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Sunday, June 29, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour


Gibson, my co-editor!
As many of you know, I’m an author, photographer, journalist, blogger, editor, and public relations specialist by trade. My brief reply to anyone who asks what I do for a living is simply “author and photojournalist.” I love the written word as much as I love capturing life on film (or digital disk as it is today). In addition to this FiveSibes™ blog, I also administer the companion FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9News & Reviews Facebook page, and am a contributing writer to American PetMagazine and Dog Writers Association of America’s Ruff Drafts. I also host a show that airs on Dog Works Radio called “The Sibe Vibe,” where my producer and co-host, Robert Forto, shares the mic with me each month as we interview and chat with Siberian Husky rescue volunteers and “hu-parents,” authors, artists, singers, movie producers, mushers, trainers, who all are passionate about the breed of Siberian Husky, as well as Canine Epilepsy and health experts, veterinarians, holistic practitioners, and more. It’s a wonderful and informative hour shared with pretty awesome folks who all love our canine companions!



The purpose of today’s “My Writing Process” or #mywritingprocess blog tour is to open a window to allow readers in for a visit to my world of writing. I am honored to be invited to join in this tour by author, pet columnist, and canine parent Peggy Frezon of Peggy’s Pet Place blog, whose books include Dieting With My Dog, Heart to Heart Hand to Paw, and The Dieting with my Dog Guide to Weight Loss and Maintenance. Check out all of her works on her website at: www.peggyfrezon.com. Thanks, Peggy, for inviting me along!



In order for me to participate in the hop, I need to answer the following questions, so here we go!


The cover of my current book.


1. What am I working on?

Chloe with copies of my last published book.
I am always working on several projects at one time! I told you I love the written word, right?! First up, I am getting ready to publish a book on Canine Epilepsy that is very near and dear to my heart. It’s title is EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy and it features 122 stories about 125 beautiful dogs from across the world who are living with, or had lived with, Canine Epilepsy. In addition to these beautiful heartfelt stories (and yes, tissues will be required in order to read this book!), there is also an informative and important resources section. The book is tentatively scheduled for publication this August through ArcticHouse Publishing.



Harley with my newest FiveSibes Tale.
In December, I released Buddy, the Christmas Husky~A True Holiday Miracle, a book for all ages and all seasonsillustrated by the talented Barbara K. Slocum, and this month, I just released my second FiveSibes Tale, Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness that is a children’s book illustrated by the very talented Michelle Littler. In this book, a few furry friends were also introduced in addition to my FiveSibes—Harley, Gibson, Wolf, Chloe, and Bandit. I am currently working on my third FiveSibes Tale with Michelle that is titled Cooking With Chloe: Learning About Healthy Recipes and will feature some more furpals, as well as a few extra “treats” I know readers and their parents will love! I’m pretty excited about that! The FiveSibes Tales are also published through ArcticHousePublishing.



Wolf checking on our FiveSibes blog.
And, of course, I always try to keep up with different news and fun snippets of life with five Siberian Huskies on my FiveSibes blog. And I have a new article on healthy canine treats in the upcoming issue of American Pet Magazine, and am working on a Canine Epilepsy awareness article for their following issue. And…I’m working on a fiction novel and several short fiction stories.



2. Why do I write what I do? How to answer this question is the real question! I guess bottom line is I love to write and I love the subjects I write about, whether my FiveSibes, Siberian Huskies, dogs in general, pet health, life with pets, and life in general. I have always felt that there is so much hard, sad, and bitter news out there that we hear about every day. I want to write something so that when the reader is done, I’ve brought a smile to their face and brought them a little joy through my written words.



3. How does my writing process work?
My radio show writing station.

My process varies. I may be working on one story, article, poem, or book and suddenly another idea will pop into my head. I keep a “notes” file so that I can finish up what I’m currently working on and then not forget my “great idea” when it’s time to move on to the next project. However, as anyone who follows a creative muse can tell you, sometimes you just have to jump ship and work on the new idea if the creative juices are flowing!



