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Archive for the ‘Dogs’ Category

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Thank you so much for all the touching tributes to my gal, Jelly.  I received emails, Facebook messages, tweets, and, as you can see, over 125 comments on yesterday’s entry.  It feels strange and lonely without her.  I’ll miss propping her up on my chest so that we could gaze longingly into each other’s eyes, and the smell of her nacho feet.

Thanks to my sis who put together this wonderful Jelly photo album:

https://www.facebook.com/andria.mallozzi/media_set?set=a.10153212503701743.687476742&type=3

Well, I have one more day in Toronto before I finally head back to Vancouver early (early!) Friday morning.  I’ll admit – I was leery about coming back here but I’m so glad I did.  The show is incredible, and I owe it all the amazing cast and crew who are not only so good at what they do, but such a pleasure to work with.

A big thanks to everyone who worked from prep, through production and post – covering everything from casting to visual effects, the gang at the production office and post-production.

Special thanks to my Vancouver boys, Ivon Bartok and Lawren Bancroft-Wilson, who uprooted their lives to move here and worked their asses off for me.

Thanks to my writing-producing partner, Paul Mullie, who shuttled back and forth, abandoning his family at irregular intervals so that he could come east and support the show.

Thanks to Rachel Sutherland, Commander of post-production who, while everyone else has moved on, stays behind to deliver on a very tight schedule – yet manages to do it with a smile.

Thanks to line producer Norman Denver who kept us on the straight and narrow, making sure we didn’t blow our budget on burgers and whisky.

Thanks to my partner in crime, Vanessa Piazza, who was there with me through prep, on set through production, and overseeing post.  I honestly could NOT have done it without her.

And an enormous thanks to Prodigy Pictures President Jay Firestone who defied the odds and expectations by putting together the deals that got the show green lit, then defying the odds and expectations again by delivering a series that blew away expectations.  He read all the scripts, provided notes, and weighed in on all aspects of production.  The very best example of what a creative producer should be.  I honestly thought we’d fight more.  Ah well.  I suppose there’s always season 2!

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Me, Jay, Vanessa, and Norman at tonight’s premiere screening of Dark Matter episodes #101 and #102.

It looked AMAZING on the big screen.  The show has everything a scifi fan would want: action, adventure, intrigue, suspense, humor, lovable and engaging characters, and dazzling visual effects.  Dark Matter will NOT disappoint.

As we countdown to our world premiere, check out another early view, this one by Jamie Ruby at Scifi Vision:

http://www.scifivision.com/reviews/tv-reviews/2862-advance-review-dark-matter-a-fun-and-kick-ass-ride 

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I first set eyes on her in her little enclosure, backing up and charging, stopping just short of the window, then backing up and charging again. She was admittedly adorable. And tiny! So small I could have held her in my hand.

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But I didn’t want a dog. Dogs were, after all, a huge responsibility and, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m an incredibly irresponsible person. It would have made for a terrible match. But, as I wrote back in February of 2007:

“My reasons for not wanting a dog were numerous: the expense, the unappealing prospect of having to housebreak the little furball, the loss of freedom that comes with being a pet-owner, the necessary commitment to everything from walks to vet visits. On the other hand, her argument for getting a dog was equally compelling: she really wanted one. My sister had tipped her off to a pug for sale at a local pet shop and, after an animated discussion, I agreed to accompany her to the Alexis Nihon Plaza. It was, we agreed beforehand, to be nothing more than a fact-finding mission. There would be no dog purchases on this day. Absolutely, positively, no way! I had steeled myself mentally and was prepared to stick to my guns.

We brought the puppy home that afternoon and named her Jelly after Joe Vitelli’s character in Analyze This.”

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That first day, she was constantly on the move, racing around the living room, around chairs, under tables, bounding around the backyard. And then, when she finally stopped, I grew concerned. She was unusually lethargic which I deemed a significant change in her personality. “I think she’s sick!”I said, ready to whisk her to the vet. “She’s tired,”I was told. “It’s two a.m.!”

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I didn’t want a dog but, once I got her, Jelly became my life. I walked her and fed her and brought her to the vet when she was sick; soothed her and bathed and brought her to doggy daycare. When I got a job working on Stargate in Vancouver, she came with me of course, to the other side of the country where she eventually settled in quite nicely, running the corridors of the production offices with the other dogs, sitting on Richard Dean Anderson’s chest when he would lie down on the floor to accommodate her, on one memorable occasion swiping Michael Shanks’s tuna fish sandwich when he briefly set it down to grab a script. Over the years, she became a mainstay of sorts, perched imperiously atop the headrest of my office couch, presiding over the the action.

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In time, we became inseparable. We were the perfect match. Her – bossy, demanding, fickle, and temperamental. Me – a sucker for a cute little thing. In the 16+ years we were together, she was my longest relationship.

