Friday, June 29, 2018

Those Were The Days on a #FlashbackFriday

Woo! Running like the wind!

"Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day...
For we were young and sure to have our way." 
~Gene Raskin

Today's FiveSibes Flashback Friday photo goes back to about seven years ago now when I would open our back deck gate and let the Huskies all run together in the larger side of the yard. They would excitedly wait until that gate opened, then storm down the steps in a single file and fly around the yard doing their Husky zoomies, their paws pounding the earth in sheer joy as the wind blew through their furry coats, broad smiles on their beautiful canine faces. Watching them was like watching a moving work of art as they stayed in time and matched each other's speed in unison. There were the early days before Gibson's hind end weakness from his epilepsy medications set in, before Chloe and Wolf blew out their CCLs due to poor genetics and required emergency surgeries to rebuild their legs, and way before their senior years slowly settled in and the arthritis that has come along with it. Even still, as they run a little slower, and spend most days relaxing on their deck beds, I swear I catch them dreamily gazing off across the side of the yard they once ruled and ran with the wind beneath their paws, dreaming of those wild and free younger days. 

I will always and forever remember those days... 
those wonderful days.

Join us each week for a fun and memorable stroll down Memory Lane in our FiveSibes Flashback Friday Blog Hop! The list is open all week, so if you are busy on Friday, you can come back and still link up! Be sure to visit the "hoppers" blogs, too, for some great fun and photos. What a wonderful way to remember those younger days--whether it is a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, or decades ago! Show us your pet's pics and come hop along!

Friday, June 22, 2018

Are You Taking Your Dog To Work Today?

Today is the 20th Anniversary of Take Your Dog To Work Day®, an annual date to highlight the very special human-canine bond and also to promote pet adoptions! So, are you taking your furry best friend to the office today? Here, at FiveSibes, every day I take my dogs to work!
As an author and freelance photojournalist, I have worked in an office for the most part of my career, and only recently have been totally home-based due to disabilities stemming from my Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and most recently Osteoarthritis diagnosis. Living with autoimmune diseases is a different battle every day - one that is not seen by most because it is, for the most part, an invisible enemy. Until the joints bend and twist with advancement of the RA, severe chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and limited range of motion pretty much takes over the body. As a full-time photojournalist and educational PR specialist who was always on the move and on the road to cover many stories and many locations, this was a jarring stop to my career. While I am now home-based, the nice part about being a writer is that I can do it from any place at any time. If I need to rest, I can. If I have to put writing and blogging on hold, I can. And believe me, there are days, sometimes weeks that I have to do just that. I have finally gotten to the place where when those periods of sheer exhaustion come when opening the laptop is too much, or the pain controls my muscles and joints, I can finally let myself off the hook and say, "It's okay if you don't write today." 

Did you get your TYDTWDay certificate? We did!
To get one, visit their website HERE!

Being a professional writer and photographer is a part of my being, my very fiber. I love bringing stories to life via the written word or by a series of photographs. I always have said I see life in a series of photos. I see a photo in every day life. I truly love what I do and have been fortunate to have made a career of it. Now that I am "retired" from the field, I can freelance from home when I am not overwhelmed by my autoimmune issues. There is a Spoon Theory that helps people with illnesses, maybe you've heard of it? Basically, we are given a number of spoons for the day, say 10. When you have debilitating AI issues, and there are a whole list of them, sometimes just showering can steal one spoon from your supply. Getting dressed can take another two. Already, your balance for the day is down to seven and morning is not even over yet. When one has exhausted their spoon supply, they are pretty wiped out, and even though the spoon supply is "replenished" the next day, it can take anywhere from a day to several days or even weeks to recuperate. 

My models: 
Flash me those pearly Sibe smiles!

