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Monday, November 30, 2015

Our Epi All Star - Gibson - Inspiration for #LiveGibStrong - Final EpiTips & a GIVEAWAY!

To round up November's (Canine) Epilepsy Awareness Month, I'd like to highlight my very special and amazing boy, Gibson. He is my continued inspiration and the namesake behind our #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness Campaign where we help share information, resources, links, and fundraisers all to promote education about Canine Epilepsy and the positive and realistic side to living with a dog who has seizures and/or has been diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy.

Gibson and I have traveled this journey for nearly seven years together. We live it. He lives with it. I have written about his journey and will continue to do so in the hopes of helping others who may now find themselves on this very same path. We are here to say, Epi-dogs are amazing! And they can and do live full, happy lives. Is it easy? No. Is it expensive? It can be. Is it scary? At times, yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely yes!



So today my Epi All Star is the beautiful Husky who started me on this journey, and has filled my heart with so much love. My boy, Gibson.


Gibson has taught me many things over the years. First, there's love, trust, and a bond so deep and connected, words can not truly or fully describe it. I've had dozens of wonderful dogs throughout my life, and have five amazing ones right now. I loved/love each and every one. I thought each one was/is so special. And then there's Gib. He is amazing. I've said this a million times, he is a deep and "old" soul. He has shown me through our journey what trust, determination, and dependability means. He is a warrior. We have faced many challenges - from the onset of the seizures, to extreme weight gain from the meds, to the many side effects from the medications, including chronic weak hind end issues, lameness, and torn ACL. He has shown me through trust, determination, and hard work, comes strength. Strength of will. Strength of the mind. Strength of body. Strength of the heart. And strength of the soul. 



--> I've seen Gibson at his strongest, at his weakest, and I've seen him work hard the past almost two years with a combination of leg stability braces, sling harness, massage, rest, and laser treatments (below) to help him regain mobility.
--> Through it all, he has made me a stronger person. Being
diagnosed several years ago with debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, there are days that pain and fatigue beg me to go back to bed or simply rest. But Gibson is my inspiration to get up and fight my way through it. My mantra is, "If Gib can do it, so can I!" Together, he and I help heal each other. And it is a beautiful relationship. He is truly my shining star. My canine hero. And so, today, it's all about my boy, Gib!



His journey began almost seven years ago. You can read about those early days HERE, including some raw excerpts from his seizure journal that I shared back in 201o for Canine Epilepsy Awareness Month in the hopes of helping others.  Click HERE to read an update on Gib a year later, along with some Epi-Tips and a video highlighting beautiful Epi-dogs from across the world.


You can read about Gibson's Bromide Toxicity HERE, and while we hope to educate others, we pray no one else ever experiences this with their dogs.



We also tried Reiki to help with his pain and healing. Very interesting, with a strong emphasis on the human-canine bond. Visit my post on Gibson's distance Reiki treatment HERE

Leave no stone unturned.


For my choice of treatment for Gibson, it's a marriage of traditional care and holistic care. And on and off over the years, he has suffered setbacks, and celebrated victories. Most recently, he slipped on ice under snow and with his already weak hind issues...he could not get up. My boy was lame. Me...scared. 

Mr. Love Bug with Dr. A who does house calls for him.

After some tears spilled, I got help and we carried Gibson back inside and once again began Conservative Care (under the direct supervision of his vets, we opted to treat Gibson via this method as with him being an Epi-dog, the least amount of surgeries the better to hopefully avoid any break-through seizures. I was feeling very positive with this course of treatment and using as much holistic measures as possible to hopefully heal him).


His treatment plan included medications (at first), then I weaned him off pharmaceuticals and had him start on nutraceuticals to help alleviate the pain in his joints and hind end. Supplements, laser therapy, massage, Reiki, leg stability braces, and a lift harness to help reteach him to walk over a period of 18 months. Then he had a setback when he slipped and then tore his CCL. Back to the beginning for rehab.  It was a long, slow road to recovery. Each little sign of strength made my heart soar, and encouraged him to keep going.

