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Monday, June 29, 2015

Merry Meme Monday Brings Safety Tips for Safe Independence Day Celebrations


 Lots of celebrations have already begun, including many fireworks. Here's a few of our FiveSibes tips to help your pet have a safe and enjoyable July 4th!


With a little planning, the fun and festive holiday can be an enjoyable one for everyone in the family, including our pets!





Sunday, June 28, 2015

Gibson, My #HeroPet


On my Monday blog post, I talked about "Max," the movie. And in my post, I mentioned that Warner Bros. wanted to know  why we believe our dog to be a #HeroPet. Pets can be heroes for many different reasons. K9 Soldiers. Police. Search and Rescue. Therapy. Seizure Alert Dogs. Advocacy. My wooly Siberian Husky boy, Gibson, is a #HeroPet to me. He is the face of Canine Epilepsy awareness, an Epi-dog (canine epileptic), and he is a warrior, bravely living his life to the fullest even with special needs. He never lets set backs keep him down for long. And if his story inspires others to either adopt a dog with epilepsy or help give them the resources and emotional support for their own journey with an Epi-dog, then it's a job well done!

#LiveGibStrong
As many of you who have followed my blog for awhile know, Gibson and my journey began back in 2009, shortly after his third birthday. He had a grand mal seizure that scared me to the core. I walked in on him stiff, not breathing, foam oozing at his mouth, and his eyes glazed over. I thought I had lost my beautiful boy. While I was on the phone with the emergency hospital, he came to! I felt it was nothing short of a miracle. A month later, he went into cluster seizures, and in between his fourth and fifth seizure, we managed to get him to our after hours emergency vet, where the vet on-call, thankfully, broke his clusters with an IV of medication. He was then transferred to our regular vet hospital the next morning, where they ran all types of bloodwork and tests, ruling out any underlying illness or neurological issue, and diagnosed him with idiopathic Epilepsy, meaning no known cause. Could it be genetic? Possibly. Could it have been triggered by some food, treat, or environmental issue? Possibly. But to avoid any more seizures, he was put on Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide, and has been on it ever since. 

Over the years, Gibson experienced side effects from the medications, mainly a weak hind end that leaves him unable to walk at times. He also had severe ataxia and again I feared I was losing him when the pharmaceutical company changed capsule formulation without notifying the vet or public that caused a Bromide Toxicity, making him very ill. Thankfully, my vet immediate detoxed Gibson, and after a few days he was back to himself.

As a result of his weak hind end, Gibson has torn two CCLs for which I treated with Conservative Care Management. Surgery was not a first option since he is an Epi-dog. So with the use of a leg brace, lift harness, laser therapy, massage, Reiki, and vitamin supplements, Gibson once again was able to walk on his own. Then he had a fall on ice last winter that left him lame. His weakened hind end and weak knee from the torn CCL now had arthritis and he just couldn't move. Thankfully, after much rest, rehab at home, and again the same Conservative Care Management therapies, Gibson is back on his feet. Although I assist him with a lift harness to help take pressure off his knees while doing his business, he can get around the house now on his own. Many of these posts you can read by putting "Gibson," "Canine Epilepsy," and "CCL" or "ACL" in the search box at the top of this blog.

Gibson is such a fighter and embraces life with such zest and love, no matter what comes his way. He's had more issue than is fair for any one dog to have, but is always a warrior and gives it his all. He listens to me and works right with me to make himself strong...Gib Strong.

Cover Dog Gibson.
He has inspired me to write about his journey both in this blog and in my two books, the illustrated children's FiveSibes Tale, What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy written in a non frightening way to help children understand seizures, and even give some real tips on how to help; and most recently my 264-page EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living and Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy that tells the personal stories of Gibson plus 123 other dogs from across the world who have Canine Epilepsy, and includes a vast resource section to help families who are on this journey (both available through our publisher site ArcticHouse Publishing). You can find blog posts here, including his journal from the early days, by entering "Gibson," and "Canine Epilepsy" in the search box.

