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Friday, October 14, 2016

#LiveGibStrong: Paint Your Pumpkin Purple This Halloween for Epilepsy Awareness


Halloween is right around the corner and here’s our Flashback Friday photo of my boy Gibson with his purple pumpkin.

A Purple pumpkin? Pumpkins are orange! 
So you may be asking, "Why is Gibson’s pumpkin purple?" 
Do you know why?
Please Note: This post contains two Amazon affiliate links for my books. This is not a paid post, and all opinions are always my own and from our own experiences.


Why is Gibson's Pumpkin Purple?

For Canine Epilepsy awareness. As many of  you know, the cause is near and dear to my heart as one of my Siberian Huskies, Gibson, was an Epi-dog (canine epileptic). He was diagnosed with idiopathic Canine Epilepsy in 2009, shortly after his third birthday. It was a very scary time and I felt very alone when he started having seizures. Ever since, I have a been strong advocate of Canine Epilepsy Awareness. Over the years I've written many articles, oodles of blog posts, and two books on the subject, as well as being a Purple Day® Ambassador, a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation~Canine Epilepsy (TWF), and fundraising for related non-profits, including our very first auction that benefitted both TWF and Canine Epilepsy Resources Epil-K9 Foundation's "Emma's Seizure Fund." Gibson and I were, and I will always be, dedicated to getting important information out to the public, and will share my resources, in order to help others who are faced with a dog who has seizures so they do not ever feel scared and alone. I also want  to help alleviate any uncertainties in an effort to encourage folks to consider adopting a dog who has seizures. With some special care and lots of love, Epi-dogs can live happy lives, for however long we are blessed to have them! 

It's not always an easy road, and it is many times a worrisome path, but a journey to this day I feel blessed to have traveled with such an amazing companion, my boy Gibson. Through our journey, we not only formed an incredible bond, but he taught me much about perserverance, determination, trust, and just really enjoying all the simple things in life, as a dog does every single day.


What is the Purple Pumpkin Project?


According to Epilepsy.com (home of Epilepsy Foundation® and Epilepsy Therapy Project), the Purple Pumpkin Project is the brainchild of founder Ron Lamontagne, whose youngest son was diagnosed with epilepsy at age four. “While on a drive through Connecticut one Sunday morning with his family (Ron) was brainstorming ideas on how to spread epilepsy awareness. The local pumpkin patch provided the solution. Since kids would soon be carving and decorating pumpkins, he thought why not make one purple and tell people about epilepsy when asked, ‘Why is your pumpkin purple?’” So in September 2012, Ron launched the Purple Pumpkin Project on Facebook to bring awareness to epilepsy. 
 
On Halloween, October 31, the eve of National Epilepsy Awareness Month, the Purple Pumpkin Project and Epilepsy Foundation of America encourages folks to go out and paint a pumpkin purple, share information about seizures and epilepsy. Here at the FiveSibes homestead, we will always have a purple pumpkin in honor of my sweet, silly, and brave Epi warrior Gibson. His pumpkin was, is, and always will be purple because Canine Epilepsy NEVER defined him. He loved life! Even with his battles of weak hind issues, periodic vomiting, and lethargy, it never stopped him. Even on the days he was limited to resting on his water bed, he was always a sweet, happy boy who loved to talk and give Gibbie kisses, and just hang with me and our other FiveSibes. 

His personality was as big as the sky, and his soul as deep as the ocean. He was such a special boy, and now he forever resides in my heart. I think of him every single day. I miss him every single day. He is proof that Epi-dogs can, and do, live full happy lives, however long we are blessed to have them.  They are amazing, strong, determined, and so inspirational. Gibson loved life. He lived with Canine Epilepsy and many side effects from the very medications that managed his seizures, but the last seven years of his life were seizure free! In hindsight, that is a miraculous thing. Looking back over the years, each hour that turned into a day, then a week, a month, a year, and then another...was a blessing, because Epilepsy is an unknown...you never know if or when or what will be a trigger. If I had to do it all again, would I still bring home that sweet, silly wooly ball of fluff? Absolutely. Gibson and I always strived to bring hope and spread the word about awareness and help educate folks about dogs living with Canine Epilepsy and seizure disorders, encourage people to not be afraid to adopt a dog with seizures, to understand the importance of medication schedules, the time and cost commitment, and to hopefully encourage people to learn all they can about seizures so they don't drop a dog off to the nearest (already overcrowded) shelter. Once upon a time, euthanasia was the recommended course of action for dogs with seizures, and that is so NOT the case any more! There are many resources, and much support and information now available to help pet parents navigate the mysterious, and yes scary, waters of having a dog with seizures. My wish will always be for other Epi-dogs to always #LiveGibStrong, and for their families to know that they are not alone. I am always here to help guide you, just drop me a line at FiveSibesLiveGibStrong(at)gmail(dot)com.