It was long days of lifting an almost 100-pound Husky with the aid of the lift harness, to get him down a ramp so he could do his business. He could not place any weight on his legs. The leg braces helped. Then suddenly one day he put some weight on one foot. A huge milestone. Then he put weight on the other foot. Then he walked with me holding him up less. Then one day, the braces came off. His walks around the yard became longer. He began to have some pep in his step. And after almost two years, the lift harness came off and he was able to walk on his own!
Seeing the lift harness hanging idly on a hook by the back door warms my heart as I am astonished at how far he's come. There was a time when I feared he'd never be out of it. But, I was prepared to help him walk for however long he needed me to. And then one day it happened...Gibson ran! Oh happy Husky! Tears streamed down my cheeks that first day! See here in this video (may not show up on all devices) how my boy is a proud fighter:




Best.Day.Ever. 

I'm well aware that each day he feels great is a gift. As any Epi-dog parent can tell you - whether it's the fear of the seizure monster returning, or sudden hind end weakness, or lameness, or other side effects from the meds, it just warms my heart to see him being a happy, carefree Husky! And I will be right be his side to help him stay that way. And should he stumble or fall, I will be there again to help him get back up and support him. Amazing just doesn't seem "wow" enough to describe this boy's zest, will, and determination. He is a true warrior and may he always and forever #LiveGibStrong.
 
 

He is my inspiration.

He is my canine superhero.

He is my Gibson.






Now, let's eat! I mean what kind of dog blog would this be if we didn't highlight t-r-e-a-t-s?!

 We are thrilled to work with  House Woof Dog Biscuits in Vermont, USA, who created "Gibbie Snacks," named after Gibson and based on the diet of an Epi-dog. No preservatives, wheat, sugar, or salt, and made with only fresh or organic ingredients...just perfect for an Epi-dog! We are honored to have Gibson be the namesake and "face" of Gibbie Snacks! Plus, for every bag of Gibbie Snacks purchased on House Woof's online store, they will donate $1 to The Wally Foundation~Canine Epilepsy (TWF).
TWF offers possible financial assistance for medications to parents/fosters/rescues of dogs diagnosed with idiopathic Canine Epilepsy. I've been a volunteer case manager for TWF for a couple years and have met some amazing Epi-dog guardians who I now call friends! TWF does amazing work helping Epi-dog families that I'm proud to be affiliated with them and so thankful to House Woof for donating to them with each sale of Gibbie Snacks!

"Gibbie Snacks" Prize Pack from House Woof

And speaking of Gibbie Snacks...House Woof has generously donate an Epi Gibbie Snacks Gift Pack (say that five times fast!) for our giveaway! The pack consists of Gibbie Snacks and a purple (for epilepsy) Kong® Wubba, and it is open to residents of the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S.Virgin Islands, all where House Woof ships to. Please be sure to follow both FiveSibes and House Woof on social media, just follow the promts in the Rafflecopter. 


***UPDATE***

Congratulations to Lauren M. on Winning the House Woof "Gibbie Snacks" Snack Pack!

And Gibson would like to remind everyone about my Canine Epilepsy books - What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy available through ArcticHouse Publishing.




On a personal note, I'd like to thank you all again for your support, comments, prayers, and condolences on the recent passing of my mother. It was greatly appreciated.
I'd like to take this opportunity to highlight this week's Epi-Tips #27 - #29 (#30 is up top):

  

If you have any questions about seizures or Canine Epilepsy, please feel free to drop me an Email to 
FiveSibesLiveGibStrong(AT)gmail(DOT)com and type "Epilepsy" in the subject bar.



 

10 comments:

  1. Wow! Gibson has an amazing story! You are such a dedicated dog mom! I'm so glad he's doing better! Also, those treats sound amazing. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Lauren! He's snoozing right next to me as I type this! (The treats are really good, they go crazy for them!)

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  2. Wow, Gibson really is an incredible dog. You're pretty incredible yourself Dorothy! I really admire your strength & determination. It's wonderful how you & Gibson work to help others by sharing this valuable information. It's so cool that Gibbie Snacks were named after Gibson!
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cathy! I so appreciate your kind words. He truly inspires me every day! And if we can give hope and help to other Epi-dog families, then that's a great thing! <3

      Delete
  3. We think you are very special Gibson. Thanks for helping others fight their battle too.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gibson, your story is so very inspiring!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love how your relationship with Gibs has grown into so much more. It is amazing how much it heals. It is very special.

    Rock on Gibs! You are awesome!

    ReplyDelete