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Gibson is Namesake of Wholesome Vermont, USA Baked Treats - the "Gibbie Snacks!!!" Epi Fundraiser!

Gibson is Namesake of Wholesome Vermont, USA Baked Treats - the  "Gibbie Snacks!!!" Epi Fundraiser!
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Little Christmas Card Trivia!

Oh, do we LOVE Christmas cards! Pictured above is our boy, Wolf, with just some of the (p)awesome cards from furpals across the globe as part of Blogville's Holiday Card Exchange! The FiveSibes kids get waaaaaaaaaaay more cards than us hu-family members! But it's so much fun to see them all come in! This photo flashes back to Christmas 2012 (I believe the finally total tally of FiveSibes cards was 88 that year! Us humans? About 18!) They have been coming in via sled mail and Email and we are so excited to start opening them this year! The card exchange is truly a highlight of the season! 

How About A Little Christmas Card Trivia?!

The origins of greeting cards began in the 14th century as wood-block printed New Year’s cards from Germany. 

The first Christmas greeting cards, called "Christmas Pieces," were of made by English schoolchildren in the 18th Century to bring home to their parents.
The modern Christmas card as we know it, was first designed by artist John Calcott Horsley for his friend Sir Henry Cole.
Sir Henry Cole started the custom of sending Christmas cards in the United Kingdom in 1843. Cole, who was a civil servant was apparently fascinated by the new public postal system and he wanted to come up with a way it could be used more by the people.
Due to the card's popularity, a year later saw the first "mass production" of the Christmas card when 1,000 cards were printed and sold for one schilling apiece.
Sending of the Christmas cards became popular, aided by the fact that the Postal Act of 1840 allowed people to send the cards to family and friends anywhere in the United Kingdom for a "penny post," a cost of just one penny each. This became even more popular in 1870 when the cost to send a greeting dropped in price to a halfpenny.
The first American greeting cards were printed in Boston, Massachusetts by lithographer Louis Prang, a Prussian immigrant, in 1875 with the simple greeting "Merry Christmas." 
The first - and still the most popular today - greeting on a Christmas card is "A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you." 

Although we are a little late to our own Flashback Friday party (blame it on the WiFi), I'd like to thank you for stopping by, and please do visit our new co-host Love is Owned by A Husky, who just happens to be wrapping up a countdown to Christmas handmade jewelry sale! This mother-daughter duo creates really lovely work, and they have a seasonal sale going on for what would make some great holiday gifts! Stop by, and be sure to tell them Santa's FiveSibes elves sent you!



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Reiki - A Journey Toward Alternative Healing

Gibson getting ready for his distance Reiki treatment.
As many of you know, I recently held an auction for Canine Epilepsy Awareness. One of the many items so generously donated was a 30-minute Reiki session with animal massage therapist and Reiki practitioner Marta Banat of All Paws Massage in Vancouver, Canada, who as you recall, was also my wonderful guest speaker on “The Sibe Vibe” back in August.  I bid on the session – and was thrilled when I won!

Marta's room in Canada.
Now I’ve always been intrigued by the practice of Reiki. I have a friend who became a practitioner years ago, before alternative therapies such as this were in the spotlight, and I always wondered about it. Quite honestly, when she told me what she did, and explained she healed through her hands, I thought it was a bit, well, hokey. But, fast forward about five years. Gibson has his first seizure, and then five more a month later and was put on anti-seizure meds. Then, three years ago about six months after two life-threatening emergency surgeries, I started becoming ill and after much testing, I was diagnosed with degenerative rheumatoid arthritis. Before I agreed to a strict daily injection medication regimen, that would “probably” not “possibly” have some serious side effects, I told the rheumatologist that I first needed to digest what he just told me and do some research of the disease for myself. My own physician was telling me that I would be crippled, in great pain, and on heavy narcotics to try to deal with the pain and need to make a decision to "stop playing around" with alternative methods. And, as if that wasn’t harsh enough, I was also advised that it would eventually move into my organs – like my heart and brain. And recently, I've had bouts of it affecting my eyes. (Ouch).  I'll admit it, I was scared. Still am a bit. But, being a journalist by trade, I did my research. I’ve always been aware of alternative therapies. My own mother has been on the cusp of that for almost 30 years with chiropractic care and vitamin therapy. Then, about 10 years ago, when she was in her 80s, she started acupuncture. Again, I was leary. As a journalist, I deal in facts and research. Tangible evidence. Things I can see and touch and experience for myself...

