Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blue-Eyed Bandit on Shadow Shot Sunday

Our "Bandit" a/k/a "BandaBear" intently bug watching one night under 
the light on our back deck.

Sky Blue Eyes
by JoJo

You made my world blue
Its as if you made my dreams come true
It all changed when I saw your eyes
Your passion, your strength and your light
All in those beautiful sky blue eyes...
It’s a memory that I will never forget
Giving you my love is something I will never regret
I believe in you because I can read it in your eyes
Those precious eyes that never lie
My life was in the shadows but you came and made everything shine
Because of you I look more up to the sky
It reminds me of your blue eyes...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Zen & Freya: Waging War Against Canine Cancer and Their Story About How Sometimes Asking for Help Brings Help to Others

Sibe Sisters and cancer patients Zen and Freya
"Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness, to pull another hand into the light." ~Norman B. Rice

We read a lot of wonderful stories about our love for animals, their daily antics, how much joy they bring into our lives, tips on how to keep them healthy and live longer lives, the jobs they do such as search and rescue, therapy, police work, bomb sniffing, and assisting the blind. Through these amazing animals, we also get a glimpse into the lives of the wonderful, caring folks who are their handlers, and those who run rescues and help animals in need. Then sometimes we come across stories of "pawing it forward," where the humans can actually use a little help while they are helping pets in need. And sometimes, by reaching out to ask help from others, something wonderful happens...we just may wind up helping others along the way. Such is the story of Zen and Freya. 

The pet blogging network is an amazing worldwide community. Through contacts and communication, good animal care has become viral, joining us all together into a brotherhood of animal rights defenders. It really is amazing that with one keystroke, we are put in touch with a community of colleagues with whom we can share our trials and tribulations with and call upon for support and advice. 

Through social media, such as the Help Save Zen Facebook page, Twitter, and Husky Tales blog, I like many of you, have met sister Siberian Huskies Zen and Freya. They hail from Ontario, Canada. Sadly, their Hu-family has been hit with bad news – not once, but twice – both Zen and Freya have been diagnosed with cancer. Zen, sadly, is terminal, although she is beautiful and courageous, and a true fighter who has already lived longer than first anticipated, it is uncertain when she will earn her angel wings. Having gone through several surgeries, including one for a removal of an anal carcinoma, she still manages a beautiful Husky smile, giving all who gaze upon her photos some degree of hope that she will beat the odds, face cancer down and win. Freya, who is also beautiful and bravely fighting cancer, recently had her own battles to fight when she had tumors removed from her side and elbow. Even in the face of her own fight, since Zen was diagnosed as being terminal, Freya – in that sixth canine sense of way – sensing Zen will not be with her forever, chooses to never leave her sister’s side.
Freya after surgery

Initially, their Hu-Mom Jackie says turning to the social media wasn't an option. “My husband is a very proud and private person. Although he was aware of my raffles to raise money for Zen and Freya, it was not something he was comfortable being publicly part of.”

Jackie's "Wear Pink for my Poochies" Design
However, through the social media and networking with other pet parents, Jackie has become very involved in trying to help her own Zen and Freya, as well as other families with pets in need. In addition to a “Chip-in” widget for open donations, Jackie has embarked upon other means of helping to defray their vet bills to cover the treatments both dogs need to survive and are receiving. It is commendable that in the eye of uncertainty, and with the help of others—some strangers—they still manage to give their Sibes the best medical care they can. It is no easy task asking for help...but their story doesn’t just end with them asking for help to defray the costs for her Huskies’ veterinarian care. Jackie, in light of the fight she is waging for her Huskies’ health and lives, has also picked up the sled reigns to help other animals in need as well. That’s what makes the story of Zen & Freya so special – while they are fighting their own life battle with the big “C,” their name has also become synonymous with helping others. Jackie has organized fund-raising auctions, raffles, calendar of her Huskies sales, photo contests, and even designs her own jewelry creations to sell to raise much needed money, not just for Zen and Freya…but for other dogs in similar situations.

The bond of sisters who are best friends
I decided to give back because there are so many other people out there just like me and I knew after my first successful raffle I could in turn give back to the community that was so incredibly generous, and help others too,” explains Jackie. “I remember so clearly what it feels like to have to choose between paying your mortgage or helping your sick pet. It is awful. And I thought even if I can help just one person at a time it could change someone's life for the better. There is nothing worse then having to decide, ‘Do I put my dog to sleep because I don't have the money to make her better?’”