Bandit checks FiveSibes Facebook comments.
I write in rough draft format first, then go back and edit about a zillion times. I also do my own marketing, which I will admit, is not my top priority even though it really needs to be. I would love, love, love to have a marketing person on board my writing ship as it is very time consuming and I’d much rather be writing! I do love being connected to readers and fans via social networking and am quite active on my FiveSibes Facebook page, as well as Instagram and Twitter (where I can be found under @FiveSibesMom).



Huskies, coffee, laptop ~ ready to write!
Once a die-hard writer by handwriting, then by computer, while I do have an official writing desk, I have adopted the motto, “have laptop, will write!” And typically I am writing in my favorite chair or out on my deck, and always with a steaming mug of coffee and one, two, three, four, or all five of my furry best friends snoozing around my feet! Which really brings me full circle, since they are my inspiration for all my canine-related writing!


 Wherever I am writing, my furbabies are close by!

As part of this tour, I need to now pass the pen along to three more writers (in no specific order) who are very talented and will share their #mywritingprocess in the tour starting next week. It would be wonderful if you popped over to visit them and see where their muses lead them on this wonderful ride called writing.



Sue Sehi-Smith writes about her White Dog Army in the White Dog Diary blog, and she does amazing work through Paws to People: Bridges to Cures, which she founded, concentrating on “furthering comparative studies research in catastrophic diseases to save the lives of humans and pets.” Sue is an amazing, selfless advocate, and I love her White Dog Army stories! You can also hear more from Sue when she was a guest on my radio show, "The Sibe Vibe." (listen in here). You can visit Sue's White Dog Diary blog at: http://whitedogblog.blogspot.com.



Joanne Sundell, author of Arctic Storm, book one of the Watch Eyes Trilogy, is “an epic tale of adventure, endurance, and young love—a heroic journey tested against America’s last frontier.” This book is slated to be published by Five Star Publishing in September 2014. I am going to be reading and reviewing her book in a later post, and am SO looking forward to it! You can check out her website at: www.joannesundell.com and her Facebook blog post here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/joanne-sundell/hunger-games-go-husky/10204281212368676.



Jodi Ekberg, author of The Adventures of Cain and Frankie ~ The Husky Brothers The Beginning, a true story featuring photos about these two Siberian Huskies who helped their mom, the author, “through cancer treatments and other illnesses and injuries due to the treatments” and helped to give her the will to live! You can also follow Jodi and the tales of the beautiful The Husky Brothers (who are now four!) on their Facebook page of the same name as well! Jodi was a guest on my "The Sibe Vibe" (listen in here) and I’ll be posting a review on her book in a later post. I loved this book! Check out her website at: www.thehuskybrothers.com

A thrill to see my books on display at my vet's office!


 
Thank you for stopping by the tour, for your readership, and for your continued support of my writing! Sure hope you enjoyed this blog stop!

Bandit says, "Okay, Mom. Back to writing!"


“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.” 
~Diane Setterfield
 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Happy Summer!

Gibson is ready for some pool time!


 
Today is the first day of summer in the United States and many areas in the northern hemisphere...that translates to longer days with lots of pool time, BBQing, hiking, chasing fireflies, eating tasty cool treats, playing outdoor games, relaxing in the gentle breezes, and snoozing with an air conditioner humming away! To welcome in the summer solstice, we want to once again share our FiveSibes & Friends Summer Fun video slideshow from last year featuring our beautiful furpals enjoying the summer season! Enjoy!

 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Hu-Dad's Day Featuring Dads and "The Sibe Vibe" Special Father's Day Episode!

 
 It's Father's Day and we here at the FiveSibes homestead want to wish all the Hu-dads, foster dads, and rescue dads a very Happy Dad's Day! Our special Father's Day episode of my Dog Works Radio show, "The Sibe Vibe," features Husky Hu-dad, rescuer, and photographer Carl D. Bromberg who chats with all about Siberian Huskies, his love of all animals, rescue volunteer work, and the miraculous (and surprise) birth of Little Miss Suri, whose mom and dad were rescued from hoarders where there kennels were under six inches of water! 
 
