Newsy Tuesday: A FiveSibes Book Review of "Living With Canine Epilepsy" by A. Piper Burgi

 


  
Iknew I was going to really like A. Piper Burgi's book, Living with Canine Epilepsy, as soon as
began reading the first page. As many of you know, one of my beloved FiveSibes, Gibson, was diagnosed with idiopathic Epilepsy shortly after his third birthday and the journey I embarked upon was finding out everything I could so he could live a wonderful life, and he did! 
 
Through that journey, I learned the most common vet recommendation for a dog with epilepsy was euthanization. Yes. As unbelievable as that is, that was the typical suggestion. Keep in mind, this was well over a decade ago. My own Gibson was diagnosed in 2009. Thankfully, I had a very caring and knowledgeable vet team that never suggested that (which I never would have opted to do anyhow), but rather worked with me on what would be the best course of treatment for Gibson moving forward. And that is when I began the #LiveGibStrong campaign for awareness that eventually developed into the free #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Online Resource Library and became an official Purple Day® for Epilepsy K9 ambassador in 2012, and in 2018 was invited by the human epilepsy organiztion, The Anita Kaufmann Foundation (now under the Purple Day® Every Day umbrella) to partner with them, creating my #Paws4Purple initiative. This was all to let people know Epi-dogs can and do live happy lives, the same as a dog who does not have epilepsy.
 
Keeping up with Gibson's legacy, I continue to share important vet news on Canine Epilepsy, as well as always on the look out for books and articles. Through mine and Gibson's journey, I have met many amazing fellow Epi-dog parents, and have published two of my own books on the topic. So when I saw author A. Piper Burgi's book, I had to read it and share it with you.
 
Life With Canine Epilepsy is an excellent book about dealing with Canine Epilepsy, a topic near and dear to my heart, but also because Piper draws you right into her life even before her not one, but two dogs (who are not related) were diagnosed with epilepsy. Imagine that...two Epi-dogs at the same time. All of us who have shared life with one Epi-dog, knows just how much worry, trepidation, care, and love goes into caring for one...now imagine both of your dogs begin having seizures and around the same time!
 
I applaud the choice by Piper and her husband to stand by their dogs,  to love and care for them for all of their lives, and as you will read in this book, while also dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of two dogs having seizures, the passing of her mother, moving, and facing her husband's long deployment overseas. 

***Note: I received a copy of the book to read. All thoughts and reviews are my own. This post may contain affiliate links meaning if you make a purchase using our link, I could possibly receive a small commission ***at no extra cost to you.***

Living With Canine Epilepsy reads smoothly and so interesting, I kept turning the page. It is not a choppy recount of dogs with a medical condition, nor it is a sterile or dry work of literature, but rather reads like an interesting combination of a memoir and an educational non-fiction article. Through her heartfelt words, I felt like I joined the family on their journey, that eventually includes caring for two Epi-dogs simultaneously.

I have an immense respect for our military and their families (being the proud daughter of my father, a WWII Silver Star recipient, and my Mom, a "Rosie the Riveter," who worked on the homefront in an upstate New York arsenal). So, of course I also love that this book is written by a military veteran, Piper, who is also a military wife. (🇺🇸Heartfelt "thanks" to Piper and her husband for their service). So, as you can imagine, there was moving around with two Epi-dogs in her story, too!   

Piper also sprinkles in some healthy homemade dog treat recipes like her own—Pupcakes and Apple-Pumpkin Cookies! I really enjoy discovering dog treat recipes and when I came to them in Piper's book, I immediately thought, "Oh, my FiveSibes would have loved these treats!" So, I know your dog—Epi or non—will enjoy.

Weaved throughout this book are also personal photos of the Burgis and their beautiful Epi-dogs. I really enjoy seeing photos in a book, in my opinion, they really give you that personal feeling and makes the whole book even more relatable. 

While I know firsthand how the topic of epilepsy is scary and worrisome for pet parents, this book is not depressing, but rather filled with her raw experiences and her personal reactions when one or both of her dogs have a seizure, and those experiences, while heartbreaking at times, contain valuable educational information for others on caring for dogs who are the rollercoaster ride called epilepsy. It also shows something else that is so important, it shows HOPE. And that is key when caring for a dog with special needs.

Here is a sample of the wonderful writing and just how Piper takes you on this journey that she and her husband were on with Darren and Lana, and the love and care they gave them so they could live their best life, in spite of the threat of the "seizure monster" as many of Epi-dog hu-parents call a seizure.

"I suppose we could have opted to euthanize both of our dogs due to the severity of their condition. But I abhorred the thought of putting Lana and Darren to death for our convenience. This meant we would have to find a way to give our fur babies a good quality of life for as long as possible, even if it meant we had to make some sacrifices. Epilepsy doesn't have to be fatal! While we had to learn to accept the fact that our dogs had unusual needs, we also realized they both deserved our best efforts. We were going to do everything in our power to provide them with the best life possible. It would certainly not be an easy task since Lana and Darren required a lot supervision and nearly 24/7 care, but to simply give up on them was not an option."

Powerful words indeed, and a peek into the kind heart and logical minds of the author and her husband—two forever loving Epi-dog parents.

Meet Piper's Epi-stars "Darren" and "Lana!" 
Their intro slide as viewed in my 

When I finished the book and closed the cover, I felt like I personally knew Piper and her beloved dogs. When they had their seizures, and how she wrote about it and the care before, during, and after, it truly tugged at my heart. 

