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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Newsy Tuesday: Advocacy Award Finalist

Woo! Our Mom is a Finalist for "Advocate!"

 I am so honored to be named a 2017 finalist in the Women in the Pet Industry Woman of the Year in the "Advocate" category! Writing and sharing information on Canine Epilepsy, the Siberian Husky breed, and rescues are all something very near and dear to my heart...and to be recognized and chosen as a Finalist for my work is such a thrill!

May this extra attention help bring even more attention to help inform, educate, and support other families who 1) are living with a dog with Canine Epilepsy,  2) thinking about adding a Siberian Husky to their family, and 3) encourage others to find their best furry friend from a rescue. 

My Gibson, my inspiration.
My journey with my Epi-dog, Gibson, and his amazing will, inspired me every day, and continues to inspire me, to help others know that dogs with Epilepsy can--and DO--live happy, full lives. My only wish - that my sweet wooly boy was here to share this great honor with me. Thank you, Gibson, for teaching me so much about perserverance, grit, and love of life no matter what challenges lie ahead.  You were such an amazing and loving boy and I miss you every single day. May your journey and life continue on to help others know they are not alone if they find their dogs suddenly faced with the seizure monster...and to do away with the notion that dogs with seizures are "damaged dogs." They most certainly are NOT! They are amazing warriors, like my Gibson, who enjoy life and do not let Canine Epilepsy stop them from living life to the fullest! In Gibson's name, I will continue our advocacy in the hopes of helping others so all Epi-dogs may  #LiveGibStrong.

I also want to say "thank you" to all of your, my dear readers and listeners who read my blog, share my articles, and tune in to my show "The Sibe Vibe" - together, we can spread the word about Epi-dogs far and wide and hopefully, through my advocacy, encourage folks to not surrender their dog because of a seizure, and to also not fear adopting a dog with seizures.

I am so honored.

Congratulations to all the WIPIN finalists. Looking forward to the winner announcements that will be named at their Women in the Pet Industry's annual conference on September 26, which just happens to be my birthday!

Friday, August 18, 2017

It's A Husky Friday Night on Flashback Friday!

Can you believe it's Friday already?! Is it me, or does it seem to roll around faster and faster every week? In two weeks, we will be bidding adieu, unofficially, to summer as September arrives! Today, we are flashing back to just one year ago...but honestly, it is a scene here from every night as we settle in after dinner for some family TV time. I imagine, this is what my pups are saying! Popcorn anyone?!

What's on the agenda for your Friday night?!

 You're Invited!

 Come Stroll Memory Lane With Us!

Do you have a photo from your pet's past that you'd like to share? Come stroll down Memory Lane with us here at FiveSibes and join in our Flashback Friday blog hop (we are open all week)! Just post your pic on your blog, grab our badge from below (yes, that's Gibson & little bro, pupster Wolfie!) & link to our blog, then join the blog hop below so others can come visit and see your flashback photos, too! A fun way to relive past fun times with our pets, present and past, and a great way to kick off a weekend!  (To see past posts, put "Flashback Friday" in our Search bar at top of blog). We hope you'll join us for some Friday fun!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Preparing Your Epi-Dog For The Solar Eclipse

 There is a lot of buzz about the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21st, especially for folks who are in the path of totality. No matter where you live, if you plan on watching the solar eclipse, aside from protecting your eyes from “eclipse blindness” with special American Astronomical Society approved eclipse glasses, did you know that the eclipse could have an affect on your Epi-dog (epileptic dog)?

With the simulation of “night” as the sun is covered by the moon, animals may go into a nocturnal mode, or seem restless or confused, while others, will be unfazed. However, the excitement of the eclipse by humans could create excitement in our dogs, whether they have epilepsy or not, as they pick up on our energy and moods. The same as with non-epileptic dogs, if there is a lot of noise, whistling, clapping, or fireworks to celebrate, dogs could be frightened and attempt to escape. As with any loud or stressful holiday or event, be sure to have your pets securely and safely kept away from opening and closing doors, and keep their collars on with up-to-date ID and microchip tags, just in case they slip out during the commotion, or while you are eclipse gazing (only with the certified eclipse glasses, of course). And, as with any lunar phases, solar flares, changes to the Earth’s magnetic field, and/or environmental shifts, the eclipse could also be a possible trigger for your Epi-dog.

Will your dog definitely have a seizure? No. Could s/he? Yes. Therefore, it’s always good to be prepared, just the same as in any situation where there are stressors present or when there are any incidences that stray from the norm, such as dietary, environmental, weather, and/or atmospheric changes.

