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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Howl-o-ween! Why is Gibson's Pumpkin Purple?

Gibson has a purple pumpkin this Halloween! Pretty cool, right? Do you know he has a purple one and not an orange one?

Harley has a hint: Purple is the color of...?

Epilepsy Awareness.

The Purple Pumpkin Project® was founded by founder Ron Lamontagne, whose son was diagnosed with Epilepsy when he was just four. Ron was brainstorming ideas on how to spread awareness about Epilepsy and was inspired by a local pumpkin patch! He thought that while kids and families were carving pumpkins, they could also paint/decorate/make a purple pumpkin that would then prompt folks to ask the question "Why is your pumpkin purple?" to which the replies would be information on Epilepsy - human and canine. 

As many of  you know, the cause is near and dear to my heart as one of my Siberian Huskies, Gibson, is an Epi-dog (canine epileptic) and was diagnosed with idiopathic Canine Epilepsy in 2009, shortly after his third birthday. It was a very scary time and I felt very alone. Ever since, we have been strong advocates of Canine Epilepsy Awareness. Over the years I've written many articles, oodles of blog posts, and two books on the subject, as well as being a Purple Day® Ambassador and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation~Canine Epilepsy (TWF) and fundraising for related non-profits, including our very first auction last year that benefitted both TWF and Canine Epilepsy Resources Epil-K9 Foundation's "Emma's Seizure Fund." Gibson and I are dedicated to getting important information out there, and share our resources, in order to help others who are faced with a dog who has seizures so they do not feel scared and alone. We also hope to help encourage folks to consider adopting a dog who has seizures. With some special care and lots of love, Epi-dogs can live happy lives!


The Purple Pumpkin Project supports the mission of the Epilepsy Foundation, and hopes to offer support to those who have seizures. And they want to see your purple pumpkins! You can share your purple pumpkin pics on Twitter by hashtagging #PurplePumpkinProject and #DareTo, and be sure to also include #LiveGibStrong on your photos so we can share your pet's purple pumpkin pics on our social media, too! You can also follow The Purple Project on Facebook and Twitter at @PurplePumpkinPr, and the Epilepsy Foundation at @EpilepsyFdn

 
For some great purple painting tips, visit HERE.

 We are also participating in the Epilepsy Foundation's Purple Pumpkin Project's fundraiser, so please pop by our page HERE and consider making a pledge to help continue the studies into Epilepsy, and of course, feel free to share with others!


Our #LiveGibStrong Pledge Page




We had put out a call for pets with purple pumpkins to come join us in a video slideshow to show support for Canine Epilepsy Awareness, and the response was just inspiring! Thank you to everyone who submitted a photo of their beautiful dog with a purple pumpkin. Together we can make a difference, and help support those people and canines with Epilepsy. Here's our video featuring beautiful Epi-dogs and non Epi-dogs from across the world who have joined together to prompt people to ask, "Why is your dog's pumpkin purple?"








By helping to spread the awareness about Epilepsy with others, we can help folks overcome any fears or misconceptions they may have. Through The Purple Pumpkin Project, we can offer our support to those humans and canines living Epilepsy. So whether you paint your pumpkin purple, cut out paper purple pumpkins, or even glue purple pom-poms on your pumpkin - have some fun and get the conversation started with your family, friends, and neighbors about Epilepsy, and why your pumpkins are purple!
  
"Hey, there's some treats in here!"

So why is Gibson's pumpkin purple?

Gibson's pumpkin is purple because Canine Epilepsy does NOT define him. Epi-dogs can, and do, live full happy lives , however long we are blessed to have them. They are amazing, strong, determined...and inspirational. #LiveGibStrong!

Please be sure to check out my two books on Canine Epilepsy available through our ArcticHouse Publishing and on Amazon.com:


EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy - More than 100 stories from families across the world about their beautiful dogs living with seizures, plus an extensive resource list, information, and much more. 

~And~ 


What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy - an illustrated, easy-to-read FiveSibes Tale children's book that helps to explain seizures and even a few tips to help remove the fear about Epilepsy.

A portion of proceeds from both books will be donated to the "Emma's Seizure Fund" through the Canine Epilepsy Resources Epil-K9 Foundation at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine Neurology Department. 

The Purple Pumpkin Project takes place on Halloween - October 31st - on the eve of Epilepsy Awareness Month. Please be sure to come back and visit us here during November, and on our social media accounts, as we share important tips, info, news, articles, books, photos, videos, books, resource links on Canine Epilepsy throughout the month.

 Have a safe and Happy Howl-o-ween!

Friday, October 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 the continued inspiration and namesake of my #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness Campaign, where we help share information, resources, links, and fundraisers to promote education about the positive and realistic side to living with a dog who has been diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy. Gibson and I have traveled this journey. We live it. He lives with it. I have written about his journey and will continue to do in the hopes of helping others who may now find themselves on the same journey. We are here to say - Epi-dogs are amazing! Is it easy...no! Is it scary? It sure can be. Is it worth it? Definitely yes! 





