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Posts Tagged ‘Dogs’

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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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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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Too much fiber in her diet!

 

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The other night, I was awakened by a kerplunk (!), the unmistakable sound of a portly, elderly pug falling off the bed.  I sat up to discover 15 year old Jelly, struggling to stand up on the polished hardwood floor.  She seemed surprised but otherwise okay.  Just in case though, I brought her out to the backyard to make sure.  She did her business and seemed perfectly fine, so I scooped her up and we headed back up to bed.  This was the first of several incidents involving my old gal who has seemed notably crankier of late.  Akemi suspects it’s because Jelly senses my impending Toronto trip and is demonstrating her displeasure by acting up. Apparently, when I’m away, she is uncharacteristically quiet, sleeping through most of the day and only getting up for meals.  This is in sharp contrast to her demanding,  downright “diva-esque” attitude when I’m home.  Nary an hour goes by when she isn’t whining or crying or barking at me to pick her up, take her out, give her a snack, or generally demanding my undivided attention.  I’m amazed she’s able to get along without me and I wonder how she’ll do while I’m away.  I suppose she’ll be fine so long as Akemi remembers to keep her updated by reading my blog entries aloud to her.

Whoa, where do you think YOU'RE going?

Whoa, where do you think YOU’RE going?

Yes, I’m headed to Toronto for a few days to discuss strategy and come up with a game plan for my new scifi series.  We fly out early tomorrow morning and get in with plenty of time to have dinner with a former fellow Stargate writer-producer. Then, on Thursday, it’s all day meetings re: budgets, locations, visual effects, and deliveries.  I figure we’ll assemble a writers’ room here in Vancouver for a month in July-August and hammer out our 13 stories, then disperse and retreat to our respective lairs where we’ll write 10 of those 13 scripts.  I’m assuming we’ll go to camera sometime in early 2015.  This will give us plenty of time to prep what should be one hell of a twisty, turny, suspenseful, spectacular, action-packed, character-driven inaugural season.

Friday, I’ll be fly out of Toronto and head to Montreal for a day to visit with mom and sis and then, Saturday night, I’m homeward bound!

Of course this blog will be traveling with me.  I needn’t remind you that, tomorrow, we kick off our Star Trek: The Original Series re-watch.  Me and my fellow reviewer, Cookie Monster, will be weighing in on episode #1: The Man Trap!  Watch the episode and join tomorrow’s discussion!

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular whoviantrish.

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What an incredibly productive day.  I had to wake up at 7:00 a.m. this morning to bring Jelly out but, rather than go back to bed, I elected to stay up and get some work done on one of my new pilots.  The plan was to complete a single flashback sequence but one scene led to another (as they’re supposed to do), I got on a bit of roll and, before I knew it, I’d finished a little over 15 pages and reached the top of the third act.  I would honestly feel better about it if I knew the crucial details of Acts IV and V, but I’m not going to be greedy.  I do like what I have so far.  It’s crazy.  In a great way.  Hopefully, a network out there will love it as well.  But, if not, I think I might actually upload this one to the blog.  It’s too much fun not to share.

In addition to writing, I also made time to bring Lulu to the local bulldog meetup. Some of the highlights…

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Lulu  seeks attention #1.

Lulu seeking attention #1.

Lulu seeking attention #2

Lulu seeking attention #2

Lulu seeking attention #3

Lulu seeking attention #3

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Lulu seeking attention #4

Lulu seeking attention #4

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Lulu needs braces

Lulu needs braces

11And the inevitable pawsticuffs…

And this interesting move…

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So one of the ads that did air here during the Superbowl was a commercial for McDonalds Canada that seemed to invite questions about the ingredients in their McNuggets:

Pink goop in Chicken McNuggets? McDonald’s Canada answers (Super Bowl XLVIII)www.youtube.comhttp://mcdonalds.ca/yourquestions Armand R. from Edmonton, Alberta asked: “What are legitimately in mcnuggets is there pink goop?” Here’s our answer: There’s…

For some reason, they chose “pink goop” as an ingredient to publicly refute.  Which is fine except the question would really be more applicable to their “beef” products.  I didn’t see the answer to that one.

