Saturday, February 26, 2011

Let's Carry the Themes of Responsible Pet Ownership Month and Justice for Animals Week with us all Year Long

With the month of February winding down, I thought I'd take look at some of the things that stand out this month. Earlier on, I spoke about it being National Pet Dental Health Month, and February is also Responsible Pet Owner's Month, and today closes out the Animal Legal Defense Fund's third annual National Justice for Animals Week

First, in honor of this being the month of love and caring...I'd like to thank Peggy of Peggy's Pet Place for the pawsome bumper sticker she sent to us as part of her furbaby Kelly's birthday/Valentine's Day drawing. As the sticker says, "Hug a pet today!" Or two, or five, or six! Gibson is pleased to show off how he hugs his "pet" stuffed buddy. Please be sure to stop by Peggy's wonderful blog and say "hi!" and let her know the FiveSibes sent you!

We see it or read about it every day - severe injustices bestowed upon animals. There are dogs who are used for "sport" fighting, sled dogs who are senselessly killed, slaying of wild wolves and mustangs, and abused and neglected dogs and cats who are rescued each episode on the Animal Planet's Animal Cops: Detroit; justice for animals has been high on the minds of folks across the globe who are stunned by the horror and pain humans inexplicably inflict upon animals, just mind boggling. I can and never will understand the how and why of it.

Here are a few videos (including one on the canine cousin, the wolf) that are moving tributes to the animals we love. It's our duty as human beings to care about and protect innocent animals. They can not speak; we are their only voice. If we see an animal being abused or neglected and are not able to help ourselves, it's our duty to report it. There are so many groups and organizations who make it their life's work to help the abandoned, abused, and misused.  If we don't look out for the welfare of animals...then who will? A person does not need to be an animal lover, but no one should ever be an animal abuser. Let us all carry February's themes of responsible pet ownership and justice for animals with us throughout the year.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Our First Blogiversary! Let's Talk About Canine Socialization...

This blog is a momentous's the FiveSibes first blogiversary! One year ago today I began sharing my writings and photographs of our five Siberian Huskies with the posting of my very first blog article titled, February is Canine Dental Health Month, featuring our alpha queen, Harley, flashing the camera with her pearly canine whites! Little did I know then just how wonderful this blog ride would be or the many wonderful pet-loving folks I have met along the way. Thank you all for sharing in "a day in the life of FiveSibes" many times over since that very first blog entry. I enjoy and appreciate  your readership, comments, thoughts, support, and friendship; and am certainly looking forward to the next year of canine and pet chit-chat!

For this special date, I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about an essential element of training, and not for just Siberian Huskies, but all pets - socialization. Many have asked me over the years how did we get our Sibes to be so well-adjusted and have a real pack-family mentality as they not only play and sleep together, but eat together as well. First, I am not alone in my training efforts. My daughter, the other Hu-Mom in this family, spends many hours with our Sibes too. Sometimes we are together with them, other times she is with them when I'm not and vice-versa. In short, we are fortunate that our Sibes are very rarely without human companionship. 

In training canines, early handling and socialization is key. Especially for a Siberian Husky. They are extremely social dogs as any Sibe parent can tell you! If your dog did not join your family as a pup, the same rules still apply for a happy merging: that is to gently and slowly introduce your canine companions to a variety of experiences. These experiences can range from the human touch to going for car rides, getting into the bathtub, meeting people, being around apparatuses (i.e. walkers, wheelchairs, vacuums, etc.) and even joining other pets already in the family. The outcome can be very successful if all is conducted with lots of love and patience, and in an easy and positive manner. These early introductions set the stage for the human-canine relationship and help acquaint our pets with new surroundings and ease any possible fears.

Here is a slideshow on "socialization" featuring the FiveSibes and some hu-folks and friends who love them, as well as a few furpals. So grab some popcorn and pet treats, cuddle up with your furpal(s), and we hope you enjoy the show!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Sweet Sibe's Shadow Shot Sunday

 For this week's Shadow Shot Sunday, I photographed sweet Chloe patiently waiting for some treats by the soft glow of the back porch light!

For some other cool Shadow Shots from fellow photographers and bloggers across the globe, check out Hey Harriet's site every Sunday!

