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Archive for the ‘pugs’ Category

Yep.  One year ago today we took in a special needs senior.  She came with her own wheelchair.  She mostly got around by pulling herself by her front legs, dragging her back legs behind her.  She was quiet, gentle, and kept to herself.

A lot has changed in twelve months…

Suji arrives in Toronto.

Arriving home to meet the rest of the gang.

Building up those leg muscles with hydrotherapy.

Looking cool at her laser therapy session.

Riding around in her chariot.

Working up those hind leg muscles.

She loves her walks so much that, if 10 a.m. rolls around and we haven’t taken her out, she’ll sit at your feet and bark until you put her tiny socks and booties on.

 

Surprisingly, she seems to enjoy the cold weather and loves snow.  While Lulu needs to be forced to go out, Suji needs to be forced to come back in.

Cantankerous!

Her wardrobe is more expansive than Akemi’s.

 

Motoring!

She’s settled in quite nicely.

Thanks to the Pacific Pug Rescue for sending her our way!

Follow Suji on instagram: @newoldpugsuji

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Quick, get in!  Next stop = Slumber Land!

Hey, if you’re thinking of making our dogs new outfits, Akemi offers up the following doggy measurements.  I think she does a fairly good job of capturing Suji’s trademark wide-eyed wonder, and Lulu’s general furtiveness.

Who feels like kaka for dinner?  Pardon me?  Happened across this sign for a new Japanese restaurant a little while ago.  Debatable name aside, not sure how a restaurant that has yet to open can claim to be the “No. 1 rated all-you-can-eat sushi in Toronto”.  Who voted?  Time-traveling nigiri-enthusiasts from the future?

I’m sure we can all agree that, next to politics and religion, there is no subject more controversial than marzipan.  Its mere mention will incite a tirade so impassioned from my former writing partner you’d think almond paste had somehow played a role in the tragic passing of a loved one.  I, on the other hand, love the stuff, so you can imagine my delight the other day when I happened upon a Danish Pastry House pop-up and discovered the above pictured delicacy – some unpronounceable North Germanic confection comprised of marzipan, chocolate, sliced almonds, and assorted umlauts.  Delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends.  May you be as generous as the Mark Sanchez-led Jets offense, and as thankful as the New England Patriots defense five years ago today.

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Monet had Water Lilies, Picasso had his Blue Period, and my girlfriend Akemi has Coffee Cap series, a collection of photos of our dog Suji sporting varied coffee caps as hats.

The series to date…

The biggest challenge has been in sourcing coffee caps in assorted colors.  The other day, we stopped for coffee not because Akemi wanted a coffee but because she spotted a positively standout lime green cap.  Today, we flagged down a complete stranger and asked her where she picked up her coffee (with a distinct red cap) only to be informed she purchased it a good one hour walk from us.  She kindly recommended a nearby shop with excellent coffee but, alas, their caps are black and we’ve already done black.

Our search continues!

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March 17, 2017: Bubba

He was supposed to be a present for my ex’s brother but, after having him for two weeks, I decided to keep him and got  her brother a toaster oven instead. 

He was unlike my other two pugs at the time.  Whereas Jelly was a bossy bitch and Maximus a laid back lover, Bubba was a furry ball of anxiety, easily spooked by cyclists and skateboards, wary of strangers, parking entrances, and animatronic Christmas decorations.  He was, quite simply, a goof.

And yet, despite his adorable stiff-legged gait and furrowed brow that seemed to hint at some perpetual deep-seeded worries, he was never the one people were drawn to when they met the pack.  It was either Jelly or Maximus or, later, Lulu who would get all the attention while Bubba would warily hang back, hesitant to commit, his tail doing a slow noncommittal wag as he surveyed the situation.

It wouldn’t be uncommon for him to seek out the relative remote security of the laundry hamper, his toy box, the tiniest dog bed in the house.

He was in many ways a wallflower, the highschool equivalent of an outcast nerd – always self-conscious, always awkward.  But always happy.