  “Reiki is an ancient Japanese form of gentle and non-invasive energy healing..." ~Marta Banat

Watching my mother week after week, to this very day (and she’s 93.5), I have witnessed firsthand the positive effects of alternative therapy. Her amazing acupuncturist has now been mine for the past three years and we have many talks about nutrition, and "chi energy." This then led me to do more research and discover that in both the canine and human world, successful alternative therapies are being explored, more and more every day. So I began examining alternative healing treatments with Gibson. Since he suffers from side effects from his Epi-meds with lethargy, hind end weakness that resulted in two torn CCLs, vomiting, etc., I decided to add some holistic and non-invasive alternative treatments – vitamin supplements, coconut and omega oils, and laser therapy to his regimen.  What I’ve seen him overcome over the past few years is nothing short of amazing. But then again – if you were to ask the folks who administer these holistic treatments, they will tell you that they knew it would help all the long.

So why are we so resistant to trying something…different? Something alternative? Acupuncture, vitamins, and laser therapy have proven to be very successful with humans, and is now having great results in the canine world. Just look at Gibson. But Reiki? And I’m not talking about hands-on Reiki. I can understand that – that makes more sense to me than “distance” Reiki, where the practitioner is logistically elsewhere and not in the same room – or even state – as you and your pet. In Gibson’s case, Marta is located in Canada. But I've seen and experienced enough over my lifetime to know that just because I can't "see" it does not mean it won't work. Life force is quite something special - and while we may not see it, it's there, working all the time.

Gibson right before treatment began.
So how does distance Reiki work? What was it like? What did we have to do? Was it via telephone or Skype? And more importantly, did it do anything? These are most likely your top questions. They sure were mine! So I asked Marta if we could both take photos of the “before” areas to show how our half-hour session was set up, and then I would follow-up with Gibson's and my experience. And like any good story, you won’t find out the answers to your questions until the end! Instead, I’d like to take you along on a virtual journey of how our experience with distance Reiki was. Up front, I want to say that I did not ask Marta what to expect because I wanted to go in and have my own experience and not be predisposed to any ideas or suggestions. 

Marta with her Sibe Rocco & a client.
First, just exactly what is Reiki? According to Marta in her AllPawsMassage website, "Reiki is an ancient Japanese form of genlte and non-invasive energy healing, which is based on the premise that universal life energy is present. This healing energy is channeled through the practitioner's hands to assist with self-healing, releasing energy blocks, easing pain and discomfort."

Sounds good to me!

To start, I selected a few special photos of Gibson that really connect with me on some level and I sent them up to Marta so she could have a focal point, I imagine, as a point to direct her healing energies. Marta says to make the room you and your dog are in calm and peaceful. This means unplugging - phones, TV, alarms, and/or ringers. Then think "relaxation." It’s all about being calm and bringing yourself, which then moves your dog, into a relaxed state. If your dog enjoys snoozing on his favorite bed, then have the bed there. Soft music can play. Candles can be lit. (With epileptic dogs, it may be best to skip the candles as the fragrance can be a trigger). 

Gibson and Mommy.
So what I did was set up Gib’s bed. I did close the blinds, and turned on warm white Christmas lights to give a nice subtle glow. I had a nice mug of my favorite coffee nearby, and I put soft ambient music on that was native in theme – flute and wind chimes, with a little ocean waves thrown in (the ocean and water always brings me peace). I was ready. My nature also has been that I will do whatever I can to help my boy live a happy, healthy life and hopefully try to counteract any issues he has as a result of his epilepsy medications. I was into this. It, actually, is right up my alley as far as if I could will my boy better, I would. So now not only was I channeling that into my dog, but I now had professional backup in Canada. Gibson was  ready, too. Already relaxed from his earlier laser treatment, he was nice and comfy on his bed. I started out on the sofa right behind him so I could reach down and be able to touch him. Right before it was our session time, I sent Marta a photo of Gibson and his area so she could have the visualization of how he looked right at that moment when she was to begin, and she sent me photos of the area where she would be - a cozy chair on a hardwood floor by a window where the beautiful crisp white Canadian snow could be seen beyond, a howling wolf statue poised nearby, and lots of greenery. I really liked her space. I could see myself actually entering the room and enjoying spending some relaxing time there.