For me, home is not only where my heart is (because that is where my family lives), it is also where I work from. I love being surrounded by my family. Days of noisy laughter with my grandson and daughter are such cherished moments, as are the days with my FiveSibes. Waking up to find my grandson giggling as he "drops" some of his breakfast to the eagerly waiting Huskies surrounding his high chair immediately starts my day with a smile! We are all rolled up into one big, happy, furry (shedding) family! As I write this, my Huskies are all snoozing around me. Amidst snores, farts, and dreaming, I smile as these moments when they are all happy, safe, and sound, bring me such peaceful joy. (Okay, maybe I could do without all that gassiness, Wolf! But, he just got over a bout of IBS, so even those doggie farts are welcome because it means he is back to eating again).

"Ready to go on a photoshoot, Mom?"
(Funny true story about this photo~I was leaving and walked into the kitchen to get my purse, and this is exactly where I found it! Chloe must have pulled it of my kitchen nook bench...or...she heard me saying "where's my purse" as I always am looking for it as I run out the door! Siberians are smart...hmmm.  I laughed for a long time on this one! I'm laughing now)!

The FiveSibes have come with me to work since...well, since I've had them! Even when I worked outside the home, I still freelanced from home. So the days when I was writing the text for my books, there they were! When the books arrived from the printer, I really think they were just as excited as me! While editing, I'd take photos of them looking at the drafts being my "co-editors." All of my blog posts feature photos of them I have taken, and if I am doing a product review, I set up the photoshoots, sometimes with props, and they are my models (and they really seem to enjoy it)! 

Coffee break time!

I am truly fortunate in that I can take my dogs to work every single day! I do believe that the offices that allow employees to bring their dog(s) to work, it creates a wonderful environment. Not only does the employee feel better about having their beloved dog and maybe worry less about them being left home, but it is also physically healthier as the employee and their dog can go hit up some nearby trails or take a walk around the town during lunch. And everyone knows that when someone is happy, they are naturally more productive, which is a huge positive for the boss! A happy employee makes for a happy employer! So bravo to those businesses that smile upon employees brining their dogs to work!

What is Take Your Dog To Work Day 
All About?

Take Your Dog To Work Day (TYDTWDay) was created by Pet Sitters International (PSI) in 1999. PSI, according to their website, is the "world’s largest educational association for professional pet sitters. PSI is dedicated to educating professional pet sitters and promoting, supporting and recognizing excellence in pet sitting." On Take Your Dog To Work Day, which is always celebrated on June 22, PSI suggests the following:

  • "Dogs should be kept on a leash, unless they are in an employees’ office or cubicle. 
  • Participating employees should use a baby gate to prevent dogs from leaving their offices unsupervised. 
  • Specific areas, such as bathrooms or employee dining halls, can be designated dog-free. 
  • Have a backup plan for taking a dog home if he is not comfortable in the work environment. 
  • Use a local pet sitter to provide midday walks or potty breaks for employees’ dogs."
I'd also like to add a few FiveSibes tips to the list:
  • Be sure to get pre-approval from your place of business.
  • Be considerate and check ahead of time to be sure your co-workers do not have any allergies.
  • Bathe and/or groom your furry best friend for his/her visit. (There is no faster way of turning off a non-dog person than have them be greeted by a smelly dog).
  • Bring a portable water bowl, some treats, and a toy or two.
  • Will your dog behave? Be sure your dog is as polite as you and will not growl, jump, lick, or hump your co-worker's leg.
  • Know that your dog will enjoy the day. If s/he will be stressed, please leave your dog at home where s/he will be safe and happy.
  • Keep collars with tags on and be sure all microchip and tag information is correct and up-to-date (just in case the dog wanders out of the office area).
  • Only bring your dog if s/he is in good health.
  • Bring current copies of your dog's health records.
  • Set up a bed for your dog to rest on.
  • Use the day to help educate co-workers and staff all about dogs, breeds, and canine healthcare.
  • Does your dog like to do tricks? Put on a fun show for co-workers (and supply them with your treats for your dog)!
  • Take selfies with your furry best friend and willing co-workers!
  • Don't have a dog of your own? Visit a local shelter and share some love with a dog in need!
  • Remember to enjoy the day!
For more details and ideas, including a downloadable TYDTWDay "Tool Kit," visit the PSI website HERE. 

