Harley, our black and white Siberian Husky, was the first and she joined our family at the request of my daughter who has wanted a Husky since she was a child. Harley is technically her baby, but we all live under the same roof, so while we joke two and half are hers and two and a half are mine, we share the care and in the love of all five!
When did the others arrive?
Gibson became part of our family about a year later when he was four months old and Harley was just a year. He immediately fell in love with her and still is to this very day! He is never too far from her side, or they are spooning! The three Pupsters, as we like to call them, are Wolfgang (Wolf, Wolfie), Chloe, and Bandit and they are littermates and came two years after Gibson, and they are actually his younger siblings.
Other than snuggling up to you, what else do they like to do?
They love to go for car rides and they love to free run in the yard. The sound of the leash gets them very excited, too!They also love it when you just get out a bunch of toys and get down on their level and hang out and play and give them belly rubs. Harley is the queen of tug o’ war; her favorite game!All five love to break out in song. One will start to howl or bark at Harley (she has to lead them off or they won’t group howl) and then they go into howling song together. I love hearing it! They can be quite loud, and they break out into “song” several times a day. It’s awesome! They also really just enjoy relaxing wherever we are. They are just so lovable and can be pretty funny at times, too! Siberians have great senses of humor!
Is there an “alpha dog” of the house?
Yes, that would be Harley, our alpha queen, a role she relishes!She also willingly and immediately took on the role as the Pupsters’ surrogate mom.
How do you get them to pose for such wonderful pictures?
They really are hams! I’m a photojournalist by trade, so they are so used to me whipping out my camera to photograph them. I love to keep the camera on them and capture their playful nuzzling or licking, or when they break out into Husky play. My little secret weapon is…treats! They are all about the food!
Is Chloe still using a brace?
Chloe actually never had the chance to use a brace. She was just four when she went to jump up on the bed and blew out both of her CCLs at the same time. It was an awful scene and we were so afraid for her. The surgeon said her knees were so shredded and a mess, that most likely her knees were defected from birth. She had bilateral imbrication surgery so both of her legs were repaired and she is doing wonderful now! She jumps, runs, and counter surfs with ease. It’s truly a miracle to watch her run and play today after all what she went through from the injury to the surgery to rehab. She is an amazing, happy girl. Her brother, Wolf, also recently had a complete tear of his right CCL (again most likely due to poor genetics) while running in the yard. He had imbrication surgery on Halloween and is healing well, with a slight recent setback of a pinched nerve or slipped disc that he is being treated for with medication, massage, rest, and short walks to build up his strength. He is now on the path to healing.
How is Gibson doing since his accident?
Gibson is still in his brace and will be for at least 10 to 12 weeks. He slipped on ice on Christmas Eve and went lame for a period of time. He is an Epi-dog (a canine epileptic) so he has other issues such as a weak hind end and ataxia issues due to medications that he is on. He tore his right CCL last year, which I treated via Conservative Care Management/Treatment (CCM/T) with the use of a brace, laser therapy, massage, and lots of rest. I went this route with him because being an epileptic, surgery is not optimal for fear of seizures or side effects. The CCM/T was successful. However, with CCL injuries, it is not unusual that within a year or two, they can blow out the other. That’s what happened this past Christmas Eve. He is strong and willing to work. So he can now help get himself up and walk with the aid of support from a brace and sling harness. Gibson, Chloe, and Wolf are from the same bloodline and it’s apparent that bad knees is a genetic issue as a result of irresponsible backyard breeding (they are now closed down). I can only hope one day, this type of “breeding” no longer exists so the dogs do not have pay the ultimate price down the line through pain and suffering.
I see that you support K9 Epilepsy Awareness, would you like to share some information about it?
Yes, I’m a huge advocate and Gibson is the face and inspiration behind my Live “Gib Strong” K-9 Epilepsy Awareness Campaign. Through this campaign, we raise awareness about Canine Epilepsy and seizures and how dogs can and do live full, happy lives with it. I also hope to help educate folks by sharing information and resources so they a) know they are not alone, b) have information so they can learn as much as they can about the disorder in order to help their dog and also to help take away some of the fear, and c) to let people know that these dogs are warrior dogs and love to run, play, pull sleds, go hiking, swimming, dock diving, be a therapy dog, and just lay around and be loved. And we raise funds to benefit Canine Epilepsy non-profit organizations.
I wrote the illustrated book, What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy (www.ArcticHousePublishing.com) in the hopes that through Gibson’s story and adorable illustrations of my FiveSibes, I could help educate young children so maybe they would not be so afraid should their dog ever have a seizure. Plus, there are a few real tips in the book, too. It’s a great learning tool. Plus, percentage of proceeds from the sale of the books benefits the Canine Epilepsy Resources site at www.Canine-Epilepsy.com, which is home to the Epil-K9 list and supports Emma’s Fund, which is provided by the Epil-K9 Foundation.
At one time in the past, dogs with seizures or Canine Epilepsy were euthanized…that is so NOT the case today. There is medication, supplements, and dietary recommendations, as well as a vast amount of information, including excellent resources, now available. Two excellent sources are Canine Epilepsy Resources (www.Canine-epilepsy.com) and their EPIL-K9 Email list where parents of Epi-dogs can join and correspond with other parents and veterinary experts to share their experiences, information, and support. There is also The Wally Foundation for Canine Epilepsy (www.thewallyfoundation.com) that offers possible financial assistance to Epi-dog families who may need help with purchasing Epi medications or treatments. And there are so many others that I have included in a Gib Strong booklet I wrote and is available to folks in either hard copy (for just $3 to help defray the cost of printing) or soon to be available online. Anyone interested can send an Email to FiveSibesLiveGibStrong(at)gmail(dot)com.