At this point, I was really starting to enjoy the whole preparation process. I mean, how many of us take the time to purposely prepare a space and time to just relax? I had just come off of closing the recent epilepsy awareness auction, I was hip-deep in packages, bubble wrap, markers, labels, boxes, and items to be sent out. My couch and floor were not even visible! I had also been on marathon editing sessions on a book I had been writing up, and November was all about promoting Epilepsy awareness, which was daily posts and article. Needless to say, I needed some peace myself. To, as Kevin Costner's character says in the movie "The Love of the Game," to focus, to blur out all surrounding interferences, to  "clear the mechanism." So the entire process of preparing the room, Gibson, and my mind was very relaxing in itself. Plus, there is something very comforting about knowing someone was out there sending such positive vibes our way.

Now, Gibson was relaxed on his bed and I settled in at first next to hip on the couch, touching his back and gently petting him in the areas I knew could use some healing. When it was 2 o’clock, my mind settled right in. I visualized Marta in her chair in her room that was in the photo she had sent me. I did not think about anything other than Gibson and tuning in to the low ambient music I was playing. The soulful sounds of the flute with blowing wind chimes and the ocean waves in the background really added to the relaxing mood, and Gibson really seemed to enjoy it as well. I could feel myself wanting to doze off as I kept gently petting Gibson’s hind end and hips and legs, the areas that he has weakness, injury, and arthritis in. I pictured myself in Marta's room with Gibson as though we were having an in-person session.

About halfway through, I moved down to lay next to him. I pet his velvety soft face and at times, took his head into my hands. Then went back to letting him lay his head on my shoulder while I continued to pet him. He stretched out at one point, totally relaxed. Now, again the journalist in me was looking for signs. A static electric zap. A flash of light. Maybe a bell jingling. I really was not sure what or if I’d sense anything, or if I was even supposed to. I continued on with my in-tune bonding with Gibson. I noticed on two occasions, his hind leg quivering. Gibson’s leg sometimes quivers after I take him for a rehab walk and he comes back and sits on his bed. I know it’s his muscles reacting to being worked. In this instance, he not only had laser therapy, but he had been relaxing on his bed now for almost three hours. So why was his leg quivering? My thought – his body feeling the energy being directed his way? 

Then, a few minutes before the session time was up, Gibson lifted his head and began kissing me. I
A million Gibbie kisses.
mean really kissing and licking me non-stop. Gibson is not typically a big kisser or licker. He will give an occasional little Gibbie kiss, or a what I refer to as a “Gibbie Nibbie” which is a little friendly nibble. But non-stop kissing? No, that just wasn't his style. Gibson and I communicate. Always have. And right then, I had the feeling he was telling me he was pretty darn happy. I made note to mention both of these occurrences to Marta to see if there was any universal meaning.

What Marta told me was that “he was open to the energy I was sending his way, and as the energy ebbs and flows, there are times when the connection is stronger” and that often at its “peak” is when something tangible can be noticed, such as Gib’s quivering leg. Makes sense.

Next was her response to his sudden burst of continuous kissing, another thing that I noticed that was atypical of Gibson. She said -- and this one made me tear up – that she closes each session with “love and gratitude.” Could Gibson feel that? It would appear so! “It’s the beautiful circle of love,” stated Marta. And I’m tearing up at that even as I write this; it’s a beautiful circle of love indeed.

And the cherry on top of this healing sundae? Typically Gibson will doze after his laser therapy sessions for about an hour-and-a-half to two hours, and then he wants to go outside. And after the Reiki session? Gibson stayed sleeping until 6:30 PM, when I had to wake him up for his evening pre-meds snack and vitamin! He stayed right beside me on his bed for four full hours! Coincidence? Maybe, but I don’t believe so. I believe it was directly connected to the experience. And being in tune with my dog, he told me something was different...something he felt that made him obviously happy and very relaxed. My only wish? That there was a shortcut from our house in New York to Marta's in Canada!

There are so many things in this world we do not know or understand. Sometimes there is a fear of the unknown, fear of something that is metaphysical instead of physical. But life IS energy. We ARE energy. So why couldn’t someone who is trained in channeling energy direct it to where it needs to go? And there has been documented cases where treatments such as Reiki have made a marked improvement to the recipient, both canine and human.

