Friday, March 26, 2021

Welcome to Our #LiveGibStrong Purple Day® for Epilepsy Annual Blog Hop!


So excited to be hosting our 6th #LiveGibStrong Purple Day® for Epilepsy Blog Hop, once again along with my two amazing co-hosts, Jeanaann Barnaby of Knotty Toys for Good Dogs and Kimberley Matchem of Rescue Dog-Mom Confessions! So let's talk purple!


  “People affected by epilepsy will change the face of epilepsy.”  
~Anita Kaufmann Foundation 

What's Purple Day All About? 

If you have not already seen my Purple Day video, please take a few minutes to watch it, learn about how an amazing young girl named Cassidy Megan founded Purple Day, and how dogs across the globe joined Gibson and my FiveSibes in showing their support for Epi-dogs by "going purple!" 



Why Do I Advocate for Epi-dogs? Gibson.

Chances are, if you have followed us here at FiveSibes, you know that my Gibson was diagnosed shortly after his third birthday with idiopathic epilepsy, and ever since, he and I have advocated for dogs with epilepsy to spread the word that dogs can--and DO--live full happy lives with Canine Epilepsy. 

Through our advocacy, I've shared not only mine and Gibson's journey, but facts and important information on caring for a dog with seizures. Back when had his first seizure in 2009, I was stunned, scared, and had no idea what had just happened. Seeing him stiff and frothing, chilled me as I thought I had just lost my beautiful boy. To watch him come out of the seizure and stumble his way toward me (he experienced temporary blindness, which is not unusual after a seizure), as he followed my voice, after being so still, was nothing short of a miracle. I went from crying tears of horror to tears of joy in just a few short minutes! 

“With special care and a lot of love, 
Epi-dogs can—and do—live happy, full lives; the same as a dog who does not have epilepsy. They are truly amazing.” 
 ~Dorothy Wills-Raftery, 
Author & Purple Day® Ambassador for K9 Epilepsy


There was not a lot of information available back then, and many veterinarians unfamiliar with epilepsy at the time would suggest euthanasia. (Not mine, I was fortunate to have an amazing team, well-versed in seizures, who became my go-to experts for help throughout Gibson's life). 

Remembering the Husky who started 
an Epi revolution--my Gibson! 
Gibson with me, and his lead vet, Dr. Rugg, beside a 
portrait done of him on one of the hospital's outbuildings.

The Internet was just a baby, not at all like it is today. MySpace was the social media gem at the time, so I posted a note about my dog having a seizure, and a wonderful gal--whom I am friends with to this very day--wrote me and shared her experience with her dog, and talked to me about medications and dosages, so I had a grasp when I spoke to my own vet. She was amazing! (Laurie, that's you!) I then began to keep Gibson's journal on MySpace, and connect with others. Of course, being a career journalist, I researched everything I could get my hands on, spoke with veterinarian experts, holistic practitioners, other hu-parents of dogs with epilepsy, and joined Canine Epilepsy support groups. I made myself an expert for my boy's sake, so I could give him the best care and life possible. 

This is a video slideshow show from my Purple Day booth at Kingston Animal Hospital with not only Gibson's lead vet, Dr. Arnold Rugg, but also some of the amazing staff and even the Easter Bunny!


Gibson was a beautiful dog who lived a happy life, and he brought me so much happiness. He was truly my heart dog. And together, we sailed the sometimes rough seas called epilepsy, and he inspired me in so many ways, including creating #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness, authoring two books on the topic and many articles, videos, and podcasts, all to help others and to let folks know, while it is so scary to watch a beloved pet have a seizure, know you are not alone! Help is just a keyboard click away!

 "I started Purple Day to raise awareness for people with epilepsy and to let them know that they aren’t alone. At Purple Day, we want to educate people about what to do and what not to do when they see someone having any type of seizure."  
~Cassidy Megan, Founder


Gibson's and My Message

I want to let folks know if they find themselves suddenly caring for a dog with epilepsy, to not be afraid, that there are many informational resources available to help, and we're here to help point them in the right direction because dogs with epilepsy do not need to be euthanized, can be adopted, and do love life as much as a dog without epilepsy. Dogs with epilepsy can be sled dogs, dock diving dogs, hiking partners, therapy work dogs, family dogs, and more--basically, my Epidog can do whatever your dog can do!

We had a very special visitor one day, a beautiful gal named Frankie who also has epilepsy, came with her mom and spent some time with Gibson and my FiveSibes. What wonderful day we had!


