Friday, December 26, 2014

It's a Sleigh Ride on a Flashback Friday!

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

Now that Christmas Day is past, before Santa headed back up to the North Pole for a long, deserved rest before he starts to plan all his dog toy making for next Christmas, he had a whole bunch of our beautiful furpals from around the world join us with him on a fun and festive sleigh ride! One of my favorite FiveSibes & Friends videos from the holiday seasons 2011! Sit back, kick your feet up, grab a peppermint stick and hot cocoa, some healthy minty dog treats, snuggle in with your furpal(s), and enjoy our Sleigh Ride!

And now that Santa is back home getting ready for Christmas 2015, and before he takes a nice long rest ~ what better way to relax than a sleigh ride with not his reindeer, but his other favorite animal - Huskies! (Of course Santa knows how to travel!)

And to sum up the season is this beautiful photo graphic by Brad Johnson, Northern Lights Sled Dog Rescue and Proforma Pet Rescue Promotion:  

And since this is our last FiveSibes Flashback Friday of 2014, I'd like to take a look back and thank Love is Being Owned by a Husky for joining me as a co-host for this blog hop! Here's to fun and fabulous Flashback Fridays in 2015!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

A FiveSibes Christmas Tale!

Gibson having some pre-Christmas fun! He makes such a handsome Christmas tree, doesn't he? Harley sure thinks so!

And the stockings were hung from the bannister with care in hopes that Santa Paws would soon be there!

Darling Chloe looked every bit the Christmas princess all decked out in the tree skirt while "helping" decorate the tree!

Harley kept busy snoopervising all the tree trimming and wrapping of presents!

Wolf assisted with the wrapping and Hu-Dad's was extra special - it had FiveSibes wrapping paper on it!
 Bandit loved playing one of Santa's reindogs! She didn't mind the antlers at all! Anything for Santa!

Woo! Harley and Gibson are excited that it's time to open all our cards from our Blogger furpals!

"Woo! I see one more!" says Harley, checking the mailbox.

"Woooo! We received so many fun and beautiful cards from our furpals across the globe! I love getting cards!" says Gibson.

Wolf and the Sibe kids are pretty excited that it's Christmas Eve and Santa Paws was coming very soon! 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Sibe...

Chloe got too sleepy and snuggled in for the night.

Wolf joined his sister Chloe and fell fast asleep.

When what should they all suddenly hear?

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Wooo! Merry Christmas from our FiveSibes Family & Santa Paws to you and your family!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Getting Sassy for Goodies!

‘Tis the season for … Treats! Cakes! Chips!  It’s a dog’s dream come true! One of the donated items to our recent #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness online benefit auction was a treat bowl filled with Sassy's Goodies. Now we’ve heard some great reviews about these doggie goodies that we decided to give them a FiveSibes taste test ourselves! Harley stepped up and volunteered to be the first to try out these goodies!


Sassy’s Goodies, named after the business owner’s very own Siberian Husky “Sassy,” is an online store, but are also carried in several retail stores located in Missouri. (To find out where, click HERE). Sassy’s Goodies Owner, Baker, Siberian Husky Mom, and a United States Military wife, Nanette says the company is still in its infancy stages and something to help with income after her husband returned from Afghanistan and Iraq. Nanette’s previous Husky, Nala, was diabetic and three years ago while her husband was in Iraq, Nala passed away from diabetic complications. But with a diabetic dog, Nanette says she has always made her own dog treats. Coincidentally, she found Sassy online the very day her Nala journeyed north of the Rainbow Bridge. She decided to do the business and to “also educate people on what they are feeding their dogs and how to do it better." All of Sassy’s Goodies are “gluten free, and contain no wheat, corn, salt, sugar, or soy...and I now have the sweet potato chips, so I have a grain-free one. I make all the ingredients that I can so I know they are good for them.”

So after hearing the ingredients, I knew this was a safe treat for my Huskies, especially Gibson, who is on medication for Canine Epilepsy, including Potassium Bromide (a salt) and it’s important that his food and treats contain no salt  (as it could interfere with the absorption of his meds), and it’s also important to not feed rosemary, as it can be a trigger for seizures for some dogs. I don’t believe it is for Gibson, but I rather err on the side of caution and just not give it to him. Sassy’s Goodies, says Nanette, can be stored for about a year due to the method of baking, but we sincerely doubt they will stick around that long! 

