Wednesday, November 30, 2011

An Invitation to a Christmas Sleigh Ride!

Gibson and the Lawn Huskies have the sleigh all ready!

You are invited to join our 
"Christmas Canines & Friends 
Sleigh Ride!"

Our holiday invitation to our furpals!

Jing-jing-jingling... 
"It's lovely weather...for a sleigh ride together...with you!" 

The FiveSibes would like to invite their blog pals to send us your pet's seasonal photos with them either decked out in their holiday finest, playing in the snow, trimming  the Christmas tree, helping bake (or eat) Christmas cookies, etc. Photos will be included in a video slideshow posted here, on our Facebook page, and YouTube on Christmas Day! 
Deadline for photo submissions is 
midnight on December 18th! 
You can Email photos to FiveSibes(at)gmail(dot)com or post them to our FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews Facebook page. Please indicate "Sleigh Ride" in the subject line, and include your pets' names and your town and country!
We sure hope to see all species of our friends on Santa Paws' sleigh this year! Ho! Ho! Ho!

To get this Sleigh Ride started, here's a little Christmas music to get everyone in the holiday spirit!



BE SURE TO STOP OVER AT ARWEN'S PACK BLOG. THEY ARE ASKING FOR HOLIDAY CHEER PACKAGES FOR OUR MILITARY HANDLERS & THEIR CANINES!
*IMPORTANT UPDATED APO BOX INFO HERE!*

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Newsy Tuesday is a Tasty Tuesday: Freezy Pups® Perfect for an Anytime Treat

Bandit is ready!
We've been having a bit of a heatwave here in the Northeast, with a week of low- to mid-60s! Pretty unseasonably warm for almost December. While many folks are enjoying the extra long warm spell,  my Huskies are back to wondering what the heck happened to the cooler weather and that wonderful October snow we had! So naturally in the warmer temps, they kick back and laze around on the deck and try to keep cool, especially since their winter coats were starting to come in!

Taste testing.
So what's a Siberian Husky to do to keep cool? Run fans. Check. Dig a deep hole in the dirt. Check. Snack on cool Freezy Pups®. Check. Now if you haven't had the chance to try these out, I have to tell you, please do! The FiveSibes™ love them! They can't get one fast enough!


What are Freezy Pups® you ask? Well, they are frozen treats for dogs that you whip up yourself simply by adding water to the packaged all-organic powder mix and pouring them into a tray of little bone-shapes. They are like flavored ice cubes, if you will. Then just pop the mold into your freezer until solid. 

 "...no yucky stuff added." --Heather Klemm, Head of the Pack and Co-Founder of Freezy Pups®

They come in four pawsomely fab flavors: 

Sweet Potato 'n Maple (this is the FiveSibes™ favorite!)
White Cheddar Cheesse
Juicy Apple
and Chicken Soup Recipe. 



These frozen treats are low-fat and wheat, corn, soy, and gluten free. As Heather Klemm, head of the pack and co-founder says, "Our ingredients are grown without pesticides, herbicides, fumigants, or artificial fertilizers. In other words, no yucky stuff added." And there is absolutely nothing yucky about these cool gems. 

I also crumble them up and sprinkle the cool bits over kibble and they just gobble it up!

So if you're looking for something healthy, green, and delish to put in your furpal's stocking this Christmas, we recommend Freezy Pups®! They get a five-paw rating from the FiveSibes™!


Bon Appetit!

Please be sure to visit our Tasty Tuesday blog hosts, Sugar The Golden Retriever and Kol's Notes, and check out what's cookin' at some other great blogs! 