You're on Canine Camera!

Wolf smiles for the camera (phone)!
Think you took the cutest photos of your dog at work? Enter your photo in the 2018 TYDTWDay “Dogs at Work” Photo Contest! They are accepting entries from June 22 through June 24, and on June 25th voting begins (and ends on June 29 at 11:59 PM EST)! To submit your photo, simply submit your photos to PSI HERE. The photo with the most votes, will win a Kurgo (2018 sponsor) prize pack, and a $1,000 donation (provided by event creator PSI and 2018 event sponsor Embrace Pet Insurance) will be made in the winner’s honor to the animal shelter or pet-rescue group of his or her choice.

Dog Tags 'n Hash Tags

Don't forget when sharing your pics on social media, use #takeyourdogtoworkday

For this week's FiveSibes Flashback Friday, we are highlighting some past TYDTWDay pics:

#FBF 2013: Bandit, a member of the working breed Siberian Husky, was busy helping me while I worked on my manuscript by taking my calls!

#FBF 2014: Harley assists with the PR for my FiveSibes Tale book starring...herself!

#FBF 2011: Gibson checks out the printer delivery of my FiveSibes Tale book all about him and Canine Epilepsy!

Join us each week for a fun and memorable stroll down Memory Lane in our FiveSibes Flashback Friday Blog Hop! The list is open all week, so if you are busy on Friday, you can come back and still link up! Be sure to visit the "hoppers" blogs, too, for some great fun and photos. What a wonderful way to remember those younger days--whether it is a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, or decades ago! Show us your pet's pics and come hop along!

Friday, June 15, 2018

K9 Epilepsy FUNdraiser Card Drive & Giveaway!

Our Harley, Chloe, Wolf, and Bandit have their card and donation all ready for Olivia!

Woo! It's party time! Fellow Epi-dog, Olivia Barnaby's 8th Barkday is coming up on June 21st, and to celebrate, Olivia and her hu-mom, Jeanaann are celebrating by hosting a Barkday Card Drive to benefit The Wally Foundation~Canine Epilepsy!!! Send a card with just one dollar (less than a cup of coffee) and you could be changing the life of an Epi-dog somewhere in the world!

Pssst...a little birdie told me that Olivia's Barkday is also Jeanaann's birthday, so double the birthday wishes are being 
sent out to the Barnaby household!

Photo Courtesy of Jeanaann Barnaby~KnottyToysforGoodDogs

As you know, Canine Epilepsy is a cause near and dear to our hearts as my now furangel Gibson was an Epi-dog, just like Olivia! As a matter of fact, thanks to Gibson and Olivia, that is how Jeanaann and I met many years ago. Olivia is also one of the Epi-stars in my book, EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy! It was while I was interviewing Epi-dog families and writing the book, that I "met" Olivia and Jeanaann. I always say I thank my Gibson for bringing me together with so many amazing people and their equally amazing Epi-dogs, like Olivia! 

To hear the stories of how these dogs embrace life, even with seizures, is a true testament to the pure joy of a dog and how they enjoy life to the fullest! Now there are some important lessons in there for us mere humans! I know I sure learned so much from my furangel Gibson, and I am still passionate about, and dedicated to, advocating for these phenomenal dogs that once upon a time were overlooked, surrendered, or (gasp) euthanized. 

Today, I am so happy to hear of the stories of people now adopting dogs with seizures, and it is through education and support programs, such as #LiveGibStrong and #Paws4Purple, and fellow advocates such as Olivia and Jeanaann, and Rick Selwood and The Wally Foundation, that we will hear more and more stories of these Epi-dog survivors and champions. While yes, it is a worry; and yes, it is not always easy; and yes, there is a financial aspect with medications, tests, and vet visits, but the bond and joy you will share with your Epi-dog or any special needs dog is immeasurable. And I know right now there are many of you amazing pet parents out there nodding your heads in unison! Gibson was, and always will be, my heart dog. My spirit animal. My canine hero. 

Who is Olivia Barnaby?