Harley says, "Nommmmmm..."
This certainly is a nice one-stop-shop for your canine! Not only can your furkid enjoy some tasty home-baked treats and pupcakes, but she also makes up really cute gifts sets, creates personalized treat jars, and has “fancy collars to dress your pup to show everyone how special they are.  Whether it is every day colors, holidays, or your favorite sports team, your dog will look their best!” says Nanette.

On the Sassy’s Goodies website, you can also sign your pup up for the Birthday Club, where your dog receives a special complimentary Birthday treat from Nanette along with the customer’s next order. You can check out the Birthday Club HERE. 

The Pupsters love their job!
And which one is the FiveSibes favorite goodie? Paws down it was the Pumpkin treat with carob icing, followed a close second by the Peanut Butter, and all the rest!

So, pop on over to Sassy’s (they have a Facebook page, too!) and get your dog some goodies made with love by a fellow Husky Mom in the USA! And be sure to let Nanette know the FiveSibes sent you, and also say "thank you" to her husband for his service to our country!


"Mom...these goodies are yummy!"

Woo! FiveSibes give Sassy’s Goodies a Four-out-of-Four 
Paw Star rating!

Please visit the Tasty Tuesday hosts - Kol's Notes & Sugar the Golden Retriever - pages for some more great treat tips, recipes, and crafts and be sure to tell them the FiveSibes sent you!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Waiting for Santa on a Flashback Friday

Gib's dreaming of a White Christmas...

Woo! When is he coming, Mom? When?

This week we are flashing back to Christmas Eve 2012 when the FiveSibes kids were patiently waiting on the arrival of that jolly ol' elf to bring them bones, toys, and treats! In just five more days, it will once again be Christmas Eve and all will be waiting for Santa's arrival...wait...I think I hear jingle bells...

I'd like to thank you for stopping by, and please do visit our new co-host Love is Owned by A Husky, and be sure to tell them Santa's FiveSibes elves sent you!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Six Sibes for Christmas ~ Sponsor-A-Husky!

Woo! Woo! Woo! Santa Paws Gibson is busy packing up some special goodies for a holiday package for our newest FiveSibes honorary pack member - the very handsome "Odin!" Odin is our sponsor Sibe from The Siberian Husky Emergency Life Line (S.H.E.L.L.) rescue! 

We are so excited to be "sponsor parents" once again this year by participating in S.H.E.L.L.'s annual Sponsor-A-Husky for Christmas program! Last year, our sponsor Sibe was Bruce, and this year, it's Odin! It's such a great way to help make a Husky have a very happy howliday! This year S.H.E.L.L. has 22 Huskies in rescue/sanctuary and this helps to make their season bright. 

S.H.E.L.L. is a non-profit organization located in Ohio that rescues Siberian Huskies from high-kill shelters and then rehabilitate them to adopt out to loving, forever families. The mission of S.H.E.L.L. is to educate the pblic about the Siberian Husky breed and advocate for adopting rather than buying Huskies.
Oh, Odin...we have it on good advice that some items on your Husky wish list have boarded Santa Paws' sleigh! Wooo!

Santa Paws Gibson and Elf Chloe busy packing (sniffing) all the goodies!

Merry Christmas, Odin! Welcome to our Five(Six) Sibes Pack Family! Wooo!

If you'd like to participate, or see how you can help out their Huskies in need, not just for the howlidays, but any day throughout the year, just pop over to the S.H.E.L.L. ( website and fill out the form, and be sure to tell the FiveSibes sent you over!

Merry Christmas to all Huskies, and to all a good night!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Little Christmas Card Trivia!

Oh, do we LOVE Christmas cards! Pictured above is our boy, Wolf, with just some of the (p)awesome cards from furpals across the globe as part of Blogville's Holiday Card Exchange! The FiveSibes kids get waaaaaaaaaaay more cards than us hu-family members! But it's so much fun to see them all come in! This photo flashes back to Christmas 2012 (I believe the finally total tally of FiveSibes cards was 88 that year! Us humans? About 18!) They have been coming in via sled mail and Email and we are so excited to start opening them this year! The card exchange is truly a highlight of the season! 

How About A Little Christmas Card Trivia?!

The origins of greeting cards began in the 14th century as wood-block printed New Year’s cards from Germany. 