Pupster Coal checks in on Zen and Freya
A new addition has recently bounded into their household in the shape of an adorable black and white Husky named Coal. Now, before you ask why they would get a third Husky when they have such high vet bills for the other two, their reason for adding a new pup to the family was simple: Freya. With the bond between Freya and Zen so strong, Jackie was concerned about how Freya would react when Zen’s time arrived to cross the Rainbow Bridge. “I worried that when Zen's time came to leave us that Freya would soon follow her, unable to live without her sister,” says Jackie. “We needed to act quickly. Introducing Coal now, would be a way to allow Freya to bond with a new sibling and help the transition of losing her sister easier. This is our hope. Thankfully Zen is still with us and Freya has accepted young Coal. We know now that when Zen leaves us, that with the love of her brother, Mommy and Daddy she will be able to get through it.”

Having puppy Coal enter their lives has spread so much joy, she says. “He has been an absolute delight. He brings us lots of laughs and joy into our lives. He is in no way replacing our Zen for each of our furkids hold their own special place in our hearts. There will be no other quite like her. Coal reminds me constantly how much love I have to give and to take delight in the simple things in life, like just playing and having fun.”
And what after their vet bills are paid? “Our goal is to be in a much favorable position financially. To have most of what we owe paid, and have less stress worrying about whether or not we can feed the dogs, or medically care for them. And of course it would be nice if we could afford to eat more then hot dogs and cereal! Once this goal is met, my goal is to be 100% focused on raffles and auctions to continue helping others just like us,” she pledges, adding, “And, of course bringing happiness and endless smiles to those who visit us on Facebook with our silly stories and funny pictures.”

And precisely that—helping others and offering up smiles to any and all—will be Zen’s everlasting legacy.


 All photos reprinted with permission of owner.

Reminder: The deadline for our FiveSibes' "Patriotic Pets" Photo Contest is midnight tonight!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Did You Take Your Dog to Work Today?

Wolf, my assistant blog editor, busy at work.
Today was National Take Your Dog to Work Day (TYDTWD)! Did you pack your sweet furkid a nice lunch and take him or her (or all) with you for a day at the office? Whether you work from home, at a business, or out in the field, what do you like best about bringing your canine companion with you? If you did, and you have some photos of your dog "working" today, stop over at the FiveSibes' Facebook page and post them, we'd love to see them! 

The first Take Your Dog to Work Day occurred in 1999, by Pet Sitters International. Their goal was to "celebrate the great companions dogs make and to encourage their adoption from humane societies and breed rescue clubs." The hope is employers will open up their businesses to welcome in our furpals and celebrate the bond we share with our pets while promoting pet adoption.

Bandit checks Facebook while on break.
While my day work office does not participate in TYDTWD, I'm fortunate in that as a freelance photojournalist, I work off hours from my home, so my Sibes are always assisting me...whether they are chomping up the pages of text I've printed, or drooling over the keyboard as they check out what's on screen, they are never too far from my side. They are always a source of inspiration and furry creative muses!

And just like at the end of a long, hard work day, when some hu-folks enjoy a "happy hour," socializing with friends over food and can our dogs during today's very first National Dog Party Day! 
Created by pet expert Arden Moore,
National Dog Party Day is being celebrated on both coasts, with fun happenings such as baking contests, pet celebrities, and more, in the hopes of having more pet parties hosted across the country while promoting pet groups and the cherished bond between hu-parents and furkids. So after our dogs work all day, now they can, as Arden says, "party like a pup star" at a pawsome pet party!

Here is a little video featuring Arden hosting a pet party:

Well, my creative Siberian muses are becoming impatient and have confiscated my red pen and are busy editing my next blog...or rather, chewing my red, until next time, hug your furbabies and have a happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tips for Keeping Your Dog Cool Now That Summer has Arrived

Today marked the Summer solstice in the northern part of the hemisphere, and that means the dog days of summer are close behind. With today being the “longest” day of summer, that means furpals had the chance to squeeze in more snoozes, romps in the yard, and dips in the pool than any other day this summer!

And just how did the term “dogs days of summer” originate? It goes back to ancient times when folks looked toward the heavens and visually connected the stars to form images, now known as the constellations. Different cultures saw the stars take shape of different “pictures,” including dogs. The dog star, or “Sirius,” derived from an Ancient Greek word meaning glowing. Sirius is one of the brightest stars that is said to have risen and set with the sun during the summer period of June through September. And, according to The Summer Place, while the constellations have moved over time, the dog days of summer typically fall between early July and August, the hottest, most sultry days of summer.