Little Miss Suri and her Hu-dad, Carl at Animal Planet Studio.
We talk about Suri's incredible birth and her road to being one of the Starting Line-Up stars of the Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl X this past year! An incredible story you won't want to miss! 
 
Suri does a great Husky tackle on TV's Puppy Bowl X!
 
Carl, who also owns Visions Photography in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, also talks about the importance of photography in helping homeless animals. Be sure to tune in any time below!

Little Miss Suri with a new admirer, an NYPD officer.

New Pets Internet Radio with Dog Works Radio Show on BlogTalkRadio with Dog Works Radio Shows on BlogTalkRadio

Also, if you have a moment, pop on over to our open community Facebook page (meaning you don't have to have a Facebook account in order to see us) where I'll be sharing some great pics of Hu-dads and their furkids today! Visit our FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews page HERE.

And we'd like to leave you with the photo of our amazing FiveSibes Dad with our Gibson and a lovely poem about Dads by Karen K. Boyer. We hope you all enjoy your special day!









Friday, June 13, 2014

A Fabulous Friday Gibson Update!


Another wonderful update on Gibson to report! The other day we took a little adventure out to the front yard, assisted with the harness. Once again, he was able to walk unassisted for a few strides (woo-woo!), then he sniffed some roses, and enjoyed some resting time on the grass. He was tired out, even though it was a very short walk, but he did very well. His in-home laser treatments have now been extended to every other week. I'm so very proud of my boy! Baby steps, baby steps, which will hopefully continue to lead to bigger and stronger steps each day! THANK YOU all so much for you continuous care and support of Gibson! He surely feels all the love! And even though the past six months of rehabbing my boy has kept me busy as he really needed my attention and steady care, as he hopefully continues to gain his strength, we hope to get back to posting more and once again sharing news, photos, videos, reviews, and giveaways! 

A little back story: For those of you who don't know, my Epi-Husky, Gibson, who suffers from weak hind issues from his Epi-meds, and who tore his left CCL in December 2012, slipped on ice under freshly fallen snow on this past Christmas Eve (see story update HERE) and went lame. He injured his already weak hind end and tore his right CCL. It's been a long road of Conservative Care with strict bed rest in the beginning, a 24/7 stability leg brace for the CCL tear, a sling harness to help hold him up to walk, massages, laser therapy, meds for short while and then weaned off to natural anti-inflams, and rehab walks to get to where we are today. May he continue to #LiveGibStrong!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

NEWSY TUESDAY: Newest FiveSibes™ Tale "Getting Healthy With Harley" is Released!


We are so very excited here at the FiveSibes homestead! Harley has been wooing up a storm with some big news...my second FiveSibes illustrated children's book Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness has been published! And our alpha queen is so excited about starring in her own book! Think a canine version of Julian Michaels meets Jennifer Beals' character in the 1983 movie, Flashdance!

And Harley wants to know if you'd like to know what else is cool about this book? I'll be donating a portion of proceeds, after the cost of production, to help Siberian  Huskies in need through the Save Our Siberians Siberspace Rescue Fund! Do I hear a "Woo-Woo?!"

 
The adorable front and back covers of my newest FiveSibes™ Tale!


To order Getting Healthy With Harley, visit our 

Michelle Littler
With all the fun surrounding the release of this book, I thought our fans and followers would love to get to know a little about the awesome talent behind the pencil of our very talented illustrator, Michelle Littler. So grab a cup of coffee, call your children and furkids all around you, kick up your feet, and come meet our FiveSibes™ Tales illustrator, Michelle, in this fun interview! While this post is longer than usual, it's a very special one and you'll want to check it out and be sure to enter our Book Giveaway! We know you'll enjoy getting to know Michelle as much as we love her! 