Preparing Your Epi-Dog For the Solar Eclipse

Prior to the eclipse, have a chat with your veterinarian, and do a little pre-planning, as you would for any out-of-the-ordinary situation or event that could have an adverse effect on your Epi-dog. While the eclipse (hopefully) may not trigger seizure activity in your dog, some helpful hints in preparing, include:

1 Keeping your Epi-dogs safely inside during the eclipse. 

2. Having your Epi First Aid Kit ready and waiting. 

3. If your Epi-dog is on anti-seizure medications, be sure  s/he has been properly dosed on time and have any emergency doses at the ready. 

4. If you use natural anti-anxiety supplements or treats, be sure to administer them early enough, as according to the directions and vet instruction.

5. If you use an anxiety vest or shirt on your Epi-dog, this is a good time to put one on, just as a precaution.

6. Playing soothing music or white noise in the background.

7. Plug-in a calming pheromone diffuser or use a spray.

8. Diffuse a calming essential oil*, such as lavender (but NOT spike lavender oil). Also, when diffusing, choose either #7 or #8, not both at same time.

9. Put a cooler or herbal calming collar on your Epi-dog.

10. If you use a cooler mat or bed for your Epi-dog, have it refreshed and encourage your dog to lie on it.

11. Stay close to your dog, petting and talking to him/her in a reassuring manner until after the eclipse is over.

12. Have an emergency plan. Be sure your vet/ER hospital numbers are handy, as well as having a means of transportation, should your dog should go into seizures.

Please note, that even with the best of preparations and care, a dog with Canine Epilepsy, even if on anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs), still may experience anxiety, pacing, and/or seizure activity. Not sure if your dog is having a seizure? Contact your vet immediately.

*A word about essential oils – again, it is important to check with your veterinarian before using, especially if trying for the first time. Some essential oils, such as spike lavender, eucalyptus, hyssop, rosemary, sage, camphor, tea tree, et al., can trigger seizures.

What's In Your Epi First Aid Kit?

In addition to your regular dog First Aid Kit items, for an Epi-dog, also be sure to have:  

  • Seizure medications.
  • Instructions in case of a seizure (for when you have a pet sitter). 
  • A journal to note episodes, length of seizure, reactions, meds, etc.** 
  • Instant ice packs. 
  • Rubbing alcohol wipes. (I prefer ice packs). 
  • Emergency contact numbers: vet, neurologist, 24-hour vet hospital, poison control, a friend/neighbor to help.
  •  Natural/herbal anti-anxiety calming oral spray (I use Rescue Remedy). 
  • Calming pheromone room spray.   
  • Herbal calming collar. 
  • Portable water bowl
  • Dog Ear Thermometer

Additional Items to Have on Hand  
For Post-Seizure:
  • Natural vanilla ice cream. 
  • Organic honey or maple syrup.  
  • Source of protein, i.e., organic creamy peanut butter, low-fat mozzarella sticks, cottage cheese, organic yogurt, chicken, tuna, etc. (low-fat healthy protein treat to help raise the sugar levels back up after the ice cream or honey/maple syrup).  
  • Fresh water.  
  • Pet bath wipes (for post-seizure clean-up).
  •  Disinfectant wipes (for area clean-up).  
  • Paper towels.  
  • Latex gloves. 
  • Collar, harness, leash.  
  • Car Ramp or blanket as a makeshift stretcher to transport pet if incapable of walking.

 **For keeping a digital journal, as well as important seizure information, download the FREE Royal Veterinary College (RVC) mobile app for Apple and Android devices. Check out my blog post with Gibson all about this great app HERE.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Moore Husky on a Merry Meme Monday!

What a great pic submitted by Angela Moore of her beautiful Husky, "Sasha!" Angela tells me that her Sasha was "adopted her from our local animal shelter last year. I was told she is a pure breed, but I'm not sure. She was kept strictly outside before, so, not housebroken. She'd just had a litter of puppies, and her breeders decided they didn't want her anymore. 😕  When we took her home, she was fearful, distant, and sad. She has changed a lot in a year, though. She may be car sick, and skittish, but she's totally adorable and greatly loved! She and her 'sister,' Rizzi, get along great, too!"
Lucky Sasha! We had so many great captions suggested for this wonderful photo, too! I was thrilled when my caption was selected from the submissions by fans of our FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews Facebook page! 
To view past memes featured on FiveSibes, visit HERE.