Education is Key!
 
By helping to spread the awareness about Epilepsy with others, we can help folks overcome any fears or misconceptions they may have. Through The Purple Pumpkin Project, we can offer our support to those living Epilepsy, both canine and human, and their families. So whether you paint your pumpkin purple, cut out paper purple pumpkins, or even glue purple pom-poms on your pumpkin - have some fun and get the conversation started with your family, friends, and neighbors about Epilepsy, and why your pumpkins are purple! Oh, and don't forget to enjoy some treats. Gibson was all about the treats!


For some great purple painting tips, 
visit HERE.


You can also read my article on The Purple Pumpkin Project and Canine Epilepsy is featured in the newest issue (Volume 5, Issue 3, Page 8) of American Pet Magazine! 
 

Purple Pumpkin Pets' Parade!

Together we can make a difference, and help support others on this journey called Epilepsy. Here's a flashback to our video featuring beautiful Epi-dogs and non Epi-dogs from across the world who have joined with us to show their support and prompt other people to ask, "Why is your dog's pumpkin purple?" We'd love it if you could share our video to encourage others to paint their pumpkins purple this Halloween in support of Epilepsy awareness.

 
#LiveGibStrongForever

Please be sure to check out my two books on Canine Epilepsy available through our ArcticHouse Publishing and on Amazon.com:

EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy - More than 100 stories from families across the world about their beautiful dogs living with seizures, plus an extensive resource list, information, and much more. 

    
~And~ 

What's Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy - an illustrated, easy-to-read FiveSibes Tale children's book that helps to explain seizures and even a few tips to help remove the fear about Epilepsy. A portion of proceeds from both books will be donated to the "Emma's Seizure Fund" through the Canine Epilepsy Resources Epil-K9 Foundation at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine Neurology Department. 

 





Run Free, Ciara...

I'd like to dedicate today's post to a beautiful Epi-dog, "Ciara," of a dear Blogger friend from The Chronicle of Woos, who just lost her battle with Canine Epilepsy. My heart breaks at this news and Ciara will be missed. Sending hugs and much love to her hu-mom and fellow packmate, Lightning. Run free, Ciara. Find my Gibson and your angel fursiblings, and run free now girl, with no more seizures ever, through those forever snowy fields North of the Rainbow Bridge.

  
The Flashback Friday Blog Hop is brought to you by us - the FiveSibes!  We welcome our co-host Love is being Owned by a Husky! We hope you'll find a photo or video from Memory Lane, post it, and link up to our Blog Hop each Friday! If you don't catch it on Friday, you can link up any time during the week! To catch our past Flashbacks, just enter "Flashback Friday" in the search box.  Come join us! We'd love to see your pets' Flashback pics! Just grab our badge below:
 

 

We are also joining in the Pet Parade, hosted by Rascal & Rocco, Bionic Basil, our co-host, Owned by a Husky, and Barking from the Bayou! Be sure to visit them and their hoppers!

41 comments:

  1. What a great way to raise awareness about epilepsy. I agree, education is key and the Purple Pumpkin Project sounds awesome.

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  2. I love the story of the purple pumpkin. I was not even aware that some dogs have epilepsy. I am sorry for your loss. It seems as though the message of embracing life and overcoming odds is still being spread thanks to posts like this.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Susan...you are not alone! I hear from folks quite often that they were not aware dogs (cats, horses, and even bunnies) can have epilepsy. I so appreciate your kind words - and yes, my and Gib's message will always be about embracing life!

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  3. This is a great post about raising awareness - and we love purple!

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  4. Your pups are simply beautiful! I did not know this was canine epilepsy month but I too had a pup with epilepsy when I was a child - MANY decades ago. Sadly we had to give my sweet yorkiepoo up to someone who could better care for her. Back then - we are talking the 1970's we just did not have the knowledge to properly care for our sweetie. I was glad to have a person to give her to that did know how to care for her. I am so glad we have the research we do today so more people can keep and take care of their pups who suffer from this.

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    1. Joely, you are so right! We are fortunate that now we have technology so that much info can be at our fingertips and are able to connect with others who are willing to share their experiences. Even as short a while ago as 10 years when I first started this journey with my Gibson, there was not much info out there, other than advice to have the dog euthanized! I was fortunate to find a gal who shared her experiences with me, and showed me it's not as scary as I had thought. That support is something I hope Gib and I, and now me, continue to offer others on this road. I'm glad you found a home for your pup with someone who did know. It's a scary road, especially with no information!