And as a double-treat, Michelle and I are coordinating our blog posts, so be sure to check out her blog at www.MichelleLittler.com where she interviewed...you guessed it...me! And don't miss out on the Getting Healthy With Harley Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post and also over on Michelle's blog!

FiveSibesMom (FSM): How and when did you first become interested in art and design? 
Michelle Littler (ML): Well as soon as I could hold a pencil I have been drawing and creating characters. I would fill a sketchbook every month with ideas, characters and cartoons. My grandmother would come up with stories and then have me illustrate them. So I don't remember a time where I wasn't drawing or creating. The Graphic Design aspect of it didn't come until college. 


FSM: What is your favorite part of illustrating?  
ML: Well there are two parts. 1) When I get an idea in my head and I can create it just as I imagined (I love that) and the second is taking what another person has in mind or just an idea and making their vision come alive. I love hearing "Oh, my gosh that's exactly what I was imagining! How did you know?"


FSM: What was it about the concept behind the FiveSibes™ Tales and the first book of the series, What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy that you liked and agreed to sign on as the FiveSibes illustrator? 
ML: I have always wanted to illustrate a book and I loved the story and had already fallen in love with the characters from a previous project I had done with them. But with getting to know Dorothy (you!) and how you worked and really gave me creative license-that's when I knew it would be a great fit. All the pieces fit together well-sometimes you just know when you talk to someone you click right away and I think you and me clicked perfectly!


FSM: Having never met the FiveSibes or the author in person, how did you get to “know” them so that the illustrations actually depict the real-life nuances of each of the Huskies: Harley, Gibson, Wolf, Chloe, and Bandit? 
ML: Well, with any illustration, I always ask the person to give me as much detail of them as possible. And after looking at dozens of pictures, I had in mind their personalities and kind of developed what they would do in certain situations and tried really hard to make sure their individuality came out in ever drawing. After doing a few books know I feel like I know them and am very protective about how they are portrayed. I've even found myself saying "Chloe wouldn't do that!"


FSM: What is the most difficult part of illustrating and your most favorite part? 
ML: The most difficult part is matching what you are envisioning with what the author is envisioning. Making sure you are being creative, but you aren't straying away from her vision. Although working with you we rarely have that problem. :) My favorite part is hearing the reaction to final product-whether it's from the author or fans. It's always amazing to see people reading and loving the illustrations you did. and of course nothing beats seeing in it print!


FSM: Loaded Question (wink-wink), but I have to ask: How is it working with the author and FiveSibesMom, Dorothy Wills-Raftery (a/k/a me!)? 
ML: Honestly, it's one of the easiest relationships I have. I am always super excited to see what you have come up with and how excited you are about every project you do--it's easy to be excited and work for someone who shows that level of joy and personal connection to the project. Plus, I can be honest in telling you, "Hey, I don't think this is going to work or I would like to try this" and your totally supportive and on board. That is a rare thing for illustrators. So I am very lucky to be working with you because at the end of the day, it doesn't feel like work--it's just two people bouncing ideas around and being open to what's next!

"Meoww...this is a really cute book!"


FSM: What is your favorite part of the What’s Wrong With Gibson book? 
ML: I love when they are all in their jammies and each one shows their individual personality!


FSM: When you submit the very first sketch in a project, what goes through your mind before you hear back from me/the author? ML: I was worried that what I had in mind for the illustration would be the complete opposite of what the author had in mind. Even though it gets easier I always hold my breathe until I get the "ok" because I'm always hoping they love it as much as I do.


FSM: Are the FiveSibes Tales your first book projects? If so, what’s it like illustrating a book? 
ML: Yes. I have been playing around with illustrating my own book for awhile, but these are my first published books! Illustrating for a book is challenging because you not only have to make sure your one illustration looks good, but has to remain consistent throughout. I first have to read the story several times and then block it out and decide how to divide it in pages (this is what takes the longest). Also, making sure the colors are the same throughout. The test I usually apply is, if there were no words just pictures, would a reader still know what is going on? If it passes that test, I feel good about it. 


