January 7, 2019: Suji Sunday – one day late!

Playing catch-up…

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Frequent flyer.

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Chillin’ with mom.

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Relaxing with/on sis.

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Well?  Aren’t we going?

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Bushed!

Separation Anxiety.  I’m feeling it!

The Suji 2019 limited edition pins are shipping now from Etsy!

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/672487577/suji-lucky-pin-2019?ref=listing_published_alert

 

July 10, 2017: Behind the scenes of a Suji photo shoot!

Suji, our twelve year old special needs senior pug, is inching towards 10k followers on instagram .  Her surprising popularity is a testament to both the little lady herself AND my girlfriend Akemi who is constantly posing and photographing her anywhere and everywhere in search of the just the perfect pic.  Like –

And –

And –

But the truth is there are unsung heroes who work behind the scenes of these photo shoots, sacrificing time and comfort to help secure that one-of-a-kind picture. Not to make this all about me, but I’m referring to me.  I’m usually the guy walking her toward camera or in the background trying to get Suji’s attention so she can face the proper direction or footing the bill for those cappuccinos so she can wear the lid like a hat.

Or locking my elbows so that I can holding her straight up in the air for thirty seconds at a time as the sun beats down on my face…

Awww.  What a great picture of Suji in the garden.

Perfectly edited to crop out visual distractions.

Can we just take a moment here?  FYI, that grimace is a response to a combination of weary shoulders and burning retinas.

And to top it all off her, contract includes a clause that requires her to be hand-fed at all meals!  Just like Anthony Lemke!!!

March 17, 2017: Bubba

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

January 18, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 34 of 91!

Fandom has spoken!  Here are the results of our Name Dark Matter Episode 301 poll.

Over 600 votes were cast and the winner is…

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“Being Better Is So Much Harder”

Now the next thing I’m going to need you to do is identify which character said each of the aforementioned lines.  First one to guess all three correctly gets…something!

So, the Canadian Screen Awards nominees were announced yesterday and, for the second year in a row, Dark Matter failed to receive a nomination in the VFX category.  Here’s why I found this totally baffling (make sure to watch in HD):

Suji’s instagram account is blowing up!  Head on over and invest in Sujiko Co.

https://www.instagram.com/newoldpugsuji/

Don’t miss out on this once in a lifetime opportunity!

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She’s dressed as Rerun from What’s Happening!

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Contemplating life.  And the toy.

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Playtime is exhausting.

January 11, 2017: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 29 of 91!

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What’s this?  Could I have finally given in and granted Jodelle Ferland’s request for a shipboard mascot.

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Director of Photography test tastes the commissary offerings.  Space beer!

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Laying some track for the commissary walk ‘n talk.

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The masterful work of Dark Matter Production Designer Ian Brock and his teams – art and construction departments.

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The early bird catches the wait.  Zoie Palmer arrives on time for the production meeting.  Rookie mistake!

Munitions factory safety graphics by 1st Assistant Art Director Sumeet Vats and 2nd Assistant Art Director Victor Mare.

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 TASTYFACE!!!

December 18, 2016: Suji and Secrets!

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In a matter of days, we’ll be in Montreal and my mother’s house will come alive with the pitter patter of little paws – roughly thirty-two in all not counting the feline variety.  In preparation, we’re shopping, gift-wrapping, packing, and bathing…

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Suji deserved the spa treatment after a thoroughly exhausting afternoon at Trinity Bellwoods Park for the monthly pug grumble.  Last month, the turnout was good with approximately thirty pugs showing.  Today’s turnout was…er…significantly less so.  The bone chilling weather may have had something to do with it.

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Despite being bundled up, Suji has some second thoughts about this Canadian winter.  Pictured above, this is her “Get me back to that warm barn in Portland!” face.

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Double-bundled for her enjoyment – and yours!

So, tomorrow, we’ll load up the car with gifts, windshield washer fluid, and that outline for my next script.  The plan is to celebrate Christmas with the family AND get two acts into my new script.  Secrets will be revealed.  And some characters are going to wish they hadn’t been.

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The man with all the secrets.

December 17, 2016: Suji enters rehab!

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Yes, years of hard living have taken their toll.    So, today, Suji entered rehab…

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First, a little test of those gimpy hindquarters.  Yes, they’re weak and she suffers from hip dysplasia, but she can really motor when she gets up a full head of steam.

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Into the tank for her hydrotherapy session.  The handle atop her little red life vest gave her the appearance of pug luggage.

Off to a slow start but, by the end of the session, she was positively motoring.

Then, it was time for her laser therapy.

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Doggles?  Check!

We concluded things with her daily carpet run.

December 12, 2016: Dark Matter Season 3 – Day 17 of 91!

Boy, I’m not one to get all emotional, but Facebook 2016’s Year in Review video really took me back –

To last month when I uploaded most of those photos.