Get Our #Paws4Purple FREE Educational Info!

In 2018, I proudly partnered with the Purple Day global non-profit sponsor The Anita Kaufmann Foundation (now Purple Day® Every Day, presented by The Anita Kaufmann Foundation). You can read my post all about that HERE. 

Through this educational initiative, you can request FREE* hard copies of any of my bookmarks, flyers, or my pride and joy - Cooling Down An Epi-Dog: Where Do I Put The Ice Pack? informational art poster! The beautiful rendition of Gibson was created by the talented artist, Cameo Anderson, and all my info has been vetted by Dr. Arnold Rugg. These handouts are great to share with:

Veterinarian Offices
Emergency Animal Hospitals
Rescues & Shelters
Dog Walkers/Sitters
Boarding Facilities
Dog Parks
Animal Control Officers
Police Departments
Fire Departments

(*While all hard copies of materials requested are FREE, donations to the non-profit PDED/AKF always welcome to help defray the cost of printing & mailing. To order copies and/or donate, 

What's New for Us?

This year, I was honored to be asked to have a booth at the 3-day 2021 Purple Day® Around the World Virtual Epilepsy Education Conference! With the pandemic, this is a fabulous way to still hold a conference, meet and hear other advocates, experts, and success stories. If you registered for the event, I hope you stopped by our FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong booth for some info! Kudos to the team who organized this fabulous event!

A peek at our virtual booth!
Can you find us? (Bottom row, second from left!)
Close up of virtual booth. I'm on right! Hi! 

Full view of inside of our booth!
Cool, right?!

While my Gibson crossed the Rainbow Bridge quite suddenly in December of 2015 from a horrendous form of cancer known as hemangiosarcoma, he spent the last seven years of his life seizure free! So in the end, my boy beat that seizure monster! While we certainly had our ups and some very scary downs, through medication, diet, nutrition, holistic and traditional care, my boy enjoyed life with the other four of our FiveSibes pack, especially his true love, Harley! Gibson's zest for life and how he bravely and determinedly pushed through any setback as a result of the anti-seizure medications, was truly inspirational. To watch him run with his wide Husky grin, silly hip-hop gait, and wooly fur blowing in the wind was pure joy.
The beautiful furry face and soul that launched a lot of hope...

...and two books!
EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs 
Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy
"Excellence" in Reference-Animal Category ~IPA
"Excellence" in Animal/Pet Category ~NYC Big Book
"Best in Print" ~AmericanPet Magazine
"Top Dog Books Adult Non-Fiction"~Talent Hounds 
"This book (EPIc Dog Tales) provides a wealth of information on Canine Epilepsy -- from facts about the disease to practical tips on managing the disorder." 
~Dr. Karen R. Muñana, DVM, MS, DACVIM
Professor of Neurology, North Carolina State University 
What's Wrong With Gibson? 
Learning About K-9 Epilepsy
"Best in Print" ~AmericanPet Magazine
"Top Dog Books For Kids"~Talent Hounds 
Books can be ordered from our publishing website bookstore at A portion of sales is donated
to Epil-K9 Foundation.

#GoPurple Every Day

So on this Purple Day, Wolfie and I will #GoPurple to honor Gibson and all dogs who live, and have lived, life with epilepsy.  We hope you will #GoPurple in support of dogs and humans with epilepsy. Whether you dress you and/or your pet in purple, draw a purple picture, tint a photo with a purple filter, whip up a batch of purple cupcakes, tie your shoes with purple laces, whatever creative way you can think of to show your support, because as in the words of the amazing founder, Cassidy Megan, who was diagnosed with epilepsy at age seven, and "started Purple Day to raise awareness for people with epilepsy and to let them know that they aren’t alone. At Purple Day, we want to educate people about what to do and what not to do when they see someone having any type of seizure."

Let's take that message and share it, along with purple, every day. 

You are not alone. 


In memory of my beloved heart dog, Gibson. 
He lived with Canine Epilepsy, but it did not define him. 
His zest and love of life did. 
May all Epi-dogs #LiveGibStrong.
Love you, Gibbie. For always and forever.



It's time to grab our badge (you'll have to screenshot it), post it on your blog, share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, whatever social media platform you prefer, and link up to our Blog Hop below so your link and photo can be included. Then be sure to hop all around to see what everyone is sharing! There will be lots of great info, photos, and fun! And...the link is open all week to join in!

Screenshot Our Badge & Link to!


Feel free to use hashtags on your posts.







