I’m sure she’s still suffering from the arthritis and the kidney failure and who knows what else – but so long as she’s clearly happy, why not let her enjoy her ground beef, blueberry muffins and vanilla ice cream just a little longer?

She’s in no hurry to go anywhere so who am I to rush her?

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After much consideration and soul searching, Akemi decided to cut her hair.  She really wanted to go short but others suggested she keep it long – so she split the difference and went medium.  Now she’s looking for tips on what to do with it.  I’m the wrong guy to ask.

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Before.

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Bubba is fascinated by the building go up next door.  He’s like an old Italian man at a construction site, whiling away the hours.

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My poor girl.  Even though she’s in good spirits and has a healthy appetite, her bad 16 year old hips are catching up with Jelly and, lately, she’s been unable to walk without assistance.  As a result of her immobility issues, she’s acquired a rash that requires me to slather baby diaper cream on her belly morning and night.  Ah, the things we do for love.

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Lulu, meanwhile, continues her unladylike ways.  The other day, actor Alex Mallari Jr. (FOUR) and his girlfriend, Allie, were over when Lulu loosened belch so loud and sustained she actually scared Allie.

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Yes, I’m talking about you.

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Lulu + Jodelle = BFF!

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Akemi doodles.

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Honestly, my weekends are actually more jam-packed busy than my 12 hour days on set!  Errands to run, documents to gather, and a director’s cut of episode #101 to watch and give notes on.  Oh, and also squeezed in a Skype call from our old friend Alexander Ruemelin who ranks right up there with Carl Binder on the list of My Favorite Germans.

But more on that – and the show – in the days ahead.  For now, enjoy some doggy videos…

My cranky gal, Jelly, on the move.  Not bad for a 16 year old!

Meanwhile, back on the home front, Lulu continues her bed-stealing ways.  Note the force-out on poor Bubba.

Renee’s dancing dogs entertain us during those loooooong hair and makeup meetings.

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“Somebody stole my car!”was my first thought as I stared out at the desolate lot.  A single automobile sat out there, occupying the spot formerly occupied by my Durango.  A Durango too, but cleaner, shinier, and less salt-encrusted.

Yes, as with yesterday’s incident involving that homeless woman who turned out not to be homeless at all but actually my friend Tara, I discovered that appearances can be deceiving.  In this case, the guys in our Transport department had whisked my car away, washed it, filled the gas tank, and then returned it. They’re like shoe elves – but for cars!

THESE GUYS –

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Transport Coordinator Tony Bifano and…

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…Transport Captain Tom Chapman.

They’re the best!  I predict another batch of bourbon cookies in their near future!

HUGE day on the bridge today.  Our biggest yet!  Director Paolo Barzman was in the thick of it all, orchestrating the action like a maestro of mayhem.

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Prep continued today on episode #104 with director Amanda Tapping.  Today, we discussed stunts, locations, and art department builds.  It’s been a treat watching Amanda in action on the other side of the camera.  That upbeat attitude and professionalism I remember so well from Stargate typifies her approach to directing.  She’s inclusive and collaborative but percolating with great ideas.

Today, I was telling her about the time I brought my aunt to the set of SG-1.  We watched a take and, the second the director yelled “Cut!”, Amanda walked right over and introduced herself.  She chatted with us for a few minutes, then went back to work.  My aunt still recalls that meeting with fondness and, to this day, always asks: “How’s Amanda?”

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Vince and Rocky are on the wrong show.  They look like they just walked off the set of The Walking Dead.

Hey, it’s time for another round of “Guess Who’s Quarters?”:

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To those of you asking: The dogs are great.  Lulu and Jelly are on the mend.  And Bubba is still crazy.

Enjoy this short video of Lulu eating kale chips.

And let’s finish off with our our semi-regular Sock of the Day instalment:

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Why, I wondered, is there blood on the floor?  And then: Why is there blood on the blanket?  And: Why is there blood on the dog bed?  Upon closer scrutiny, I had my answer.  Jelly had, somehow, snagged her dewclaw and torn it badly.  She seemed oblivious, more focused on the water bowl than her mangled paw, apparently not bothered by the ugly wound.  I, on the other hand, instantly felt dizzy on her behalf.

After checking with about a half dozen vets in the area, I settled on the one who could see us soonest – at 9:30 a.m., which would give me an hour before I had to leave for Kitchener and our final location day for the episodes #101/#102 of Dark Matter (a little scifi t.v. show I may have mentioned here on occasion).

We arrive for 9:20 a.m. in the hopes that the doctor could see her sooner.  No early appointment.  No on-time appointment either.  The doctor casually rolled in at around 9:50, then took his time settling in.  It wasn’t until 10:15 that we got to see him.   And, when we finally did, the cursory examination yielded a blunt, if not annoying, diagnosis.  “We can do one of two things,”the vet explained.  “I can bring her to the back and yank off the broken dew claw – which will be really painful for her, or we can sedate her to remove it and she won’t feel a thing.”  I want to say “the subtext was clear” but, really, there was no subtext.  If I wanted to save a few bucks, my dog would suffer for it.

Now normally (and as any semi-regular reader to this blog is well aware), I’d have no hesitation about spending money on my dogs.  Jelly’s stem cell therapy alone was costlier than my first car.  But in this instant, it wasn’t the cost of the procedure but the procedure itself.  I’d hesitate to put a pug under anesthetic at the best of times – but a sixteen year old pug?  Only in the direst of emergencies – and this wasn’t one.

After considering her age, and her narrow nostrils (“They’re too small,”said the vet. “These should have been treated long ago.  Subtext: “Your vet is incompetent.”) he agreed that sedation wouldn’t be an option.  He’d just bring her to the back and remove it without the benefit of anesthetic.