A percentage of proceeds from both books will benefit the Canine Epilepsy Resources (www.canine-epilepsy.com) Epil-K9 Foundation's "Emma's Seizure Fund" through the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Neurology Department.



1 of 30 daily Epi-Tips
Through our #LiveGibStrong K9 Epilepsy Awareness Campaign, we partner up to help raise awareness about Canine Epilepsy and funds for Canine Epilepsy organizations, such as Canine Epilepsy Resources "Emma's Seizure Fund" and The Wally Foundation~Canine Epilepsy. We hosted our very first auction last year, raising $2,554 ($1,277 each). I've also had numerous articles on Gibson and Canine Epilepsy published in The Sled Dogger Magazine, Dog Writers Association of America's Ruff Drafts, and American Pet Magazine. Every November, we post "Live Gib Strong" Epi-Tips, one a day for 30 days. And in March, we do another awareness campaign for international Purple Day® for Epilepsy, for which we have been ambassadors for almost five years. We also highlight special shows with Canine Epilepsy experts on our FiveSibes "The Sibe Vibe" Dog Works Radio show.

It is my goal, that along with Gibson, to bring information and hope to other Epi-dog families so they know they are not alone in their journey. It can be frightening, but even with seizures, dogs can and do live happy, full lives. 

Gibson is the inspiration and namesake behind the House Woof Dog Biscuits of Vermont formulating a wholesome, Epi-dog friendly treat (no wheat, no salt, no rosemary, no preservatives) called "Gibbie Snacks." The bakery donates $1 from every bag of Gibbie Snacks purchased to The Wally Foundation~Canine Epilepsy, who offer possible financial assistance to parents/fosters/rescues of dogs diagnosed with idiopathic Canine Epilepsy. 

When someone writes me and tells me that through reading Gibson's stories, or seeing his photos and updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+, we helped them and their Epi-dogs, it really warms my heart! Maybe they tried a new medication or laser therapy or changed a food to avoid a possible ingredient trigger. Maybe they found a resource I recommended that Gibson and discovered to be very helpful. It is my hope that Gibson and I can continue together for a long time to come to help others know that dogs with seizures deserve a chance at life. And the love and happiness they give us back is what makes it all worthwhile. 


GIBSON. 
EPI-WARRIOR. HERO. BEST FRIEND.
Gibson's bravery, love, understanding, zest for life, and perseverance inspires me so, and together we offer hope and support to other Epi-dog families so they know they are not alone. That is what makes him my amazing, beautiful, and very special #HeroPet.
 
If you could help us get the word out about Gibson being a #HeroPet, please share this post's URL on your social media and use the hashtags: #MaxMovie #HeroPet, #LiveGibStrong, and #FiveSibes,  we'd appreciate it!

#FIVESIBES #LIVEGIBSTRONG #HEROPET




Our Purple Day for Epilepsy Video:



 Our First Awareness Video:







And don't forget to check out the amazing Max, the movie, at a theater near you!


Friday, June 26, 2015

It's "Take Your Dog To Work Day" ~and~ Flashback Friday!


Bandit loves to help me proof my writing.

Today is Pet Sitters International (PSI) 17th Annual "Take Your Dog To Work Day (TYDTWDay®)!" Are you and your dog ready? The FiveSibes are all here to take a break from their busy days as a "working class" breed to offer up some helpful tips to keep in mind when bringing your dog to the office for TYDTWDay or any day!