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Exciting News! The first FiveSibes™ Book is Available for Order. Purchases Also Benefit Canine Epilepsy Organization



Book Front Cover

 Woooo! It's a very exciting time for the FiveSibes™ and I as we are releasing our very first illustrated children's book titled, What's Wrong With Gibson? This is the first book in a series of FiveSibes™ Tales written by me, the FiveSibesMom, and illustrated by the very talented artist Michelle Littler! Working with Michelle has been such a great experience! I look forward to working with her on the future editions of A FiveSibes™ Tale books! Her work is beautiful and she "gets" my Sibes and what message I'm trying to relay via her artwork. I am so pleased to have met her and thank Road Dog Tales for originally introducing us! Check out Michelle's Etsy store, too, at littletoad


As many of you know, I am an author, journalist, editor, and photographer by trade; with the last 14 years spent in the educational field. For five years, I was an editor of an elementary school newspaper I started in my daughter's school where the children in grades kindergarten through fifth participated in the creative roles of writers, photographers, artists, and designers of an actual quarterly newspaper. I grew up around a myriad of pets (from dogs, cats, and horses to a bull, goats, birds, a rescued fox, a monkey, and even 77 baby chicks)! I was an equestrian in my youth when I raised, trained, and showed horses and worked with local 4H students on horse care and riding lessons - and always with a faithful adopted dog or two by my side. I like to joke I traded horses for Huskies! To be able to merge my passions for writing and animals is a true dream come true.

Back Cover
Our five Siberian Huskies that we raised since pups, and their real life antics are the inspiration to my series, and What's Wrong With Gibson is based my boy having seizures, which I translated into a short tale that makes it easy for children who may have Epilepsy themselves, or know someone who does, to understand. The tale is about how while the Huskies are out playing in the snow one day, Gibson suddenly has a seizure. As the short story unfolds, in easy-to-understand rhymes accompanied by colorfully adorable illustrations, the three young pups discover that their big brother has Canine Epilepsy and they get a hands-on lesson about care and first aid from the pack's alpha leader, Harley.

Since November is Epilepsy Awareness Month, I thought it was a perfect time to release the book. I will be doing a continuous donation of a percentage of the proceeds (after cost of publication) to the Canine Epilepsy Rescources center, a non-profit agency "designed to provide valuable information and support to those who love and care for an epileptic dog (or cat). It is scary to watch your pet have a seizure whether it be a full blown tonic clonic (grand mal), a petit mal or something in between. You feel helpless as an owner and just want to help your pet. The information on this site is provided to do just that." 

This non-profit organization, which also has a Facebook page, offers Epi-dog parents a tremendous amount of valuable information, resources, and the website is also home to the Epil-K9 List and the site is dedicated to Emma's Memorial Fund, where funds are used to help the neurology and genetics department at the Neurology Department of the Vet School at North Carolina State University with small projects or pieces of equipment. 

Your purchase of What's Wrong With Gibson helps support Canine Epilepsy awareness, research, information, and valuable resources to the public through the Canine Epilepsy Resources site! If you have not checked out this awesome website, please do so! It is packed full of helpful information, articles, and also is home to the Epil-K9 List and hosts a chat room.

While a very important topic, this a sensitive and uplifting story written in easy rhyming and fabulously fun illustrations for children (of any age!) as it shows love, compassion, understanding, and care of a loved one who is afflicted by Epilepsy. For a short time, the book will be at a special pre-season discounted price of $9.50 per book, plus shipping & handling of $6.50 in the United States. Canada and other Countries, please contact ArcticHouse Publishing for individual shipping & handling fees before ordering. Since this is the launch of my own self-publishing house, I have worked with the printer in an attempt to keep the price per book at the lowest, while the quality is at the highest. Books are currently being prepared for printing, and should be available for shipment by mid-December, but can be pre-ordered now through ArcticHouse.

While I so enjoyed working on this project, I am really happy to be using it to hopefully raise funds for a cause you all know is very close to my heart, Canine Epilepsy, by donating to the Canine Epilepsy Resources center, so all purchases are greatly appreciated! Plus, your purchase does go toward a donation to a non-profit organization, so you can speak with your tax preparer about that!

