Saturday, February 28, 2015

Jr. Iditarod 2015 Kicks Off Sunday and the FiveSibes Are Hitting the Trails With Junior Musher Nicole Forto & Team Ineka!

Check out our FiveSibes patch on Jr. Musher Nicole Forto's arm!

 ...Well, sort of! While we won't actually be at the Junior Iditarod in person, we will be enjoying this year's race as what I like to call "armchair mushers!" My FiveSibes family is so very excited to announce that we are one of Nicole and Team Ineka's sponsors for this year's Junior Iditarod! Wooo! For us it's the next best thing to actually being there in person! While we wish we could actually be there with Nicole, her family and their Team Ineka, we are thrilled that Nicole is wearing our FiveSibes patch, with a ribbon for K9 Epilepsy Awareness, on her parka and "taking us along" on a thrilling sled ride of a lifetime!

For up-to-date news, visit!

The writer and the mom in me is so very proud of this young, impressive lady! I'm always just so thrilled to chat with Nicole, and we had the chance to catch up pre-race on my recent episode of "The Sibe Vibe" on Dog Works Radio, a show her dad produces. Please tune in to this very special Junior Iditarod episode and get to know this amazing junior musher, Nicole, who is quite the exemplary role model for teens today!

Check Out Pets Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Dog Works Radio Show on BlogTalkRadio with Dog Works Radio Shows on BlogTalkRadio

While most teenagers are thinking about what movie to catch at the mall or what outfit to wear out with their friends, 17-year-old Nicole is thinking about insulated clothing, food rations, check points, and her beloved sled dogs—all 36 of them! Nicole, who is a senior at Houston High School in Alaska, and a junior musher has been very busy getting prepared to run her family’s team of Siberian and Alaskan Huskies under the Team Ineka banner in tomorrow's Junior Iditarod that originally was going to kick off today, but due to weather-related ground conditions and temperatures unseasonably warm for Alaska, the start time and date has been changed to 12 Noon tomorrow (Sunday, March 1st) and relocated from from her home town of Willow to Denali Highway. This is Nicole’s second run in the popular race, and last year, she was the recipient of the Red Lantern award, which goes to the last team crossing the finish line. According to Gypsy at the IditarodEducation Portal , the Red Lantern “is a symbol of perseverance and mushers feel a sense of pride and accomplishment when receiving it.”

Nicole and her Ineka Jr. Iditarod team! Photos courtesy of Team Ineka.

When I spoke to Nicole recently, she told me that as race day approached, "I’m both excited and nervous about the race. I ran the Junior Iditarod once before, but it still feels like the very first time. I want this year’s race to be the best racing experience for both my dogs and I since this is my last year in junior racing."

The Junior Iditarod is a 150-mile dog race in South Central Alaska. It is a qualifier for the Iditarod for junior mushers ages 14 to 17 years old. With the race right starting in less than 24 hours, and while preparations can get a little frantic, Nicole says, " I remember to just take a deep breath and have as much fun as I possibly can.”

Nicole and her team. Photo courtesy of Team Ineka.

The beautiful snowy Alaskan trails are where Nicole loves to be. She enjoys her time with the family Huskies that she helps train along with her parents, mushers and canine behaviorists, Robert and Michele. Nicole says she is truly looking forward to the race and to running her lead dogs, Frosty and TyTy, no matter if she comes in first, tenth, or last. And Nicole appreciates the valuable lessons one learns while out on the trail. 

“Mushing…has shown me that believing in yourself and pushing through the good and bad times is where you measure how successful you are,” states Nicole. “My dogs run thousands of miles never giving up on me and I will never give up on them. Mushing has shown me that the word ‘quit’ is no longer in my vocabulary.” Read more about Nicole’s thoughts on success and the journey of a Junior Iditarod musher in her article “Measurement of Success” posted on Tracy R. Williams’ blog.

Even though Nicole will be hanging up her junior sled after this year’s race and beginning
Nicole with "Ragnar" of Team Ineka.
life as a college freshman at the University of Alaska in Anchorage come fall to pursue studies as a marine biologist, we know that whatever path Nicole chooses, she will be successful.

 “I hope to have a time-of-my-life experience out on the frozen trails of Alaska with my team,” she says with a smile.

Nicole and Dad at 2014 Start.
We here at the FiveSibes wish Nicole and her beautiful team of Huskies (bib #7) all the best in their race, and may they have a safe and fun run! We'll be tracking her trip, and you can too, by following along with Team Ineka on their Facebook and Twitter (@TeamIneka) pages, as well as on our FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews Facebook and Twitter (@FiveSibesMom) pages.