If you know of a school that has the 
Siberian Husky for their mascot, then I want to know! Send me an Email at FiveSibes(at)gmail(dot)com with the name of the school and where it is, and some quality JPEG photos of the Husky mascot, artwork, bumper stickers, logos, anything that shows the Siberian Husky school spirit, and I'll make a nice slideshow highlighting that school for one of my blog entries!  
Due to permission issues, please DO NOT send any photos that include students or their names - just photos of artwork or mascot images. Please be sure to obtain permission from the school  or district. 
Thank you! GO TEAM HUSKY!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Not So Wordless Wednesday!!!

Ah, the sounds of a new day dawning 
at our house...

Happy Woos-day!!!
Did you catch the still-sleepy Sibe howling on her back? Silly Sibes!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

♥ Have a LOVEly Valentine's day!♥

On a side note, as some of you were so nice as to comment about them, I had some cute falling hearts and a splashy Valentine's Day widget on my blog to add some festiveness to it. Then suddenly, my blog was "highjacked!" It sent readers to a variety of other websites. Some of you I know were kind enough to alert me to that issue. Then, I couldn't access my own blog at times from this. Very frustrating!!! Thanks to three wonderful folks - one who alerted me to the terrible "art" of highjacking so I actually had an idea of what was happening, and to another (my friend and tech guru!) for helping me fix it! Unfortunately, you can not speak to anyone at Blogger (either by phone or Email), so I posted a notice in the Blogger Help Forum - and I did indeed get a speedy response that, too, was helpful. So lesson learned here  - be careful of the widgets!!!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Smile wide, Smile bright
Fives smiles I see; such a sight
Healthy teeth, healthy gums
Brush pets’ teeth to keep ‘em white!
-D. Wills-Raftery

Have you brushed your pet's teeth today? While this month celebrates National Pet Dental Health, we shouldn’t need a reminder that as part of our pets’ overall care, we should be paying attention to their teeth, and be giving their chompers a brushing on a frequent basis (you know your pets’ teeth – this could be daily, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly). Your pet having strong teeth and good gums is very important. As with people, broken or rotting teeth can lead to other health issues, gum disease, irritation, discomfort, inflammation, and infection. To avoid a problem from starting, give them a little brush with some pet-friendly toothpaste. You can use either a finger brush (this is the type preferred by the FiveSibes), a standard (pet) toothbrush, a dental sponge, or pad. All of which can be purchased at any pet store.

I like to make the visit to the Hu-Mom “dentist” a fun event, so I incorporate lots of singing and praising so I have their interest (curiosity?) right from the start. Then, I use mint-flavored toothpaste as these furbabies just love the smell of mint. I will put a little spot of it on my finger and let them lick it so they believe it to be a treat! A little sneaky, I know, but they are “kids” after all. If they like it, they will brush! While brushing, I give them a light gum massage and am sure to get not only fronts, but behind the teeth as well. I get in there (and sometimes use a mini-flashlight) and take a good peek at their gumlines and check for any nasty tartar build-up, unusual discoloration, bleeding, or any holes or broken teeth. If there is a problem, it’s time to give the vet a call for further inspection. For some more points on dental care for your pet, check out Doctors Foster and Smith's Pet Education information on “Brushing Teeth and Home Dental Care.” 

Open up and say "Ahhhh!"

After we brush, the FiveSibes engage in some self-licking , as well as some furfamily-style licking of each other (to be certain that every Sibe had the same thing. Heaven knows, they better have the same scent, otherwise, they will let you know with lots of protesting "woos" of their unhappiness.) Then they are off to play, with healthy, minty-fresh teeth.

If your pet doesn’t like the flavor of mint, the toothpaste is also available in some additional tastes as well, including peanut butter, beef, salmon, and malt. Almost every flavor to please the demanding pet palate!

Here is a video from the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) on the proper technique for brushing your pet’s teeth:

There are also things like dental treats, rawhides, and toys that are “teeth friendly” to aid in helping to keep your canine companion’s teeth and gums healthy. You can check in with your own vet or with AVMA TV (American Veterinarian Medical Association’s online video network) to be sure if the treats or toys you select are safe for your pet.