If you would like your book either personalized by me, and/or pawtographed by the FiveSibes™,  just make note of it on the ArcticHouse ordering form and we will be very happy to do so! The books should be ready from the printers for shipment in mid-December, but we are taking orders now over at the ArcticHouse Publishing website!


HELP WANTED: In an effort to help spread the word about this book as more sales equals higher donations, we would love to do a Blog Book Tour. If you would be willing to "host" us for one blog entry, please send me an Email with your interview questions at FiveSibes(at)gmail(dot)com, with "Book Tour" in the subject line. You can ask us anything you'd like - about the Sibes, Canine Epilepsy, writing, etc. I will also send you over a badge and link to post on your blog. Just tell me what date your blog will be posted and we will post a link on our page with the date of your post.

Woooo! Did you hear? Mom wrote a book about us!"

I hope you will enjoy reading What's Wrong With Gibson to your children - both two and four-legged ones! Please feel free to send me photos of your pets and children (or even yourself!) reading the book! And thank you so very much for all of your support!

Hint to Santa Paws: It would make a great holiday gift and stocking stuffer for children, as well as collectors of all things Siberian Husky and canine! And...the the great bonus is sales of this book will help improve the lives of Epi-dogs and their hu-families across the world. It doesn't get much merrier than that! 

Please be sure to hop over to some of the other blogs or even join in this one yourself! And much thanks to our hosts, Two Little Cavaliers, Life With Dogs, and Confessions of the Plume!




Friday, November 25, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The FiveSibes™are ready for dinner!

Happy Thanksgiving to all our furpals and their families! There is so much to be thankful for...first and above all else, good health for all our family members both two- and four-legged. And as we all gather around today, may we take a moment to send wishes to those less fortunate - and remember there are homeless pets who would love to come spend even one day with a family to share in a touch, a treat, or a hug. So please, consider fostering a pet for the holidays, or stopping by your nearest animal shelter or rescue and spread a little holiday cheer with a furpal who hasn't yet found his or her forever home. 

Our day began with the pupsters catching some of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.


Wolf was busy wooing about how last year he watched it and did not see any Husky floats, and was hoping he'd see one this year.



Bandit was happy watching all the singing and dancing.



Wolf was laughing because he thought the people sounded silly. He was waiting for some wooing, now that's what he calls singing!



 "Mom...where's the Siberian Husky floats? And the snow? And why do they call that singing? I don't hear any wooing?"



After the parade, the FiveSibes™ went back out on the deck where it was much cooler than in the house with the turkey cooking. They popped up to check on the cooling pies and extra stuffing.



Alpha Queen Harley liked what she was sniffing!



 "Wooo...bacon, bacon, bacon!!!" They love little tastes!



"Wooo! We have visitors! Company's here!"



All the food an excitement means a nap is next! Gibson is ready!

And just a note to remind everyone that while we love all the trimmings on Thanksgiving, it's not all good for our pets. Please be sure to keep cooked turkey bones, greasy fats, certain spices/herbs, onions, alcohol, chocolate, xylitol (found in sugar-free items), and nuts, to name just a few. Let's also remember to keep our pets away from hot ovens, burners, and candles. And be sure to keep them safely tucked away in another room or crate until all guests have arrived to avoid them accidentally slipping out the door. It's also a good day to keep their tags and collars on, just in case.

 All of us here at the FiveSibes™ household wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! We leave you with this lovely Thanksgiving poem written by a senior citizen, Joanna Fuchs, who has graciously permitted us to print it here on this special day. Please stop by her site linked below her name and say "hi" and that the FiveSibes™ sent you!




Thanksgiving Delights
By Joanna Fuchs 
poemsource.com 
 
On Thanksgiving Day we’re thankful for
Our blessings all year through,
For family we dearly love,
For good friends, old and new.
For sun to light and warm our days,
For stars that glow at night,
For trees of green and skies of blue,
And puffy clouds of white.
We’re grateful for our eyes that see
The beauty all around,
For arms to hug, and legs to walk,
And ears to hear each sound.
The list of all we’re grateful for
Would fill a great big book;
Our thankful hearts find new delights
Everywhere we look!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Installment of the Regressive Dinner for Pets Event on a Tasty Tuesday!

