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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Live Gib Strong: November is (Canine) Epilepsy Awareness Month. Send Us Your Stories!


"I hope we can help other Epi-Dogs."
November is Epilepsy Awareness Month and the perfect time to talk about Canine Epilepsy (CE). As many of you know, I am the parent to an Epi-Dog, my Siberian Husky, Gibson, who was diagnosed shortly after his third birthday in 2009. I have written many times about Gibson's experiences and my book, What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy was based on those experiences and shared in an illustrated book perfect for young children to learn about seizures and Canine Epilepsy in a non-scary and helpful way.  First, I have to say, it took me a couple years to be able to step out from behind the fear of Canine Epilepsy to actually talk about it. As any Epi-dog parent can tell you, when you are having a good day, you do not want to even whisper it in case the "seizure monster" hears and decides to come back with a vengeance. Every moment, that turns into a day that turns into a week that turns into a month, and for every month that turns into two...and so on, is a good thing. That is what we Epi-dog parents look for - those times between seizures with the hope that there will not be another seizure. We secretly celebrate those moments as little private victories, ones we are to scared to share. And they are victories. Canine Epilepsy is an uncharted terrain. Even treatments are not a certain. 

Awhile back I posted about when Gibson had a very serious reaction to a reformulation in his Potassium Bromide capsules, (for full story, go HERE) that while he thankfully did not have a backlash seizure, he was seriously and neurologically ill until it was once again managed. But is it really? I hope so. I pray so. But I don't really know. I did and do everything within my power to keep him balanced, and a pharmaceutical company - without notifying the veterinarians or public of their change - flipped Gibson and my world upside down. And there are possible side effects to the meds. We run full blood panels on Gibson every few months to be sure his liver functions are within the normal range. So...yes, there are treatments both medical and holistic. Yes, there are dietary recommendations. Yes, there are studies. But, in my opinion, until there is an actual cure, CE and its treatments will remain like the wild, wild West...sometimes wild, sometimes quiet, but never for certain. So all we have are our private little victories to hold on to and pray will continue. 

I am extremely excited to announce the official launch of my "Live Gib Strong" K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign for 2012! Through this campaign I hope to help educate and spread the word that dogs who have seizures and/or Canine Epilepsy can - and DO - live full, happy lives. With lots of love and some special care, these dogs are living life to the fullest. Canine Epilepsy once meant a death sentence for dogs - that is most definetely NOT the case today. There are so many options and treatments available, ranging from medicinal to holistic, and dietary and environmental changes that can help an Epi-dog live life even with Canine Epilepsy and/or seizures. Is it always easy? No. Is it cheap to treat? Maybe yes, maybe no. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Without a doubt. The love from my Gibson is all the proof I need that CE will never stop me from loving and caring for him and together we hope to remain "Gib Strong" in our fight to bring awareness and education to people about dogs being able to live life with CE. And also a tribute to the loving parents, rescue volunteers, foster parents, and others who love and care for an Epi-Dog.
 
Cover of the Resource brochure.
For this campaign - there is so much going on! First, the "soft" launch took place last month at the Tails of the Tundra Siberian Husky Rescue's "Tails on the Trails" fundraising event in Pennsylvania where I attended and met so many wonderful folks, beautiful Sibes and other breeds, and some Epi-dogs! What a wonderful reception we received for our campaign, which consisted of a Gib Strong K-9 Epilepsy Resource Awareness booklet that contains valuable links and informational websites for Epi-dog parents, as well as items for an Epi First Aid Kit. There are also some amazing testimonials and photos of Epi-dogs from across the world who shared a part of their stories of living life with Canine Epilepsy. You may even recognize a few of our furpals in it! These glossy keepsake booklets are available for $3 just to help defray the printing costs.

We also have "Gib Strong" T-shirts ($18 and $20) and purple "Live Gib Strong" rubber awareness bracelets ($2), and handcrafted beaded awareness charm bracelets that will be available for purchase (with a portion being donated to the Canine Epilepsy Awareness center) for a limited time.

"Woo...that bracelet has my name on it!"
For every rubber "Live Gib Strong" bracelet ordered, $1 will be donated to Canine Epilepsy Resources

The beautiful beaded charm bracelets I've commissioned from my artist daughter (who soon will be opening an Etsy store with her beautiful creations). She is creating these beautiful semi-precious purple beads with silvertone and pawprint beads and a charm of choice exclusively for us on a "made to order" basis (which means please allow several weeks for delivery after payment). You can order the bracelet with your choice of two silver charms - either "pawprints on a heart" or "rhinestone ribbon heart" charms...or order one of each! They are $25 each (and one size fits most. If you need a larger size, just let us know!) A percentage of these bracelets will benefit the Canine Epilepsy Resources.

Heather gray "Gib Strong" T-Shirts in Medium, Large, XLarge, and XXL.