But the commercial did provoke some thought.  What DOES go into a chicken McNugget?  I wanted to know.  So I hopped online to find out:

So What Really Is In A McDonald’s Chicken McNugget? – Rense

“But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food…”

25 Ingredients in McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets | Care2 Healthy …

“Dimethylpolysiloxane– used as an anti-foaming agent, this industrial chemical is typically used in caulking and sealants and comes with a list of safety concerns.  It’s best reserved for industrial sealants than for food.”

Er, okay McDonalds Canada.  Thanks for prompting me to do my own research – and convincing me NOT to eat at McDonalds.

Hey, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce has invited Michael Vick as a guest speaker for some event called the “Evening of Champions”.  Kind of odd given that Michael Vick hasn’t won any championships over the course of his football career.  Most recently, he played for the Philadelphia Eagles who backed their way into a division title – on the strength of back-up quarterback Nick Foles’ performance.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/03/michael-vick-evening-of-champions_n_4717230.html

Anyway, I can’t wait to see who they’ve lined up as their next speaker.  Might I suggest a reformed serial killer or that Kony guy.

So far, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Facebook page has racked up over 1050 comments.  And they aint exactly positive: RaleighChamber

Meanwhile, file this one under “You’ve got to be kidding me.” Dog surrendered to high kill animal control because owners are going on vacationexaminer.comUpdate via Pets Connect Us (Facebook): Oso was reclaimed by his owners. The reasons that pets are surrendered to animal control facilities are many…moving, ba  Would love to offer this owner a few words.

Last week, I posted a story about Pennie Jekot, the director of The Humane Alliance of Rutherford County, who, it’s been alleged, swiped some poor, elderly couple’s chihuahua.  Perhaps this all some innocent misunderstanding on the part of Ms. Jekot?  Well, if so, she’s in no hurry to return the dog.  Unfortunately for her, a lot of people are pissed off.  And getting organized.  If you’d like to help the Bring Buddy Back Home cause, check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bringbuddybackhome/

Continuing our Stargate Atlantis rewatch with…Thirty-Eight Minutes!

1Ouch.  Many of the early episodes actually improve with a nostalgic reviewing.  This one…not so much.  Nevertheless, I kept my mouth shut during the screening so as not to unfairly sway Akemi.  As it turned out, it wouldn’t have mattered if I had.  She wasn’t a fan.  In fact, she was downright bewildered.

Surprisingly, she didn’t bump on the plastic bug latched to Sheppard’s neck for most of the episodes, but she did have a problem with those two filler scenes.  The first, the one in which Halling and the Athosians approach Weir regarding some Athosian pre-death ceremony; the second, Kavanaugh’s extended complaint scene with Weir: “Why?  What the purpose? It’s like they just want excuse to show she is good commander.” Hmmm.

She also took exception to Sheppard’s poor marksmanship: “He’s not good at shooting.  Jamil [SGU’s Ronald Greer] is better.”

Again, the episode highlights for her were humorous, both intentional (“I like the cranky guy.  Chotto funny.  McKay need sugar.”) and unintentional (“When the bug saw him with bug and left him.  Adios.”).  In fact, her most impassioned response came in the episode tag when the rest of the team visit Sheppard in the infirmary and Teyla walks in wearing a rainbow top.  “WTF is that?!”  And then, noticing Weir’s bizarre all-brown (leather? suede? mohair?) ensemble: “WTF IS THAT?!!”.

Overall: “I preferred last night’s episode.”  And leave it at that.

For my part, in reviewing the show, one thing stands out for me above all others: the Athosians.  Damn, they’re annoying.

Also, Kavanaugh has a point.  I mean, consider this: He and a bunch of scientists are in the midst of spinning various scenarios for rescue when he posits the possibility that McKay’s access of the puddle jumper’s systems could initiate an explosion, an explosion that could transfer through the gate.  He doesn’t say it’s a certainty, but a possibility.  Hell, the scientist he is arguing with doesn’t deny the possibility although he she considers it unlikely.  It’s still a possibility.  Weir’s response is to dress Kavanaugh down for having the audacity to bring up the potential danger, even going so far as to suggest he did so out of concern for his life over the lives of those trapped in the puddle jumper.  Uh, what?  If Kavanaugh’s worst case scenario does unfold, he’s going to be one of MANY Atlantis personnel injured or killed by the blast.  Also, he wasn’t suggesting they give up on rescue (as Weir intimates), only that they reconsider allowing McKay to poke around at random.