While summer lovin’ is a warm, fun, and relaxing time of the year north of the equator, here are some tips to keep your canine companion cool and safe when the mercury soars:

1) Exercise your dog early in the morning before the sun is up, or later in the evening after the sun has set, when the air is cooler.
2) Keep your furpal off the hot pavement and blacktop while walking. Stick to the dirt or grassy side of the roads/streets.
3) Be aware of where your dog is sitting when you stop during walks to cat with neighbors. Be sure your canine companion is not sitting in the direct sun.
4) Have fresh water in a portable container while out on walks and always available where your pet spends his time. For a cool treat, add crushed ice to the water.
5) When outdoors, be sure your pet has a shaded area, as well as a shelter to get out of the sun and rain.
6) Fill a child's plastic pool with water for some wet and wild fun.
7) Sprinklers are a fun alternative on hot days.
8) Bring your pet into the house out of the sun during the hottest times of the day and let them relax in air conditioning 
   or near fans.
9) Walk the perimeter of your property and conduct a poisonous plant check at canine eye level.
10) Keep a watchful eye out for bees, beehives (some are hidden in the dirt and grass), snakes, and rodents. Keep Benadryl on hand in case of bee sting emergencies (check with your vet for dosage amounts).
11) Keep up on their flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives.
12) Update First Aid Kits.
13) The use of cooler beds can keep long-haired and winter breed dogs cool.
14) Slip on doggie goggles to protect their eyes when they are riding in a boat or hanging their head out a moving car window.
15) Most importantly, never ever leave your dog in a car during the hot weather. It only takes a very short period of time to causes heat exhaustion, collapse, and death. Please leave your furbaby home until the cooler weather arrives.
16) And if you see a dog left unattended in a car, please call the police or dog warden. Be the dog's advocate as he can not speak for himself to let us know when he is in danger.

But most of all, enjoy a happy and safe summer

  There are only four days left to submit your entry into our "Patriotic Pets" Photo Contest! Click on our header for details. Winning pets will be announced on July 4th, and we will also post a slideshow featuring all of the entries. The judges are ready, and we have some cool prizes, too!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sibe Watcher on a Shadow Shot (Father's Day) Sunday!

This beautiful Shadow Shot of Chloe, as she watched my hubby fill the pool in the backyard, was taken by her mom and today's guest photographer, my daughter.
We would like to wish all the Dads out there - both human and canine - a very Happy Father's Day!

What is a Dad?

A Dad is a person
who is loving and kind,
And often he knows
what you have on your mind.
He's someone who listens,
suggests, and defends.
A dad can be one
of your very best friends!
He's proud of your triumphs,
but when things go wrong,
A dad can be patient
and helpful and strong
In all that you do,
a dad's love plays a part.
There's always a place for him
deep in your heart.
And each year that passes,
you're even more glad,
More grateful and proud
just to call him your dad!
-Unknown Author
Dads, enjoy your day! And don't forget to share that BBQ with your furkids!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Even in this Sibe Household, June is "Adopt a Cat Month" or Maybe "Cat Adopt a Human Month!"

 Chloe spots a visitor in the yard...

"Harley, who is that kitty with Smokie?"
"Chloe, if I can't eat it or chase it, I don't care."

"Wooo...Harley, he's getting really close..."

 "Wooo...Smokie, who is your new little furpal?"

 "Meowwww. Why Chloe, that's my new friend Binx. He's homeless, just like I was."

Binx...come join our family!

Gibson says "hi" to Smokie.
So the story of our kitties goes like this. Over three years ago, a starving and frightened long-haired gray kitten (a/k/a the honorary Husky cat), whom we named Smokie, sauntered by our house and met my daughter who immediately felt sorry for the beautiful, although very skinny stray. She fed her some salmon, and well, as they say, the rest is history! She never left us. I had checked the lost and found in the papers, the announcement board at the vet's, called several other area vet's and the SPCA to see if there were any reports of a missing cat fitting her description, but I knew sadly that she was not lost. She had been abandoned. I said at the time, if she was still around in a month, we'd take her to the vet's and get her a rabies shot and a check-up to start, and give her a name tag. She was still here. Turns out, she was just shy of about a year old and altered, confirming that she once had hu-parents, but was indeed abandoned. I then said if she was here in three months, we'd go back for the rest and put her on flea and tick preventative. That was over three years ago! Smokie is such a sweetheart and real lovebug, how could anyone just dump her off??? She loves to sneak into the backyard and torment the Sibes by perching herself on the fence, or slinking her way through the yard below their deck. She absolutely owns the front yard. And she comes running when you come home, greeting us with purrs and rubs. 