Tuesday, March 23, 2021

What's in Your Epi-Dog's First Aid Kit?

It's March, and that means Purple Day® for Epilepsy is soon--March 26th! If you've been a reader of my blog for a while, you know my now furangel Gibson was an Epi-dog, a dog living with Canine Epilepsy, and my inspiration. Together, we embarked upon the FiveSibes™ #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness & Education, a mission to advocate for Epi-dogs worldwide! 


This year, I am proud to say, is my ninth year as an official Purple Day® ambassador, and my third year as a partner with Purple Day® Every Day/presented by The Anita Kaufmann Foundation* for my #Paws4Purple educational initiative! You can visit this initiative at!

I am so proud that The Anita Kaufmann Foundation/Purple Day® Every Day, a human epilepsy organization, recognized the importance of Canine Epilepsy awareness and asked me to join them in expanding my #LiveGibStrong campaign into #Paws4Purple, an educational initiative offering important links, info, and FREE materials such as bookmarks, posters, and flyers about Canine Epilepsy Awareness to share with the masses in an effort to help others who find themselves on a journey through the sometimes murky waters of Canine Epilepsy with their dogs, as I did with my boy Gibson. 

Over the years, we've shared much information and I have written many articles and two books on the topic, hoping to help others know they are not alone! Help is just a keyboard click away to find important (and vetted) information on what to do if your dog has a seizure.

To receive my #FiveSibes #Paws4Purple FREE bookmarks or other Canine Epilepsy handouts sent to you for your own use, to share with your vet, groomer, trainer, rescue, dog park, pet supply store, shelter, dog warden, police department, fire department, etc., simply Email and put "Paws4Purple Materials" in the subject line. A donation to help offset the cost of printing and mailing is always welcome, but not required. If you'd like to make a donation, just indicate so in the Email!

Today's post is going to highlight something I have talked about many times in various forums - a First Aid Kit for dogs with Epilepsy. While all dog caregivers should have one, there are some important additional items to be included in an Epi-dog's First Aid Kit, so today's post is dedicated to just the items of what should be in an Epi-dog's First Aid Kit, both one for home, and a portable one for taking on adventures with your Epi-dog!

 *The Anita Kaufmann Foundation is now branded Purple Day® Every Day as Presented by The Anita Kaufmann Foundation.

This information is in part from an article I wrote and had originally been published in 4Knines.

Please keep in mind, if your dog has a seizure, be sure to take steps to keep them safe, away from other pets, made as comfortable as possible, and contact your vet or emergency veterinarian hospital immediately. Being in touch with your dog’s vet is a must and critical to the health of your dog.

Items to add to a standard First Aid Kit if you have an Epi-dog:

  • Prescribed anti-seizure medications, or a note as to where they are located.
  • Instructions for administering meds, dosages, and seizure protocol for family members and pet sitters caring for your dog in your absence.
  • Emergency phone numbers of vet, neurologist, emergency vet hospital, a family member or friend to assist if needed, etc.
  • Copy of your Epi-dog’s vet records (in case you are away with your dog or wind up at the emergency hospital).
  • Instant cool packs to help cool down the seizing dog as his/her body temperature can rise dangerously during a seizure (a baggie with crushed ice or frozen peas/veggies can also be used).
  • Thermometer to monitor the dog’s temperature post-seizure.
  • Alcohol swabs* (see caution note below).
  • Journal** – with description (and video if possible) of seizure, time, and length of seizures, as well as medication times and what your do was doing prior to the seizure. This information you will then share with your vet.
  • Pet towel to wet and lay over dog to cool down.
  • Hand-held fan to aide in cooling your dog down post seizure.
  • Rescue Remedy®

For Post-Seizure Care & Clean Up:

  • Pet wipes
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Disposable latex or non-latex gloves
  • Disposable bags

Keeping an Epi-Dog Cool

 It's imperative to keep an Epi-dog cool before, during, and especially after a seizure. Overheating/heat can be a trigger for some dogs as well. Be sure to check out my "Cooling Down an Epi-Dog: Where Do I Put the Cold Packs?" info poster I collaborated on with Dr. Arnold Rugg, founder of Kingston Animal Hospital in New York.  You can also receive FREE copies of this poster as handouts by Emailing

Additional Items to Have on Hand:

  • Natural vanilla ice cream (to help raise sugar levels post-seizure).
  • Corn syrup, honey, or maple syrup (if ice cream is not available or dog cannot eat dairy).
  • A source of protein, such as low-fat cheese sticks, natural creamy peanut butter, chicken, tuna, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, etc. (to give to dog post-seizure after ice cream or syrup to help stabilize sugar levels).
  • Fresh water (allow dog to take sips post-seizure).
  • A cooler collar (kept in freezer).
  • A cooler water bed or mat for dog to lay on to help lower temperature.
  • Ramp or large sheet/blanket (to transport dog).