Would you like to join in our Merry Meme Monday fun? Here's how:

 PS - Don't have a northern breed dog? No worries! 
Since we are a Siberian Husky blog, and we love all of our furfriends, you can submit a pic, just be creative and show your pet with a Husky or northern breed dog (real, toy, drawn, etc!) Be creative!

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Puppy In A Basket!

"Happiness is a warm puppy." ~Charles M. Schulz

Oh, my sweet little baby boy, Wolfie! Flashing back nine years to the spring of 2008, puppy "Wolfgang White Wolf of Mystic Mountain" was welcomed into our home along with his three littermates, sisters Chloe and Bandit, and joining our "originals" Harley and Gibson, the FiveSibes were formed! Pictured here, my little white fuzzy boy went out on our first pet store shopping trip and he loved riding in the cart! He wooed and howled all the way back to the car! To this day, he's my sweet "baby boy!"

 You're Invited!
 Come Stroll Memory Lane With Us!
Do you have a photo from your pet's past that you'd like to share? Come stroll down Memory Lane with us here at FiveSibes and join in our Flashback Friday blog hop (we are open all week)! Just post your pic on your blog, grab our badge from below (yes, that's Gibson & little bro, pupster Wolfie!) & link to our blog, then join the blog hop below so others can come visit and see your flashback photos, too! A fun way to relive past fun times with our pets, present and past, and a great way to kick off a weekend! We hope you'll join us for some Friday fun! (To see past posts, put "Flashback Friday" in our Search bar at top of blog).



Friday, August 4, 2017

Flashback Friday: In the Summertime

Today, we are flashing back to the Summer of 2006, when our "originals," Harley and Gibson, were mere pups - when Gibson was just six months old and Harley just over a year. I remember this day so clearly. It was a hot one and while I was filling up their kiddie pool on my deck, Harley and Gibson patiently waited up on the deck bench! Harley and Gibson, always together, always side-by-side, and always in love! From the very first moment Gibson laid his crystal blue puppy eyes on Harley, she had his heart! How is it that this summer day, so vivid and clear, is now 11 years in the past? Summertime is a time to slow down, enjoy the long warm days, and remember to savor every moment and memory.

In the Summer Time
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

"When summer time has come, and all
The world is in the magic thrall
Of perfumed airs that lull each sense
To fits of drowsy indolence;
When skies are deepest blue above,
And flow’rs aflush,—then most I love
To start, while early dews are damp,
And wend my way in woodland tramp
Where forests rustle, tree on tree,
And sing their silent songs to me;
Where pathways meet and pathways part,—
To walk with Nature heart by heart...
Just for the joy of being there
And drinking in the summer air,
The summer sounds, and summer sights,
That set a restless mind to rights...
‘Tis wealth enough of joy for me
In summer time to simply be."

Do you have a photo from your pet's past that you'd like to share? Come stroll down Memory Lane with us here at FiveSibes and join in our Flashback Friday blog hop (we are open all week)! Just post your pic on your blog, grab our badge from below (yes, that's Gibson & little bro, pupster Wolfie!) & link to our blog, then join the blog hop below so others can come visit and see your flashback photos, too! A fun way to relive past fun times with our pets, present and past, and a great way to kick off a weekend! We hope you'll join us for some Friday fun! (To see past posts, put "Flashback Friday" in our Search bar at top of blog).


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

An Unwelcomed Visit From An Old Foe

This past February, I was shocked by a very familiar visitor, one I had hoped I saw the last of after my beautiful beloved Epi-dog, Gibson, passed on. He and I had dealt with Canine Epilepsy and the side effects since he was diagnosed shortly after his third birthday in 2009. As many of you who follow my blog know, I had documented his trials and tribulations of living with Canine Epilepsy, up until he journeyed to North of the Rainbow Bridge, but not from the dastardly Seizure Monster, but rather from another rather sneaky and devastating monster, hemangiosarcoma.

After seven years of managing to fight off the dreaded seizure monster with dogged determination and proudly overcoming the side effects of medications, that sometimes left him weak and lame, like a furry warrior to the likes I've never seen before, I never thought I'd have to come face-to-face with this evil entity again.

I was wrong.

This past February, Gibson's love Harley, was sleeping peacefully on her bed, when suddenly I saw her head drop off the bed with a thump. My first thought was, wow, she hit the floor hard...then it came...the all-too-familiar shaking, legs galloping to nowhere, the clenched and bared teeth, and the secretion of the all-telling anal glands...for a heart-stopping minute, I was shocked to see this...after all, I was on guard for the seizure monster throughout Gibson's whole life, and always kept a watchful eye on his three younger siblings, but this was Harley...a completely different bloodline...