FSM: When you completed each, What’s Wrong With Gibson? and Getting Healthy With Harley, what was that feeling like as you look back over both of the books and the series as a whole project? 
ML: First there is a great sense of pride and accomplishment. I always say, "I can't believe I am reading a book with my illustrations!" Unfortunately, an artist thinks they could always do better so there are some that I am highly critical of and think "I should of done this" or "I shouldn't have done that" or little "mistakes" that only I notice. But, that's just me being nuts and those thoughts get overshadowed by how great they are.


FSM: Your cats, Page and Zephyr, both make their debut in Getting Healthy With Harley. What is it like to have your kitties be part of the story? And will they be in future stories? ML: That's one of my favorite parts. They are absolutely the loves of my life (sorry, Ben) so to have them included makes it very special to me. I hope they will be in future stories! I try and sneak them in whenever I can. Plus, on a personal note, these were cats that were abandoned and abused so seeing them be a part of something that people love and people recognize them, it's a great thing to see. They are two of the sweetest cats in the world so to have them go from homeless too famous is amazing!

Yes, Michelle's cats really read the books!

FSM: From their photos, I am absolutely certain they know how to read and proof! Are they your muses, and do they ever subliminally (or maybe not so subliminally!) offer suggestions to you?  
ML: I get ideas from them all the time. I think I mentioned to you that Zephyr plays fetch and you are going to try and make that a part of an upcoming book, so they influence my drawings all the time. And they absolutely know when I am drawing them because they will peek over my sketchbook or veto a drawing by sitting on it. I don't consider them animals, but little humans with fur because Page will flip through the pages of books and follow along with me and I'll ask Zephyr whether she likes how I drew her and she will shake he head "no."


FSM: There are some upcoming books in the FiveSibes series that will be featuring some “extras” and special appearances by furpals. How fun is it to add these types of things to a story when you are creating the illustrations?  
ML: I love it! It's fun and challenging. Because you get so used to drawing the same characters, it's fun to now see how they will interact with different characters. One of my favorite pages in the upcoming book is when they are in the waiting room and surrounded by all different kinds of animals. These came from friends' pets and a lot of them were in tribute to pets that they had lost.   


FSM: The illustrations bring the author’s written word to life on the page – how fun is it to take someone’s words and create the images based upon those words? What is the hardest part and the easiest part? 
ML: It's fun when you like what the person has written! LOL! I love your stories, so it makes it easy. I think if I didn't like the story or the subject it would be incredibly difficult and that's why I'm so selective on the projects I take on. The hardest part is also the most challenging and that is I never know what you are going to bring me. I have to figure it out. So if you come up to me with a story about the FiveSibes meeting a gorilla, I have to figure out how to make that work. I can't just leave a part out of the book if I've never drawn it before. It definitely has made be a better illustrator! And luckily, you haven't come up with anything too crazy that I've said "Oh my gosh, I have no idea how I'm going to draw this" or "I can't draw this."




FSM: Do you have a favorite Husky to draw out of the FiveSibes?  
ML: Oh, I see you're trying to get me in trouble! Well, it won't work! I love drawing them all the same. I will say I do have favorite poses or scenes that each is in, but no favorites for this illustrator.

 
FSM: You also created the logo for the FiveSibes “The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show. How do you feel when you see something you created, such as the logo or one of the book covers, come across your social media or print media?  
ML: Honestly, it takes me a minute to recognize that I did it! LOL! I'll be like, "Hey, that's a cute logo" and then be like, "wait a minute, I made that!" There is nothing better (at least for me) than seeing work I've done in the world. That is the same when it's on a T-shirt, billboard, or in a book!


FSM: What was your most favorite part of this new FiveSibes book, Getting Healthy With Harley? 
ML: Well, of course, I love that my babies are in it, but I also love Harley's 80s workout clothes--it cracks me up every time. I can just hear Olivia Newton-John singing, "Let's Get Physical" in the background! I also love the picture of them with the fireflies. That was inspired by me and my boyfriend, Ben, in our backyard.