Chloe's always ready to eat!
Can you smell that???!!! It's the aroma of turkey, and stuffing, and pumpkin pie! Thanksgiving is almost here and today is "Tasty Tuesday" by Kol's Notes and Sugar, the Golden Retriever, AND it's also the second installment of the Two Little Cavalier's Regressive Dinner Pet Event blog hop, which this time covers the scrumptious "Main Course" category! Woooo...today is a double-dose of yumminess; I'm getting hungry just thinking about it all!

For our dish, we'd like to share yet another recipe from our Canine Cooking Corner recipe video series, called "Turkey Mish-Mash" and the FiveSibes™ were on hand to do a little quality control and some taste testing along the way! With Thanksgiving being this Thursday, this recipe is perfect as it uses roasted turkey (or chicken) and pumpkin puree, and it's already been 100% Sibe tested and approved! So save some of those leftover from Turkey Day and here's a great mealtime treat for your furkids...and believe me, they will lick their bowls clean!  


Don't forget, the fun hops along at some other wonderful blogs, too, where more pawsome recipes (for both canine and human) are being shared, so please be sure to stop by our hosts' Two Little Cavaliers' blog and see what's cooking, who's playing chef, and what scrumptious recipes you can collect!
"Mom..how long until we get our viddles?"


This is a different sort of blog hop, so there will be no Linsky list for the Regressive Dinner, so to join in, just leave your blog site URL in with your comments and then be sure to visit other folks' as well (check Two Little Cavaliers' blog for other hoppers) and tell them you're stopping over from the Regressive Dinner for Pets event from our blog, and then be sure to share this post with your pals so they can share in some of the great recipes! For the Tasty Tuesday blog hop, the link to join is below.


For a "treat" of a snack, in case you missed it on Halloween, be sure to visit out our Halloween Regressive Dinner post for a quick and easy recipe!
The rest of the Regressive Dinners will take place on the following days:
 

Christmas: 
Soup, Salad & Sides. Thursday, December 22

New Years Eve:  
Cocktails and Appetizers – Thursday, December 29


And don't forget to stop over at Kol's Notes, as they are whipping up some yummy Thanksgiving Thumbprint Cookies for dogs - the FiveSibes™ are just wagging their tails waiting for that recipe to try! Then hop over to Sugar's blog to learn how to make animal print fabric coasters for your holiday entertaining! Pretty pawsome! And don't forget to jump on the blog hop by using the code below.

We love the holidays! 'Tis the season for good friends (furry and not), fine food, and lots of fun! Bon Appetit!






 

Oh, PS - our Gibson is one of the featured "Dogs in Cars" over at Bailey Be Good's blog! Be sure to check out all the cute travelers! 


I Was Featured on Dogs in Cars at BaileyBeGood.com

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Uniting Dogs Across the World for Canine Epilepsy Awareness

Gibson - diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy in 2009
November is national Epilepsy Awareness Month and a good time as any to talk about a cause very close to my heart - Canine Epilepsy. As many of you know, my five-year-old wooly Siberian Husky boy, Gibson, is an "Epi-dog" who was diagnosed in 2009 after being hospitalized for a cluster of Grand Mal seizures. I shudder when thinking back to those earlier days. It was a very scary time for me. Last November, I chose to share my personal journal notes with readers in a blog entry titled One Husky's Journey with Epilepsy to Highlight November's Epilepsy Awareness Month as I traveled with my boy through some new and very rough waters called Canine Epilepsy. If you are interested in reading those entries, which are raw and in-the-moment writings, please feel free. 