And she was having a grand mal seizure.

After my initial seconds of shock, I jumped right into automatic action - I quickly tried to put the other Huskies out in the kitchen (and that became a game of "What's going on? We want to see! What's wrong with our momma?") and secured them away from her. I sat down on the floor and kept calling her name, telling her she was okay, petting her jerking sides. I fought back the tears that were stinging my eyes. No time for that, my mind screamed at me. I called out for my daughter and son-in-law who were downstairs. Upon my son-in-law's arrival, he quickly asked what he could do. I had him check on the other dogs and then get me come of the natural vanilla ice cream that was tucked way back in the freezer, always on hand ever since the days of Gibson. I just can't seem to not have a container in there, and now was thankful I did. I also had him get me the cool packs tucked away in the freezer as well. After what again seemed like an eternity (the same as Gibson's first seizure), between the cool packs and my gentle petting and talking, Harley came out of the seizure. She, too, just like Gibson, was experiencing the temporary blindness, which frightened her. I gave her some licks of the ice cream, held her and pet her until she knew she was safe. I cleaned her up and then let her drink a few sips of water and eat a bit of cheese to help bring her sugar levels back. I think only then  I began to actually breathe again.

A family stays together.

After it all passed and the other Huskies came back into the living room and things settled down, with the rest of the pack sticking close by her (she's their surrogate mother), especially Wolf. Sleep eluded me that night, and for many after. I kept waking up to check on Harley, using the light on my cell phone so as not to disturb her. She was laying on Gibson's cooler bed, with one of his cooler collars and a cool cloth over her to keep her body temp down. As I watched them all sleeping, I thought about what just happened...and in my head I thanked Gibson for all the years of experience I learned from him about this dreaded disease and how to best care for not only him, but a seizing dog in general. My instincts when she began to seizure were right on cue. I did not hesitate for one second on what to do.

It's a real shame that a dog has to have Canine Epilepsy and that one must have had experience with a seizing dog to be able to have some idea of handling a dog with seizures. Even with all my experience with Gibson and Canine Epilepsy, I had that frozen moment, where staring in shock, I thought, "It can't be happening again..." It brought back so many memories of my dear sweet boy, for whom my #LiveGibStrong & #LiveGibStrongForever K-9 Epilepsy Awareness Campaign is named after. While his journey in life as an Epidog forged a bond between us that will last for eternity, I would never wish it on any dog. And now, a second of my Huskies had one? While it can be genetic, Harley and Gibson are not related. Plus, age is a factor. Gibson was just three when his seizures began. He was within the typical range of when Epilepsy can strike in dogs. Harley on the other hand, is 12. I know that it can be a whole different type of seizure monster when it strikes an elderly dog.

I'm not going to bury the lead here. Thankfully, Harley's tests for anything neurological or possible brain tumor came back negative. What did come back - in just under a year since her last routine bloodwork - was a very low thyroid condition. And yes, hypothyroidism can trigger a seizure in a dog. Harley has since been placed on thyroid medication twice a day, and has had her follow-up bloodwork to show she is at therapeutic levels. My vet and I, so far, believe her sudden drop in thyroid levels was the cause her for her seizure. I already know this is all a day-by-day things, and while nothing is definite, I do feel this was the cause and pray she will never experience another. But, as any Epi-dog parent can tell you, every day post-seizure, you hold your breath and pray another never happens, while always planning just in case it does.

Since her seizure, Harley has also experienced several severe ear infections, causes unknown, although, thyroid disease can trigger ear infections. After a severe reaction to the topical ear medication that caused an emergency vet home visit, Harley has been on and off oral antibiotics now several times...and she at times is very aggravated at her loss of hearing and will paw at her ears in a madding matter, until I wash them out and cool them down for her. As a result of these awful infections, she is now completely deaf. However, that does not stop her from being our alpha queen and adapting to a new way of communicating. She no longer howls with the rest of the FiveSibes, which is very heartbreaking for me. She had the worse singing voice, but I sure miss hearing it. And now, they all do not howl much any more unless I ask them to. They always went to Harley to lead them off...and since she does not hear, she does not howl. She just happily sits and watches everything and everyone around her in her now quiet world. She is my shadow and we now have a very special and trusting bond. She looks to me for hand directions and foot cues, even though I still chat away with her as though she can hear me. Maybe she can read lips? After all the years of seeing us talk commands, maybe she can! I like to think so. Plus, how can I stop talking to her?