Gib in a totally relaxed state post-treatment.
We’ve heard many instances where visualization helps heal patients of catastrophic diseases, such as cancer, and also helps in managing pain. According to an article on written by Rekha Shrivastava, a certified rehabilitation therapist located in Rochester, New York who received her Master’s degree in Psychological Development, there is a direct connection. “Research has a lot of evidence about the mind body connection and how healing can begin when we use our mind," she states. "People who go through surgeries, people who have terminal illness and suffer from excruciating pain, can learn to use the healing power of mind. Medications can do only so much, but when we supplement it with other tools, it speeds up the process of healing. One needs to tap into the powerful mind-body connection. Mind is a powerful healing tool.”

I have been a total believer of visualization since my youth. Recuperating from surgery. After an injury.  To help de-stress. When I receive my acupuncture (deep needling and cupping) treatments for my RA, I use ambient music and visualization to help me overcome the pain, as well as “visualizing” myself stronger, like my younger self was. Though I usually think of it as the “power of positive thinking,” but are they not in all actuality both the same concept?

Sound asleep...for four hours!
Shrivastava  goes on to explain, “For example, when we do visualization, it creates a change in our body, which Dr. Herbert Benson called, 'Relaxation Response.' This is the opposite of the stress response known as 'fight or flight response.'"

Again, makes perfect sense to me.

Kathie Lipinski a holistic nurse from Long Island, New York, explains in depth in an article on, about distance Reiki, which is what I shared with Gibson through Marta. Lipinski talks about the human energy field and visualization. You can read more at

So why does Reiki work? Marta explains, “The universal energy, Reiki, knows no boundaries, time or distance. The most important aspect of Reiki healing is the intention of the practitioner and the openness of the recipient. The practitioner is merely a facilitator who creates the opportunity for self healing. It is the recipient who is the true agent of their own self healing journey, intuitively allowing the energy to travel where it needs to and heal what needs healing."

So, would I do it again? Absolutely.

 "I like this Reiki stuff,  Mom."

"The Sibe Vibe" Dog Works Radio Show episode where Marta Banat is my guest:

Check Out Pets Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Dog Works Radio Show on BlogTalkRadio with Dog Works Radio Shows on BlogTalkRadio

Check Out Pets Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Dog Works Radio Show on BlogTalkRadio with Dog Works Radio Shows on BlogTalkRadio
 Also available to download on iTunes! Just search for "The Sibe Vibe."

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Puppy Invasion on Flashback Friday ~and~ Winner of our Holiday Husky Card Giveaway!

"Are woo our big bwofur?!!"

Puppies! Puppies! Puppies! This wonderful captured moment from 2008 was when our three Pupsters Wolf and Bandit (Chloe off screen) first met their big brother! Gibson was just two and Harley three (mere pups themselves as we all know Sibes fortunately never grow up)! While Harley took to being surrogate mom immediately, big bro Gib was not quite sure of what to make up the puppy invasion of not one, not two, but three new baby siblings! He had been enjoying his bachelor days with his soul mate, Harley. 

Oh, but looking back, I laugh. I'm not quite sure how we handled three puppies at one time...but my daughter was an amazing puppy momma. I worked out in the field at the time as a photojournalist and editor, and they actually came home while I was working on a project with a tight deadline. But we managed! My daughter took the day shift and we both shared the night shift. (I mean, five Huskies, three of them puppies in the house, we loved every minute of it!) I remember coming home from work one night and my daughter called me out on the back deck and said, "Mom, watch this." She had been sitting with all the Huskies with a puppy pile up on her lap. She stood up and pointed toward the yard and said, "Potty off the deck. Go potty off the deck." Suddenly, all three puppies jumped up and tandem style, the three pranced off the deck keeping time like canine Rockettes, and did their business. One of life's defining moments in the new FiveSibes household. I am truly proud of my daughter for her role in their lives and training. To this very day, we co-parent, and when it's bathroom time, all we have to say is "Potty off the deck" and there they all go! It's truly something to see!

While raising three puppies with two young Huskies was definitely a lot of work, and a little challenging at times, but it is one of those wonderful experiences of a lifetime we will always cherish. And knowing those three puppies would never have to be dirty, or go hungry, or not be loved, warms my heart to this very day. 