It still brings tears to my eye recalling that very first seizure episode he had in January of 2009. As you will read, I had discovered him motionless post-seizure and trembled as I thought I had lost my beautiful three-year-old boy and just couldn't understand why. Did he eat something? Did something bite him? What was wrong with Gibson? As I made that very scary, heart-pounding emergency call to the after-hours emergency vet hospital, I was alone at the time and remember pleading with them to have someone come and "help me." I knew nothing about Canine Epilepsy. I did not know about seizures, the stages, or what to do. Since them, I have studied and continue to study everything I can. The mother and journalist in me kicked in and I talked to as many people with experience as I could. I researched all the resources, treatments, and medications. I learned as much as I could from our team of terrific veterinarians, and basically I have made myself an expert on this neurological condition. I was determined. I was going to help Gibson become strong, and through it all, Gibson actually made me strong. I continuously championed him to fight this and lead a healthy, wonderful life. Together, we would be what I call "Gib Strong."

During those first early days is when I first turned to the Internet and social networking. At the time, I did postings on MySpace and put out a "cry for help" for anyone else who had experienced seizures with their dog. One day, I had received a response - and this wonderful gal, Laurie, who is a nurse and hails from Texas and did not know me at all, took the time to write to me many, many times about her experiences with her own Epi-dog, Max. She told me what to expect, things to to research, questions to ask my vet, and side effects of the meds. She even went so far as to give me her phone number and talk me through some tough scary moments. She was truly a beacon of light during a very dark and scary time for Gib and I, and I can never thank her enough for that. Today, I consider her one of my dear friends! And her handsome, sweet Max, along with many other beautiful Epi-dogs from across the world, is featured in my Canine Epilepsy Awareness video I have posted further down in this blog entry.

Gibson (right) having fun during run time with his family.

When Gibson was first diagnosed, I did research. I needed to find the answer to the question "Why?" In the beginning, I did not realize there is not always a reason or cause to be found. There are explanations as to what a seizure is, what the stages are, and what to expect in your dog's behavior afterwards. But I wanted to know why he was having them. I explored the genetic link by contacting his mother's owner. She seemed surprised, but after talking for a bit did mention her girl had two seizures after she turned five. Their vet had said it was possibly due to a toxic reaction from some poison ivy plants that were growing around her doghouse. It was all inconclusive and since she didn't have any more, they did not pursue it any further. So I made note that there may be a genetic connection, but that became a dead end due to lack of information. At the time, we were having construction done on our house, and that could have cause stress and anxiety (although he showed no visible signs of it). 

Many dogs live long, happy lives with Canine Epilepsy.

I have since switched what I feed him, going for food without wheat gluten and adding homemade meat, treats, and veggies to his diet, including daily doses of 100% pure pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie). I make sure his (and all the Sibes') environment is as stress and toxic free as I can make it. I have him on a very, very precisely timed food and medical schedule (he is on a combination of Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide, and is also being treated for a low thyroid condition) and I added the supplement Milk Thistle (speak to your vet about dosage, which goes by weight) to aid in cleansing his liver. I am vigilant, if not anal, about his schedule. I am confident I am doing all that I can to keep him healthy, despite having Canine Epilepsy. Am I overprotective of him? Of course. Do I panic if I am getting near the "have to have" medicine dose time? Absolutely. Do I have ears on him always? You bet! I've even installed a baby room monitor by his bed so I can hear him at night.