The first Christmas greeting cards, called "Christmas Pieces," were of made by English schoolchildren in the 18th Century to bring home to their parents.
The modern Christmas card as we know it, was first designed by artist John Calcott Horsley for his friend Sir Henry Cole.
Sir Henry Cole started the custom of sending Christmas cards in the United Kingdom in 1843. Cole, who was a civil servant was apparently fascinated by the new public postal system and he wanted to come up with a way it could be used more by the people.
Due to the card's popularity, a year later saw the first "mass production" of the Christmas card when 1,000 cards were printed and sold for one schilling apiece.
Sending of the Christmas cards became popular, aided by the fact that the Postal Act of 1840 allowed people to send the cards to family and friends anywhere in the United Kingdom for a "penny post," a cost of just one penny each. This became even more popular in 1870 when the cost to send a greeting dropped in price to a halfpenny.
The first American greeting cards were printed in Boston, Massachusetts by lithographer Louis Prang, a Prussian immigrant, in 1875 with the simple greeting "Merry Christmas." 
The first - and still the most popular today - greeting on a Christmas card is "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you." 

Although we are a little late to our own Flashback Friday party (blame it on the WiFi), I'd like to thank you for stopping by, and please do visit our new co-host Love is Owned by A Husky, who just happens to be wrapping up a countdown to Christmas handmade jewelry sale! This mother-daughter duo creates really lovely work, and they have a seasonal sale going on for what would make some great holiday gifts! Stop by, and be sure to tell them Santa's FiveSibes elves sent you!



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Reiki - A Journey Toward Alternative Healing

Gibson getting ready for his distance Reiki treatment.
As many of you know, I recently held an auction for Canine Epilepsy Awareness. One of the many items so generously donated was a 30-minute Reiki session with animal massage therapist and Reiki practitioner Marta Banat of All Paws Massage in Vancouver, Canada, who as you recall, was also my wonderful guest speaker on “The Sibe Vibe” back in August.  I bid on the session – and was thrilled when I won!

Marta's room in Canada.
Now I’ve always been intrigued by the practice of Reiki. I have a friend who became a practitioner years ago, before alternative therapies such as this were in the spotlight, and I always wondered about it. Quite honestly, when she told me what she did, and explained she healed through her hands, I thought it was a bit, well, hokey. But, fast forward about five years. Gibson has his first seizure, and then five more a month later and was put on anti-seizure meds. Then, three years ago about six months after two life-threatening emergency surgeries, I started becoming ill and after much testing, I was diagnosed with degenerative rheumatoid arthritis. Before I agreed to a strict daily injection medication regimen, that would “probably” not “possibly” have some serious side effects, I told the rheumatologist that I first needed to digest what he just told me and do some research of the disease for myself. My own physician was telling me that I would be crippled, in great pain, and on heavy narcotics to try to deal with the pain and need to make a decision to "stop playing around" with alternative methods. And, as if that wasn’t harsh enough, I was also advised that it would eventually move into my organs – like my heart and brain. And recently, I've had bouts of it affecting my eyes. (Ouch).  I'll admit it, I was scared. Still am a bit. But, being a journalist by trade, I did my research. I’ve always been aware of alternative therapies. My own mother has been on the cusp of that for almost 30 years with chiropractic care and vitamin therapy. Then, about 10 years ago, when she was in her 80s, she started acupuncture. Again, I was leary. As a journalist, I deal in facts and research. Tangible evidence. Things I can see and touch and experience for myself...

  “Reiki is an ancient Japanese form of gentle and non-invasive energy healing..." ~Marta Banat

Watching my mother week after week, to this very day (and she’s 93.5), I have witnessed firsthand the positive effects of alternative therapy. Her amazing acupuncturist has now been mine for the past three years and we have many talks about nutrition, and "chi energy." This then led me to do more research and discover that in both the canine and human world, successful alternative therapies are being explored, more and more every day. So I began examining alternative healing treatments with Gibson. Since he suffers from side effects from his Epi-meds with lethargy, hind end weakness that resulted in two torn CCLs, vomiting, etc., I decided to add some holistic and non-invasive alternative treatments – vitamin supplements, coconut and omega oils, and laser therapy to his regimen.  What I’ve seen him overcome over the past few years is nothing short of amazing. But then again – if you were to ask the folks who administer these holistic treatments, they will tell you that they knew it would help all the long.

So why are we so resistant to trying something…different? Something alternative? Acupuncture, vitamins, and laser therapy have proven to be very successful with humans, and is now having great results in the canine world. Just look at Gibson. But Reiki? And I’m not talking about hands-on Reiki. I can understand that – that makes more sense to me than “distance” Reiki, where the practitioner is logistically elsewhere and not in the same room – or even state – as you and your pet. In Gibson’s case, Marta is located in Canada. But I've seen and experienced enough over my lifetime to know that just because I can't "see" it does not mean it won't work. Life force is quite something special - and while we may not see it, it's there, working all the time.

