May 1, 2017: Happy Birthday, Suji!

Our girl turned 12 today (even though she looks 20!).

Her other life.  This was the pic on the Pacific Pug Rescue adoption page.

We quickly discovered she was a little girl with a big personality.

Yo, Four-Eyes!

Handle with care!

On the bridge of The Raza, taking her to FTL.

Running The Raza corridors.

Next week on a new season of The Bachelorette…

We can do it!

French bulldog undercover.

She and Bubba were like an old married couple.  Pictured above, holding hands.

Working on her tan with Lulu.

Sujipillar.

Toting her snack-packed backpack.

Oh my!

Stylin’.

Looking gangsta!

In her jammy-jams.

Here’s to another 12!

April 1, 2017: Dedicated to the Dogs!

We received the retouched selects from our family photo session at Off Leash Studio.  Some great shots of 11 year old Suji, 9 year old Lulu and, of course 14.5 year old Bubba taken the week before he passed away.

This is one of my favorites.  Note Lulu actually smiling for the pic.

Suji and her classic “What’s up?” look.

Suji and her wheels.

Our dignified older man.

Lulu says “Whatever!”.

She has a way of melting your heart.

Suji demonstrates her earthquake-preparedness stance.

Bubba shaking it up.

He looks like he’s still a puppy!

Ready to go on vacation.

Like an old married couple.

And a rare family pic.

March 11, 2017: The Bubba Update

Sadly, it isn’t good news for our boy.  A follow-up with our oncologist revealed that the tumors in his lungs have grown since our last visit one month ago.  As a result, she suggested we discontinue the Palladia treatment and focus on making the most of the time he has left.

We’ll continue administering the Prednisone which will, hopefully, make him more comfortable.  Otherwise, we’ll be going homeopathic – mushrooms, Chinese herbs, turmeric, and goat’s milk – in the longshot hope that something may help.

We’ll also continue with his acupuncture sessions – although I’m dubious about their efficacy.  I didn’t really notice a change in him after the first two appointments but am willing to demonstrate a little patience, only because we DID see some surprising results with Jelly years ago.

Some days he’s down – sleeping mostly, eating reluctantly, disinterested in engaging.  Other days, it’s almost as if he’s back to his old self again – eating voraciously,  barking loudly to convey his displeasure with the pace of the meal preparation or our impertinence in actually going out without him.

He’s still up for his walks and is always excited to go out, but he has slowed own considerably.  It’s hard to believe that, less than six months ago, neighbors and passersby were commenting on how spry and puppy-like he seemed for a senior. Now, it’s a slow stroll to park and back.  It’s particularly heartbreaking for Akemi who has been his constant companion and champion these many years.  She has taken to wearing sunglasses on their daily outings in the event she starts feeling emotional.

They’ve really been inseparable these past seven years and have formed a special bond.   Now, as he grows needier, it isn’t uncommon for him to climb upstairs (a Herculean feat for his old bones) to look for her or wander about anxiously when she’s not home.

Tomorrow, at Akemi’s request, we’ll be attending our own gallery shoot at a local photo studio.

I guarantee I won’t be the only one dressed up for the occasion.

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.

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 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…

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.

May 17, 2015: Jelly

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I was on set Tuesday night when I received a text from Akemi:  “Jelly’s very very sick.”

That was one “very” too many.  I jumped in the car and rushed home, bundled Jelly up and delivered her to the emergency 24 hour animal hospital.  There she remained, overnight, while they ran a battery of tests.  The following morning came the bad news.  Jelly was suffering from a host of maladies: extreme arthritis, internal bleeding, antibiotic-resistant infection,dehydration, and kidney failure.  She was not going to get better. Euthanasia was recommended.

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Akemi and I went into visit her that night after work.  She was atypically quiet. Her appetite was non-existent.  A second doctor who also examined her informed us that she wasn’t going to get any better and that we should consider euthanasia as the humane option.

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We visited her the next night and she was still unresponsive, lethargic, and not at all interested in eating.  Over the past months, she’d been going downhill and had all but lost the ability to walk, managing the briefest of carpet runs (covering the distance from our apartment door the elevators in a blazing five full minutes) with the assistance of a harness for her gimpy hind legs – but I held out hope because she seemed to be in good spirits and she was still enjoying her food.  But that was no longer the case.  And so, after much agonizing, I made the decision.

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Word had gotten around set and the response was swift.  Melissa (TWO) texted me, Marc (ONE) called, and I even received an unexpected hug from resident Dark Matter bad boy Anthony (THREE).  It was all very touching – but, of course, didn’t make what I was about to do any easier.

I picked Jelly up after main unit wrap on Friday night and brought her home for her last weekend with us.  But I had decided that I would make it her best weekend ever!  Akemi got her ground beef and vanilla ice cream and, Saturday, she joined us for a patio brunch and enjoyed mini blueberry muffins and the attention of a dozen passersby who stopped to shower her with attention.

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I looked up a mobile veterinary service that would come to the house so that Jelly could leave us surrounded by the comforts of home (away from home).  I was ready.  Akemi was ready.

IMG_7565However, Jelly, it turns out, was not.  She rallied.  Like the Boston Red Sox in the ALC Championship series, she came back from certain death.  She perked up.  Her appetite returned.  And suddenly, miraculously, she was back to her normal self. Today, she spent the afternoon sunning herself and chowing down on fresh chicken breast.

Hey, what's all the fuss?
Hey, what’s all the fuss?

I’m sure she’s still suffering from the arthritis and the kidney failure and who knows what else – but so long as she’s clearly happy, why not let her enjoy her ground beef, blueberry muffins and vanilla ice cream just a little longer?

She’s in no hurry to go anywhere so who am I to rush her?