Thursday, May 29, 2014

Happy Birthday Hu-Dad!

Wooo! It's a very special day here at the FiveSibes's Hu-Dad's Birthday! Wooo! He's a special dad who takes care of everything behind the scenes the FiveSibes need. He helps with their rehab, carries them when their legs won't, picks up their dog food, buys them super-duper cushy beds, shares his pizza crust with them, meets Hu-Mom at the vet's when she needs an extra set of strong arms, and is always there to give love and support to whatever they need, and maybe fixes just a few things they may (ahem) chew, break, destroy, eat.  Chewed up window sill? No problem! Hu-Dad will fix it! Rain getting them wet on the deck? No problem! Hu-Dad builds a roof! They need to go to the vet surgeon? No problem! Hu-Dad offers to drive them. Hu-Mom can't fit their pools in her car? No problem! Hu-Dad to the rescue! Wooos for attention? No problem! Hu-Dad is there to pet, play, and wrestle! He sure is the best Hu-Dad ever!

Now...did someone cream cake???!!!

Woooo! Happy Birthday, Hu-Dad!!!
We love woooo!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remembering our Human and K9 Veterans

This month's issue of National Geographic, features a U.S. War Dog - hero  "Layka" - and her touching story of being a K9 soldier "...shot four times at point blank range..." while on duty in Afghanistan, and how she saved the life of  her handler, Staff Sgt. Julian McDonald,  and their team. it also tells of how Staff Sgt. McDonald fought to adopt Layka and bring home - his friend, his partner, his protector.

Gibson and Harley love this War Dog issue of Nat Geo. Lots of info.
 Don't miss viewing the touching video of Layka's story in this month's issue of National Geographic as told by her handler, Staff Sgt. McDonald here:

There is also a very touching video featuring veterans of the Vietnam War talking about their K9 partners. The sad part, 4,000 dogs were sent over, and only about 200 made it back home during that time. Thankfully, in 2000, "Robby's Law" was adopted by the U.S. Congress, making it easier to for the war dog to be adopted post-service.

Please check out the photos and information about the Military Working Dog (MWD) Teams national monument (see right) at Lackland Air Force Base HERE. 

Harley reading about War Dog Buck, the Husky.
Each year, I talk about one of my favorite books, Buck's Heroes, by Vietnam Veteran Johnny Mayo, who is also featured in the NatGeo video above. Buck's Heroes is a beautiful book that we have made part of our library and highly recommend. It is the moving story of Buck, the Siberian Husky, visiting the memorial and the stories he learns while there.  Here is our Harley with the cover of this beautiful book.

*Husky Trivia* And if you are new to my blog - did you know that the Siberian
U.S. War Dog Ambassador "Buck"
Husky and Malamutes were used as War Dogs during WWII? I have also previously written about Buck, a Siberian Husky pictured here, who was the U.S. War Dogs Ambassador. For his service, he deserves to be remembered. Buck journeyed North of the Rainbow Bridge on March 23, 2006, but his service and story will always be remembered. Buck - you did us proud.

To learn more about the United States War Dogs, please visit their website HERE.

And if you are interested in adopting one of our canine heroes, please visit Save-A-Vet.

"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion." 
 ~Unknown Author
Here is a wonderful tribute by Gone to the Snow Dogs featuring many beautiful faces ~ and don't miss out on seeing boy our Wolf toward the end of the video!

This Memorial Day, we here at the FiveSibes give a heartfelt "Thank You" for your service" to our K9 and human veterans. We will always remember.

This blog post is dedicated to my Dad, TSGT E. Larry Wills, a great animal lover who passed away in May 1974. He proudly served with the US Army's First Division "Big Red One" and a second tour with the Rainbow Division, 16th infantry medical detachment. Pictured here he is with two of his canine companions on base.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

A Mothers Day Dog Lovers Poem

For fondly telling stories of my antics as a pup, And for knowing yummy dog treats are the way to cheer me up...

For cleaning all the mud when I forget to wipe my paws, And for taking time to scratch my ears and cuddle “just because,”

For comforting my worries when we’re driving to the vet,
And for giving me the words of praise that others may forget,

For showing me you love me in so many different ways —
I’m wishing you the happiest and best of Mother’s Days!

~Author Unknown

I'd like to wish my own mom, the FiveSibes Hu-Nanny, who is 92-years-young, a very Happy Mother's Day! I am truly blessed to have a beautiful, amazing mother who taught me so much about loving and caring for animals. Here are a few photos of Mom with a few of her beloved dogs.

And a Happy Mother's Day to our Alpha Queen and surrogate pack mom, Harley!

And Gibson, who as you know, is rehabbing...gave me a wonderful Mother's Day gift...check it out! 