Looking at our pack family today, so many traits from their puppyhood remain and they are so bonded, they are always together sleeping, eating, and playing. They may not be puppies any more, but they don't know that!

Theresa Windsperger

Congratulations, Theresa! Please send us your "doghouse" address so we can get the Holiday Husky cards right out to you!

To read our interview with the very talented The Frenzied Fox Artwork artist Maria Montreuil, click HERE.
And we here at the FiveSibes would like to say "thank you" to Maria for sponsoring this great giveaway!

Thank you for joining our Flashback Friday and please do visit our co-host Love is Owned by A Husky, who just happens to be doing a countdown to Christmas handmade jewelry sale! This mother-daughter duo creates really lovely work, and they have a seasonal sale going on for what would make some great holiday gifts! Stop by, and be sure to tell them Santa's FiveSibes elves sent you!

See you next Friday!



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Closing Out November's Epilepsy Awareness Month Featuring My Epi All Star: Gibson ~and~ Epi-Tip #30!

Well, the month sure has flown by! This is our 30th (and last) daily FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong Epi-Tip in conjunction with November's Epilepsy Awareness Month, and I'd like to dedicate it to my own Husky, Gibson, my Epi All Star! While November may be coming to a close, our campaign to spread the word about Canine Epilepsy continues on! Dogs can - and DO - live full, happy lives with Canine Epilepsy. So spread the word! Education is key, and letting folks know they are not alone is so important! Help is just a keystroke away! 

Gibson and his helpers Harley and Chloe check out the new shipment of Live Gib Strong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness bracelets! If you'd like one, they are just $5, including shipping & handling in the USA (outside of USA, contact me and I'll have it checked for postage fees at the Post Office), with $1 from each sale going to Canine Epilepsy Resources "Emma's Fund" and $1 to The Wally Foundation. Contact us if you are interested, or you can you can purchase via our website at ArcticHouse Publishing or through PayPal to ArcticHousePublishing(at) Be sure to check off that the funds are for friends & family. And then wear your purple with pride!

Still coming ahead in December will be our auction results, our Purple Pumpkin Project video, and - of course - the release of my new book all about these Epi warrior dogs, so we are not done! Canine Epilepsy Awareness is not just for one month - it's every day of every month. If you missed any of our Epi-Tips or posts, visit past posts for this month to catch up.

 And don't forget - my illustrated children's book is available from our publishing website HERE, and a portion of proceeds from the book benefits Canine Epilepsy Resources "Emma's Fund" through the Epil-K9 Foundation housed at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. The book, a three-time "Best in Print" recipient from American Pet Magazine, was just favorably reviewed by Writer's Digest!

Gibson and I would like to thank our furpal and fellow Epi-dog Patchy, the Epileptic Doggy, for this wonderfully thoughtful award! 

And we want to also sincerely thank everyone who has shared our Epi-Tips and our links, videos, and information all month long. We truly appreciate our growing purple army community! Together we will make a difference. We love our Epi-dogs!

And now a around of a-paws for my very own Epi All Star, my inspiration who is such a sweet boy, Gibson. Gib, you are a true inspiration and a proud warrior. Love you, G!

Gibson Les Paul of Mystic Mountain 
 My heart dog.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cory's Story: A Book Review About Canine Epilepsy & Our #LiveGibStrong Epi-Tip #29

My boy Gibson reading about fellow Epi-dog, Cory.
I learned about Cory's Story while writing my own book, EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy. I knew I wanted to read it. Right out of the gate, from the first word, I was hooked. The reader is willingly drawn into the DeMers family and Cory’s World. I laughed and cried and trembled with fear, and laughed again through all the experiences Sandra DeMers shares in such an easy, well-written manner, that I never left my spot in my chair until I turned over the very last page. As an Epi-dog parent, Sandra’s tale of Cory’s experiences I could feel first hand. Cory as a pup had me laughing (without giving it away, you’ll see when you read about Cory and the potato chip bag!) I mean, is there anything more lighthearted than puppy hijinks?!