Gibson right before treatment began.
So how does distance Reiki work? What was it like? What did we have to do? Was it via telephone or Skype? And more importantly, did it do anything? These are most likely your top questions. They sure were mine! So I asked Marta if we could both take photos of the “before” areas to show how our half-hour session was set up, and then I would follow-up with Gibson's and my experience. And like any good story, you won’t find out the answers to your questions until the end! Instead, I’d like to take you along on a virtual journey of how our experience with distance Reiki was. Up front, I want to say that I did not ask Marta what to expect because I wanted to go in and have my own experience and not be predisposed to any ideas or suggestions. 

Marta with her Sibe Rocco & a client.
First, just exactly what is Reiki? According to Marta in her AllPawsMassage website, "Reiki is an ancient Japanese form of genlte and non-invasive energy healing, which is based on the premise that universal life energy is present. This healing energy is channeled through the practitioner's hands to assist with self-healing, releasing energy blocks, easing pain and discomfort."

Sounds good to me!

To start, I selected a few special photos of Gibson that really connect with me on some level and I sent them up to Marta so she could have a focal point, I imagine, as a point to direct her healing energies. Marta says to make the room you and your dog are in calm and peaceful. This means unplugging - phones, TV, alarms, and/or ringers. Then think "relaxation." It’s all about being calm and bringing yourself, which then moves your dog, into a relaxed state. If your dog enjoys snoozing on his favorite bed, then have the bed there. Soft music can play. Candles can be lit. (With epileptic dogs, it may be best to skip the candles as the fragrance can be a trigger). 

Gibson and Mommy.
So what I did was set up Gib’s bed. I did close the blinds, and turned on warm white Christmas lights to give a nice subtle glow. I had a nice mug of my favorite coffee nearby, and I put soft ambient music on that was native in theme – flute and wind chimes, with a little ocean waves thrown in (the ocean and water always brings me peace). I was ready. My nature also has been that I will do whatever I can to help my boy live a happy, healthy life and hopefully try to counteract any issues he has as a result of his epilepsy medications. I was into this. It, actually, is right up my alley as far as if I could will my boy better, I would. So now not only was I channeling that into my dog, but I now had professional backup in Canada. Gibson was  ready, too. Already relaxed from his earlier laser treatment, he was nice and comfy on his bed. I started out on the sofa right behind him so I could reach down and be able to touch him. Right before it was our session time, I sent Marta a photo of Gibson and his area so she could have the visualization of how he looked right at that moment when she was to begin, and she sent me photos of the area where she would be - a cozy chair on a hardwood floor by a window where the beautiful crisp white Canadian snow could be seen beyond, a howling wolf statue poised nearby, and lots of greenery. I really liked her space. I could see myself actually entering the room and enjoying spending some relaxing time there.

At this point, I was really starting to enjoy the whole preparation process. I mean, how many of us take the time to purposely prepare a space and time to just relax? I had just come off of closing the recent epilepsy awareness auction, I was hip-deep in packages, bubble wrap, markers, labels, boxes, and items to be sent out. My couch and floor were not even visible! I had also been on marathon editing sessions on a book I had been writing up, and November was all about promoting Epilepsy awareness, which was daily posts and article. Needless to say, I needed some peace myself. To, as Kevin Costner's character says in the movie "The Love of the Game," to focus, to blur out all surrounding interferences, to  "clear the mechanism." So the entire process of preparing the room, Gibson, and my mind was very relaxing in itself. Plus, there is something very comforting about knowing someone was out there sending such positive vibes our way.

Now, Gibson was relaxed on his bed and I settled in at first next to hip on the couch, touching his back and gently petting him in the areas I knew could use some healing. When it was 2 o’clock, my mind settled right in. I visualized Marta in her chair in her room that was in the photo she had sent me. I did not think about anything other than Gibson and tuning in to the low ambient music I was playing. The soulful sounds of the flute with blowing wind chimes and the ocean waves in the background really added to the relaxing mood, and Gibson really seemed to enjoy it as well. I could feel myself wanting to doze off as I kept gently petting Gibson’s hind end and hips and legs, the areas that he has weakness, injury, and arthritis in. I pictured myself in Marta's room with Gibson as though we were having an in-person session.