"Meow, Mom, can Binx stay???"
Then one night two weeks ago, she brought home a little, extremely frightened kitty friend. My daughter joked that "Smokie has a boyfriend." Just like with Smokie, she began feeding and talking to the kitty we now call "Binx." Each day, Binx comes a little closer to us. Same deal as Smokie, if he's still here in two more weeks, off to the vet's and shots and a name tag! (Hopefully we can touch him then as he's been so skittish, although he reached out to playfully paw my daughter's hand today! Big step! I'm hoping Binx will adopt us, just like Smokie did!

In honor of Adopt a Cat month, why not foster a homeless kitty, or donate some time, cat food, clean (used is OK) blankets, dishes, or toys? And if you see a few cuties roaming about the neighborhood, why not put out a dish of clean water and some snacks for them? They could be the very same cats that wind up adopting you!

Here is a heartwarming video sent to me by a friend about a cat playing with a dolphin that I'd like to share with you. I think you'll love it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flag Day

Wolf stands proudly in front of an American flag.

"You're A Grand Old Flag"

Words and Music by George M. Cohan

You're A Grand Old Flag,
You're a high flying flag,
And forever, in peace, may you wave.
You're the emblem of the land I love,
The home of the free and the brave.
Ev'ry heart beats true
'neath the Red, White and Blue,
Where ther's never a boast or brag,
But, should auld acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the grand old flag.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Window Gazing on a Shadow Shot Sunday

"The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude." ~Robert Brault

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Of Spa Days and Snow Furries

The (clean) Girls
The (clean) Boys
It's been "spa" days at the FiveSibes residence, with last weekend being the girls' turn, and this past weekend was the boys' turn. The bath water was so brown, the groomer said they white pups were "stained." Now there's something we were never told before, but then again, this year they made it their #1 Top Priority to dig every possible inch of backyard dirt into what really resembles a meteorite crater. Mix in a very rainy spring, and there's a recipe for the muddiest mud puddles ever. Thankfully, they cleaned up pretty well! 

Paws are looking good, too! All the vampire nails are nice and manicured, and all the boys' shaggies are trimmed neatly.

I have to say it's quite a trip to listen to them as they are bathed, blown dry, clipped, and pedicured. Each one brings their own personality to the experience. Harley, our alpha queen, wife to Gibson, and the pups' surrogate mother, morphs into Cruella DeVille, baring her teeth in such a deadly manner, she has to be muzzled. Chloe cries, cries, and oh, did I mention, cries? Wolf woos and aroos his way through it all. Bandit takes it all in quiet stride (which is strange since she is our high-energy, easily distracted Sibe!), while Gibson tries to lay down while he's being bathed and when he's being blown dry. Oh, he also tries to lay down while getting his nails clipped, oh, yes, and while he gets his legs and underbelly buzzed too. Our groomer (who does house calls) is just wonderful with them. He laughs and talks to each through it all, and I think other than the whole "bathing" aspect, they really enjoy his one-on-one attention.

Did I mention we also had snow "furries" here even though it was in the high 80s? And the Five have only just begun to blow their coats! But I'm guessing Husky owners across all the warmer climates are experiencing those very same furries too! And yes, that IS a water dish buried under that "snow!"

Naturally, all that brushing, and bathing, and splashing water, and blow drying, and primping really can exhaust a furkid. So what's the best thing to do after such strenuous activities? Why laze around in the nice cool A/C on some new summer beds, what else?!

We sure hope you all have a great Saturday, and why not catch a couple "ZZZs", like Gibson, while you're at it!  ;-)

The FiveSibes have had some fun, too, participating in The Portuguese Water Blog's "Bandana Day." What a great way to meet new furpals! Be sure to stop over and check out their blog!