The presentation of the book is also very nice. It’s small in size and very easy to pop into a purse or backpack to take along to read. I love the hard cover, too. Inside, Sandra includes black and white photos of Cory from puppyhood to adulthood, including ones from vacation, playing with her son, and just all around cute shots where you find yourself just wanting to meet and play with this wonderful Yellow Labrador Retriever!

The book is also a testimony to Marion Mitchell who, in 1996, was initially one of the first people to join the original Canine Epilepsy Resources Epil-K9 list, then took it over and soon after became busy with the Canine Epilepsy Resources
-->, where she is the co-owner and site manager ( Marion's late Dalmatian “Emma” was the original face of Canine Epilepsy and the namesake for the Epil-K9 Foundation “Emma’s Seizure Fund” through the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Sandra credits Marion and Emma with opening the door to information on Canine Epilepsy, including good nutrition for Epi-dogs that Sandra followed with great success for Cory. To see just how successful, well, I’ll let you read the book to find out! It also brings full circle the reason why I keep on supporting the Canine Epilepsy Resources with our #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign. It is such a valuable resource with a large library of information and resources for the Epi-dog parent, and a very supportive and informative network on the Epil-K9 list, as well as the relationship with the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine's Neurology department.

I feel this story encompasses the whole message of how dogs can - and do - live happy lives even with a seizure disorder. Writes Sandra, “Dogs have a wonderful blessing of living in the present moment and enjoying  what it is. They don’t fret about what happened a few moments ago, nor do they worry about what might be tomorrow.” Such true words. Now, if only us Epi-parents and Epi-guardians could do that! So many times we are still a wreck long after a seizure or side effect occurs, and our dogs are already back to living life. It’s good to be a dog!

“Dogs have a wonderful blessing of living in the present moment and enjoying  what it is. They don’t fret about what happened a few moments ago, nor do they worry about what might be tomorrow.” ~Sandra DeMers

What is really neat about this book is that it not only is it a true-life story, and it covers an important and serious topic like Canine Epilepsy, but really is a great read. Not only does Sandra welcome you right into her family and life from page one, but you learn right along with her about seizures, the emotional rollercoaster ride it can be, and what research Epi-parents will review and learn in order to find the best possible treatments - both traditional and alternative - for their dogs. Tears will stream down your cheeks when they stream down Sandra's. You will laugh at her puppy stories, and your heart will swell with love at the dedication, love, and care she gives to her furbaby.

There’s another quote in the book that I found to be so relatable, I was actually talking out loud to the invisible Sandra in my living room when she wrote, “I found…that I had actually established an incredibly strong psychic bond with Cory; I could see that he understood how much I wanted to help him.” Amen! Yes! I feel the exact same way about my connection with Gibson each time he has had a setback with his weak hind end issues due to the Epi medications. I feel such a deep bond, this understanding that goes way beyond words. Actually, words are not even necessary. There really does exist a very special bond between hu-parent and Epi-dog.

My favorite chapter has to be “The Elk and the The Coyotes.” The
"So good I can't put it down!"
only thing I will tell you is that it ends way different than any scene playing out in my head! You’ll need to read the book, but I promise you, you’ll giggle here the most.

This book is very well-written. It’s smooth and moves along at a quick pace that leaves you eager to turn the page. Sandra does a really easy transition from Cory having a seizure to the some wonderful “flashback” stories that really fill in who Cory the dog is. It is extremely relatable. I loved this book, and through the written words, have come to love Cory and really like his mom.

 We here at the FiveSibes give this book a top dog four-out-of-four paws rating! I highly recommend this book be on your gift giving list – a great stocking stuffer, or gift for not just Epi-dog folks, but for veterinarians, vet techs, the groomer, trainer, homeopathic practitioner, all your dog loving friends, coworkers, and family, and for folks who just really enjoy reading a really good book.

To order Cory's Story, and read more about Cory and Canine Epilepsy, visit their website at, and be sure to tell Sandra FiveSibes sent you over!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Meet the Frenzied Fox Artist on a Black Flashback Friday! Reigndogs! Shopping! GIVEAWAY! It's All Here!

It's #Flashback Friday here at the FiveSibes and since today basically kicks off the Christmas season, what better time to revisit on Memory Lane than that of a Christmas past?! Here's our "originals" - reindogs Gibson and his gal Harley looking all festive in front of the tree circa 2007 when they were both just pups of one and two! Gibson seems to be really enjoying his reindog ways, but Harley, as you can tell by her expression, thought it was all just a bit too silly for a Sibe to endure! She was a good girl and endured she did for this great moment frozen in time!