    Pre-Arrange Approval. Check with your boss that it’s okay to bring your dog to the office.
    Co-Worker Allergies? Check to see if any co-workers are allergic to dogs and if they are okay with your dog in the office for the day.
    Safety First. Prior to TYDTWD, be sure to puppy-proof your workspace. Be sure the area your dog will be in is free of anything poisonous, toxic, or unsafe.
    Spa Day Before Work Day: Be sure to give your dogs a nice bath and grooming before them bringing to the office.
     A Healthy Dog is a Happy Dog: Please be sure your dog is in good health and up-to-date with being vetted.
     A Human’s Best Friend.  Please only bring dogs that are social, friendly, and not afraid of noise and people. You don’t want to traumatize your furry friend.
    Say Yes! to Doggie Bags! Be sure to bring along treats & lunch for your dog!
    Who Loves A Drink? Water and bowl a must-have!
    Wanna Play? Have dog’s favorite toys to keep him happily busy!
    Crates are Great! Consider bringing your dog’s crate along for a safe, happy place for her to rest.
    Who’s Your Daddy or Mommy? Collar with tags a must!
    Microchips Ahoy! Check that your dog’s microchip info  is up to date on registration & at vet’s office.
    Leash, Please! Always walk your dog on a leash to keep him safe in a new place.
    When Nature Calls… Be sure to bring eco-friendly doggie “do” bags for potty breaks and pet-safe disinfectant in case of oopsies.
    Back-Up Plan. Just in case your furkid gets anxious and needs to go home, have an exit plan worked out, whether a family member or friend for pick him, or prior approval from your boss to leave.
    It’s All Good! Most of all, make it a fun and enjoyable experience for all!


Gibson is a great inspiration and assistant editor!
 

Your Boss Still Not Convinced? Download the PSI free Action Kit HERE to help! Loaded with lots of stories of previous TYDTWDay, what other companies are doing, helpful hints, preparing a press release, and so much more to help prepare for next year's TYDTWDay! And...here’s some important facts from PSI about the benefits of participating in Take Your Dog To Work Day®:

"According to a 2008 national poll of working Americans 18 and older by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 17% reported their company permits pets at work. In 2012, the group reported in a separate study that workers surveyed brought their dogs with them to work 22 times in 2012, compared with 17 times in 2008.



"According to a 2012 Virginia Commonwealth University study, employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol. Studies have also shown that dogs at work help increase interaction between co-workers and increase employee satisfaction."

Thanks for the coffee, Harley!  You're a great assistant!


Plus…

*55 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment.
*50 million believe having pets in the workplace helps co-workers get along better.
*38 million believe having pets in the workplace creates a more productive work environment.
*37 million believe having pets in the workplace helps improve  relationships between managers and their employees.
*Source: 2006 American Pet Products Association Survey

Sounds good to me! How about you?


Harley helps with PR!
I'm very fortunate that all my FiveSibes are with me for TYDTWDay as I now work from home. And they sure are great "working breed" dogs and Mommy's little helpers whether they are the subjects of my stories, help me edit one of my articles or books, assist with promotions, eagerly taste test a treat recipe for this blog, model for an upcoming product or movie review, or are just ready to help me have a snack and a Husky love break! But if I was still working in an office out in the field, I think this is such a great concept, I would definitely be spearheading a campaign! After all, our pets make us so happy, and part of working out of the home is worrying about them during the day, or missing them. So just think how much more productive folks could be if their pets were right there with them at work! Now for a few more "working" shots of my very helpful Sibes!

Wolf really digs his job as Soil Expert and Excavator!


Chloe and Bandit love being taste testers!

Gibson is proud of being a product and Canine Epilepsy Ambassador!

Chloe helps out with inventory control of my published books!


***SPECIAL TAKE YOUR DOG TO WORK DAY OFFER***

Learn more HERE!


All this work wore out Wolf! Time for a nap!







Here's to a fun day at the office with your dog!

Want to read more of my article in American Pet Magazine's check out Volume 2/Issue 2 below and flip to page 45!


Our Flashback Friday photos are of Bandit from 2013 Take Your Dog to Work Day (see top photo). Below, she is making a conference call on my cell phone and going over edits with me on one of my books!

"Woo. May I put you on hold while I check that fact?"


Flashback Fridays are brought to you by us - the FiveSibes - and our co-hosts, 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!