To learn more about Nicole and the Forto mushing family, visit Team Ineka's website, where they are "mushin' down a dream!"     

And happy mushing and safe running to all the Junior Iditarod mushers and sled dog teams! 
You can track Nicole and all the Junior Iditarod mushers via the GPS HERE.

Junior Iditarod Musher Nicole Forto takes my FiveSibes Tale Getting Healthy With Harley out on the race trail! Woo! And check out that FiveSibes arm patch! SO excited!
All photos of Nicole Forto & Team Ineka were courtesy of Team Ineka and the Forto Family.


Friday, February 27, 2015

Flashback To A FiveSibes FurFamily Portrait

"Soft white crystals glistening in the sky
 Noses are freezing so we all go inside to get warm.
 On the snowy hill where we live we gather around the window to watch shining stars above.
Wet balls of water are coming down to the ground."
~MalletMartin Students,

Today's Flashback Friday post is of this one of my all-time favorite images of my FiveSibes - (and furangel kitty Smokie) from a few years back in their favorite element of all - snow!  I even had it created into a Christmas card that year, and it's enlarged and framed on my living room wall. Every time I look at it, I just smile. I truly captures that "snowdog" essence of my beautiful furbabies! This is also the photo I submitted to the #20BeautifulDogs on Instagram, and want to give an appreciative shout-out to my Flashback Friday co-host and fellow Husky parent, Jenna, of Love is being owned by a Husky blog for nominating my FiveSibes! If you have an Instagram account, you can request to follow us on Instagram at FiveSibesMom! We'd love to see you there!

Flashback Fridays are brought to you by us - the FiveSibes - and our new co-hosts, Love is being owned by a Husky, each Friday. We hope you'll find a photo or video from Memory Lane, post it, and link up to our blog hop each week! If you don't catch it on Friday, you can link up any time during the week!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

FiveSibes Join the #K9sSTOP22 /#STOP22 Challenge! Can You Outdo Our 22?!

Twenty-two seconds. Have you ever timed just how fast 22 seconds goes by? It's pretty fast. And according to K9s for Warriors', "Today and every day moving forward 22 Veterans commit suicide, this is over 8,000, military heroes that will be lost in one year. This sobering fact can’t be ignored."

We repeat: Every 22 seconds we lose one of our military veterans to suicide.

K9s For Warriors aims to help these veterans by providing "service canines to our warriors suffering from post-traumatic stress and/or traumatic brain injury as a result of military service post 9/11. Our goal is to give a new leash on life to rescue dogs and military heroes, empowering warriors to return to civilian life with dignity and independence."

 "STOP22 is an awareness campaign to show our Nation's Military, active and retired, that they are not forgotten. With 22 Veterans expected to commit suicide today, your help is needed to STOP22."

How You Can Help...


By joining in the #K9sSTOP22 awareness movement and taking the #STOP22 Video Challenge"Can You Outdo My 22?"

Our Blogville pals, Oz the Terrier and Love is Being Owned by a Husky have challenged bloggers to outdo their 22 by showing what we can do in 22 seconds. We here at the FiveSibes ACCEPT that challenge in support of our military veterans and to help raise awareness for #STOP22. Can you guess what Harley, Gibson, Wolf, Chloe, and Bandit can do for 22 seconds? Here's our video of our FiveSibes howling for 22 seconds!


Did You Know?

95% of dogs used in K9s For Warriors program are rescue/shelter dogs.

Corporate sponsors fund our operating costs, while 100% of individual donations are program direct.
K9s For Warriors has graduated 156 Warrior-Canine Teams with a 96% recertification rate.

Check out other ways you can help our military warriors and canine teams HERE.

Now...dear Blogville's your turn!

Come us your 22!

We are thankful for all the brave members of our military, both human and canine, for the sacrifices they make in order for all of us to enjoy the freedoms we do. We are linking up this post to be part of Pepi Smart Dog's "Thankful Thursday" blog hop!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Le'ts Celebrate! It's Our 5th BLOGiversary!

Wow! Five years! On this date in 2010, I debuted my very first FiveSibes post for National Pet Dental Health Month featuring our alpha queen Harley! 

My very first FiveSibes blog post in 2010!

