Gibson, My #HeroPet

On my Monday blog post, I talked about "Max," the movie. And in my post, I mentioned that Warner Bros. wanted to know  why we believe our dog to be a #HeroPet. Pets can be heroes for many different reasons. K9 Soldiers. Police. Search and Rescue. Therapy. Seizure Alert Dogs. Advocacy. My wooly Siberian Husky boy, Gibson, is a #HeroPet to me. He is the face of Canine Epilepsy awareness, an Epi-dog (canine epileptic), and he is a warrior, bravely living his life to the fullest even with special needs. He never lets set backs keep him down for long. And if his story inspires others to either adopt a dog with epilepsy or help give them the resources and emotional support for their own journey with an Epi-dog, then it's a job well done!

As many of you who have followed my blog for awhile know, Gibson and my journey began back in 2009, shortly after his third birthday. He had a grand mal seizure that scared me to the core. I walked in on him stiff, not breathing, foam oozing at his mouth, and his eyes glazed over. I thought I had lost my beautiful boy. While I was on the phone with the emergency hospital, he came to! I felt it was nothing short of a miracle. A month later, he went into cluster seizures, and in between his fourth and fifth seizure, we managed to get him to our after hours emergency vet, where the vet on-call, thankfully, broke his clusters with an IV of medication. He was then transferred to our regular vet hospital the next morning, where they ran all types of bloodwork and tests, ruling out any underlying illness or neurological issue, and diagnosed him with idiopathic Epilepsy, meaning no known cause. Could it be genetic? Possibly. Could it have been triggered by some food, treat, or environmental issue? Possibly. But to avoid any more seizures, he was put on Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide, and has been on it ever since. 

Over the years, Gibson experienced side effects from the medications, mainly a weak hind end that leaves him unable to walk at times. He also had severe ataxia and again I feared I was losing him when the pharmaceutical company changed capsule formulation without notifying the vet or public that caused a Bromide Toxicity, making him very ill. Thankfully, my vet immediate detoxed Gibson, and after a few days he was back to himself.

As a result of his weak hind end, Gibson has torn two CCLs for which I treated with Conservative Care Management. Surgery was not a first option since he is an Epi-dog. So with the use of a leg brace, lift harness, laser therapy, massage, Reiki, and vitamin supplements, Gibson once again was able to walk on his own. Then he had a fall on ice last winter that left him lame. His weakened hind end and weak knee from the torn CCL now had arthritis and he just couldn't move. Thankfully, after much rest, rehab at home, and again the same Conservative Care Management therapies, Gibson is back on his feet. Although I assist him with a lift harness to help take pressure off his knees while doing his business, he can get around the house now on his own. Many of these posts you can read by putting "Gibson," "Canine Epilepsy," and "CCL" or "ACL" in the search box at the top of this blog.

Gibson is such a fighter and embraces life with such zest and love, no matter what comes his way. He's had more issue than is fair for any one dog to have, but is always a warrior and gives it his all. He listens to me and works right with me to make himself strong...Gib Strong.

Cover Dog Gibson.
He has inspired me to write about his journey both in this blog and in my two books, the illustrated children's FiveSibes Tale, What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy written in a non frightening way to help children understand seizures, and even give some real tips on how to help; and most recently my 264-page EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living and Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy that tells the personal stories of Gibson plus 123 other dogs from across the world who have Canine Epilepsy, and includes a vast resource section to help families who are on this journey (both available through our publisher site ArcticHouse Publishing). You can find blog posts here, including his journal from the early days, by entering "Gibson," and "Canine Epilepsy" in the search box.

A percentage of proceeds from both books will benefit the Canine Epilepsy Resources ( Epil-K9 Foundation's "Emma's Seizure Fund" through the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Neurology Department.

1 of 30 daily Epi-Tips
Through our #LiveGibStrong K9 Epilepsy Awareness Campaign, we partner up to help raise awareness about Canine Epilepsy and funds for Canine Epilepsy organizations, such as Canine Epilepsy Resources "Emma's Seizure Fund" and The Wally Foundation~Canine Epilepsy. We hosted our very first auction last year, raising $2,554 ($1,277 each). I've also had numerous articles on Gibson and Canine Epilepsy published in The Sled Dogger Magazine, Dog Writers Association of America's Ruff Drafts, and American Pet Magazine. Every November, we post "Live Gib Strong" Epi-Tips, one a day for 30 days. And in March, we do another awareness campaign for international Purple Day® for Epilepsy, for which we have been ambassadors for almost five years. We also highlight special shows with Canine Epilepsy experts on our FiveSibes "The Sibe Vibe" Dog Works Radio show.

It is my goal, that along with Gibson, to bring information and hope to other Epi-dog families so they know they are not alone in their journey. It can be frightening, but even with seizures, dogs can and do live happy, full lives. 

Gibson is the inspiration and namesake behind the House Woof Dog Biscuits of Vermont formulating a wholesome, Epi-dog friendly treat (no wheat, no salt, no rosemary, no preservatives) called "Gibbie Snacks." The bakery donates $1 from every bag of Gibbie Snacks purchased to The Wally Foundation~Canine Epilepsy, who offer possible financial assistance to parents/fosters/rescues of dogs diagnosed with idiopathic Canine Epilepsy. 

When someone writes me and tells me that through reading Gibson's stories, or seeing his photos and updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Google+, we helped them and their Epi-dogs, it really warms my heart! Maybe they tried a new medication or laser therapy or changed a food to avoid a possible ingredient trigger. Maybe they found a resource I recommended that Gibson and discovered to be very helpful. It is my hope that Gibson and I can continue together for a long time to come to help others know that dogs with seizures deserve a chance at life. And the love and happiness they give us back is what makes it all worthwhile. 

Gibson's bravery, love, understanding, zest for life, and perseverance inspires me so, and together we offer hope and support to other Epi-dog families so they know they are not alone. That is what makes him my amazing, beautiful, and very special #HeroPet.
If you could help us get the word out about Gibson being a #HeroPet, please share this post's URL on your social media and use the hashtags: #MaxMovie #HeroPet, #LiveGibStrong, and #FiveSibes,  we'd appreciate it!


Our Purple Day for Epilepsy Video:

 Our First Awareness Video:

And don't forget to check out the amazing Max, the movie, at a theater near you!


  1. Gibson truly is a hero dog - he has been through so much and still manages to keep on going. We admire his strength and your love and support for him.

    Such a handsome boy!!!

    Woos- Ciara and Lightning

    1. We so appreciate that, Ciara and Lightning! Thank you! :-)

  2. We love Gibson! A hero indeed,

    Nuk & Family

    1. Thank you so much, Nanuk! Gibson says "thank woo," too!! :-)

  3. Oh Gibson! How awesome!!! You sure are a hero!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!


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