And then, Akemi joined the family.  She’d never had much experience with dogs back in Japan but in short time, she and Bubba hit it off.  And over the next seven years, they developed a bond that would rival any relationship, human or otherwise.

She doted on him and he grew infatuated with her.  In time, they became inseparable.  I’d come home from work to find him sitting on her lap while she surfed the net, or parked comfortably beside her while she watched t.v.  He would sit by her feet whenever she cooked and nothing would make him happier than to join her on their extended walks, just the two of them, strolling for blocks on end.

When my television series, Dark Matter, was picked up, I granted Bubba a certain immortality by naming THREE’s big-ass gun after him.  Larger than life, unwieldy, sometimes comical – it was the perfect tribute.

In his later years, he lost his hearing and his ability to hop up to claim his favorite spot perched atop the living room couch, but he never slowed down – unless he sensed a walk was coming to an end in which case he’d draw out that final block for all he was worth.

Nothing made Akemi prouder than to have passersby mistake him for a puppy.  At the time, it seemed he would live forever.  Or, at least, close to.

When he developed a growth near his ear, we had it checked out and then, erring on the side of caution, had it surgically removed.  The tumor, it turned out, was cancerous. Months later, when Bubba developed a cough, we had x-rays taken. They came back all clear.  We ran further tests.  He was diagnosed with bronchitis and given antibiotics.

But even though the cough seemed to get better, it never really left.  And then, suddenly, a couple of months ago, it worsened.  To the point that we brought him in again.  This time, x-rays showed abnormalities in his lungs.  What at first was suspected to be an enlarged heart turned out to be lung cancer.

In his last months, perhaps sensing his time was limited, Bubba grew even more attached to Akemi, following her around the apartment, crying when he would lose sight of her.  He was at his happiest, as always, seated on her lap or right beside her, the feel of her reassuring hand on him.

We tried various treatments to save him, from acupuncture and astragalus to Palladia and Prednisone.  None of them had any effect.  X-rays taken two weeks later showed his situation had worsened.  But we never gave up hope.  And, I like to think that neither did Bubba.  Until yesterday.

His coughing worsened and his breathing grew more labored.  He stopped eating and could barely support himself.  I was at work when I received the text from Akemi.  It was time.

I drove back home, picked them up, and traveled to the 24 hour emergency clinic (twice actually because I realized I’d forgotten my wallet the first time).  There, late last night, we said goodbye to our goofy, needy, happy, wonderful boy.

I hope that somehow, somewhere out there, that old pug gang of mine has been reunited

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The people have spoken and we have a brand new episode title.  Aint democracy wonderful?  Your winner…

“Episode 33: Wish I Could Believe You”

Thanks to everyone who made Operation Name-Another-Episode a great success. But special thanks goes to YOU.  Yes, YOU!

Today was Bring Your Daughter To Work (And Leave Her With Key Hair Expert Renee Chan While You Go Watch Blocking) Day!  Suji was a hit on set.  Thanks to Renee for dog-sitting her while I was taking in the action in the core room.

Speaking of which – here is director Melanie Orr’s – uh – blueprint for today’s first blocking.  Note the details including camera placement and pod.

Director Melanie Orr all smiles with Director of Photography Craig Wright and 1st Assistant Director Josh Gray.  The calm before the storm.

One big-ass charger.

Just sitting in the underbelly gathering dust.

Or are they…?

Bubba appreciates the well-wishes and wants you to know he’s hanging in there.

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Sadly, it isn’t good news for our boy.  A follow-up with our oncologist revealed that the tumors in his lungs have grown since our last visit one month ago.  As a result, she suggested we discontinue the Palladia treatment and focus on making the most of the time he has left.

We’ll continue administering the Prednisone which will, hopefully, make him more comfortable.  Otherwise, we’ll be going homeopathic – mushrooms, Chinese herbs, turmeric, and goat’s milk – in the longshot hope that something may help.