Ah, I remember that cast dinner like it was November.  And that random photo of Roger Cross I uploaded to accompany his Q&A less than a week ago really stirs those distant memories.  And that shot I took seven days ago of actress Torri Higginson (Dark Matter’s Commander Truffault) giving the camera both barrels. Time flies like an arrow, shot into a target from two feet away…

Remembrances of things past drift by as elusive and fleeting as a child’s cigar smoke, instances from a time long ago… November 26th – Akemi and Jodelle sitting at the chocolate shop, November 28th – Director Bruce McDonald sitting in a prep meeting for the episode he’s presently shooting, November 15th (!) – Jodelle in my office!  It’s like seeing your entire life flash before your eyes, provided you’re a month old infant.

But I can’t get hung on the past.  After all, I’ve got a show to make!

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Testing, testing, one, two, three!  Drew Williams and Rachelle Audet with the early morning sound check.

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It’s the new-look airlock for the Ishida research station.

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Right through these doors, adventure awaits!

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At this point, do you even need to be told?

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Script Supervisor Brad Wetherly follows up Friday’s suit and tie look with Monday’s Mickey Mouse Club look.

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It is COLD in our second stage.  How cold?  So cold that street urchins come in off the streets to warm themselves by our tiny heaters.

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Remember the mag-lev concept?

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Well here it is in all of its beatdown glory.  Wait until you see it in action!

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Thanks to everyone who inquired about Suji.  As we suspected, she was suffering from a bladder infection but is now on antibiotics and has improved considerably.

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Bath time!  Whereas Bubba and Lulu do the tub, Suji is more of a kitchen sink bather.

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Her after-bath outfit.  Toasty warm.

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On Sunday, she and Bubba went out for a stroll – first to the park, then by the pet shop for some browsing.

Ironically, our sole purchase was for Lulu.  New boots!  Lookit her go!

Graceful, no?

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When Suji’s tired, she’ll simply burrow under a blanket and go to sleep.  Lights out!

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Poor Bubba.  Now there’s one more girl in the house to boss him around.

This is your last chance to get your questions in for Dark Matter director Ron Murphy!  Any questions submitted after midnight tonight will be subject to heavy fines and penalties.

December 4, 2016: Snow Monkeys on the brink! Suji settles in!

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It’s all over but the crying (as my dad used to say).  Despite a valiant effort, and an impressive win in their last week of regular season play, it looks like my Snow Monkeys will come up one game short in their bid to grab that last playoff spot. There were a lot of missed opportunities this year, one of the biggest being our 1 point loss (a single point!) early in the season.  Ah well.

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Suji, meanwhile, has settled in and was showing off some surprising team colors early this morning.  Apparently, she’s a HUGE Drew Brees fan.

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Because she’s a little unsteady on her hind quarters, slippy-sliding across the hardwood floor, we’ve outfitted her with grippy doggy boots to help her negotiate her new surroundings.

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Lulu has taken a particular interest in her, intrigued by the interesting-smelling newcomer.

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They’ve even been hanging around together.

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But Suji seems to prefer human company.  She’s a lap dog in the truest sense of the term.

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Today, we hit the park.  Here’s Suji, ready to take flight.

And she’s off!

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A quick trip to Homesense snagged us three new doggy beds and this stylish festive hat.

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Ah, that sense of wonder…

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She’s growing more comfortable in her new home.  This afternoon, she even padded up to the patio door and asked to go out to pee.  At least I think that’s what she was doing.

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Enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon.

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Like most pugs, she enjoys lazing about.  But she’s also pretty spunky, jumping out of bed to greet us when we come home, and running the carpet from our apartment to the elevator like a dog half her age.  She also LOVES to sleep in, which is something we have in common.

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Lulu breaks in the new dog bed.

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Relaxed.

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Suji took a trip to Homesense, Lulu got to go to the dog park, and Bubba joined us for a visit to the pet shop.  After every light he crosses, he’ll sit down on the sidewalk and patiently await his “good walking” reward.

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14 and still going strong!

Well, back at it tomorrow for me.  Main unit is at “the warehouse” while 2nd unit shoots (and I do mean that literally) in The Raza underbelly.

December 3, 2016: Introducing…Suji!

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Yesterday was the day!  Akemi and I went down to Toronto’s Union Station to meet the newest member of the family – Suji (aka Sujiko), who comes to us all the way from Portland, Oregon via The Pacific Pug Rescue.  Akemi saw little Suji (formerly Suzie) on their website a few weeks back and instantly fell in love.  She’d had a rough past few years, living in a barn with her brother (who was apparently also adopted by someone in the entertainment industry), and was suffering from a few issues, the chiefest being some mobility issues that cause her to drag her hind legs a little – but don’t keep her from getting around.  She’ll need a family with a lot of patience and love – and, fortunately for her, we have oodles of both.

