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Monday, November 30, 2015

Our Epi All Star - Gibson - Inspiration for #LiveGibStrong - Final EpiTips & a GIVEAWAY!

To round up November's (Canine) Epilepsy Awareness Month, I'd like to highlight my very special and amazing boy, Gibson. He is my continued inspiration and the namesake behind our #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness Campaign where we help share information, resources, links, and fundraisers all to promote education about Canine Epilepsy and the positive and realistic side to living with a dog who has seizures and/or has been diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy.

Gibson and I have traveled this journey for nearly seven years together. We live it. He lives with it. I have written about his journey and will continue to do so in the hopes of helping others who may now find themselves on this very same path. We are here to say, Epi-dogs are amazing! And they can and do live full, happy lives. Is it easy? No. Is it expensive? It can be. Is it scary? At times, yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely yes!

So today my Epi All Star is the beautiful Husky who started me on this journey, and has filled my heart with so much love. My boy, Gibson.

Gibson has taught me many things over the years. First, there's love, trust, and a bond so deep and connected, words can not truly or fully describe it. I've had dozens of wonderful dogs throughout my life, and have five amazing ones right now. I loved/love each and every one. I thought each one was/is so special. And then there's Gib. He is amazing. I've said this a million times, he is a deep and "old" soul. He has shown me through our journey what trust, determination, and dependability means. He is a warrior. We have faced many challenges - from the onset of the seizures, to extreme weight gain from the meds, to the many side effects from the medications, including chronic weak hind end issues, lameness, and torn ACL. He has shown me through trust, determination, and hard work, comes strength. Strength of will. Strength of the mind. Strength of body. Strength of the heart. And strength of the soul. 

--> I've seen Gibson at his strongest, at his weakest, and I've seen him work hard the past almost two years with a combination of leg stability braces, sling harness, massage, rest, and laser treatments (below) to help him regain mobility.
--> Through it all, he has made me a stronger person. Being
diagnosed several years ago with debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, there are days that pain and fatigue beg me to go back to bed or simply rest. But Gibson is my inspiration to get up and fight my way through it. My mantra is, "If Gib can do it, so can I!" Together, he and I help heal each other. And it is a beautiful relationship. He is truly my shining star. My canine hero. And so, today, it's all about my boy, Gib!

His journey began almost seven years ago. You can read about those early days HERE, including some raw excerpts from his seizure journal that I shared back in 201o for Canine Epilepsy Awareness Month in the hopes of helping others.  Click HERE to read an update on Gib a year later, along with some Epi-Tips and a video highlighting beautiful Epi-dogs from across the world.

You can read about Gibson's Bromide Toxicity HERE, and while we hope to educate others, we pray no one else ever experiences this with their dogs.

We also tried Reiki to help with his pain and healing. Very interesting, with a strong emphasis on the human-canine bond. Visit my post on Gibson's distance Reiki treatment HERE

Leave no stone unturned.

For my choice of treatment for Gibson, it's a marriage of traditional care and holistic care. And on and off over the years, he has suffered setbacks, and celebrated victories. Most recently, he slipped on ice under snow and with his already weak hind issues...he could not get up. My boy was lame. Me...scared. 

Mr. Love Bug with one of his vets who does house calls for him.

After some tears spilled, I got help and we carried Gibson back inside and once again began Conservative Care (under the direct supervision of his vets, we opted to treat Gibson via this method as with him being an Epi-dog, the least amount of surgeries the better to hopefully avoid any break-through seizures. I was feeling very positive with this course of treatment and using as much holistic measures as possible to hopefully heal him).

His treatment plan included medications (at first), then I weaned him off pharmaceuticals and had him start on nutraceuticals to help alleviate the pain in his joints and hind end. Supplements, laser therapy, massage, Reiki, leg stability braces, and a lift harness to help reteach him to walk over a period of 18 months. Then he had a setback when he slipped and then tore his CCL. Back to the beginning for rehab.  It was a long, slow road to recovery. Each little sign of strength made my heart soar, and encouraged him to keep going.