Needless to say, I await tonight’s screening of Suspicion (Paul and my first Atlantis episode – and a heavy Athosian one no less!) like a street fight bracing himself for a baseball bat blow to the head.

Mailbag:

Line Noise writes: “The most memorable scene of Hide and Seek was when Sheppard pushed McKay off the balcony in front of Weir. Weir’s horror and the boyish gleam in Sheppard’s and McKay’s eyes is priceless.”

Answer: Agreed. That was my favorite moment in the episode.

Line Noise also writes: “I think Jinto just needs a mother. What happened to Jinto’s mum?”

Answer: Sadly, she ran off with a traveling hand-held fire-starter salesman.

Line Noise also writes: “What, for that matter, happened to Jinto’s dad’s leg that required him to hop around on crutches? Was that originally in the script or did Christopher Heyerdahl hurt himself and it had to be written into the story?”

Answer: Chris, the actor, suffered an injury prior to filming so Robert Cooper simply wrote it into the script – much like the Daniel appendicitis of SG-1 season 3’s Nemesis.

Deborah Rose writes: “this episode rose above the material. The energy monster was meh, though the way the heroes resolved it was sensible. Loved that Teyla saw what the others took a long time to grasp. Loved the comedy in the episode, especially Sheppard’s evil delight in having shot at McKay. Loved McKay’s growth, in stepping out to be the hero, even knowing the high probability of death. Handled less adroitly, this whole episode would have reeked. But cast and production managed to put together something that was worth watching, and even rewatching.”

Answer: Uh, you appear to be contradicting yourself here.  You start off by stating the episode rose above the material (the implication here is “the script) and compliment the cast and production, but everything you lauded (“Loved that Teyla saw what the others took a long time to grasp. Loved the comedy in the episode, especially Sheppard’s evil delight in having shot at McKay. Loved McKay’s growth, in stepping out to be the hero, even knowing the high probability of death.”) was actually scripted.

majorsal writes: “Answer: True. If she enjoys Atlantis and wants to check out SG-1, I’ll probably start with season 9.

you’ve got to be kidding. to me, that’s the *worst* season of the entire sg1 run! come on, joe, let her see the golden and BEST of this series!”

Answer: As I said, if I sat her down to watch SG-1’s first season, she’d probably excuse herself and then secretly hop on the first plane back to Japan.  That was a rocky first season with some very rough visual effects.

kabra writes: “We’re commenting on Hide and Seek, correct?? I am a little puzzled by the “force field” that McKay wears. He can pick up,physically wrap his hands around the the coffee mug, but he can not drink from it. How is that?”

Answer: Yes, a very unique force field that doesn’t allow foreign matter to enter the body (i.e. food and drink) with the exception of air.  I’ve always wondered about the reverse.

arctic goddess writes: “I also loved McKay’s general hypochondria with fears that he was dying from all sorts of innocuous issues. Who came up with these very interesting personality quirks? Do writers add that to the script, then it is approved or not approved by the producer?”

Answer: On Stargate, the writers WERE the producers, so the steps to approval were very short.  McKay’s personality quirks were scripted and developed by Robert Cooper and Brad Wright who based these quirks on certain individuals they worked with in the past.

Randomness writes: “Realistically do you think the Athosians could have settled on Atlantis over the long term? Naturally as the expedition was relatively new to the city, do you think there was some concern that they may press something/do something that may cause trouble(Even accidently), that could have made the team think that perhaps while they get to grips with the city and its functions that the Athosians would be better off elsewhere?”

Answer: Sure, I think that the Athosians could have proven themselves capable enough.  But I suspect they would have been no less annoying.

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular 2cats.  Happy belated birthday!!!

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