FSM: Comparing the first book to this one…what strikes you? Is there anything you did differently? Was it easier the second time around? 
ML: I think the second one was easier. You and me knew what to expect and how the other one works. We also had realistic time expectations that were hard to judge on the first one. The one thing I did differently was not drawing the book in order, which really helped. When I got an idea of a certain page that's what I would focus on instead of being SO concerned with sending them to you in order. I don't know if you loved that part (LOL!), but it was really helpful to me. 


FSM: Tell us something about yourself that would surprise us! ML: I have a few. 1) I have never had a dog or been around dogs my entire life. 2) I never took an art class until college, so I didn't know if I was any good as my plans were to become a lawyer, and 3) My one cat, Zephyr, is blind in one eye, but you could never tell by the way she acts or in any of her pictures!

 
FSM: You are currently working with the author on her third FiveSibes Tale, Cooking With Chloe, which has some pretty cool extras in it, as well as a bonus project. How much creative liberty do you get from the author while illustrating these?

ML: Well, with our "super-secret bonus project" I have gotten to have full liberty since we are working backwards where I will be illustrating it and then you will be writing it (I can see people scratching their heads, but it makes sense to us!) Also, with this I felt more comfortable to offer some ideas and you were awesome to really listen and I think this next book is our most collaborative and definitely is a preview of things to come. And, again, if I didn't have such an awesome author that was willing to let me have those choices I don't know if there would have been more books, but know I don't want to stop them!


FSM: The author (moi) has many ideas for future books in the FiveSibes series…how do you feel about that creative road ahead you are traveling down together? 
ML: I love it. I see the ideas getting bigger and the potential growing and I just can't wait to see the opportunities down the road and where this will take us. 



FSM: What do you like best about working with the author (moi), and being the illustrator of the FiveSibes Tales? 
ML: It doesn't feel like work. No matter what else I am doing I am always excited to illustrate them and I get as excited as the readers when you come to me with the next book. I think that is a rare collaboration. Plus they make me happy; if I'm in a bad mood or feeling blue, I draw Bandit or Chloe and I can't help but feel better. 


FSM: When the books are published and you receive your illustrator copies, what is the first thing you do? 
ML: I wait till Ben is out of the house because I attack it like a kid on Christmas morning! My first look is usually just looking at the pictures and making sure the colors came out all right, nothing got cut off, I didn't accidentally put girl eyelashes on Gibson. But, after that I sit down (with the girls) and look through it and read it. The day I get it, I will probably read through it at least four times. And then like every good daughter, I send my mom a copy because she is one of the FiveSibes biggest fans. I always have to laugh because as soon as I give her the latest book she'll ask, "And when's the next one coming out?!"


FSM: If you had a creative wish for a FiveSibes project, what would it be? 
ML: I would love to see the book sold in stores and for a FiveSibes stuffed animal. I also would love to see them as an animated series. We have a great audience of fans now, but I just know if more people knew about it the more people would fall in love with them (and then you and me can retire to Vermont!) Doing the FiveSibes full-time I know is both of our dreams...and I can see it happening!

Isn't Michelle just awesome? I fell very fortunate to have met her and that she is our official FiveSibes illustrator! I'm as excited about writing the next FiveSibes Tale as I am seeing what she will produce!


Now what's a book release without a giveaway? For a chance to win an autographed copy of Getting Healthy With Harley by both Michelle and I, be sure to enter the Rafflecopter below. It's a random drawing and in one week on *June 17th* not one, but TWO lucky winners will receive their own copies! And don't forget, we'd love to see photos of you and your furbabies with the book to add to our Blog Book Tour album that we share on Facebook and Twitter (and will be adding to our ArcticHouse website in the near future). Just Email them to us at FiveSibes(at)gmail(dot)com and put "Harley Book Tour Pics" in the subject line!