It was long days of lifting an almost 100-pound Husky with the aid of the lift harness, to get him down a ramp so he could do his business. He could not place any weight on his legs. The leg braces helped. Then suddenly one day he put some weight on one foot. A huge milestone. Then he put weight on the other foot. Then he walked with me holding him up less. Then one day, the braces came off. His walks around the yard became longer. He began to have some pep in his step. And after almost two years, the lift harness came off and he was able to walk on his own!
Seeing the lift harness hanging idly on a hook by the back door warms my heart as I am astonished at how far he's come. There was a time when I feared he'd never be out of it. But, I was prepared to help him walk for however long he needed me to. And then one day it happened...Gibson ran! Oh happy Husky! Tears streamed down my cheeks that first day! See here in this video (may not show up on all devices) how my boy is a proud fighter:


I'm well aware that each day he feels great is a gift. As any Epi-dog parent can tell you - whether it's the fear of the seizure monster returning, or sudden hind end weakness, or lameness, or other side effects from the meds, it just warms my heart to see him being a happy, carefree Husky! And I will be right be his side to help him stay that way. And should he stumble or fall, I will be there again to help him get back up and support him. Amazing just doesn't seem "wow" enough to describe this boy's zest, will, and determination. He is a true warrior and may he always and forever #LiveGibStrong.

He is my inspiration.

He is my canine superhero.

He is my Gibson.

Now, let's eat! I mean what kind of dog blog would this be if we didn't highlight t-r-e-a-t-s?!

 We are thrilled to work with  House Woof Dog Biscuits in Vermont, USA, who created "Gibbie Snacks," named after Gibson and based on the diet of an Epi-dog. No preservatives, wheat, sugar, or salt, and made with only fresh or organic ingredients...just perfect for an Epi-dog! We are honored to have Gibson be the namesake and "face" of Gibbie Snacks! Plus, for every bag of Gibbie Snacks purchased on House Woof's online store, they will donate $1 to The Wally Foundation~Canine Epilepsy (TWF).
TWF offers possible financial assistance for medications to parents/fosters/rescues of dogs diagnosed with idiopathic Canine Epilepsy. I've been a volunteer case manager for TWF for a couple years and have met some amazing Epi-dog guardians who I now call friends! TWF does amazing work helping Epi-dog families that I'm proud to be affiliated with them and so thankful to House Woof for donating to them with each sale of Gibbie Snacks!

"Gibbie Snacks" Prize Pack from House Woof

And speaking of Gibbie Snacks...House Woof has generously donate an Epi Gibbie Snacks Gift Pack (say that five times fast!) for our giveaway! The pack consists of Gibbie Snacks and a purple (for epilepsy) Kong® Wubba, and it is open to residents of the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S.Virgin Islands, all where House Woof ships to. Please be sure to follow both FiveSibes and House Woof on social media, just follow the promts in the Rafflecopter. 

And Gibson would like to remind everyone about my Canine Epilepsy books - What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy available through ArcticHouse Publishing.

On a personal note, I'd like to thank you all again for your support, comments, prayers, and condolences on the recent passing of my mother. It was greatly appreciated.
I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight this week's Epi-Tips #27 - #29 (#30 is up top):


If you have any questions about seizures or Canine Epilepsy, please feel free to drop me an Email to 
FiveSibesLiveGibStrong(AT)gmail(DOT)com and type "Epilepsy" in the subject bar.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Wishes to All, Feeling Grateful, and #LiveGibStrong Epi-Tips

We're "Not-Quite-Wordless" Wednesday here today. I want to take this opportunity, on the Eve of Thanksgiving, a day of gratitude, to thank you all again for your kind words, prayers, and support as my family grieves the loss of my amazing Mom, the FiveSibes Hu-Nanny. I have been blessed to have had such a wonderful mother and role model in my life. For her, I am so grateful. 

There is such a void in our lives, and the first of the holidays is upon us and my daughter and I are struggling to find a new "normal" without her, our "third Muskateer." I just can't imagine it. But, Mom would want us to count our blessings, and we are so blessed to have our family, furkids, friends, and all of our FiveSibes pals in our lives. For that, I am grateful.