An important thing to always have on hand when you have an Epi-dog is a Canine Epilepsy First Aid Kit. For Gibson, I have a basket that contains:
  • instructions in case of a seizure (for when you have a pet sitter)
  • a journal (to note episodes, meds, reactions, etc.)
  • instant ice packs (in a pinch anything froze will do. That first time I used a loaf of frozen Italian bread and a bag of frozen peas!)
  • emergency vet and vet hospital contact numbers
  • calming spray
  • alcohol wipes (personally, I prefer ice packs)
  • paper towels
  • pet bath wipes
  • portable water bowl
  • bottle of water
  • disinfectant wipes (for area clean-up post seizure)
  • latex gloves (for clean-up) 
  • a car ramp or blanket (for a makeshift stretcher) for moving pet, if need be. 
A staple I always have in my freezer in addition to ice packs, is a carton of Breyer's all natural vanilla ice cream to help stabilize sugar levels post-seizure. A few teaspoons are all that is needed, along with some water and light protein-type snacks. Remember that seizures are very scary for us to witness, but pets will not remember their seizures. They may be scared or confused by how they feel afterwards though. Keep talking in a calm and reassuring manner. Keep them cool. Don't be alarmed if they seem "out of it" - dazed, confused, "drunk-like," and even experience temporary blindness post seizure. Keep them away from stairs or anything that could harm them, including objects that could fall on them and other pets who may be confused by the episode.

Some additional suggestions from a reader who is a fellow Epi-dog parent, include:

*Ask your vet for liquid Valium and always have it handy. If they go into a second seizure, it slows down the clusters and can stop a severe seizure
* Low fat treats to eat after a seizure (tuna, cottage cheese, chicken breast)
* Always remove other dogs who may be present as they can turn on the seizing dog, and attack him. (This is a natural instinct within the other dogs, so they shouldn't be punished if they do that. They should just be separated for a while.)
* A seizure pillow - to prevent injury to the dog head, teeth, neck and skull
* Ocular pressure gently on the eyes calms the dog while having a seizure. Gently put pressure on the closed eyes, count to 8 seconds and release - repeat for around 5 minutes.

Recently, I have sadly learned through the grapevine that Gibson's mother (and the mother to Gibson's three younger siblings) began to seize again. Unfortunately, the hu-parents divorced and she was left behind with one of the family members. When she had the seizures, I heard she was brought to the vet and put to sleep. This made me cry. There were so many options for this beautiful girl who was good enough to breed, but not good enough to save. It still breaks my heart. She could have had a good chance at a healthy life if only that family member chose to find out ways to help her. Is it easy? No. Is it cheap? No. Is it worth it...oh my yes! Gibson has enriched my life and taught me so much, I couldn't imagine him not being part of my family. He is what you would call "an old soul" in a young body. He is wise. He is kind. He is gentle. He is worth every moment, every penny, and every ounce of my strength to help him have the wonderful life he so deserves - as all my Husky "kids" deserve.

If your dog has seizures, please contact your vet immediately.

When researching information, know there are some excellent Canine Epilepsy resources out there, including support groups. Please do not hesitate to contact them. They are there to help, to listen, and to share their expertise and experiences. Here are a few to check out:





Siberian Husky Health Foundation (who are currently updating their website).



This post is not about sadness. This is not about fright. This is about awareness. Canine Epilepsy does not have to mean a death sentence. There are options and there are treatments, both medical and holistic. Please check with your vet for a plan that will work best with your pet. There is no guarantee that once seizures are controlled that they will never come back. They could. We all pray that they won't. We hold our breath when even discussing the length of time pets are seizure-free for not wanting to tempt fate. We jump at certain sounds. We study their every move every day to be sure we don't miss an early warning sign. Epi-dogs have special needs, but there is also a very special bond that exists between Epi-dog and hu-parent. Gibson is such a beautiful, loving, wonderful boy. I would not trade him for anything. I will continue to study Canine Epilepsy and learn about all new treatments and holistic measures to keep him living the best and most healthy life possible. In the words of one of my amazing vets, "Let him live his life." And that I will do...with all the love and care I possess.

I want to take a moment to thank all the beautiful Epi-dogs who have joined Gibson and I in helping to spread the word about Canine Epilepsy Awareness by being part of this slideshow video tribute to all Epi-dogs. This video shows not only their beauty, but how they are busy living their lives. Please share so other Epi-dog parents may know that there are options and they are not alone. Let's all wear the purple ribbon proudly and stand "Gib-strong" together until one day research will provide us with a cure. 