Monday, June 22, 2015

Best Friend. Hero. Marine. "Max" the Military Working Dog Patrols the Big Silver Screen


Wolf is ready to see "Max!"
"The nose of a dog...the heart of a Marine."  
~Max, the Movie

My FiveSibes and I are pretty excited about a new movie that coming out. I initially  hard about "Max" from my daughter. Having been both been long-time fans of actress Lauren Graham and the Gilmore Girls TV series, and knowing my affinity for all things canine, combined with my interest and previous articles on Military Working Dogs (MWD), my daughter sent me a trailer for the movie. I knew immediately this was a movie I wanted to see. Fast forward a week and here I am quite thrilled to be sharing details of what promises to be a classic movie! "Max" is a family action-adventure movie from Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures from writer/director Boaz Yakin (“Remember the Titans,” “Now You See Me”).

Official Warner Bros. "Max" movie poster.

The official synopsis of the movie is:
"'Max" is a precision trained military dog who serves on the frontlines in Afghanistan alongside his handler, U.S. Marine Kyle Wincott. But when things go terribly wrong on maneuvers, Kyle is mortally wounded and Max, traumatized by the loss of his best friend, is unable to remain in service.
Shipped stateside, the only human he seems willing to connect with is Kyle’s teenage brother, Justin, so Max is adopted by Kyle’s family, essentially saving his life. But Justin has issues of his own...and he isn’t interested in taking responsibility for his brother’s troubled dog.
However, Max may be Justin’s only chance to discover what really happened to his brother that day on the front, and with the help of a tough-talking young teen, Carmen, who has a way with dogs, Justin begins to appreciate his canine companion. 
Movie stills courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Justin’s growing trust in Max helps the four-legged veteran revert back to his heroic self, and as the pair race against time to unravel the mystery, they find more excitement—and danger—than they bargained for. But they each might also find an unlikely new best friend…in each other."

I admit, while watching the movie trailer, I reached for the tissue box and immediately put Max on my "Must Watch" list and after you watch the trailer, I know you'll want to see it to!




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Harley is waiting to see "Max!"
The movie stars Josh Wiggins (“Hellion”) as "Justin Wincott;" Lauren Graham (“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” TV’s “Parenthood,” and "Gilmore Girls") as his mom, "Pamela;" Oscar nominee Thomas Haden Church (“Sideways”) as his dad, "Ray;" Robbie Amell as his brother "Kyle," and Belgium Malinois Carlos as "Max." (There were a total of 5 Belgium Malinois who acted in the movie, but Carlos played the lead dog)

Country singer Blake Shelton performs a touching rendition of Bob Dylan's song "Forever Young" for the movie. And the best part of it all is you won't have to wait long to see this amazing movie! The great news is "Max" is rated PG (parental guidance suggested) and will be released to movie theaters this week on June 26th! We are anxiously waiting, how about you?! So let's get the popcorn and tissues ready to go! 

Is Your Dog a Hero? Join in the Max Social Media Fun!

Tell Warner Bros. why your pet is your hero! Share your photos and stories using the hashtags #MaxtheHero, #HeroPet and #MaxMovie on social media for a chance to be featured on their official MAX pages! You can check out Max the Movie website, follow MAX on Facebook and on Instagram at @MaxMovie. Don't forget the hashtags! Feel free to mention #FiveSibes invited you to join!



Let's Talk About PTSD...

Just what is PTSD? "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something terrible and scary that you see, hear about, or that happens to you, like: combat exposure...." states the United States Department of Veteran Affairs.

And yes, while it affects humans, it can also affect dogs.

Dr. Walter Burghardt Jr., chief of behavioral medicine and Military Working Dog (MWD) studies at Lackland Air Force Base, the United States Department of Defense's MWD Training School, states that "...at least 10% of the hundreds of dogs sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to protect U.S. troops have developed canine PTSD," in a 2012 Los Angeles Times article
written by Tony Perry. And according to a 2011 New York Times article by James Dao, "By some estimates, more than 5 percent of the approximately 650 military dogs deployed by American combat forces are developing canine PTSD."

 According to the Integrative Veterinary Care (IVC) Journal, "Dogs are considered the most effective means of detecting hidden explosive devices and so are extensively used by the US military. It is easy to see why military combat or bomb detection dogs, as well as search and rescue canines who have to find bodies after disasters, might be subject to this syndrome." 