*Alcohol swabs should only be used in extreme emergencies, where no cool or ice packs are available. A light wipe to the paw pads or tips of ears can help an overheating dog cool down, however, alcohol can cause seizures itself in some dogs if it is licked or absorbed. Unless under veterinarian care, I highly recommend using instant cool packs, gel ice packs, or crushed ice in a baggie to cool down a seizing dog. (If your Epi-dog has short or shaved fur, or is a single-coated dog, wrap ice pack in a cloth).

**A journal can simply be a notebook or chart with handwritten information, or it can be a digital application. An excellent digital journal is the FREE Royal Veterinary College’s Pet Epilepsy Tracker app available for Apple and Android devices (through iTunes Store or Google Play). See my blog post all about this free handy app HERE.

Notation: Always check the expiration dates on medications, supplements, and other items in your Epi First Aid Kit to be sure they are not outdated, and update the items accordingly.

I've put together an Epi-Dog Gift Guide Book for items I've found helpful and useful not only some items for the First Aid Kit, but other items to have on hand. 

Link to Gift Guide

Whether your dog has epilepsy, or not, s/he may have special needs or items that should be included in the First Aid Kit in case of emergency, so please take this month to make a point to discuss and review your list of items, as well as the appropriate applications, with your dog’s veterinarian. 

~Dorothy Wills-Raftery, 
Official Purple Day® Ambassador Since 2012

Just a friendly reminder to join us and our co-hosts on Friday, March 26 for our 6th Annual #LiveGibStrong Purple Day® for Epilepsy Blog & Social Media Hop! Simply link up and just others across the globe to "Show Us Your Purple" in support of human and canine epilepsy. How can you participate? Easy! Check my blog post HERE for full details! Hope to see see you "hopping" along with us on Friday!
Our Purple Day® Blog & Social Media Hop Badge

Monday, March 22, 2021

Annual Purple Day® for Epilepsy BLOG & SOCIAL MEDIA HOP Invitation!


On Friday, March 26, it is Purple Day® for Epilepsy and I'm hosting my annual FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong Blog & Social Media Hop along with co-hosts Jeanaann Barnaby of Knotty Toys for Good Dogs and Kimberley Matchem of Rescue Dog-Mom Confessions
Purple Day, founded by Cassidy Megan, is a day to "go purple" - whether you dress you and your pet in purple, whip up purple cupcakes, draw purple pictures, put a purple filter on a photo, whatever you like -- all in an effort to join together and show our support for Human and Canine Epilepsy awareness. 

I am proud to be an official Purple Day Ambassador since 2012.

As many of you know, my journey began back in 2009 when my beautiful wooly boy, Gibson, began having seizures and was eventually diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy. I've chronicled our journey over the years, and have written many articles, as well two books, and several podcasts all about Canine Epilepsy and seizures in dogs in the hope of helping those finding themselves on the same frightening journey to know they are not alone, and that there is muc information and resources available to help guide them.
This year, we are once again hosting the Blog & Social Media Hop beginning at 12:01 AM EST and you can link up your photo, blog post, Facebook or Instagram post, TikTok, Twitter, or whatever your favorite social media forum is, and join us in showing support by "going purple!" 
Need a few ideas? Easy! It could be somehting as simple as a photo of you and/or your pets dressed in purple, with something purple, whatever tickles your creative fancy, just as long as it is purple! Or, if you'd like, write a post on Epilepsy, seizures, or pay tribute to an Epi-dog or human with Epilepsy. 
How do you join? Simply come here at anytime after 12:01 AM EST on March 26th and follow the instructions to link up! Too busy that day? No worries! The Hop will be open all week to join in! Be sure to grab our badge (you can go right ahead and screen shot it!) and link back to us. Don't forget to "hop around" and visit all the other posts in the Hop, too!
Be sure to include any or all of the following hashtags in your posts so we can all follow them:




Hope to see you all on Friday, March 26th!

In memory of my beloved Epi-Dog, "Gibson," who lived his life with great zest to the fullest, never letting his epilepsy stop him from doing all things a dog loves to do! He is, and always will be, the inspiration behind my #FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong & #Paws4Purple educational work!