Before we head off to the Rafflecopter...it would be (p)awesome if any of you would like to host us on our Blog Book Tour. All you have to do is a post about the book, a book review, or even an interview Q&A if you'd like, along with our book badge above. We'll happily share your blog post addy to direct folks to your amazing blogs, too! To be part of the Blog Book Tour, just drop me an Email at FiveSibes(at)gmail(dot)com and put "Harley Blog Book Tour" in the subject line!

 
"Wooo! You can win my book!

Now without further barks and hows...it's time for our...


UPDATE:
TWO lucky readers have each won an autographed copy of
 Getting Healthy With Harley!

CONGRATULATIONS TO...
Jenna of HuskyCrazed ~and~ Cathy A.!

Be sure to send us your "doghouse" addy so Michelle and I can each autograph the book and get it out to you both! Please give us a little time as we live states apart, so it will take a little time to get the books personalized and on their way! 
Woo! Congrats to you both!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Silly Sibe Selfies



This is what happens when humans get bored cleaning closets and one of our furkids just happened to be hanging out nearby, innocently watching...when suddenly...
...the hats come out...
...the sunglasses come out...
...and the thought occurs...
"What IF my dog could take selfies? What would they be like?"

BOL! 

 Thanks, Gib, for being such a good sport!

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Beware of Those of Stinging Nettles


It's spring. Everything is turning green. Lots of great things for an adventurous dog to do in the backyard. Trees are budding. Bugs to chomp. Maple roots (or canine Pixies Stix as I like to refer to them) to chew and suck on. Birds and squirrels to chase. And delicious Stinging Nettles leaves to munch on.  

NOT!

Oh, these green leafy innocent looking plants suddenly grow up and tantalize the canine nose, tricking them into coming over and taking a chomp and then seriously regretting it. Now while these plants can be cooked up and are apparently delectable in some recipes (sorry, we'll skip it and just take folks' word for it), the little "stinger" hairs on the leaves and stems that are called "trisomes" and they release  histamine and acetylcholine, two chemicals which causes a contact dermatitis when touched by people and pets, and it really hurts and burns when touched, which is certainly enough to deter me from tangling with them. 

Photo from Pet Poison Helpline
But, the Huskies don't seem to be deterred. They insist on CHEWING them like they are a canine delicacy...until...they start drooling profusely, vomiting, being lethargic, and having some very nasty bloody diarrhea. Yep. All from those blasted Stinging Nettles. And you can't just pull them out, oh, no, they find a way of growing back it seems even faster! Hu-dad just spent the afternoon digging them all up with a shovel and making the yard once again a Nettles-Free Zone. Until they decide to come back again. Somehow, they always do.

You would think biting on them or licking them and getting the "stung" feeling would really put a crimp in chomping on them. But, as soon as they get let out, the Husky kids all go racing right down to the fence line, and tonight they paced and searched and sniffed wondering where their little nasty stinging obviously-for-some-crazy-reason addictive greenery went to. I think the FiveSibes were even a little upset that they were all gone. After they sniffed and snorted for a while, they retreated defeated to the deck to lounge. As I was walking Gibson back across the yard, I saw the tell tale sign of a big ol' blob of previously chewed Stinging Nettles leaves along the fence line. Now that's a snack with a bite. Last year we went through this and Wolf had chewed one and sat there drooling in front of me like someone turned on a saliva faucet for what seemed like an eternity (and giving this Hu-mom a heart attack). Harley gets bloody stools (scary and worrisome). Bandit was so lethargic, she wasn't interested in doing anything (strange behavior).  I've seen mystery vomit during this time also. At first, it scares me to think, what is wrong with my Husky? Then suddenly,  I glance over to the fence line and think, "They're baaack!" before having my husband go on a removal frenzy.

We fortunately came through the Stinging Nettles attack fine after several bouts of symptoms, but if your dog has ingested them and is acting sick and not getting better, please be sure to contact your vet right away for ways to help.

To read more about these nasty buggers, check out Pet Poison Hotline article HERE and, a two little tips when removing them...wear protective gloves and be sure to get rid of the whole plant, especially the roots or they will just keep coming back.


Until next time...stay safe and be healthy!