Friday, November 18, 2011

The Office Helper

Here it is Friday - and almost time to kick-start the weekend! Our Bandit girl has been very busy working hard keeping an eye on things in the office, making sure everything is in order...

...like keeping a watchful eye on the postman, the cats, and the squirrels in the yard...


 ...and checking on her brown stuffie dog...


 Bandit's been a busy working class dog! 
Yawn. Time for a Sibe snooze! 

Happy Friday! Here's to a great weekend!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *


For some holiday season fun, stop over to Finn's blog or HoundDogsMom's blog to sign up for the fun 2011 Blogville Christmas Card Exchange! Wooo, the holidays are coming fast! Now, we just need that snow...Santa, are you listening???!!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"Weight Loss With a Wag" Book Tour Interview with Author & Pet Parent Peggy Frezon


Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
Kelly the dog inspires Hu-Mom to diet, get healthy, and write a book about it all!

Hot off the presses, our Chloe girl snatched the copy of Peggy Frezon's (of Peggy's Pet Place blog) Dieting with my Dog: One Busy Life; Two Full Figures and Unconditional Love when it arrived from Amazon.com. Now, sometimes I tease sweet Chloe and call her "chunky monkey" because she is always hungry...so when she snagged the book right between her teeth and headed for the sofa, I wondered if I had hurt her feelings. 

Now, honestly, Chloe is not chunky, she is rather fit. But I do worry about her with her very voracious appetite, that she could get heavy. I am always watching and worrying about her older brother Gibson, who has an ongoing weight issue due to medications he is on, and have added lots of healthy add-ins and snacks to help keep him full. This, of course, has rolled over into all of the FiveSibes™ diet, which is a good thing. Speaking of healthy eats, be sure to read the weight loss tips in the back of Peggy's book.

So, when I finally was able to get the book back from Chloe (who really liked the photos of Kelly the dog), I have to start right off by saying I really enjoyed reading this book. When I first heard Peggy was working on a “diet” book with her adorable furbaby Kelly, I thought, “this should be a fun book.” Well, not only is it a fun book, it is also very poignant and sincere and a real slice-of-life story. I love that Kelly is part and partner in Peggy's weight-loss journey. Kelly is her inspiration, her guide, her muse, her confidante – Kelly is there through it all. I loved Peggy’s relationships with her children. Her love for her children and her dogs really resonated with me. I have always been very close to my daughter, too, and I enjoy every single moment spent with her. Raising her was a joy, as she is a true blessing. And now as an adult, she is my very best friend. My go-to gal for…well, everything! And my Huskies (who together with my daughter, I share parenting duties with), well, I can be found almost anytime of any day talking to them, just like Peggy with Kelly!

As I turned the pages and read each snippet of their lives, I found myself chatting aloud to Peggy and Kelly as though they were right in my living room with me! I laughed at the photos of Kelly in front of the fridge, having a “Seriously??” expression on her sweet furry face while perched on a scale, and especially liked the one when she was relaxing on the sofa watching Peggy work out on the treadmill. And I smiled warmly at the photos of Peggy and her lovely family.


Peggy and Kelly pulled me (willingly and happily) right into their lives from the get go. Let’s face it: Peggy had me at, “Let’s face it: her butt was too big.”



So without further delay, I’d like to share a very candid interview I did as part of the "Weight Loss with a Wag" book tour with the always enjoyable, Peggy Frezon:



FiveSibes™ Mom: What was your inspiration for writing a book about dieting with your dog, Kelly?
 

Peggy Frezon: I wrote an article about Kelly and I for Guideposts magazine, and the response told me that many others are struggling with the same issues. I hope that sharing my (and Kelly's) journey will help inspire others to get fit and healthy.



FSM: Healthy eating is obviously important to you and your dog; when did you decide to turn it into a book and join Kelly in dieting? Was it the moment when your vet said Kelly needed to loose weight "if not...?" That must have been a very scary moment for you?