What are a few things you would like people to know about siberians? Excellent question! Siberians are such gorgeous dogs, so many folks fall in love with them for that reason alone without doing their homework, and then when they realize the needs of a Husky that they can’t fulfill, so many are then dropped off at shelters, rescues, or animal control…and they are all so overloaded that these innocent,healthy Huskies are then at high risk of being euthanized if they can’t get adopted or fostered…and they didn’t do anything wrong! Homework is key when thinking about bringing a Siberian Husky into the family.
A few key points are:
- While they can be very comfy in the home, they are high energy dogs (think sled dogs) who need to be exercised daily, whether it is long leash walks or jogging, swimming, skijoring, bikejoring, sledding, urban mushing, free running (in a safe yard with a very tall Husky-proof fence), etc. Husky parents know that a happy Husky is a tired Husky!
- They shed incredibly huge amounts of fur and they do it twice a year, close in timing, so it seems like they are forever shedding and you can seriously create another dog-sized fur ball from all the blown fur.
- They howl. If you don’t love it, you need to learn to because they don’t stop. We embrace the fur and the howling here. I actually love the howling and encourage it!
- They talk. A lot. It’s great because you can actually have a conversation with your dog(s) and they answer back. Our Chloe gets frustrated and will almost yell at us if we don’t understand what she is saying!
- When they get bored, they can be very destructive. I’m talking chewing up a sofa or woodwork destructive.
- They are super intelligent and are great escape artists. They can turn dog knobs, open latches and gates, scale fences, and dig their way to another country. If you think you’ve Husky-proofed your yard and house…check again! I’m sure they figured a way around it!
- They love to run…after all they were born to run, so it’s important to be sure the yard is super-secure because they will get out and run until the sun sets, and then they could be so far away, they may not find their way home. (Please microchip!)
- They can be very stubborn. They learn extremely fast, but if they already know something, don’t go over it again because they don’t want to hear it!
- They love puzzles to challenge their minds…we have a few here and they figure them out so fast, it’s amazing!
If folks educated themselves and prepare their yards and homes and lives for a Husky (or more)…they are amazing companions. They love deeply and are very social. Here we created an environment that is very Husky friendly. They have a deck where they can be up high and reign over their yard. They have a roof over the deck, so they can be outside to play and be dry in weather. They can free run into a fort-typed secured yard whenever they want. They have a huge tree to lay under and are permitted to dig to their hearts’ content on that side. They can come inside whenever they like, and tend to spend a lot of time inside with us just hanging out.
Why did you start the blog?
I started my FiveSibes™ blog coming up on four years February 23rd. It was about a year after Gibson was diagnosed with Canine Epilepsy. Initially, I was very frightened of what was happening to him. After his diagnosis, I did a lot of research into the disorder and decided to post an open note on my then MySpace account. A wonderful gal who is a nurse from Texas and the mom of an Epi-dog, reached out to me and helped support me through it during those early days and we are great friends to this very day! As a journalist, I thought I could research as much as I could to help not only Gibson and to not only educate myself, but to network and share info and support other Epi-dog parents as well. I wanted to reach out to others who must be going through the same thing and maybe ‘pay it forward’ and possibly help someone else going through their dog having a seizure and be there to offer support and information, and help connect them to some amazing resources I’ve discovered while on this journey. I’ve learned much and made some very special friends (human and furpals) along the way.
What has been your favorite post(s) so far?
Wow…favorite posts… I enjoy writing them all. I really do. I love doing the annual Birthday ones because it gives me a chance to look back over the years and really enjoy all the wonderful moments of life with my Huskies. I get very excited about one of my book releases. I love doing reviews of items and books I’ve enjoyed and sharing that with others, and helping artists and authors spread the word about their works. And, of course, the Canine Epilepsy awareness posts are very important to me, as are safety tips and info, and stories on rescue Huskies. It really warms my heart to know that something I wrote helped someone in some way.
Do you have a sneek peak of any upcoming posts?
Two special ones that coincide with the release of two books I’ll be publishing this year. Another FiveSibes™ Tale, Getting Healthy With Harley illustrated by Michelle Littler, and I’m aiming for a March 26 (Purple Day for Epilepsy Awareness) release date for a very special book – EPIc DOG TALES: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy, which is a collection of stories of Epi-dogs from across the world. A percentage of proceeds post-production costs from my EPIc Dog Tales will benefit Canine Epilepsy Resources (www.Canine-epilepsy.com) and a percentage from my Getting Healthy With Harley will benefit the Save Our Siberians Siberspace Rescue Fund (http://www.sos-srf.org/).
Is there anything you would like to add about yourself or the furry children?
Each month, I co-host a Dog Works Radio show called “The Sibe Vibe” where my co-host Robert Forto (canine behaviorist, musher, and Dog Works Radio producer) and I chat about the wonderful breed of Siberian Huskies with guests who are trainers, mushers, Husky rescue volunteers, authors, artists, movie producers, Canine Epilepsy experts, vets, and more. It’s a great place for people to learn more about the breed. I also administer the FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews community page on Facebook, and that, too, is another great forum for Husky and canine lovers alike to come and visit for lots of photos, videos, information, news, and resources I share. Folks can check out past shows here: http://dogworksradio.com/the-
Author’s Note: Many thanks to the wonderful (and very busy) woman of the Five Sibes. Pictures were used with permisson. Please follow them on the blog- The Five Sibes, facebook page – FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News and Reviews and check out the radioshow –The Sibe Vibe. They are also on Twitter as – @FiveSibesMom.
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