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When she slowed down in later years, I doted on her, carrying her up and down, in and out, when she could no longer do stairs. She would sleep beside me, sometimes awakening in the middle of the night, crying out in confusion – and I’d wake up, lay my hand on her back and that would be enough to comfort her and send her back to sleep. When her eyesight started to fail, I applied the topical gel, morning and night, to help restore her vision. When she stopped walking, I arranged for the stem cell treatment that returned the strength to her hind legs. I’m not a dancer by any stretch of the imagination but, whenever she’d feel sick or down, I’d sweep her off her paws and bound around the room with her in my arms until she seemed a little better – or threw me that bewildering “What the hell is going on?” look.

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There was no denying, she was well-loved. And strong. Akemi was convinced she’d live to be a hundred. Dog years anyway.

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But, sadly, time caught up with her. She stopped walking. She started sleeping through the days. And, once her appetite faded, I realized it was time to say goodbye.

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Jelly took her final car ride this afternoon in the style to which she had grown accustomed – lounging in her big pink fluffy bed. When the time came, I gave her a kiss on the nose (something she’d always shied from in the past, but I guess she figured that, after sixteen years, she would stop playing hard to get and give in just this once), she shut her eyes and drifted off.

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In time, I’ll pick up her ashes and place them on my night stand where she’ll resume her rightful place by my bedside.

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Akemi told me that, at one point today, Jelly drifted off into what seemed a happy dreamland, wagging her tail perhaps at some fond recollection. I like to think that, maybe, even if only in her mind, she was, no longer fettered by those heavy years, bounding around that backyard one last time.

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For a dog at death’s door, my 16 year old pug Jelly has been doing pretty well.  In fact, ever since we brought her back home to die last Friday after receiving a hopeless diagnosis from two local vets, she’s been as animated as ever.  In fact, I’d be so bold as to say she bounced back – if not for the test results that point to kidney failure and antibiotic resistant E coli coursing through her system.  Euthanasia was recommended and I was fully prepared to follow this advice, treating my girl to one final weekend of muffins, ice cream and some of the 60 day old dry-aged steak I had for dinner the other night.  Except…the following morning, she was up and alert.  Her appetite had returned.  And she was as cantankerous as ever.  So I decided to hold off…temporarily…

A little over five years ago, Jelly all but stopped walking.  It turned out her hip dysplasia had progressed to the point where she was no longer capable of supporting herself.  Euthanasia was recommended.  Over five years ago!  I considered my options, then generated some new ones by going online and discovering the marvels of stem cell treatments.  They’ve been seeing some surprising results with this procedure – in Europe – a procedure that involves extracting the body’s stem cells (from belly fat which apparently has the highest concentration of the stuff), shipping them to a lab where they are spun in a centrifuge, then shipped back and injected into the problem areas: in Jelly’s case, her arthritic joints and eroded hips.  I contacted this company (http://www.vet-stem.com), took Jelly in for a consult (where I was told results varied so not to expect too much), and had her undergo the treatment.  A couple of weeks later, she was back on her paws  – wobbly, mind you, but once again able to support herself.

So, faced with a similar dire situation, I once again turned to the one place that had helped me in the past: the internet.  And there, I discovered a possible cure for presumably untreatable antibiotic-resistant infections: phage therapy.

I read this article about a woman who had been given a “you’ve got an untreatable antibiotic-resistant infection so prepare to die” diagnosis:

http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/cure-antibiotic-resistance

Instead of packing up her belongings and resigning herself to certain death, she packed up her belongings and headed to Europe where phage therapy has been used for over a decade with great success.  She underwent the treatment and was miraculously (?) cured of her incurable infection.

From the aforementioned article:

“Bacteriophages (“bacteria eaters”), commonly called phages, are viruses that infect bacteria but not humans. Found in water, soil, and even your digestive tract, phages dwell wherever bacteria are found because they rely on them to reproduce. (Find out how what you eat affects your gut bacteria.) They drill through a bacterium’s surface, hijack its DNA, and then replicate themselves within it until the cell bursts. Cocktails of phage viruses can kill a bacterial infection in the human body with remarkable accuracy, taking out only the infiltrators and leaving important populations of “good” bacteria intact—unlike the blunt tool of antibiotics, which tend to wipe out a wide swath of good bugs and bad.”

Apparently, it’s been researched for a while here in North America with very positive results:

https://ispub.com/IJAM/7/1/13668

But, of course, the FDA (in the U.S.) and Health Canada (here) have yet to make this treatment readily available.  Why?  Rose-tinted glasses-wearing observers will argue it’s because they’re being very careful.  Cvidently, a decade of positive results in Europe isn’t quite enough for them.

Anyway, I dispatched some emails this weekend and made some inquiries.  The wheels are in motion to get Jelly the treatment.

Maybe we’ll see a miracle bounce back like we did the last time everyone else wrote her off.  Or maybe we won’t.  But at the very least, we’ll have TRULY exhausted our options.

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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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