She has also started snuggling up to Wolf much the same way in which she used to do with Gibson. She will share a bed with him, lay back to back with him, and I know it's for three reasons. 1) Because she's Harley and she can.  2) to feel safe. And 3) to alert her when they are on the move. If Wolf moves, it will awaken Harley so things do not take her by surprise. Watching these amazing dogs maneuver around a handicap is nothing short of miraculous. I saw it with Gibson and his battles with Canine Epilepsy and the medication side effects. I watched both Chloe and Wolf do it after their double imbrication surgeries for blown CCLs and torn meniscuses. 
They are just amazing. 

I think we can all take a few life pointers from dogs! We have a pretty set routine here, and she goes about her day with the others both inside and out like any other day. When she plays, she is a bit louder now that she can't hear, but she still has that rough-and-tumble Husky attitude when it comes to playing! I am working with her to hopefully help her know when the others are howling so she can once again join in the Husky Chorus...but, I know, this may not happen. But we shall try!

"I'm okay now, Mom," says Harley.

Accepting that our beautiful strong alpha queen is now getting older (my vet says they are as old as they feel and she still feels young!) and has had a seizure, is now on medication for hypothyroidism, has constant care of her ears, and is deaf-- is not a roadblock. It is just a slight detour in this beautiful girl's life and as with Gibson, I will always be her champion and help her navigate these new uncertain waters every step of the way in what I hope will be a long, happy, healthy, seizure-free life, with furangel Gibson watching over his true love.

Need Info on What to Do If Your Dog Has a Seizure?

I will continue to help others through my FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign, who find themselves taking this journey with their dogs. Here are just a few of my resources worth reading and listening to:

Tune in to these episodes of  FiveSibes "The Sibe Vibe" show on Dog Works Radio for some important information on this topic (for a listing of shows, visit HERE).

"Talking Canine Epilepsy & Seizures"
With Gibson's Lead Vet, 
Dr. Arnold Rugg

"Talking Canine Epilepsy, Seizures & Pilot Studies" with Dr. Karen Muñana, Professor of Neurology, Veterinarian & Author; North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine (A Dog Writers Association of America 2015 "Excellence" nominated show).

 "Talking About the Important Link Between Zinc Deficiency and Seizures in Northern Breed Dogs" with Margit Maxwell, canine behaviorist and founder of 
The Divine Dog Project

Also available is my very informative resource book, EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy that I am so very proud of on Canine Epilepsy, including stories from over 122 Epid0g families worldwide, tips, vet info, and important links. This book is very near and dear to my heart. Inspired by Gibson, I have come to know so many amazing people and their amazing Epidogs. Knowing how scared I felt and what I went through in the early days of learning about what was happening to Gibson, Canine Epilepsy, and seizures in dogs, I devoted myself to writing a book that contained all the informational resources one could need to help navigate the turbulent waters of Canine Epilepsy so that someone who is going through this will know they are never alone.  

A portion of sales from my book is donated via my #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Campaign to the Epil-K9 Foundation, Home of Canine Epilepsy Resources, through the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Clinical Sciences Companion Animal Research Department. 

To purchase EPIc Dog Tales you can visit my publishing website ArcticHouse Publishing, or directly through my Amazon affiliate link, visit:

May our beloved seizure dogs forever #LiveGibStrong.

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Wet & Wild Wooly on a Flashback Friday!

"There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart." ~ Celia Thaxter

I just love this photograph of my boy Gibson enjoying himself in the sprinkler one summer some eight years past, when he was just a young wooly Husky. How I loved his beauty, his playfulness, his zest for life, and oh, that magnificent waterfall tail! Gibson's enjoying moment of cooling off in the shooting rays of water is just pure joy, and such a wonderful moment tucked away forever in my grateful-for-having-him heart.

Join Us!!!

Do you have a photo from your pet's past that you'd like to share? Come stroll down Memory Lane with us here at FiveSibes and join in our Flashback Friday blog hop (we are open all week)! Just post your pic on your blog, grab our badge from below (yes, that's Gibson & little bro, pupster Wolfie!) & link to our blog, then join the blog hop below so others can come visit and see your flashback photos, too! A fun way to relive past fun times with our pets, present and past, and a great way to kick off a weekend! We hope you'll join us for some Friday fun! (To see past posts, put "Flashback Friday" in our Search bar at top of blog).

Grab Our Blog Hop Badge!