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We picked her up in Jelly’s old stroller, bundled her up for the Canadian winter, and then we were off.

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On the way back to our place, she stopped to show off her getting-around skills.

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Akemi is, of course, super excited to finally have her here.  Suji, for her part, was downright exhausted from the flight.

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She settled in with her face toy and spent much of the day sitting around, getting attention.

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Then, when I got back from set, I helped Akemi give her a bath.

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Last night, she slept on the bed with us (natch) but, unlike Bubba and Lulu, proved herself a little burrower, tunneling under the blankets and snuggling up beside Akemi for most of the night.

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Akemi wasted no time indoctrinating her in our family way = Christmas sweater and antlers.

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Then, it was a stroll through the park.

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She has a little trouble getting around and is downright wobbly on those back legs, but with a little support, she can walk with the best of them.  In fact, she was positively motoring around at one point and I had to trot to keep up.

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Toy overload!

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Suji LOVES Jodelle (Ferland, Dark Matter’s FIVE) who came over today just to say hi and welcome her to Toronto.

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She was an interesting way of sitting – like she’s poised at the top of a slide.

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As the younger sister, looks like she’ll be getting a lot of Bubba’s hand-me-downs.

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 Super cute.

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We took her for a general check-up today.  Aside from the rear legs, some arthritis, and a small eye issue that should clear up within the week, she is good to go. She’s a little underweight at 12.6 pounds, but I’m confident that will change as she’s really taken to the raw food we got her.  She also enjoys liver treats and being hand fed.  Reminds me A LOT of Jelly.

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The happy family.

Special thanks to Ann and Josh who flew her in all the way from Portland.  And thanks to the Pacific Pug Rescue for facilitating the trip.

Suji will be enjoying her golden years in fine, loving style.

Akemi’s account…

September 10, 2016: Tokyo Travel Day! Enjoy the Dogs!

So, what did you all think of last night’s Dark Matter double-header?

Thrilling?

Touching?

Shocking?

All of the above?

Do tell!  Leave your feedback in the comments section.  I’ll peruse your thoughts once I land in Japan!

In the meantime, enjoy some dog pics.  Bubba, Lulu, and special guest star Petunia!

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April 2, 2016: Dog Day Afternoon!

Oh, damn.  Today, was our first early pre-flight weigh-in.  Bubba tipped the scales at a negotiable 20.4 lbs.  Lulu, however, was a robust 22.4 lbs!  They both have to trim down to an even 20 lbs before they can fly.  Fortunately for us, they have roughly two and a half months to get into shape!

Forget prep, production, and post – THE most stressful part of working on this show is transporting the dogs to B.C. and back.  And we only have two!

A few of you have asked, so I’ll be honest with you.  The day I adopt that third pug is the day I’ve decided to stay put in Vancouver.

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June 2, 1015: Jelly’s Last Run

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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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May 29, 2015: Two weeks to the Dark Matter world premiere! A Jelly update!

This blog's resident television critic: Akemi.
This blog’s resident television critic: Akemi.

“If this series not popular, I really can’t believe.”

– Akemi last night after watching the producer’s cut of episode #113, our season finale.

Her words echo the sentiments of my writing partner who said pretty much the same thing, in less economical fashion, after viewing prod cuts of our first two episodes:

“So, having seen the first two eps in close to finished form, I’m left thinking this: If this show doesn’t succeed, then I don’t know what people want. This is as good as television sci-fi gets. Seriously, if we don’t get a second season, then I should just retire and you should go to the Sorbonne and eventually open a restaurant.”

Well, I’m cautiously optimistic because, when it comes right down to it…

Me: I hope the show does well.

Akemi: Me too.  The dogs have to eat.

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Wow!  The gang at MenLifestyle offer up this handy guide to Dark Matter complete with series overview, character descriptions, and cast bios:

http://www.menlifestyle.sg/nbcuniversal-announce-dark-matter-will-premiere-syfy-14-june-starhub-ch-517/

Get ready Brazil.  Dark Matter is coming your way…

Win tickets to the Dark Matter June 12th premiere screening in Amsterdam:

http://www.insidegamer.nl/artikel/117091/prijsvraag-win-kaarten-voor-de-premiere-van-dark-matter

Premiering June 15th in France:

http://www.frenchgeekmovement.fr/dark-matter-un-nouveau-space-opera-sur-syfy/

Jelly - cold in the morning, so Akemi bundles her up.
Jelly – cold in the morning, so Akemi bundles her up.

And, finally, thanks to everyone who inquired after or offered well-wishes for Jelly.  She’s been very low energy these past couple of days.  At this points, it’s in the hands of the vets and, hopefully, their ability to locate the treatment she needs.

Jelly - a notoriously messy eater, so Akemi got her a little something.
Jelly – a notoriously messy eater, so Akemi got her a little something.

Jelly, of course, thanks each and every one of you for your concern.