Thanks to all of those who inquired about Akemi’s family back in Osaka. All are fine following yesterday’s earthquake – although her father was in an elevator at the time it struck and initially assumed he was suffering a stroke.
Meanwhile, some 300 miles northeast of Osaka, our old friend Martin Gero is enjoying some time in Tokyo. The other night, he texted me the following photo with the message “Wish you were here”:
Actually – as my father would say – “more guts than brains”, but I’ll take it…on a bowl of rice!
Akemi and I used to make an annual trip to Japan every fall, shelling out $300/day for a dog-sitter to live in the house, drink our booze, and take care of the pooches while we were away. Later, when our dog-sitter got a full-time gig, I took to flying my sister to Vancouver to take care of the pack. And when we made the move to Toronto, I figured it would be that much easier given the mere 1 hour flight time between here and Montreal.
But after adopting our new (old) senior pug, Suji, it became apparent that it would not be as simple as we first assumed. Taking care of a senior pug – THIS senior pug – can be challenging. For a number of reasons…
When Suji first came to us, she was described as “sassy” and “spunky”. To that, I would add “cantankerous”. She positively freaks out in the presence of: short stocky bald men, big dogs, friendly small dogs, loud noises, sun reflections, people who pet her while she is out for her walk, people who try to kiss her face. And, I suppose it’s understandable given the fact she was literally raised in a barn for a portion of her life. Still, it makes going out in public a somewhat unpredictable experience as you never know how she is going to react.
Akemi is always up at 7:00 a.m. And with her, the dogs. After I wake up about an hour later, I will always find Suji sitting at the bottom of the stairs, anxiously awaiting me. It’s the same thing when we come back home from shopping, seeing a movie, or just going down to the lobby to check the mail. Suji is positively overjoyed and, should one of us return without the other, she’ll charge out and down the hallway, all the way to the elevators in search of her missing mom or dad. Late last year, Akemi and I took a day trip to Montreal and left the dogs in the care of a local sitter. While our frenchie Lulu trotted off to explore her new digs without so much as a backwards glance, Suji sensed something was up and wouldn’t leave Akemi’s side, attempting to quickly follow as we headed out the door. During her stay with the sitter, she was very quiet – which, if you know Suji, is very unlike her.
EXPRESSING THAT BLADDER!
One of the reasons the Pacific Pug Rescue figured Suji might prove difficult to place was because of her inability to urinate freely. She needs to have her bladder expressed – which, really, sounds a lot more complex than it actually is. The procedure usually involves someone (aka Akemi) hunkering down behind her and gently applying pressure to her bladder (just below her stomach) until she empties out. On the occasions when I do it, my “system” involves holding her propped up against my hip with one hand while my other squeezes her lower abdomen until her hind legs shoot up like they’re spring loaded, and she pees. To any neighbor watching us from a distance, I undoubtedly look like some guy urinating on his terrace morning and night.
Although she’s incapable of urinating on her own, Suji poops just fine – often, when you least expect it. She tends to do so when she’s trotting around, blissfully unaware. Other times, at night, she’ll simply sit up – a sign that she needs to go and one that will have me scrambling out of bed with her at 2:00, 3:00, sometimes 4:00 in the a.m. If you can get her on some sort of schedule, you can control her bowel movements to a certain degree. This may see me scooping her up out of bed first thing in the morning and holding her over the toilet until she slowly releases. Thus, have I earned the nickname “The Poop Whisperer”.
Eye meds, home administered cartrophen injections, estrogen therapy, anti-flammatories – just a few of meds Suji takes on a semi-regular basis. When she first came to us, she was prone to urinary tract infections and our vet informed us she was developing antibiotic-resistant strains. As a result, we’ve been exceptionally careful, purchasing those economy-size disinfectant baby wipes at Costco and wiping her down after every bathroom break. I’m happy to report that our commitment to cleanliness paid off and, after that initial first month, Suji has only suffered a single UTI.
Yep. Adorable, but a handful.
So, what do you think? Do you have what it takes to be a Suji-sitter? Apply in the comments section!