PF: When the vet told me that Kelly had to lose weight or she would be at a higher risk for diabetes and other serious health concerns, I made an important connection. I realized that my bad habits were also affecting my dog. I wasn't eating healthy...she wasn't eating healthy. I wasn't getting out and walking...she wasn't getting walked. I felt a great responsibility then; I was not just responsible for loving my dog, but also truly responsible for her health. And my own.



FSM: Your profession is writing - this is your first book (correct?) - with regards to the process of writing - how long did it take to draft down your thoughts and put it in an order that told your story from first thoughts to final draft? How did it differ from your article writing?


PF: I've contributed to many other books, such as Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Ultimate Dog Lover, and the new book Animals and the Kids who Love Them. But this is my first book of my own. It took me about a year to write the book from first draft to completed edits. Then I wrote a formal book proposal to pitch agents, signed with a publisher, and then it took about another year until the release date. This differs from my magazine writing because I get to expand upon a topic and really explore it in depth. I wanted to share all aspects of gaining--and losing--weight, so I got honest about why I overate and why I overfed my dog, and admitted to things like being lazy about exercise and emotional eating while struggling with the empty nest.
 

FSM: What did Kelly think of this dieting and writing plan? And your family?


Peggy & Kelly
PF: I work from home and Kelly is my officemate. She used to sleep for hours at my feet as I wrote. Now we get out for a walk most every day. If I don't take her for a walk, she comes up to me, barks, and slaps her paw down on my keyboard! I'd say she really likes our new routine. She does get hungry at night, but we give her baby carrots and sometimes put healthy treats in one of those treat dispensing balls so she can run around and work off some energy. (Why does she get energetic at midnight?!) My family has been so supportive. And my husband lost as much weight as I did!



FSM: With the weight off of both you and Kelly, and with you both feeling better, what message would you like to be sure readers contemplating dieting know about healthy eating habits for both canines and their hu-family members? 


PF: I was motivated by wanting Kelly and I to be as healthy as we could be, so we could spend lots more time having fun together. I'd like readers to know that changing eating habits isn't easy but it feels so good to feel in control of what you eat. It's satisfying to choose nutritious ingredients for you and your dog. Oh, and getting fit can be fun if you do it with a friend!


Many FiveSibes™ readers know my one boy, Gibson, is an Epi-dog (Epileptic). I have him on a very stringent medicine and vitamin routine, keep glutens and preservatives and chemicals out of his diet, am cautious of his environment that it is toxic and stress free, and am very active in Canine Epilepsy Awareness. That’s why when I read in the book that Kelly had experienced seizures, I was extremely interested to hear about them, so I asked Peggy to elaborate.

FSM: You talked about how Kelly had the seizure...has she had anymore? Was it a one time thing? Was there any relation to food or diet, or was she diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy?


PF: Kelly has had three seizures in the nine years since she's been a part of our family. Our vet has not been able to make any conclusive diagnosis or correlation between foods or environment. I will say, however, that when we were feeding her lesser quality dog food, her blood work was elevated in various areas. Now that she's eating nutritious food, and has lost weight, her blood work is all great! And she hasn't has any seizures since. 
That was great news to hear!

Naturally, being a journalist, I always have more questions to ask! Peggy was gracious to answer what what I like to call a “bonus question!”

FSM: Peggy, will there be a book two? 
 
PF: I'm currently working on my second book, Dog in the Pond, Goose on the Roof. It's a true story about a Vermont woman finding hope and healing through her bonds with animals.



Chloe liked seeing Kelly's pics.
Sounds good to me!

I may have just finished reading Dieting with my Dog, but I can’t wait to get my paws on Dog in the Pond, Goose on the Roof
If you haven’t had a chance to check out Peggy’s book, please do. 

Th FiveSibes™ Chloe and I give it a howlin’ Five Paws-Up rating!