International film festival to fête Mademoiselle Junior

In a clear tribute to my skills as an acting coach, this April's Riverside International Film Festival has invited Rooki Kahoo, dog, to present the world premiere of her debut motion picture, Roo's Dream.

This epic tale pits Good against Evil, as the hopes and dreams of La Rukiña, a humble Mexican desert dog, are shattered by Daddy, a world-class killjoy who would be nothing if he didn't own a leash.

Please direct all media inquiries to Roo's agent, Don King.

Roo's first time off leash in two weeks

Mary, caregiver extraordinaire who has been spending a couple of hours each day to help me and to walk Rooki, took this photograph of us on the first walk I was able to go on. As soon as Roo saw any water, she jumped right in. It was great to be out, even though a patch of mud and slush made me shuffle like a 100-year-old hoarder trying to find his glasses under a pile of old slippers. There won't be any venturing into the backwoods trails that Roo loves so much for a while. Luckily, there are a few places to take her where she can run and where it's flat and safe for me to walk.

I have been warned by my surgeon, Dr. Gordon Groh, that falling would mean, "a real problem." By that I think he means that if I don't shoot myself he will be obliged to in the name of culling the mentally insufficient from the herd.

Speaking of Dr. Groh, he did fail me in one substantial regard: he didn't generate even a tiny fraction of the horrendous pain shoulder replacement surgery is known for. Here I was, looking forward to some good old-fashioned agony, writhing around, groaning and sweating, maybe even hallucinating when it became unbearable in the middle of the night. Instead, all I got was a little boo-boo. That guy knows how to operate. He took me apart and put me back together with new parts and I can barely tell he was in there.  

Tomorrow is my first post-op visit with him, and if all goes according to plan, the rehab will begin with mild exercises. I haven't been allowed to use the arm at all, so I have no idea what to expect, though I imagine it's going to be clunky. In theory, at the end of about three months I should have a fair amount of range of motion and strength.

I have to use the dictation software built into the computer to write. It's worse than typing only with the left-hand, requiring as many edits per sentence as there are words in it. It might work better with Roo's enunciation. 

VIDEO: Roo greets me after I get out of the hospital

On the way home from the hospital, we stopped to pick Roo up. Under that coat,  my right arm is in a sling. I couldn't risk Junior jumping on me, and so we had to leave the gate closed for a few minutes. The lady to the left is Sandra, of Sandra Lee's Critters, where Roo boarded. Roo absolutely loves her, as do all the dogs were boarding there. Roo came home completely without any signs of nervousness at all, which was mind blowing. Sandra is the greatest.

Roo at boarding

Sandra, owner of Sandra Lee's dog boarding place, send me a few pictures of Roo over the last couple of days. I don't know how she has the time with the amount of attention she showers on each dog. All the dogs — boarders as well as her own— follow her around relentlessly. This is a picture of the flirtatious Miss Roo with her latest dalliance, Winston. It looks like her first conquest, Rooster didn't survive the cut.

A couple of hours ago the nerve block wore off. Ouch! But it'll all be worth it. And I can't wait to see little Bearface tomorrow.

Is it just me, or do other people get attached to their dogs too?

They don't build 'em like they used to

Because my sawbones, Dr. Groh, builds 'em better than new.

Everything went well. No pain whatsoever — for the time being, anyway, because there is a nerve block which completely paralyzes the arm. I can't move it but on the other hand, since there is only another hand — sorry there's a joke in there someplace but I just can't find it right now — I also can't feel it.

They kept me in the recovery room for a long time because I did something called vagling. I'll tell you about it some other time.

Best of all, there was a text from Sandra, where Rooki is staying, that she met a boy named rooster and they chased each other around in circles in the ice and snow.

I sure do miss Junior.

Roo knows something's up

She has been stealing everything in sight - a hat, a glove and a shoe - and taken them all to her bed. I have to be in the hospital tomorrow morning. There's terrible weather on the way - the coldest February day in history here, around -8 tomorrow morning, and snow predicted for the rest of today. That means Rooki is going to have to go into boarding later today. I was hoping to drop her off in the morning before surgery, but I can't risk there being bad roads and being late for that. I'm going to take her for one last hike in the snow. It'll be her last for a long time. Hopefully, that'll tire her out a little. Worse yet, there are supposed to be high winds accompanying the cold blast, and wind frightens Roo. Wind in a new place, when she thinks she's been abandoned, is going to be a real bummer for her. And she knows something's up.