I had a terrible 2011 in Toronto.  For many reasons.  One of the biggest was the cancer diagnosis for my pug, Maximus, and the subsequent attempts to treat the illness.  Once a week, Akemi and I would wake up at 7:00 a.m., bundle Max in the back of the car, and take the 90 minute drive to the Guelph Small Animal Clinic where my brave boy underwent radiation treatment and took his anti-cancer vaccines.  It was exhausting: the driving, the waiting, the daily medications, and the overall worrying, not just for him but for the other three dogs as well – Jelly, Bubba, and Lulu – who could surely sense something was up.

I remember stepping up to the clinic’s cashier one afternoon, disheartened and weary, reaching into my wallet for my credit card, and finding the above photograph.  Akemi had somehow slipped it in the previous night.  It’s a picture of my two eldest pugs, Maximus on the left and Jelly on the right.  Jelly had gone through a very rough time of her own the previous year when the effects of her hip dysplasia finally caught up with her.  Unable to stand, no longer capable of supporting herself on her rear legs, Jelly was in very bad shape.  But I refused to give up on her.  She had spinal surgery to correct a bulging disc, and then a series of stem cell transplants (via the folks at Vet Stem).  She battled back and finally regained use of her hindquarters. Wobbly and weak, but mobile nevertheless.  I was hoping Maximus could pull off a miracle of his own but, alas, it wasn’t to be.  My boy passed away in late January of this year and, as a tribute to him, he will forever grace the banner of this blog, overseeing these daily entries from up high.

As for that photo, it’s stayed in my wallet ever since.  Even when I travel and I empty my wallet of only the barest necessities, it remains.

Akemi has been incredibly patient and loving with the dogs, lending her unwavering support through the toughest of times.  Back in Toronto, while I went to work, and Bubba and Lulu spent their days at doggy daycare, Akemi would take of the older dogs back at the apartment, feeding them, taking them out, more often than not carrying them when they were too tired to walk.  Back in Vancouver now, she dotes on them.  Pretty amazing for someone who had never considered themselves a dog person – although, in all fairness, at one point, neither did I.

Akemi rewards Jelly for a job well done.
Jelly gets a solo walk that, due to the dysplasia, tends to last a half a block.  We go back home, harness the other dogs and, while I walk them, Akemi pushes Jelly along in her stroller so she can enjoy the afternoon as well.
Occasionally, Bubba will take a break as well.

Some dog-related links:

The Boycott Belfast facebook page is up and running, looking to hold Belfast City Council for their killing of Lennox the pitbull: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Boycott-Belfast-until-it-frees-Lennox-and-addresses-its-BSL-failings/103153756437113

Closer to home, a German Shepherd found injured, lying in a Vancouver dumpster has died of his injuries.  Authorities are looking to question the dog’s owner who, so far, has not made himself available to police: Former owner of German shepherd found in dumpster comes forward

And another campaign to win the release of a dog who has been locked up for 15 months pending its day in court: http://www.facebook.com/ShadowVsRdco.  Outpouring of support for Shadow the dogwww.globaltvbc.comOutpouring of support for Shadow the dog

Here’s one with a happy ending!  Police Respond to Vicious Dog in Baltimore City

And another one: Stolen Basset Hounds Recovered After Five Years 

Finally, shocking news out of Colorado this morning.  Very, very sad.

19 thoughts on “July 20, 2012: Doggly Matters!

  1. I to had never considered myself a dog person but after getting married, I got thrown right in when we got our beagle puppy. I am now owned by her.

    I’m sorry for your loss. It is amazing how important to us they become. Great post and love the photos…

  2. Jelly looks happier when Bubba joins her in the stroller.

    @ Tj Snow – I am “owned” by a beagle too! She has me well trained to do whatever she wants. 😀 Long live our furry little ones.

    Such a cowardly act in Colorado.

  3. @TJ Snow, our dog totally has you wrapped around her paw! And you love it!

    Joe, dogs are the best ever. I love seeing your dogs, they are adorable! And we are all lucky to have them in our lives.

  4. Sweet post. It has made me reminisce about our dog.

    I’ve got my “Lulu” (my nickname for our Alaskan Husky, Lucy) lying attentively at my feet…I think she’s hoping for some of the pepperoni I was eating 😉

    I have always been “a dog person”, but after we lost our family dog when I was in High School, life became too busy for me to be a responsible dog owner (college, career, and then marriage and international travel all got in the way).

    But while living in England, my wife and I fell in love with with our friends’ Sheltie. So a month later we got Luke, our own Sheltie. He was with us from 1995 until about 6 years ago when he accidentally got out one night and was then chased (away) by our neighbor’s teenage kids and their friends. He was never seen again (dispite being collared and registered). Being a purebred Sheltie, we think someone picked him up and didn’t turn him in (the village was notified, the police, and all the local shelters, vets and animal hospitals, but no sign of him has ever turned up).

    After a period of time, we decided to adopt a shelter pet, figuring that if Luke was returned, we would have two dogs, but that would’ve been fine with us. So, we adopted Lucy, our Alaskan Husky. She was a challenge at first, since she had been a stray for a long time, had trust issues, and wasn’t housebroken. We worked through those issues, and gradually got her settled in.

    She is now intensely loyal and loving and we love her too. She also has a distrust of strangers at the door and lets them know it, so we don’t really need the alarm system 😉

    She is so much a part of the family that I can’t imagine life without her. So, everyone take some time to hug your furry companions tonight.

    Thanks for the reminder on our furry friends, Joe!