I was understandably hesitant, but he assured me it had to come off – and that it would be quick.  She probably wouldn’t feel a thing (which was a decidedly different take from the Option #1 he offered not ten minutes earlier).

I waffled, hesitated and finally gave the go-ahead, returned to the waiting room, discussed with Akemi, changed my mind, walked to the back room and told him I’d reconsidered.  A brief discussion ensued.  He continued to assure me it would be quick.  I vacillated.  He demonstrated, grabbing the dangling claw and – tugging! It came off.  Jelly, as early, seemed oblivious.

I was enormously relieved.  He told me he’d clear her up and she’d be out shortly. And so, we returned to the waiting room and waited.  Five minutes.  Ten minutes. Fifteen minutes later he walked back out and informed me that he had to clean her anal glands which hadn’t been dealt with in at least a year (subtext: “Your vet is incompetent.”) and offered to show us what he’d managed to recover.  “Uh, no thanks,”I passed as I checked my watch.  I was going to be late.

We accompanied him back to the room where he completed his check-up, poking, prodding and pressing until – clearly concerned – he claimed to feel something unusual.  “It feels like a mass in her abdomen,”he said.  “Look how uncomfortable she is when I squeeze it.”  I wanted to point out that anyone would look uncomfortable having their abdomen squeezed but, hey, he was the medical professional.  He suggested an x-ray.

It was already almost 11:00 p.m. and I was running well past late, but the x-ray machine was right there and he claimed it would only take “ten seconds”.  Akemi was already fed up and ready to leave but I figured – hey, what’s ten seconds? Especially when the alternative was making an appointment and waiting until next week.  So I gave the go-ahead for the x-ray.

Two seconds turned into two minutes.  Then ten minutes.  Then twenty.   Eventually, we headed back to his office where we examined the x-rays.  Which, it turned out, weren’t very good.  There was what appeared to be a mass.  But it could have been fecal matter.  He suggested we make an appointment and come back for an ultrasound.

Given the fact that Jelly just had an ultrasound two months ago, I elected to hold off – and go back to her regular, presumably incompetent but much nicer vet, for a follow-up.

I paid up, dropped Akemi and Jelly off at home, and then headed to work – arriving an hour after main unit call.

Oh, and apparently I was overcharged.  He offered to reimburse my card the next time I dropped by – or just put it toward the cost of the ultrasound.  Whichever comes first.

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Looking at a mighty busy week upcoming.  Production on Dark Matter‘s first two episodes shift to location work.  We’ll be in Hamilton Monday to Wednesday, then Kitchener Thursday to Friday.  I’ll be joining them on the outskirts on three of our five out days, but Wednesday and Thursday will see me at the production offices as prep gets underway for episode #103.  Up Wednesday is a set walkthrough with director Paolo Barzman, the concept meeting, and a space suit look-see.  On Thursday, it’s meetings galore: costumes, playback, art department, and visual effects.

Also on Wednesday, my french bulldog, Lulu, is scheduled to go in for eye surgery. I say “scheduled” because I’m hoping for an 11th hour miracle that may avert her going under the knife.  While in Montreal, she stumbled over her shuffling paws (damn dog booties!) and did a face plant on the salted pavement that saw her acquire two tiny eye ulcers.  A local vet prescribed her an antibiotic gel and, days later, the problem looked like it was on its way to clearing up.  But after a follow-up here in Toronto and a prescription for a new antibiotic eye drop, her condition seemed to worsen.  And so, I brought her in to see a opthamologist who informed me she would require eye surgery (and a post-op recover period that would see her sporting a contact lens and the above-pictured cone of shame).  I scheduled the surgery for Wednesday since I was told sooner is better given the circumstances but, all the same, I couldn’t help but note that she seemed to be improving until we switched to the new antibiotic.  And so, I’ve switched back to the original gel in the hopes that, when I bring her in on Wednesday morning, a preliminary check of her eye may reveal some significant improvement, thus negating the need for surgery.  Here’s hoping.

In other dog-related news, Lulu continues to force Bubba out of his comfy beds – squeezing in and making herself a general nuisance until he finally gets fed up and abandons his spot.

Documentation c/o Akemi

Documentation c/o Akemi

Bubba continues to prove a nuisance at feeding time, moaning impatiently whenever Akemi prepares his food – then wolfs down his meal so that he can snag some of Jelly’s leftovers:

"Is it dinner time yet?"  "No, dinner was three hours ago.  Go to bed!"

“Is it dinner time yet?” “No, dinner was three hours ago. Go to bed!”

Meanwhile, Jelly grows increasingly cranky and impatient in her old age (she’ll be 16 in February!).  She may be wobbly, but she’s still going!

She DOES enjoy her snacks though!

A tough day of football for me as one of my Vegas preseason Super Bowl picks, the Packers (14-1)  went down to defeat (while another, the Colts at 34-1, are looking like they’ve already called it a season).  Actor Roger Cross and VFX Supervisor Lawren Bancroft-Wilson, both Seahawks fans, came over for the first game.  When Seattle went down 16-0 early, Roger, conveniently, had to leave (he claimed someone was coming by his place to set up the wifi).  Coincidentally, he DID manage to find his way back after the Seahawks scored late to take the lead.  It was an agonizing end to the game.  And Akemi captured all the action…

Roger tries to use some body english to steer the Packers' game-tying field goal.

Roger tries to use some body english to steer the Packers’ game-tying field goal.

It's good!

It’s good!

We anxiously await overtime.

We anxiously await overtime.

Roger and Lawren celebrate the Seahawks' winning TD.  I am not amused.

Roger and Lawren celebrate the Seahawks’ winning TD. I am not amused.

 

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