For me, being a mother is what I am. It is who I am. It defines me. It makes me happy. And I love it! Yes, I'm so many other things, too ~ including a wife, a daughter, a friend, a writer, a photographer, and (still) a dreamer. But... I am wholeheartedly ~ a Mom. My most proudest creation and accomplishment is my amazing, beautiful (inside and out) best friend ~ my daughter! From the very moment she was born, my daughter fills my days with so much love, happiness, and smiles. She is there to hold my hand on the bright days, as well as those that are gray. I am truly blessed with an amazing daughter who makes me the mother I am. I want to thank my own wonderful, loving Mom for setting the bar on what it means to be a "mom." And how lucky am I to still be able to share my life with her at 92! I always said God needed to take my father when I was very young, but he gave me my mother for a lifetime. I'm also happy to be a dog mom; to open up my heart to all the amazing dogs I have, and have had, in my life. To have that loyalty, companionship, and love brings a smile to my face each and every day. And how special to be sharing the raising of five beautiful Siberian Huskies with my daughter? 

Yes, being a mom is truly a gift.
We here at the FiveSibes homestead want to wish all the Hu-Moms and Fur-Moms a very happy and wonderful Mother's Day! 
Enjoy your day!
(Treats? Did someone say, "Treats?!")

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Daniel Anker, Producer of Icebound - the Movie About the Rich History of Alaska, Sled Dogs, and the 1925 Serum Run

Icebound Trailer from API FILMS on Vimeo.

I was very sad to learn of the April 21st passing of Daniel Anker, a great filmmaker and producer, and someone I had the privilege of interviewing and getting to know a bit over the recent years as he kept me up to date on a very special movie project of his, Icebound, the documentary movie about the 1925 Serum Run in Alaska, featuring survivors and narrated by actor Sir Patrick Stewart. 

Production still courtesy of Icebound.
It's taken me pretty much the better part of this week to think about how I wanted to say "goodbye" and pay tribute to this talented man, an award-winning documentarian (including an Academy Award nod), and creative visionary I was lucky enough to have been able to get to know through our love of sled dogs, history, writing, and film. When the message came in from my "The Sibe Vibe" co-host and producer, Robert Forto, telling me of Daniel's passing, I was just stunned. Daniel was only 50 years old, in the middle of promoting Icebound and working on yet another film, when he succumbed to "pneumonia, a complication to his lymphoma" -- something I did not even know he had. So, I was pretty shocked and very saddened at the news.

Production still courtesy of Icebound

 Through many conversations, interviews, and online chatting, I really came to know and respect Daniel Anker as an artist, a visionary, and producer. We talked happily about one day there being a red carpet premiere here in New York of Icebound, and how fun it would be to walk it with my FiveSibes to greet him and be at the premiere. I was so pleased and fortunate to see a preview of Icebound, which was initially released in Europe, and I'm so happy he was able to see his dream of a U.S. release in the state where it all happened - Alaska - during the Anchorage Film Festival this past December.  Icebound was released to wonderful reviews. You can read more about the film's Alaska premiere in the Alaska Dispatch HERE.

My blog article on Icebound with my interview with Daniel Anker, along with a trailer to the movie, and some pretty awesome production still photos you can view HERE. 

"It is an incredibly rich story, not just because of what it reveals about the history of the Arctic regions, and about Alaska, but about so many other aspects of human culture, most specifically about dogs, and dog mushing.” ~Daniel Anker to FiveSibes author Dorothy Wills-Raftery about his movie, Icebound.

He was also a guest on my "The Sibe Vibe" Dog Works Radio show, where Robert, my co-host, and I had the wonderful opportunity to spend an hour chatting with Daniel on air. To listen to this show, click HERE

Icebound won the "Best Documentary Audience Award" from the IDFA (International Film Festival Amsterdam) in 2012. 

A special visitor at the movie's Alaska premiere.
At right, a beautiful Siberian Husky in attendance at the Alaskan premiere of Icebound, courtesy of Daniel's Icebound Facebook page.

We certainly hope one day it will be released to the general public so that all can have enjoy this unique historical piece of Alaskan sled dog history.

Click HERE to read Daniel's obituary published in the Washington Post's Entertainment section.

We send our deepest condolences to Daniel's wife, Donna, their children, and family, as well as his Hollywood friends and family. Many sled dogs are wooing northward in honor of his final journey.

Daniel, rest in peace, and may you continue to write some wonderful films up there in Heaven, and may you be enjoying a wonderful chat with the mushers from the original team from the 1925 Serum Run, and the folks the precious medicine delivered by those sled dogs saved, as depicted in your wonderful film. I am so glad to have had the opportunity to get to know you a little, even if only for a short while.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo ~ Husky Style!

In a flashback to last year's fun photo collage (we loved it so much we had to reuse it!) - we hope everyone has a (p)awesome day (filled with treats, of course!)