Being an Epi-dog momma myself, I truly felt every fear and every moment of joy when her dogs would experience their seizures and then rebound from them. However, even if you've never embarked upon a journey with an Epi-dog, this book—especially the "stars" of this book, beautiful Darren and Lana—will truly touch your heart.

Aside from writing Living With Canine Epilepsy, Piper is an accomplished and well-respected author of several non-fiction books, and an award-winning historical novelist! If you'd like to discover her other written works, check out her website HERE, and let's...

 

Author A. Piper Burgi and "Lana"
 
From her bio, A. Piper Burgi is the award-winning author of several non-fiction books, and recently added eleven historical fiction novels to her ever-expanding collection of published writings. 
 
Piper's life is a whirlwind of roles-from being an Air Force Veteran and military spouse to a busy doggie mommy, cook, event coordinator, and chauffeur. But her true passion lies in animal rights advocacy. She fosters dogs and puppies and actively supports various animal rescue organizations. This deep affinity for animals and nature inspired her to write and publish the canine health book, Living with Canine Epilepsy, in November 2015. It's a cause that's not just close to her heart, but a part of it. 
 
"My grandmother used to say, 'As long as I have a good book to read, I will be at peace.' I feel the same way," she states. "I love books. I love to read them, and I love to write them. I find there’s nothing more exhilarating than to immerse myself in a story and with it the opportunity to see a whole new world."

Piper is no stranger to the world of creative storytelling. "I suppose I should have known from the beginning that I want to be a writer. I come from a long line of storytellers. I’ve always been an avid reader since I first learned how to read, and as a child I spent a great many hours alone wholly absorbed in my own imaginings."

Piper explains how she was bitten by the writing bug, "I began writing in my spare time shortly after my mother had suddenly passed away. Just a few months prior she had asked for my help to get her memoirs published, but neither one of us had any idea where to begin. As I worked hard to keep my promise to my late mother, I needed to create some balance between the sad memories of my mother's passing and my active lifestyle. And I found that when writing my stories. Before I knew it, I was entirely consumed by this new pastime. This journey, born out of love and loss, has led me to where I am today."

When she's "not tending to her furry friends or savoring a good cup of coffee," Piper says she "is immersed in the world of writing."
 
Both of Piper's Epi-dogs, Darren and Lana, have been highlighted as "Epi-Stars" as part of my ongoing FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong feature on wonderful dogs who live/have lived with Canine Epilepsy. If you'd like to read the post, please visit HERE. 
 
Most recently, in conjunction with The Companion Animal Epilepsy Research Lab at North Carolina State University-College of Veterinary Medicine, I created a video "Caring for the Epi-Dog Caregiver" highlighting tips from fellow Epi-dog caregivers. Piper graciously shared her experiences that were highlighted in the video as well. Here is one slide pertaining to her book:

 
If you'd like to see the entire video, please visit HERE.
 
If you find yourself and your dog on the journey called Canine Epilepsy, know you are not alone and there are wonderful resources available to you, Piper's book being one of those valuable resources. I have also added her book to my #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Online Resource Library.

To purchase a copy of  
Living With Canine Epilepsy
visit HERE.
 

 
Woo! 
This book receives a 
4-out-of-4 Paw Star 
Rating from FiveSibes!
 

 

 ~DWR

 

 

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Comments

  1. That sounds like a wonderful and most important book!

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  2. Not only does this book sound fabulous, this new-to-me author sounds excellent and I'd like to explore some of her other works, too.

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  3. Author sounds interesting. Book sounds good too.

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  4. What a terrific book! I Can't imagine one epi-dog but she has two??? Holy smokes!!! Actually, I'd say Darren and Lana are pretty pretty lucky pups to end up with Piper. She obviously will do whatever is needed for them. Funny, how out of tragedy can come something positive like this book and Piper's love of writing from her mom's passing. Your review is tremendous! I hope you add this book to your resource library if you haven't already. I hope folks will read this book and realize that an Epi-dog is a dog full of life needing some extra TLC. I'm sharing with all my dog parents. Thanks for this wonderful review, Dorothy!

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  5. Wow, this sounds amazing! I can't believe the euth.... erm can't write it (sorry) but this used to be the defaults for anything people found hard to deal with epilepsy FIV, etc., Disgraceful but, as you rightly point out - times are changing for the better.

    It takes people of real COURAGE to fight the corner of those dogs who have epilepsy and this book sends a positive message all owners will love to hear. Epilepsy is NOT a death sentence!!!

    Marjorie and Toulouse
    DashKitten.com

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  6. What an amazing Dog Mom and writing about it I am sure will ease it for others who are Epi Dog Moms or learning to be one, thanks so much for the post and you always amaze me with what you do, Thanks as always

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  7. Thank you ever so much for sharing what looks like yet another valuable tool for living with canine epilepsy. I'll have to add it to my reference shelf for Elsa. 💜

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  8. I had one epi dog and I was so happy when I found a vet that worked with me to find the best treatment for him. I would have loved a book to help explain things better from another pet owner's perspective.

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  9. Sounds like you & Piper are Twin Flames, as they say. You have so much in common. I can't believe Vet's used to recommend euthanized Epi dogs! How heartless. I'm glad there are people like you two, sharing awareness & accurate information

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