We’ll also continue with his acupuncture sessions – although I’m dubious about their efficacy.  I didn’t really notice a change in him after the first two appointments but am willing to demonstrate a little patience, only because we DID see some surprising results with Jelly years ago.

Some days he’s down – sleeping mostly, eating reluctantly, disinterested in engaging.  Other days, it’s almost as if he’s back to his old self again – eating voraciously,  barking loudly to convey his displeasure with the pace of the meal preparation or our impertinence in actually going out without him.

He’s still up for his walks and is always excited to go out, but he has slowed own considerably.  It’s hard to believe that, less than six months ago, neighbors and passersby were commenting on how spry and puppy-like he seemed for a senior. Now, it’s a slow stroll to park and back.  It’s particularly heartbreaking for Akemi who has been his constant companion and champion these many years.  She has taken to wearing sunglasses on their daily outings in the event she starts feeling emotional.

They’ve really been inseparable these past seven years and have formed a special bond.   Now, as he grows needier, it isn’t uncommon for him to climb upstairs (a Herculean feat for his old bones) to look for her or wander about anxiously when she’s not home.

Tomorrow, at Akemi’s request, we’ll be attending our own gallery shoot at a local photo studio.

I guarantee I won’t be the only one dressed up for the occasion.

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There are still some rewrites to do, a couple of polishes to finish, and a series finale to break but, for now, I’m taking it easy.  For now, it’s all about the dogs.

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We broke out the stroller for the dogs while Lulu managed to limp her way to the dog park long enough to say hit to all the dog owners before calling it a day.  Suji got to put on her wheels and motor around the park as well while Bubba, as usual, preferred to spend quality time with mom –

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So, we’re wrestling with indecision regarding Bubba.  The oncologist recommended a drug called Palladia which is a chemotheraphy medication.  It seemed simple enough: give him a single pill every other day with his meal, alternating with Prednisone, a corticosteroid and anti-inflammatory.  But, when we got home and read the special handling instructions, Akemi instantly had second thoughts.  Always use gloves when handling the pill.  Always wear gloves when cleaning up after your dog and be sure to quickly bag and dispose of your dog’s feces.  Keep pregnant women, children, and other dogs away from your dog’s waste…which, on the surface, seems simple enough unless you consider urine which isn’t really covered in the handout.  Also, we have to other dogs.  What are we to do if Bubba has an accident in the house?  Do we have to start crating him?

Sure, there are answers, but they all lead to one big question: Is it worth it?  We tried to do everything we could for our boy Maximus and he was pretty damn miserable in the end.  Maybe the Palladia will buy Bubba more time, but will it be good time?

So far, he seems in good spirits and his appetite remains typically voracious, but Akemi has noticed changes in him.  He still gets excited at the prospect of going for walks but, the boy who used to love his lengthy strolls now only manages half a block before we have to pick him up and carry him home.  He’s had accidents in the apartment, once even finding Akemi before doing so as if trying to send her a message.  He doesn’t so much nap as he does drift in and out, which makes us wonder what kind of discomfort he is experiencing.  Akemi says she feels like, every days she’s losing him a different way.

I’m looking into some homeopathic and alternate treatments as well.  Chinese herbs.  Mushrooms.  Someone even recommended cannabis oil.  As for the Palladia, we’ll make a decision on that after the weekend.

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I made another batch of hot sauce today using cayenne peppers, vidalia onions, garlic, salt, apple cider vinegar, apple cider, apple puree, brown sugar, hot smoked Chilean merken pepper, organic tomatoes.  Pretty damn tasty.  Akemi thought it mighty explosive (She describes it as “painful on the throat”) but I found it just so-so.  Tomorrow, I make another batch, but this time with the fresh habaneros I picked up from the farmer’s market.

I kicked off 9 day horror-fest with a viewing of The Invitation.  Although I guessed where it was going, I liked how it eventually got there.  A promising start.

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