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  5. I had this confused with the teal pumpkin project at first! Neat way to raise awareness.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the teal project and the purple project are both fun ways to spread awareness for different causes!

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  6. That purple pumpkin is so pretty as is the cause of course.

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  7. I can't believe Gibson was seizure free for 7 years, it's a real miracle but also speaks to the incredible care you provided. Together you did an amazing job raising awareness of Canine Epilepsy. I love the concept of purple pumpkins to raise awareness! Gib's legacy lives on in all you do to help others struggling with Canine Epilepsy.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! I feel him right here with me, every single day. He and I had a lot of fun with our purple pumpkins! I hope his wonderful spirit will continue to inspire others on this journey called Canine Epilepsy.

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  8. What a beautiful story, and so heartwarming to read about the bond you both shared. How proud he would be of all you do to raise awareness, and everything you do on behalf of animals.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Hindy. Your words touched my heart.

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  9. I love the purple pumpkin project! What a wonderful way to bring attention and educate people about epilepsy.

    Your bond with Gibson was so special and I love that you feel he lives on in your heart. Together you accomplished so much and I know you ell continue to do so in his name and memory.

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    1. I so appreciate your kind words. He truly does...I miss him so, but will carry on in his name with him by my side in spirit as he was such an inspiration and we want to encourage and support others on this journey as well.

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  10. Our mom learned quite a bit reading this post..thanks! All the best to you!

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    Replies
    1. That is so wonderful to hear! Thank you!

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  11. What a great way to raise awareness for such an important topic! Wonderful!

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  12. I know you miss Gibson so much, but I want you to know that you've made such a positive difference on how many of us view canine epilepsy. Before I started reading your blog, I wouldn't have considered adopting a dog who had known epilepsy. Now I understand that it is manageable and the epi-dogs can have great lives, just like Gibson did.

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    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you so much...that really means the world to me. Everything you said is exactly what my and Gibson's message was and will always be. Thank you!

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  13. Hope I am commenting on the right post. I love the purple pumpkin idea - it really lets you bring home awareness in a friendly way that people will remember much longer than just a phrase or a quote.

    We only discovered pumpkin while living in NZ they never grew for us in the UK.

    Have a successful Purple Pumpkin Month!!!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, so true! It's a great project to get everyone of all ages involved!

      We love pumpkin everything here!

      Thanks so much for your kind wishes!

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  14. I'll definitely be sharing, and our house will definitely be sporting a purple pumpkin this year

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    1. Thank you so much! And please, share your purple pumpkin pics with us over on FiveSibes on Facebook! We'd love to see and share them!

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  15. What a great idea to raise awareness about Epilepsy. RIP Gibson and hugs to you for all you do.

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    1. Oh, thank you so much! He truly was my heart dog and inspiration. We hope other Epi-dogs will #LiveGibStrong and are here to help anyone who finds themselves on this journey.

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  16. What a fantastic project to bring awareness to Epilepsy and Educate others.

    RIP Ciara, run free over the Rainbow Bridge

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    1. I so agree! Such a great way to get people talking and support those folks and pets with Canine Epilepsy.

      Thank you for your thoughts for sweet Ciara. I know her momma appreciates it.

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  17. This is a great idea to bring awareness to Epilepsy, especially in pets.

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    Replies
    1. It really is! Great topic to discuss while out trick-or-treating, too, when kids and parents see a purple pumpkin!

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  18. This is such a great idea! I have seen the teal pumpkins around, but not purple ones. It would be a great way to teach people about Epilepsy in humans and animals. I've known quite a few humans with epilepsy (I've worked in Special Education).

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    Replies
    1. Yes, it is a great way - and fun way - to get folks talking and to bring awareness in a fun way to kids as well!

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  19. What a fantastic way to create awareness about epilepsy such a unique idea to paint pumpkins purple in Halloween. I know so many dogs when i worked at the clinic that were suffering from it

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    1. It is such a great way to get folks talking! Epi-dogs are amazing and I truly hope through awareness, folks will know just how special they are!

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  20. Thanks so much for reminding me about the importance of incorporating a purple pumpkin into our decoration collection. If I get a chance, I'll be sure to tag you in our pumpkin photos to help show our support!

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    1. Oh,yes, Bryn, please do! I'd love to share them. Thanks for supporting Canine Epilepsy! #LiveGibStrong! <3

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  21. You might be eligible to get a free $1,000 Amazon Gift Card.

    ReplyDelete