It's been such a great ride and I look forward to continuing sharing this written and photographic journey with my FiveSibes with you. Harley, Gibson, Wolf, Chloe, Bandit, and myself just love being part of the Blogville community. As an author and photojournalist by trade, as well as being a former horse trainer and riding instructor, and always a dog parent and trainer, it was a natural segue for me to turn my pen and camera lens to writing about my love of dogs, specifically, my five Siberian Huskies. My FiveSibes are such a source of joy and inspiration (and a lot of chuckles, too, with their Sibe silliness), and I am so thrilled to have this great forum to share it all on. I take a lot of pride in my writing and photography, and enjoy the marriage of my love for dogs with my love of writing, and bringing those experiences into my articles. The FiveSibes and I have made so many wonderful friends over these past five years, and look forward to continued and new friendships in the future. Thank you all for your loyal readership! 

To celebrate (on our second Merry Meme Monday), we are offering a random Rafflecopter drawing for an autographed copy of the latest FiveSibes Tale: Getting Healthy With Harley to one lucky reader! **Just be sure to fill in the Rafflecopter below and leave us a comment on how you originally discovered our blog!**

Enter below and don't forget to leave a comment on how you first discovered our blog!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bellin for Ambassador! Helping a Rescued Husky Help Other Animals in Need

We are lending our support to beautiful Siberian Husky "Bellin" in his campaign to become El Rey Fido Ambassador for the San Antonio Humane Society!

The mission of the SAHS is: "to protect and improve the lives of dogs and cats by providing shelter, care, adoption, rescue, spay and neuter programs, and community education."

To become crowned El Rey Fido Ambassador, a canine and human duo "must collect the most money for the pets at the San Antonio Humane Society (SAHS) than any other canine-and-human pair." The winner will be the Ambassador for the SAHS for the year and participate in various events and make appearances. 

Team Bellin's goal is to raise $10,000 and currently they have raised over $7,100. Let's help them reach their goal!

Bellin is a perfect candidate to become Amabassador! Do you know Bellin's amazing rescue to recover to therapy Husky story? According to Team Bellin:
"The story of Bellin symbolizes the community spirit of San Antonio: Seized by Animal Care Services in May of 2011, Bellin suffered through years of extreme physical abuse until his neighbors could take no more and demanded he be saved. When admitted into rescue Bellin, was near catatonic and the future prospect of a normal, happy life seemed bleak. With a long and hard road of rehabilitation, Bellin slowly healed and conquered his fears to make an amazing recovery. In February of 2013, working with the Therapy Animals of San Antonio, he passed his evaluations and became a nationally registered therapy dog with Pet Partners. Bellin now spends his time working with the abused and neglected at the San Antonio Children's Shelter as well as the sick and injured at the Methodist Children's Hospital E.R., where he brings love and comfort to everyone he meets. You can learn more of Bellin's story by visiting his Facebook page: Bellin Bellin"
 Bellin's hu-parents, Steve and Kassia Fontenot, were also my guests on the December episode of "The Sibe Vibe" on Dog Works Radio. You can hear Bellin's incredible story and the wonderful volunteer work this amazing rescued Siberian Husky does by tuning in here: (also available on iTunes): 

Check Out Pets Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Dog Works Radio Show on BlogTalkRadio with Dog Works Radio Shows on BlogTalkRadio

Photos of Bellin courtesy of Team Bellin
Help us help Bellin become the 2015 El Rey Fido Ambassador and earn the most donations to help the pets in need at the SAHS by visiting his fundraising page HEREOfficial "Team Bellin" T-Shirts (as modeled by Gibson in above photo) are being offered to anyone who makes a $20 donation through Bellin's Firstgiving account HERE. To claim your T-shirt, just make the donation through the Firstgiving link and then message Team Bellin on their Facebook page HERE so they can get your shirt size, color, and address so they can mail it directly to you. The fundraising deadline is March 19 (with cash/offline donations turned in to the SAHS by 6 PM and FirstGiving donations complete by 10 PM). 

From abuse to rescue to rehabilitation to becoming a therapy dog who is so loved and now loves helping others in need...Bellin truly is an amazing Siberian Husky indeed!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Flashing Healthy Smiles on a Flashback Friday!

Come on and flash us your pet's healthy smile! With February being National Pet Dental Health Month, and it's our weekly FiveSibes Flashback Friday Blog Hop, I thought I'd share this photo Harley from a few years back flashing us her big beautiful Sibe smile for a review of good dental care for our dogs.

Brushing our teeth and having regular dental and hygienist visits is commonplace for us...but what about our dogs? 