The Barkday Girl - Olivia! Photo courtesy of Jeanaann Barnaby

So let's talk about our beautiful Barkday girl! Olivia, who will be turning 8 on June 21st, was adopted from a shelter by Jeanaann at nine months of age in 2011. Three months after, Olivia had her first seizure (and scared her hu-mom). She was diagnosed with idiopathic Canine Epilepsy. Olivia is now on three anti-seizure medications, and while she deals with almost daily focal seizures and monthly grand mal seizures, Jeanaann says she is one happy girl! Together, they are fantastic advocates for dogs living with Canine Epilepsy, by sharing not only Olivia's story, but also important information as well as a series of E-books Jeanaann has written and are available through her blog site at Knotty Toys for Good Dogs.  The site also features Jeanaann's hemp chew toys for which she donates a portion of the sales to The Wally Foundation.

What is The Wally Foundation?

"Wally" Selwood
The Wally Foundation (TWF) is a non-profit organization that offers possible financial assistance for much needed anti-seizure medications to families, rescues, and fosters of dogs diagnosed with idiopathic Canine Epilepsy. 
TWF namesake is "Wally", the founder and Executive Director, Rick Selwood's beloved Saint Bernard who had Epilepsy. Selwood says, "Our belief is that no human should have to choose between food on the table, and affording medication or treatments for their epileptic dog.We believe that no family should have to euthanize their beloved dog due to a lack of understanding of the disease, or a lack of resources." Rick says they “will also provide support and information on canine epilepsy, a database of specialists and treatment centers, and how and where to obtain the lowest possible priced medications.”

Party Time!

To participate in Olivia's 8th Barkday Card Drive, simply mail a ONE DOLLAR ($1) donation (or more if you like) in a card wishing Olivia a Happy Barkday! Send cards via snail mail to:

Olivia Barnaby
c/o Knotty Toys for Good Dogs
P.O. Box 125, Coe Hill, ON.
K0L 1P0, Canada

If you prefer to do it online, you can send your donation to Olivia's Card Drive via PayPal to and include 
some Happy Barkday wishes for Olivia. That's it! 
Now get those cards and donations ready to send!

Goodie Package Giveaway!

Oh, wait, silly us! There's more! I mean, what's a Barkday party without goodie bags, right? Hu-mom Jeanaann is on it! For every card with a donation (snail mail or digital donation), that person's name will go into a random drawing for a pretty (p)awesome "Goodie Bag!" So what are all the goodies? Check it out here:

Stay Tuned...

On Sunday, June 17th, a special episode of "The Sibe Vibe" on Dog Works Radio aired! Tune in to hear me chat with Jeanaann all about Olivia's Barkday Card Drive Fundraiser HERE

Since it's our FiveSibes Flashback Friday Blog Hop, it's just so fitting that today's photos from Memory Lane are of my beloved Gibson, who I made this journey on the path of Canine Epilepsy with, and who I would do it with all over again. And Gibbie, well, he never met a party or ice cream cake he didn't like! And how they all love to eat their cakes together! Love you for always, my sweet G-man.

Join us each week for a fun and memorable stroll down Memory Lane in our FiveSibes Flashback Friday Blog Hop! The list is open all week, so if you are busy on Friday, you can come back and still link up! Be sure to visit the "hoppers" blogs, too, for some great fun and photos. What a wonderful way to remember those younger days--whether it is a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, or decades ago! Show us your pet's pics and come hop along!

Click here to...