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

 Gibson has taught me so many things over the years. First, there's love, trust, and a bond so deep and connected, words can not truly describe it. I've had dozens of dogs throughout my life and loved each and every one and thought each and every one was/is very special. And there's Gibson. He is amazing. I've said this a million times, he is a deep soul. He has shown me through this journey what trust and determination is. He is a warrior. We have faced many challenges - from the onset of the seizures, to extreme weight gain from the meds, to side effects to the meds - especially weakness in hind end and lameness. He has shown me that determination, work, and trust brings strength. Strength of the body. Strength of the mind. Strength of the heart. Strength of the soul. 

I've seen Gibson at his strongest, his weakest, and I've seen him work hard for the better part of two years wearing his leg braces, being in a lift harness, and receiving laser treatments to help him regain his mobility. 

Through it all, he has made me a stronger person. Being
diagnosed several years ago with Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, there are days that pain and fatigue beg me to just sleep or rest. But Gibson is my inspiration to get up and fight my through it. Together, he and I heal each other. And it's a beautiful relationship. He is my shining star. My canine hero. And today, it's all about my boy Gib!

His journey began almost seven years ago. You can read about those initial days from excerpts from his journal that I shared back in 2010 for Epilepsy Awareness Month in the hopes of helping others HERE

A little more update a year later HERE and some Epi-tips and a video of Epi-dogs from across the world.
 
In 2012, I feared I was losing him again when the pharma-ceutical company suddenly and without any notice changed his Potassium Bromide capsule compound that sent him into sudden and severe ataxia. Talk about scared! Thanks to getting him to the vet quickly, who immediately detoxed him, we were able to get through the crisis...alebeit very shaken. 

You can read about the Bromide Toxicity HERE, and while we hope to help educate others, we pray you never have to experience it with your dog.


Visit his distance Reiki treatment post HERE. 

On and off over the years, Gibson has been faced with setbacks as a result of his meds, and then he had a fall on the ice and went lame. Again, we attacked full steam ahead with Conservative Care (under the direction of his vet team, we opted to treat Gibson via this method as with his being an Epi-dog, the least amount of surgeries, the better to avoid break-through seizures, and I was very positive going in using as much holistic measures to help heal him as I could)


We treated him by using medications (at first), then natural supplements, laser therapy, massage, leg stability braces, and a lift harness for the better part of two years (he had a second fall that set him back, and then a torn ACL that we also treated via Conservative Care). Each little show of strength made my heart soar. 


It was long days of lifting an almost 100 pound Husky, with the help of a lift harness, to get him to go down a handicap ramp to do his business. Then when weight went on the legs, another huge milestone. Then when the leg braces came off, when we took a walk around the entire back yard with the lift harness, and then the day this past summer when the lift harness came off and he was able to walk on his own. 

Seeing the lift harness hanging up by the back door actually makes me smile as I think about how far he's come. And then...it happened. Gibson ran like the happy Husky he is! Oh, joy!!! See here in this video (may not show up on all devices):



Best.Day.Ever.

I'm well aware that every 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 as a side effect to the meds, it just warms my heart to see him being a happy, carefree Husky! And I'll be right by his side to be sure he stays that way. And if he stumbles or falls, I'll be there again to 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 forever #LiveGibStrong.



He is my inspiration.

He is my canine hero.

He is my heart dog.

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

We're thrilled to have worked with House Woof Dog Biscuits in Vermont 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 and 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 through House Woof's online store, they will DONATE $1 to The Wally Foundation~Canine Epilepsy (TWF). TWF offers possible financial assistance to parents/rescues/fosters of dogs diagnosed with idiopathic Canine Epilepsy for much-needed medications. I've been a volunteer case manager with the TWF for a few years and have met some amazing Epi-dog parents who I am now friends with as a result! TWC does wonderful work and I'm proud to be affiliated with them and to have House Woof donate a portion of their "Gibbie Snacks" sales to TWF!

And...speaking of "Gibbie Snacks" House Woof has generously donated a Gibbie Snacks Gift Pack (say that five times quickly!) for one lucky reader! The pack consists of of Gibbie Snacks and a purple Kong Wubba and the drawing is open to folks in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, all where House Woof ships to. To be eligible, please follow House Woof and FiveSibes on social media (you can follow the prompts in the Rafflecopter below). And do share their website store to your friends and tell them all about Gibbie Snacks!



 Thank you again for all your support during my time away from here and posting daily Epi-Tips after my mother's health took a sudden decline, and she passed away two weeks ago. All your wonderful notes, comments, and condolences are so greatly appreciated. 

Catching up on this past week's Epi-Tips 27 through 29:

 And Gibson would like to remind you about my two 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. Both are available for purchase through the online store on my ArcticHouse Publishing website.







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