Hard to believe that when we first got her, Suji needed a wheelchair to get around. Now, even though she and Lulu get a lift to the park, she’s a dedicated walker. And if we’re ever late for her morning or evening walks, she let us know it!
Inspired by Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Lulu and I look to clean up her toy box…
Hmmmm. This could be a problem. Whenever I’m working, Suji has to be sitting up on the couch as well, pressed up against me. At night, she’s on the bed, also pressed up against me when she sleeps. Apparently, when I leave the house or am gone for a while, she paces anxiously and, when I come through the door on my return, she absolutely loses it.
I am already feeling guilty about being away for her for nine whole days when we travel to Japan at the end of November.
Quelle excitation! A few days ago, Suji got the first-page feature in a Japanese dog magazine. The Aiken No Tomo profile offered insight into her past (rescued a little over a year and a half ago), ailments (some rear leg weakness), likes (treats and walks), dislikes (vacuum cleaners and loud noises), and her Instagram page (newoldpugsuji).
At the same time, she was being spotlighted as part of a dog rescue pop-up event in at one of the major Shinjuku department stores.
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!
Curious? Have a question burning a hole in your cerebellum? Well, you’re in luck because I’m feeling answery. I’m opening up the mailbag so if you have a query, need some clarification on a matter related to yours truly, or want my opinion on those new glasses you purchased the other day, then post away in the comments section of this blog. I’ll have responses for you in tomorrow’s entry!
Meanwhile, on the dog front…
Lulu is on the mend but must wear the cone of shame for three weeks. As you can tell from the photo, she is thrilled.
Is Piano Piano Restaurant’s Hornet Pizza (sausage, cheese, honey, chili, and black olives) the best pizza in Toronto? I would say, yes.
For dessert: Ovaltine soft serve, snickerdoodle, nutella tiramisu, and truffles.
I’ve had a hankering to do a Fried Chicken Friday for ages. Thinking of meeting up with Toronto’s resident fried chicken expert (and former Exec Producer’s assistant) Elliot Sokolsky, to hit 2-3 places next week, including this new establishment Ivon just told me about:
This morning, I was up at 6:25 a.m. so that I could almost drop my mother off at the train station. I say “almost” because, as we were backing down the driveway, my mother noticed her neighbor across the street getting into her car. As it turned out, she was also headed to the train station so, in the end, I didn’t have to bother – although, in truth, dropping mom off at the station ranks nowhere near as bothersome as having to wake up at 6:25 a.m.
Still, I made the most of the early start, tackling that script, revising the tease and then hammering out the first and second acts, hitting the top of page 32, well over the halfway mark. In addition, I got in a 45 minute work-out, 4 dog walks, a Japanese lesson, and even managed to squeeze in one 30 minute nap. I’m on fire! And I owe it all to an absence of internet.
Well, technically, almost an absence of internet because, while mom doesn’t have internet, my sister does and I am over her house twice a day to feed the cat…and update this blog.
Although I’m missing the gang back in Toronto, I am hanging with a new pack while in Montreal…
Felix – the love of mom’s life. The spoiled one.
Caramel – the male dog with the female dog’s name. The cranky one.
Ralph – high-strung. The jumpy one.
Fernando – blind in both eyes. The gentle one.
Kona – my new best friend. The crazy one.
I fee like I’m putting a gang together for a heist. It’s like Ocean’s Eleven, but good and with dogs.
Oh yeah, finished another book yesterday which puts me at 129 for the year to date – but, in all fairness, about a third of those were graphic novels so, if you’re a purist, it’s a mere 85 or so titles. I quite liked A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window, a contemporary riff on Rear Window. Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible was an emotionally exhausting but incredibly rewarding read about a missionary family’s experience in late 1950’s Congo. Both Sue Burke’s Semiosis and Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time approach a similar premise from different angles – human colonists’ otherworldly encounters with alien life forms – but they both deliver a brilliant hard SF exploration of extraterrestrial biological and sociological evolution. All highly recommended.
About a month ago, I agreed to take part in a showrunner/director speed meeting event that will essentially involve me sitting down with eight pre-selected directors for 10 minutes each over the course of an evening. “Wait a minute,”you’re no doubt thinking. “You’re not a freakin’ showrunner!” Well, while technically true, I was a showrunner and do feel pretty good about my chances of showrunning again in the not too distant future. So I thought “Why not?” It would be nice to get to know some people currently not on my radar.
Anyway, I agreed and, last week, was sent a list of over a hundred directors and instructed to choose eight. Eight out of 120+!
So I sat down, researched credits and reviewed reels. I crossed off the list the dozen directors I already know simply because I’m already familiar with their work and if they really want to sit down with me, all they have to do is send me an email.
After the first lengthy review, I’d narrowed the list down to 25. Then, over the course of that afternoon, 16. Then 10. And, finally 6. Until I realized I actually needed to choose 8 candidates, so I went back, doubled that number to 12, and then wrestled with indecision for the next two days.
Until it eventually dawned on me that, rather than narrow down my choices to a mere six eight, I could simply reach out to some of the directors on my short list and actually meet up with them outside of the planned event – for LONGER THAN 10 MINUTES!
So I did. I reached out and ended up meeting three amazingly talented young female directors. Over the course of a leisurely lunch, we discussed the television industry, their respective backgrounds and longterm goals, and I imparted nuggets of wisdom like: “It’s the small moments that make an episode,” “Don’t be crazy!”, and, most importantly, “Try the grilled octopus. It’s delicious!”.
I would have reached out to more but I’m amazed by the number of industry professionals who aren’t on twitter. In some ways, I get it. I’m not a huge fan of the platform either, but I do recognize its value in providing quick and convenient online connections.
Anyway, to make a long story short (or, more to the point, bring this rambling blog entry to a close), I’ve chosen my eight directors and look forward to learning as much about them as possible – in ten minutes.
Also, the results of my recent online poll are in. And Akemi breathes a sigh of relief…
Finally – When we first adopted Suji, she could barely get around, dragging her back legs around wherever she went. Over a year later, she’s such an avid walker that she gets downright angry if we’re ever late for her morning stroll…