For all of the rest of the items sold, including my What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy illustrated book, will have a percentage donated to the Canine Epilepsy Resources center so they may continue their work to help Epi-Dog parents worldwide. To check out these items, visit our site at ArcticHouse Publishing. (Note: If you wish to order just one of the brochures or the rubber awareness bracelets, contact me via Email at ArcticHousePublishing(at)gmail(dot)com for a separate lower shipping price, or you can order them in combination with other items directly from my ArcticHouse Publishing website). 

Cover of this month's American Pet Magazine
And we don't stop there! This month, my article "Epi-Dogs: Living Full Lives With Canine Epilepsy" appears in the American Pet Magazine. Be sure to read this important article and please share it with Epi-dog parents you may know. To read this magazine, just click on the magazine's link above, and go to Issue 4. It's a pdf file that you can read online or download and print! And speaking of stories...




We Want Your Epi-Dog Story!

After such a wonderful response from fellow Epi-dog parents who shared their dogs' stories of living with Canine Epilepsy for my Gib Strong awareness brochure, I am now inviting you to share your Epi-dog's story and photos in a book I am working on that is scheduled to be published next year that is all about our loving, wonderful Epi-dogs.


Here's the scoop: Send me your 750 word length story of living with an Epi-Dog and how/when your Epi-Dog was diagnosed, and how she/he lived/is living life to the fullest, even with a seizure disorder. Please embed your story into an Email with "EPI STORY" written in the subject line. Also include a high resolution photo (up to 3 photos), along with your dog's name, your state and country, and state in the Email that you are giving permission for your dog's story and photos to be included in the book (without permission, we can not use your story). Stories are subject to editing. When the book is completed and published, a portion of its proceeds (post production costs) will be donated to Canine Epilepsy Resources "Emma's Fund." Deadline: March 1, 2013. Stories and photos should be mailed to ArcticHousePublishing(at)gmail(dot)com

And There's Even More Happening...

Mark your calendars! On Sunday, November 11 at 1 PM EST, on our "The Sibe Vibe" radio show, my co-host Robert Forto of Dog Works Radio and I will be chatting with special guest Marion Mitchell, site owner and manager of Canine Epilepsy Resources, which is filled with valuable information and resources for Epi-dog parents worldwide. It is also home of the EPIL-K9 Emailing list, where fellow Epi-dog parents chat with each other via Email about their Epi-dogs, symptoms, and medications while also offering support and valuable information to each other. Marion is also the Hu-Mom to several Dalmatians, including furangel "Emma," the original face of Canine Epilepsy and the namesake for "Emma's Fund," a memorial fund through the  Neurology Department of the Veterinarian School at North Carolina State University. Emma's Fund also where a portion of my book, What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy, and the other "Gib Strong" awareness items will be donated. We hope you can join us for this very informative show, (click HERE for live show's link), but don't worry if you miss it...we will be posting a permalink on this blog right after the show so you can tune in any time!


"Woo! That was a lot of news, Mom!" 
Yes, it was Gibson. And we sincerely thank everyone for reading it all as it is so important to us. Through education and awareness, we hope folks will realize that dogs who have seizures and/or Canine Epilepsy - with lots of love and some special care -  can live full and happy lives, however long we are blessed to have them.  
Thank you for sharing our story and supporting Canine Epilepsy Awareness. We hope all Epi-dogs and their families will stay "Gib Strong" in the fight against that sneaky seizure monster. 

To read other blog posts on Canine Epilepsy, please type in 
"Canine Epilepsy" in the search box on the top of this blog page.

❤ 
 
  
Please be sure to visit these other great blogs on this 
Saturday Pet Blogger Hop, too! 




5 comments:

  1. I had no idea that dogs have seizures or have epilepsy but then again I'm a cat and don't pay attention but everyone needs to know about this cause and I'm happy you are taking the time to do it! Bravo!
    xoxo-Henry

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey Gibson, Jet here. Hey Five Sibes!

    Your blue eyes radiate your pawesomeness, dude! We applaud you and your human for boldly creating such a vital awareness campaign for CE. We only know about this because of your blog.

    You may find more outlets at bookfairs like the Miami International book fair (2013) and Blogpaws and Bark___ (I forget the Orlando event they just had)

    Much success.

    ReplyDelete
  3. got to spread the word for a great cause
    Benny & Lily

    ReplyDelete
  4. wow,this soo wonderful
    can we buy this great stuff in germany,too?
    i hope,this will be a huge success
    greetings anni

    ReplyDelete
  5. Keep up the great work you are doing to raise awareness! Email momma at sehismith@aol.com and let her know how we can order some bracelets, a tshirt and another copy of your book (as a gift for Dr. Julia's waiting room bookshelf). Quinn and the rest of the WDA thank you.

    ReplyDelete