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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.