Don't forget our "Patriotic Pets" Photo Contest! We have some pawsome entries coming in, and if you haven't submitted your pet's photo yet, there's plenty of time to do so. Great prizes too (and some new additions coming)! We enjoy seeing your gorgeous pets all decked out for the Fourth of July holiday! We will post the slideshow on July 4, along with the names of the winners! Just click on the title header or the link above for details, judging info, and prizes. Good luck everyone!

Many thanks to our Saturday Pet Bloggers Hop hosts: Two Little Cavaliers, Life with Dogs, and Confessions of the Plume. Please be sure to hop over and say, "Hi!"

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Call for Helping Two Huskies in Need

Can you help us? Can we come live with you?
I recently received word from a colleague that there are two beautiful Siberian Huskies in need of a loving home. Their current Hu-Mom notes, "I am heartbroken to have to look for new homes for my two Siberian Huskies. They are truly a delight and I would keep them forever if it were in any way possible. I have tried to arrange to do so, but have failed. I just can't take them with me on my move (from Atlanta to Alabama) because of an impending, permanent housing situation within a non-dog lover's home...I am desperate to find them new, forever homes within the month. Can you help me in any way?" 

If we could all reach out to all our network of Husky contacts and Sibe-loving friends to see if they have room in their hearts and homes for these two beauties, I know it will help their Hu-Mom immensely. If you could please repost, link, reTweet, and share this with everyone you know, it would be greatly appreciated. Here is the info on these two furbabies:

3.5 years old, 65 lbs
Neutered, Micro-Chipped, Vaccinated, 

Says current Hu-mom, "I have raised and cherished Ruach from birth, but due to unforeseen circumstances must find him a new home within the month.  He is an affectionate, energetic dog, who loves to be close to people. He likes belly scratches and wallowing in rivers/ponds! He comes with loads of gear (including a walky dog bike system)!  Ideally, you have access to a fenced back yard or are willing to walk/run/bike for doggy exercise, have no prey-resembling animals (cats, rabbits, etc.), understand reasonable chew prevention, don’t mind white hairs during seasonal shedding, and are ready to love the heck out of my baby boy!"

3.5 years old, 55 lbs
Spayed, Micro-Chipped, Vaccinated, 

Says Hu-Mom, "I have raised and cherished Pneuma from birth, but due to unforeseen circumstances must find her a new home within the month. She is a loving, gentle dog, who loves to be close to people and sweetly rests her head on your foot while you work on the computer.  She likes belly scratches and running alongside a bike!  She comes with loads of gear (including a walky dog bike system)!  Ideally, you have access to a fenced back yard or are willing to walk/run/bike for doggy exercise, have no prey-resembling animals (cats, rabbits, etc.), understand reasonable chew prevention, don’t mind white hairs during seasonal shedding, and are ready to love the heck out of my baby girl!"

If you are seriously interested in adopting these Siberian Huskies (and wouldn't it be just wonderful if they could stay together!), please Email their Hu-Mom at:

Woos & Thank Yous! 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Helping Pets in Need: Operation Roger...Truckers Pet Transport

I recently heard about "Operation Roger...Truckers Pet Transport" from a friend, and when I learned more about them, I just had to share! 

Operation Ranger...Truckers Pet Transport is a non-profit organization that consist of "regional and long-haul truckers who volunteer their time to transport needy pets as they do their regular jobs of delivering freight across the country." How wonderful is that? Please visit their website and Facebook page to find out more about these truckers who are helping pets across the nation. They have transported 568 pets since their formation almost six years ago.

Their mission: "To help rescues get pets to new homes and individuals retrieve pets they've had to leave behind." 

Their goal: "To get known to more drivers so we can in turn help rescue groups and individuals who spend so much of their time and energy in saving pets from being put to sleep because of over crowding, or rescuing them from bad situations, and then finding homes for them."

While there are so many tragedies and heartbreaking stories of abuse and abandonment of pets in the news each and every day...there are also so many good-hearted, wonderful pet-loving people in the world who want to help and care for these animals anyway they can. Operation Ranger...Truckers Pet Transport deserves a round of "a-paws!" Keep on truckin' Operation Ranger!

Many thanks go out to all those dedicated and caring animal-loving folks from both us fellow humans and the all furbabies they help.

Let's all give our furkids an extra bunch of hugs today and we hope everyone has a safe and happy Saturday! 

Pawnote: Keep sending those fabulous "Patriotic Pets" photos coming! More prizes added and more to come! Full info and rules click here! And your photos can be of any breed, any animal! Lots of luck to all the entrants!