 “One of the most common problems veterinarians see in pets is dental disease, and, unfortunately, these issues can get serious if untreated," states Dr. Clark K. Fobian, immediate past president of the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA). "I remind pet owners that an untreated dental infection can spread to the heart, kidneys and other organs, and suddenly become life threatening. Practicing good dental hygiene at home, in addition to regular dental cleanings by your veterinarian, is the most efficient and cost-effective way to keep your pets healthy, comfortable and pain-free.”

  • Do you brush your pet's teeth? (There are a variety of "brushes" from traditional to a finger-style brush, a sponge, and wipes).
  • Do you perform periodic mouth inspections to be sure there are no broken teeth; sores, abrasions, or growths on the gums/tongue; or foul odor from the mouth?
  • Do you give your dog dental treats or dental specific items/toys to chew on?
  • Do you have your veterinarian give your pet a dental check-up during visits?  

Many folks ask what do I give my Huskies? Once upon a time,
Harley getting teeth brushed.
I did give rawhides, the giant ones that are almost Husky size. Did they love them? Yes! However...I discovered a huge downside to these rawhides. #1 - they contain chemicals, which is not only bad for an Epi-dog (canine epileptic) as it can trigger seizures, but these chemicals are bad for dogs in general.  #2 - they can be a choking hazard. No matter how large the rawhide, no matter how great the chewer, once they are wet from the dog's saliva, layers and pieces start to come off. While you may hear they are digestable...they are NOT digested well. Dogs have had blockages from chunks of rawhide, and my own Huskies have had a wet, slippery, piece of rawhide stuck in the back of their throats that I had to reach in and gently try to remove to prevent choking. My advice...find another source of "chew" for your dogs.

My FiveSibes chew on part kibble in their meals (and part homemade), they also get crunchy healthy dog snacks that either I make or purchase (House Woof Dog Biscuits and Sassy's Goodies are all healthy, homemade crunchy treats great for you dog's teeth). 

My FiveSibes get frequent dental checks from me and annual checks from our vet.

My FiveSibes periodically get their teeth brushed by either a canine toothbrush or a finger brush (pictured left). While there are many different flavors of doggie toothpaste now (chicken, peanut butter, mint, etc.), they all prefer anything minty!anything minty! I purchased these items from our local PetSmart!

My FiveSibes have dental chew toys that safely help stimulate their gums - all while they are playing!

If your dog has developed chronic bad breath, please see your vet as it could be a sign of a periodontal issue, or another underlying health concern. And if your dog's teeth are problematic, discuss with your vet if a  professional cleaning can be an option for your dog. Our Wolf had a professional cleaning done while he was already under for another surgery.

To listen in to a podcast by Dr. Jan Bellows, president of the American Veterinary Dental College and owner of All Pets Dental in Weston, Florida on AVMA's "Animal Tracks" discussing the importance of dental health, tune in HERE.

Here's a great video by AVMA on a dental hygiene routine by Dr. Sheldon Rubin:

For more information on healthy smiles for your pet, visit the AVMA website.

Click HERE to check out the very informative AVMA Pet Dental Health brochure available in English and Spanish.

  * * * * *

If you are a veterinarian or vet tech and would like to print brochure copies or the Pet Dental Health flyer for your office, please visit
As part of our Flashing Healthy Smiles on a Flashback Friday, check out my article that was published in the Volume 2, Issue 1 of American Pet Magazine all about Pet Dental Health, click HERE and flip to page 12 until you see my boy Wolf (below) getting his canines brushed!

American Pet Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 1




We Want Your Pets Smiles! We'd love to see your pets' beautiful smiles - so feel free to share your pet's healthy smile photo over on our FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews community Facebook page! **Hashtag #FiveSibes and #HealthySmilesGo4Miles on your posts & Tweets to help promote healthy dental hygiene for our pets!**

A little FiveSibes blog trivia ~ Pet Dental Health Month was my debut post for my blog five years ago! Please be sure to stop back over on our five-year anniversary date on Wednesday, February 23,  to join us in our celebration and enter our FiveSibes Fifith BLOGiversary Book Giveaway! Hope to see you all here on Wednesday!

Flashback Fridays are brought to you by us - the FiveSibes - and our new co-hosts, Love is being owned by a Husky, each Friday. We hope you'll find a photo or video from Memory Lane, post it, and link up to our blog hop each week! If you don't catch it on Friday, you can link up any time during the week!