Tonight's Thanksgiving Full "Beaver" Moon

What a wonderful and compassionate community this truly is and I'm proud to be part of it. All of us here at FiveSibes wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving - whether you are remembering celebrating with loved ones in the past, or are looking forward to celebrating with loved ones now, the heart will always remember for those special moments we spend together today, become our cherished memories tomorrow. And for that, I am grateful.

"The mind always remembers what the heart never forgets."
~Mark Amend

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Since taking a break to honor my mother after her passing, I'm using today to catch up on the past 11 days of missed Epi-Tips. In a round-up, here's a gif featuring my Daily Epi-Tips 15 - 26. At the end of the month, and the close of November's Epilepsy Awareness Month, I'll post a new gif featuring all 30 days worth of #LiveGibStrong Epi-Tips. I'll be picking up the remainder of the month featuring the final daily Epi-Tips, as well as highlighting Canine Epilepsy info and All Stars. Please be sure to stop back starting Friday.

All of here at the FiveSibes wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving, filled with moments of laughs, smiles, and sweet memories.


Friday, November 20, 2015

Remembering Mom, the FiveSibes Hu-Nanny, and Her Love of Animals on a Flashback Friday

I'd like to take a moment to say a heartfelt "Thank You" to each and every one of you for your kind words, prayers, support, and condolences on the passing of my mother. She was an amazing woman, a loving mother, a best friend, terrific advice giver, and a wonderful Nanny to my daughter. We're trying to figure out this "new (ab)normal" life without her. I miss her deeply and will forever. 

Today's blog, a Flashback Friday, is dedicated to my beautiful Mom...our FiveSibes some photos from Memory Lane with just a few of her furry loves and furpals. I know she's having a wonderful time being reunited with my Dad and some of their furangels right now. Momma...this is for you with lots of Husky hugs and kisses...


Love Lives On
Those we love remain with us
for love itself lives on,
and cherished memories never fade
because a loved one's gone.
Those we love can never be
more than a thought apart,
far as long as there is memory,
they'll live on in the heart.

Tomorrow we'll be playing catch up on November's Daily #LiveGibStrong Epi-Tips. Please be sure to stop back for some informative and helpful tips for living with dogs with 
Canine Epilepsy.

Flashback Fridays are brought to you by us - the FiveSibes - and our co-host, Love is being owned by a Husky, each Friday. We hope you'll find a photo or video from Memory Lane, post it, and link up to our Blog Hop each week! If you don't catch it on Friday, you can link up any time during the week! To catch our past Flashbacks, just enter "Flashback Friday" in the search box. We hope you'll come join us!


We're also hopping on the Pet Parade Blog Hop, so be sure to pop by and visit the host's, cohosts', and hoppers' blogs, too!
Hosted by Rascal and Rocco with co-hosts Bionic Basil, Barking From The Bayou, and Love Is Being Owned By A Husky  


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Roses for My Mother

Dear Friends and Readers: 
As many of you know already, my mother has been not been well. Sadly, this past week she has declined greatly, and today she passed away. I will be taking a few days off to honor my mom, and will be back with more Epi-Tips then. If you are waiting for a book or item to be shipped from me via ArcticHouse Publishing, please bear with me. Thank you for all your support, prayers, and wishes. They have meant so much.

Friday, November 13, 2015

November's #LiveGibStrong Epi-Tip #13 & Cooling,Calming Collar Review

Gib looking spiffy in his "Too Cool" Calming Collar
Today’s Epi-Tip is all about keeping an Epi-dog cool. One way is by using a cooler collar. I use them not just in the summer when our north eastern temps soar, but I also will put one on Gibson any time I think he appears agitated or warm as a preventive measure. Post-seizure, it’s also very important to bring an Epi-dog’s temperature down. In addition to placing cool packs (or frozen peas and a frozen loaf of Italian bread like I used when Gibson had his first seizure six years ago), including on the small of the back right under the neck, a cooler collar helps tremendously to bring a dog's temp down, or keep him cool to begin with. 

