This started, in early August, out to be a happy article. Ten days later, the world had crashed down on it.


It started on August 12, when our friend Barb Techel spent the day on a real film set, where her chairbound girl, Joie, was appearing in a small part in a forthcoming (in 2014) film, The Surface. Directed by Gil Cates Jr (son of Gilbert Cates, director of such films as I Never Sang For My Father and Emmy-winning TV producr), the film is currently in production in Wisconsin, near where Barb lives. It's the fruition of a long-standing dream of producer Jeff Gendelman, himself a Badger state boy. It will star Mimi Rogers, Sean Astin and Chris Mulkey.


Joie had only a walk-on (more accurately a roll-on) part as the pet of a girl played by 12-year-old Megan Gendelman, the producer's daughter. But as we've shown on this site before, a very short scene can take a full day to shoot properly.


So, with her screen premiere just a year away, life was good for Joie.


It didn't last.


A week later, Joie yelped when being put to bed. She did the same when she woke up in the morning. She didn't want her food.


Barb did all the right things. She got Joie into the vet right away and scheduled a CT myelogram. The results were not good. There was a herniated disc and a fluid build-up at the base of the brain. Surgery was too risky. Medications were the only hope.


On August 22, after Joie had declined quickly, Barb did the loving, merciful and incredibly difficult right thing. She let Joie's suffering end.


Joie was just five years old, and had lived with Barb for just a bit more than ten months.


Barb has announced that she's taking a little time off from blogging and updating Facebook. But we expect her back in a few months, and we expect that we will see another special needs dog in her future.


The film editing process cannot be predicted, and it could be that Joie's brief performance will be left on the cutting room floor. We hope not, and we will continue to monitor the Facebook page for The Surface and hope for the best.


We will also celebrate the second annual Walk 'N Roll Dog Day on September 22, and urge you to do the same.


Most of all, we will send healing thoughts to Barb, who filled the last ten months of a disabled dachshund's life with love and kindness.