--> -->

Friday, June 8, 2018

Memories of Yesteryear: Happy Huskies Feeling Carefree on a FiveSibes Flashback Friday

Woo is right! So happy it is Friday! We apologize for our brief absence as this past week was indeed an emotionally heavy one of sorting through stored boxes of my mother's and my husband's father's things, both of whom passed away recently - my mom two years ago and my father-in-law just this past October (and today would have been his 90th birthday). For me, it was impossible to go through my mother's things before now. She was my first and lifelong best friend, an amazing mother and grandmother to my daughter, my confidante, my support system, my cheerleader, and my therapist. Accepting she is physically gone, has been, well, too painful. Now, however, it is starting to become a familiar warm feeling to see her handwriting, and even that of my father (who has been passed 44 years now) on cards, letters, and photos that were saved amongst her personal items. I let the familiar scripts and memories of my younger days wash over me, and instead of feeling the pain of loss, I tried to focus on all the amazing and happy memories that made up my early childhood. Many of which in my early years consisted of visiting the seashore every weekend over the summer during school break with my mother, maternal grandmother, cousins, and aunt. 

Looking at the old photos does not sadden me now, but rather fills me with a warm contentment--to know that I was fortunate enough to have those wonderful, loving times. Now, trying not to be sad, well, that is not an easy task. However, trying hard to shift out of sadness, I am left with feeling a bit closer to my family I have now lost to time, and try to embrace all of it into my present and future. But boy, I sure do miss those carefree days of childhood when loss was only something we related to missing toys. 

That innocence of youth...the same as my fun and carefree FiveSibes Flashback Friday photos to many years ago, when my Huskies ran wildly and carefree to their heart's content on the big side of our yard. I can remember so clearly opening our deck gate and the Fab Five all charging down the stairs in a single file, hitting the grass at a full run, as they dispersed across the yard, hopping over each other and running with the wind in their fur--always together--one pack of Huskies moving as a whole. As when I was a child and fondly recall those visits to the beach, I also remember a special visit with my boy, Wolf, to our local beach. I recall the thrill and nervousness of his careful dipping of his paws into the water for the first time and how he hesitated at the waves coming up on the shore, flowing cool water over his paws! 
Wolf's first visit to the beach.

All these carefree times were so beautiful to watch and equally beautiful to recall. I have to sigh as how the scene so quickly changes in the lifespan of a dog. Gibson has now moved on to the Rainbow Bridge. Our Harley is now our "golden" deaf alpha queen at age 13, and the "Pupsters" are newbie seniors at age 10. The wild carefree young days of running has now quieted down to periodic bursts of Husky play intertwined with spurts of energetic yard exploration, but mainly are now spent in hours of posing and snoozing on their deck beds. I just learned today that a friend's "pup" who was in the vet hospital at the same time as our Pupsters for spaying/neutering back when they all were truly puppies, has just passed from the same type of cancer that stole Gibson from us. We all paused to realize that the very short span of a beloved pet is a decade of our own lives. All we can do is embrace the moments that make up the memories, and enjoy each one as it happens, while hoping for many more to come.

The following is a poem I wrote many years ago that was a favorite of my grandmother's. I thought it was a perfect time to share an excerpt from it here for our memories of yesteryear are all about family, including our beloved pets. I hope you enjoy it!

"Memories of Yesteryear"
by Dorothy Wills-Raftery

"Memories of yesteryear
Come flooding back to me.
Of teddy bears and dancing dolls
And dreams of what to be.
Weekends spent on the boardwalk
At all of our favorite beaches,
Taking chances on all of those games
While enjoying fresh drinks and peaches...
Those were the days of carefree times
When we weren't afraid to have fun.
Now those days have long since passed
And our visits to the boardwalk are none.
But the joy and love will always be felt
In those memories we hold dear,
Because those were the times we spent together
In our days of yesteryear."

You're Invited!

Do you have some photos that "flashback" to an earlier time in your pet's life--from a day ago? A year ago? A decade ago? Decades ago? Maybe a photo from when you dog was a puppy, or you cat was adopted? Maybe your horse or bird or bunny captured on film in a precious moment for you? Then this is the Blog Hop to join! We are open for the week, so if you get busy, as we know life happens, you have all week to link up and share your photos and posts from Memory Lane! So, come join us in a fun and special way to end the week and kick off the weekend!

And join us!

We are also joining our blogger friends in the Pet Parade! Hop over and check out the hosts' blogs, too, at: Rascal & Rocco, , Bionic Basil, and Barking from the Bayou!

Click Below to go...