Today, I’d like to tell you about a really cool cooler collar, and a collar to help reduce stress ~ all filled with natural herbs ~ made by Calming Collars that I had the pleasure of test driving. Gibson is pictured above relaxing with the custom purple (I selected for K9 Epilepsy awareness) "Too Cool" cooling collar. I love the bow "tie" look! These collars are hand-made in the U.S.A., custom ordered to your selection of width, fabric color and type of collar (or all three!) And...Calming Collars will ship anywhere in the world!

Cooler collar on left ~ calming collar on right.

All of their collars use “quality herbs and ingredients,” and, notes owner of Calming Collars, Deborah Mendez, “Even if eaten, they will not harm your pet.” Now that's good news!

The collars each come packaged so nicely in their own air-tight zipper lock bag:

The three types of pet collars by Calming Collars are:
  • Too Cool - a cooler collar to keeps pets cool.
  • Calm Me Down  - herbal collar reduces stress & anxiety
  • Good to Go – a collar to help anti-motion sickness

The “Too Cool” collar is made up of polymer crystals that expand when wet to help keep the wearer cool. These collars are so easy to use. You simply soak them in cool water in the sink, wring out, and clip around the dog’s neck. I love this collar. Or should I say, Gibson loves this collar!

 And once it dries out, you can simply rewet it again! Tip: Place a wrung-out wet “Too Cool” collar in a zippered freezer bag and keep in your freezer for a great “cold pack” post-seizure.

 Gibson loves his "Too Cool" collar!


 Wolf just chillin' in his "Calm Me Down" collar!

The “Calm Me Down” collar is based on aromatherapy. Deborah recommends, if possible, to, “put the Calming Collar on 20 to 30 minutes before a stressful event” to "get ahead of the stress.” I used mine for Wolf (above) because he has anxiety issues. I found that once I placed this on him, he settled down and the anxiety seemed to just melt away.  And it smells (p)awesome! 

Many Epi-dog parents also seek calming aids with their dogs that have seizures, and this is another possibility to discuss with your vet. While essentials oils can be helpful with a myriad of issues and conditions, with an epileptic dog there are certain oils that can be a trigger for seizures, among them are rosemary and eucalyptus. There are no essential oils in the Calming Collars, just a blend of natural herbs. 

“The Calm Me Down blend is filled with lavender, chamomile, and balsam. No essential oils or fillers, just the actual dried herbs,” explains Deborah, who also offers the following advice. “Some may want to run it by their Vet if they have concerns about trying something else.” 

Calming Collars in the News!


Whether you choose the Too Cool,  Calm Me Down, or Good to Go collar, there’s a great selection of colored fabrics to choose from. And sizes feature single channel, double channel, or extra wide widths. The extra wide works really good for the Too Cool collar, which is what I have for Gibson, and I have the double channel Calm Me Down for Wolf. All collars are made to order, so they are always fresh! Check out all the pretty fabrics, sizes, and details of the three collars at

These stylish, all-natural Calming (and Cooling) Collars gets a happy Husky top “four-paws” out of four-paws rating!

 Woo! We’re excited to bring you a coupon for 10% off your collar order, compliments of Calming Collars! To receive your discount, be sure to type in FiveSibes10 in the coupon code box!

*If we review it, we use it!*

It's also our FiveSibes Flashback Friday Blog Hop! For today's trip down Memory Lane, I picked a "cool" shot of the four of my FiveSibes running in the snow from several years ago! When you're a Husky, cool is the name of the game!

Flashback Fridays are brought to you by us - the FiveSibes - and our co-host, Love is being owned by a Husky, each Friday. We hope you'll find a photo or video from Memory Lane, post it, and link up to our Blog Hop each week! If you don't catch it on Friday, you can link up any time during the week! To catch our past Flashbacks, just enter "Flashback Friday" in the search box. We hope you'll come join us!

We're also hopping on the Pet Parade Blog Hop, so be sure to pop by and visit the host's, cohosts', and hoppers' blogs, too!
Hosted by Rascal and Rocco with co-hosts Bionic Basil, Barking From The Bayou, and Love Is Being Owned By A Husky  


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