About halfway through, I moved down to lay next to him. I pet his velvety soft face and at times, took his head into my hands. Then went back to letting him lay his head on my shoulder while I continued to pet him. He stretched out at one point, totally relaxed. Now, again the journalist in me was looking for signs. A static electric zap. A flash of light. Maybe a bell jingling. I really was not sure what or if I’d sense anything, or if I was even supposed to. I continued on with my in-tune bonding with Gibson. I noticed on two occasions, his hind leg quivering. Gibson’s leg sometimes quivers after I take him for a rehab walk and he comes back and sits on his bed. I know it’s his muscles reacting to being worked. In this instance, he not only had laser therapy, but he had been relaxing on his bed now for almost three hours. So why was his leg quivering? My thought – his body feeling the energy being directed his way? 

Then, a few minutes before the session time was up, Gibson lifted his head and began kissing me. I
A million Gibbie kisses.
mean really kissing and licking me non-stop. Gibson is not typically a big kisser or licker. He will give an occasional little Gibbie kiss, or a what I refer to as a “Gibbie Nibbie” which is a little friendly nibble. But non-stop kissing? No, that just wasn't his style. Gibson and I communicate. Always have. And right then, I had the feeling he was telling me he was pretty darn happy. I made note to mention both of these occurrences to Marta to see if there was any universal meaning.

What Marta told me was that “he was open to the energy I was sending his way, and as the energy ebbs and flows, there are times when the connection is stronger” and that often at its “peak” is when something tangible can be noticed, such as Gib’s quivering leg. Makes sense.

Next was her response to his sudden burst of continuous kissing, another thing that I noticed that was atypical of Gibson. She said -- and this one made me tear up – that she closes each session with “love and gratitude.” Could Gibson feel that? It would appear so! “It’s the beautiful circle of love,” stated Marta. And I’m tearing up at that even as I write this; it’s a beautiful circle of love indeed.

And the cherry on top of this healing sundae? Typically Gibson will doze after his laser therapy sessions for about an hour-and-a-half to two hours, and then he wants to go outside. And after the Reiki session? Gibson stayed sleeping until 6:30 PM, when I had to wake him up for his evening pre-meds snack and vitamin! He stayed right beside me on his bed for four full hours! Coincidence? Maybe, but I don’t believe so. I believe it was directly connected to the experience. And being in tune with my dog, he told me something was different...something he felt that made him obviously happy and very relaxed. My only wish? That there was a shortcut from our house in New York to Marta's in Canada!

There are so many things in this world we do not know or understand. Sometimes there is a fear of the unknown, fear of something that is metaphysical instead of physical. But life IS energy. We ARE energy. So why couldn’t someone who is trained in channeling energy direct it to where it needs to go? And there has been documented cases where treatments such as Reiki have made a marked improvement to the recipient, both canine and human.

Gib in a totally relaxed state post-treatment.
We’ve heard many instances where visualization helps heal patients of catastrophic diseases, such as cancer, and also helps in managing pain. According to an article on written by Rekha Shrivastava, a certified rehabilitation therapist located in Rochester, New York who received her Master’s degree in Psychological Development, there is a direct connection. “Research has a lot of evidence about the mind body connection and how healing can begin when we use our mind," she states. "People who go through surgeries, people who have terminal illness and suffer from excruciating pain, can learn to use the healing power of mind. Medications can do only so much, but when we supplement it with other tools, it speeds up the process of healing. One needs to tap into the powerful mind-body connection. Mind is a powerful healing tool.”

I have been a total believer of visualization since my youth. Recuperating from surgery. After an injury.  To help de-stress. When I receive my acupuncture (deep needling and cupping) treatments for my RA, I use ambient music and visualization to help me overcome the pain, as well as “visualizing” myself stronger, like my younger self was. Though I usually think of it as the “power of positive thinking,” but are they not in all actuality both the same concept?

Sound asleep...for four hours!
Shrivastava  goes on to explain, “For example, when we do visualization, it creates a change in our body, which Dr. Herbert Benson called, 'Relaxation Response.' This is the opposite of the stress response known as 'fight or flight response.'"

Again, makes perfect sense to me.

Kathie Lipinski a holistic nurse from Long Island, New York, explains in depth in an article on, about distance Reiki, which is what I shared with Gibson through Marta. Lipinski talks about the human energy field and visualization. You can read more at

So why does Reiki work? Marta explains, “The universal energy, Reiki, knows no boundaries, time or distance. The most important aspect of Reiki healing is the intention of the practitioner and the openness of the recipient. The practitioner is merely a facilitator who creates the opportunity for self healing. It is the recipient who is the true agent of their own self healing journey, intuitively allowing the energy to travel where it needs to and heal what needs healing."

So, would I do it again? Absolutely.

 "I like this Reiki stuff,  Mom."