Until next time, keep brushing and stay healthy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Book Nook Time: For the Love of Dogs

Harley loves being read to!
I love books. Always have. And the FiveSibes really seem to enjoy them too! They love to inspect the packages I receive in the mail, eagerly sniffing at the crisp pages of a new book. And, just like children, they seem to really love being read to. They eagerly listen as voice breathes life into the written words, and every now and again they will sound off their interest with a few "woos" if I pause too long between pages.

A FivesSibe Four-Paw Rating!
Recently, we were treated to a "paw"some read when we received a complimentary copy of  For the Love of Dogs: An A-Z Primer for Dog Lovers of All Ages, which is cleverly written by Allison Weiss Entrekin (managing editor of Doggie Aficionado Magazine) and wonderfully illustrated by Mark Anderson, with a foreword that emphasizes positive reinforcement training by Victoria Stilwell, renowned canine trainer and host of "It's Me or the Dog." This hardcover book published by Triumph Books, is slick, fun, and an enjoyable read for adults, children, and canines alike! The text takes the reader through the alphabet in an easy, rhythmic poetic style, touching on the various breeds of dogs, stature, and canine habits all accompanied by bright, colorful whimsical illustrations of dogs. Fun! Fun! Fun! A totally enjoyable read I found myself smiling through, and a very spiffy addition to our coffee table book collection!
Sniffin' out the "Noses" page!

Harley knows all about "X" marking the spot...digging comes natural to a Sibe!
"Woo! Read me the part about the Noses again!"
Congratulations, along with many "woos" and "thank yous" to Allison for a beautiful book about dogs - those incredible furbabies we love to love!

Until next time, may you and your pet(s) enjoy some quality book nook time together!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is Your Canine Feeling Under the Weather? FiveSibes Canine Cooking Corner Presents Boiled Chicken & Rice (BCR) Stew.

Is your canine companion feeling under the weather? Has tummy troubles suddenly reared their ugly heads? It's no wonder with all the crazy weather we've been having across the country this year. Just like their hu-family, our furbabies have some "blah" days where they don't feel well. Recently, upset tummies, Giardia, and ear yeast infections have made their rounds to several of our FiveSibes, where they are either afflicted with vomiting or diarrhea, or both, thus resulting in one or more being put on a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice. Some have asked me just how we prepare ours so the Sibes eat it. So this week, we will be featuring what we refer to as BCR Stew, for our Canine Cooking Corner (which is now a monthly Tuesday feature).

To give an overview, when stomach distress hits, I always check in with my vet. Depending on the diagnosis,  with most average tummy troubles your vet may suggest withholding food for a day to give the intestinal tract a rest. But always be sure to keep fresh water around to avoid dehydration. However, for us, since one of our Sibes is on medication and gets very sick if he doesn't take his pills with food, so I go right to the BCR diet and do not withhold food from him. The BCR diet means no fat or oils at all. We use fresh chicken (breast or thighs) cooked in water only.

In most mild cases of stomach upset, the BCR diet helps to calm down the intestines and tum-tum, and aids in stopping diarrhea. If your furbaby still won't eat, as was the case of my Gibson and Bandit a few weeks back, I put the chicken pieces into a food processor and whirled them up into an almost chicken paste. Added that to the rice and fed them a little bit at a time by hand. A hint for the rice I got from my own vet is to have it as starchy as you can get it. If you have a steamer, that works great. If you microwave it, it's a bit of a trial-an-error to get to the perfect rice consistency. After quite a bit of practice, I have discovered that two cups of uncooked rice (not instant) plus four-and-a-half cups of water (for microwaving) seems to work best. The reason for the regular rice versus instant? The regular rice is starchier, while the instant rice will go right through them, which defeats the whole purpose of the BCR diet.

After not having symptoms for a 48-hour period, we reintroduced dry kibble (a little at a time) into the BCR, eventually upping the amount until back to normal amounts of kibble are achieved with no ill side effects. But please, always be certain of why your dog is sick to begin with by discussing it with your veterinarian.