If you have a dog that you know, or suspect, has symptoms of PTSD, which can mimic other canine anxiety issues, consult your veterinarian, a trained behaviorist, and a holistic veterinarian to learn about the various treatments to help manage a dog with PTSD and help them become a happy, healthy member of the family. 

History of Military Working Dogs

According to the United States War Dog Association, in "January, 1942, not long after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the American Kennel Association and a new group calling itself 'Dogs for Defense' mobilized dog owners across the country to donate quality animals to the Army's Quartermaster Corps."

While originally the MWDs consisted of several different breeds of dogs, including Siberian Huskies and Malamutes as sled dogs in Arctic regions, today MWDs are typically the Belgium Malinois and the German Shepherd. They are trained for and used in various military roles, such as:
  • Explosives Detection 
  • Mine Detection
  • Tunnel Location
  • Security and Patrol
  • Messengers
  • Search and Rescue/Casualties
  • Sentry Duty
To read more about the history and role of the Military Working Dog, visit the United States War Dog Association and the United States Department of Defense Military Working Dogs websites.
 
A Victory for Military Working Dogs Serving Our Country

There is now great news for the future of Military Working Dogs - our four-legged heroes - thanks to the passing of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. According to the American Humane Association, "The nation’s military working dogs, each of whom saves the lives of between 150-200 servicemen and women in the course of their career, are one step closer to being guaranteed treatment as the heroes they are as the U.S. Senate today (June 19, 2015) followed the House of Representatives in passing the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) with language supported by American Humane Association mandating that America’s heroic military working dogs will be returned to U.S. soil upon retirement, and that their human handlers and their families – to whom these dogs mean more than anyone else – will be given first right of adoption."




About the Belgium Malinois Breed

A Malinois is: 
  • A variety of the Belgium Shepherd Dog  
  • Registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC)
  • A medium-sized dog
  • Highly intelligent
  • Exceptionally beautiful
  • Exceptionally working ability
  • Quick and agile
  • Loyal
 *Source: American Belgium Malinois Club

 "Highly intelligent, elegant, athletic, and muscular, this breed excels at agility, herding, tracking, obedience, and all protection sports," states the American Belgium Malinois Club. "Malinois demand to be actively engaged with their owner/handler, both mentally and physically. Also, all the qualities that make it an idea dog for military and police purposes, are what make it imperative that its owner be committed to working actively with it on a virtually daily basis. However, in return for active engagement, the owner/handler receives the unconditional love and affection -- and loyalty -- that a Malinois reserves for "the person" in its life."
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War Dogs

“A bond is built forever, 
forever and a day. 
Built on love, built on trust, 
that’s the canine way.” 
~Murray Weinstock

If you think you'd like a Malinois...the same as we always discuss here in my blog and on my The Sibe Vibe radio show about another working breed, the Siberian Husky...please do your homework first to be sure this is the type of dog you'd like to welcome into your family and home, and that you can make a lifetime commitment to care for, train, and love! Here's a clip, "Saving Max," by Top Tier K9 about the protecting the Malinois  breed, especially with the release of a movie that highlights this fantastic dog who has tirelessly protected our country:







A heartfelt "thank you" goes out to filmmaker Kenn Bell for sharing all the info, pics, and videos with us for this movie! We can't wait to see it! To learn more about the Military Working Dog, check out the following episode of The Dog Files called "A Few Good Dogs." The Dog Files series was created by Kenn, pictured here with his adopted American Foxhound/Pointer mix, also named "Max."
  



Join us in supporting this movie by sharing, hashtagging, and following #MaxtheHero, #MaxMovie, and #HeroPet on social media!

Wolf says, "Woo! This is going to be a great movie!  

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." 

 ~Unknown Author

  

My FiveSibes are all ready for the release of "Max" the movie!


* Max movie photos and video courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures. They may not be used or copied without permission from Warner Bros. Photos of the FiveSibes are by DWR/FiveSibes.blogspot.com

To read about human veterans and PTSD, see our#Stop22 Challenge post and video HERE.