  5. Oh gosh I love the stroller! I have a friend who got a red wagon to pull her aged Chow Chow around with. People who love their pets warms my heart and you are absolutely stellar. I am so glad you found Akemi. Whatever the future may hold, she is a blessing.

  6. I’m glad about the Max banner. I was wondering if it was hard for you to keep it there, or if you were torn between keeping it or replacing it. I just didn’t think it was appropriate to ask. Needless to say, I’m very pleased with your decision. I love that picture – it makes this place feel like ‘home’, and keeping it up is a wonderful tribute to beautiful Maximus.

    And that Akemi? She’s a keeper. 🙂


  7. G’day Joe

    You certainly know how how to get a girl blubbering. Am glad you are keeping the Maximus banner. As Das said, it feels like home.

    Bless Akemi’s heart.

  8. Hey Joe,

    I have always 💜LOVED💜Maximus as your banner. Family is everything…and when one leaves before we do…we need reminders that can make our heart 🌹SMILE🌹again with memories.

    I will say it again…you are a wonderful father. Do you have a family 📷portrait. I would love to have a copy. Maybe a 🎄Christmas Card🎁 this year. *smiles*

    Best to you Joe and your sweet family,

  9. The stories about abused animals is depressing. But when it’s government agencies that are effectively creating the abuse, as with Lennox and Shadow, it’s infuriating. I have no problems with putting down aggressive dogs proven to be dangerous, but to kill a dog because it “looks” dangerous is ridiculous. And to hold a dog that long without resolving the issue is indeed animal cruelty. As much of a Titanic buff as I am, I had always looked to visiting Belfast some day to see the Harland and Wolf shipyards. Alas, that will never occur now. I will not give that place a penny of my money after their Council’s rude and dismissive handling of the Lennox affair.
    I also agree the stroller is too cute. Jelly has a good gig going there. I’ll remember it if and when my own pooch ever gets to that age and physical condition. I’m also trying to find her a buddy to keep her company when I’m not around, which is a harder process than I anticipated. She’s bossy, so I need to find a dog laid back enough not to trigger her aggression. With people she will put up with any abuse(including kiddie tail and ear tugging), but with other dogs she likes to be the boss. Luckily, her basic temprement is good, so eventually I’ll find a puppy or an older dog she will be happy to pal around with.
    Yes, Colorodo is definitely depressing, the more so since the shooter breaks the stereotype. Now I hope the police are able to get into his apartment without injury, and preferably no damage to the building. As for the Batman movie, I’m still planning to go see it tomorrow with some friends. All I’ll say is, I’m keeping a nearly full cup of soda while I’m watching. Just saying, sugar water can’t stop bullets, but it’s also hard to shoot if you’re being drenched and blinded by the sticky stuff….

  10. Ahh, doggy pictures, how cute. I would probably be more of a dog person if I didn’t sneeze every time I got near one. I think my younger son will have one when he is grown and living elsewhere. He loves animals.

    Have a great weekend!!

  11. Awwwww….love your baby doggies! 🙂 Bubba…Jelly….Lulu…and of course beloved Maximus (may he rest in peace). I love when you tell us about your babies. I feel like I know them and haven’t even met them. 🙂 I can tell just how much your love your baby doggies by how tell us about them, and how much you care for them. You truly love them like they were your real children. I have always said that caring for a dog is like caring for child. They need constant love and attention. They lots of TLC. Joe…you’ve been a wonderful daddy to your doggies. 🙂

  12. Haven’t commented in a while, but I’ve been visiting & reading.

    In my opinion the animal companions in our lives are always a blessing. Despite challenges and sad times, I could not imagine myself without a cat nearby. I came downstairs this morning to find a gigantic hairball lying in the middle of the foyer floor, as if presented there, just for me. The cat’s breakfast waited while I cleaned it up. No problem. It was a reminder that during my last 2 weeks of really busy times, I had not groomed the cats enough…

    Joe and Akemi, bless your hearts for providing such great care and loving kindness, and I extend that blessing to all here who love, care for and provide for their animal companions. How fortunate are we, to have such enrichment in our lives. I smile each time I see dear Max’s photo in the banner.

    May God bless all those involved with the tragedy in Aurora.

    Basil and Stash

  13. With regards to Akemi’s note, sometimes it’s the little acts of kindness that gets us through the hard times.

    I’m not looking through your animal cruelty links. I see enough of that in person. Sometimes it’s hard to get those images out of my head. I did like the police-pitbull story. Personally, the pit bulls we saw in our vet clinic were the best dogs EVER! You couldn’t find a more stoic, or friendly pet. Of course, out of every 100 good pits we saw, we might get 1 bad pit. A bad pit is a scary thing. In the 15 years I worked as a vet tech, I’ve only seen two pit bulls that seemed dangerous (to us). It wasn’t uncommon for the pits to react badly to other animals though.

    As for the Colorado shooting, it’s sad to see such an intelligent person trash their life. Along with the many lives he shattered. It reminds me of the Norway shootings last year. Senseless. Evil. Crazy.

    2cats: Well said.

    Hubby and son are thinking about Dragon con as a vacation idea. Son wants to wear a gas mask and a T’shirt that says “Are you my mummy”. We are all big geeks.

  14. Akemi is a keeper. What a thoughtful heart she has. Your dogs are part of our larger family as well (and I think I speak for everyone on the blog on this point). Thank you for sharing Akemi and the dogs with us.

  15. I lost my four paws male gardian in 2011, to a tumor. Animals are so brave facing pain and desease. They humble me.
    I never quite recovered from losing him.
    Quite recently, I adopted a female. She is a joyful presence in a otherwise dull household.
    I think Jeremias (my dog) would approve.

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