We hope pets everywhere are feeling just fine - and here's wishing for a little more stable weather (snow is OK, wind and ice can just blow away!)  Join in our hop, and if you have a home remedy for an ailing pet, please feel free to share. Until next time - stay healthy!


Friday, February 4, 2011

We Must Never Lose Our Humanity

Humanity. Humane. Humans.

According to, a definition of humanity is, "the quality of being humane; kindness; benevolence." Humanity is the state of being humane. Being humane is what makes us human. And humans are capable of great love...for each other and for all living creatures...including sled dogs.

The shocking recent news from a British Columbia CTV News Report about the horrific fate 100 hard-working, innocent, and healthy sled dogs faced last April when they were allegedly slaughtered and dumped into a mass grave, some still alive, has spread like wildfire across the globe, disgusting and horrifying the masses. Myself included. It is beyond reason to me how something like this could occur, especially in this day and age. Help is literally just a keystroke away. How many of us have seen, and in returned "shared" or "retweeted" or "linked" information in the hopes of helping others - most of whom we have never even met before other than through the means of social media - to find new hu-families for the scores of homeless pets in search of their forever homes. Each and every day rescues, animal advocates and animal lovers reach out across the globe sending photos and adoption information of pets in dire need, who are on "death row," have been abandoned, injured, handicapped, are too old or  too young, or were purchased from a breeder without first becoming familiar with the animal's need, so they are dumped, abandoned, or surrendered to a shelter.

Then there is that heartbreaking story, as the CTV reported, about those 100 sled dogs. Reportedly healthy, working dogs who lived to work and performed on command. Dogs who were devoted to their work. The very same dogs humans take pleasure in watching run or enjoy experiencing the rush of sled ride pulled by these dogs. How, and that is the million dollar question, can a human then order - and carry out - the slaughter of those very same dedicated dogs as a means to end an economical hardship? In this day of technological wonders when one simple message of "Sled dogs in need of a forever home" could send thousands of ripples across the technological world in a cry for help for these devoted dogs. And in return, receive hundreds of interested queries. Just the other day, a rescue posted a notice about a full-blooded Sibe pup that was in a shelter was going to be put down in less than 12 hours. That notice went viral and within less than one hour, there were many interested parties across the country with three people signed up to adopt him. That's all it took. A message sent by one person across the Internet.

How could this happen? That is the question that will haunt us forever. One of the accounts described one dog as escaping after it was shot in the head. It was running with its eye dangling out from the gunshot. Others had their throats slashed. While the pack members watched and knew what was coming their way and being absolutely powerless to run away or free themselves from the grisly fate that awaited them. What warranted such cruel and inhumane treatment? I do realize that not everyone is an animal lover or advocate. That to some, sled dogs are, simply put, a business expense. I do not know what issues faced the people responsible for those deaths or why they felt that slaughtering the dogs was their only way out. What I do believe is that there is always a choice. There is always help. Maybe not every dog would have been adopted out. But I am certain many good, kind-hearted people would have stepped forward to help. The rescues are so full, yet I know volunteers who keep taking in abandoned, homeless, sick, or lost dogs. If there is no room left at the shelter, people foster them. This world is a large place with many wonderful, kind-hearted, caring people in it. But one has to ask for help in order to be helped.

While there is no consolation for those poor dogs who were innocent victims, their cruel deaths should not - can not - be in vain. We all need to do something positive; to do good in the aftermath of this horrific event. We need to remember and honor those dogs who deserved so much more than what they got. The only way we can truly pay homage to them is to always remember our humanity. In the face of adversity, there is always another way. A humane way. The human way. If we lose site of that, then what is left?

I'm off to give my furbabies several thousand serious hugs.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Catching Snowflakes (Without Punxsutawney Phil) on Groundhog Day

Winter Morning Poem
by Ogden Nash
Winter is the king of showmen
Turning tree stumps into snow men
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes
Smooth and clean and frosty white
The world looks good enough to bite
That's the season to be young
Catching snowflakes on your tongue
Snow is snowy when it's snowing
I'm sorry it's slushy when it's going

PS - Although the FiveSibes didn't see any shadows (just drifts of snow!) or Punxsutawney Phil, Happy Groundhog Day to all!