What better day to offer a giveaway than Black Friday? And we have a really cool one! Love Huskies? Love sending holiday cards? Check out these beautiful cards created by artist Maria Montreuil, a/k/a "Mrs. Fox," of The Frenzied Fox Artwork

 GIVEAWAY~Husky Art Greeting Cards!

These are beautiful 5x7 full color cards with plain envelopes...and the best part? She has given us a set of 12 to raffle off to one lucky winner! So, if you did not win the set she so kindly donated to our recent FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness online benefit auction, you have another chance to get these (p)awesome cards! Just be sure to enter the drawing via the Rafflecopter below at the end of this post for a chance to win these adorable holiday Husky greeting cards!

But first, the part I always enjoy the most, meeting the very talented and personable artist behind all the fantastic artwork, Maria "Mrs. Fox" Montreuil of The Frenzied Fox Artwork!

FiveSibesMom (FSM): How did you know you wanted to be an artist?  
The Frenzied Fox (TFF): Art has been a passion of mine ever since I was very small. I believe my mom told me when I could first hold a pencil--maybe 2 or 3, I started drawing and at that age I was so much I critic of my work I quit for a year! Can't say I remember that, but my mom does!

FSM: Your business name is The Frenzied Fox – is there a meaning behind the name?  
TFF: Yes, my husband and I are fond of foxes so I designed cartoon "characters" of us as foxes. I knew I wanted my business name to have fox in it somehow and when I look at my life and how crazy it is, Frenzied sounded like the PERFECT word. It definitely fits--I often have several art projects going on all at once on top of everything else!

 Frenzied Fox Husky Fabric Tree Topper

FSM:What types of mediums do you work in?
TFF: This might sound crazy but I like to dabble in it ALL!  For drawing I usually work digitally with Photoshop and my tablet, but I LOVE real media too--acrylic, sometimes oil paints, watercolor, pen and ink, pencils, pastels... and I've also done works in clay, needle felting, needle punching, and cloth! I use different medias based on what feel I am looking for or the style, having the freedom to use different things keeps art interesting and fun!

FSM: Among your beautiful works, you have Siberian Husky Christmas cards (pictured above) and you also designed a Husky Birthday card, a fabric Husky tree topper, and  a sweet logo design for a Husky rescue. What is it that you enjoy best about a Husky project?  
TFF: Well, Dorothy, I don't have any Huskies YET, but I would like to add one to our crazy family sometime in the future! I have always loved this breed--I believe I still have a drawing I did of one back in 5th grade, ha-ha! I love them because they are so good with all people, kids included, have a wild spirit to them, and they are such a beautiful breed. I know they can be a challenge, which is why I am doing all I can to thoroughly research them now!  As for what I enjoy best about a Husky project, I think it's trying to capture their spirit and personality in my art. Art is the most fun when you can put your heART into it!

Frenzied Fox Husky Birthday Greeting Card

FSM: You have furbabies – tell us a little about them. 
TFF: Yes, I have five currently. I have a four-year-old Golden Retriever, who I adopted from someone when he was about two--he is a goof ball and is a certified therapy dog. We visit the local nursing home usually twice a month. I am also going to try to work with my library to start a Paws For Reading program in the spring where elementary school kids can brush up their reading skills with him! I also have two shelter cats, Nova and Tinuviel (you can tell we are Lord of the Rings fans), and two rabbits--Pipkin and Tribble. Pipkin I adopted shortly after I graduated from high school and he is almost nine now! Tribble I rescued from a busy road a year ago. I'm aware that having these small animals means when I adopt a Siberian Husky of my own (would like to take in a rescue someday) I will need to find one that is cat friendly!  

FSM: You live in New York with your husband and son, is that correct?  
TFF: Yes I do- not in the city though, but rather the country side. I have to admit, when I first moved out here  it seemed a bit of a hick town compared to where I am from (big suburb off of St. Paul, Minnesota) but I absolutely LOVE it!  I actually have two sons now--my youngest was born in September! :)

FSM: What inspires your art? 
TFF: Primarily animals. I know sometimes people want me to move out my "comfort zone" and try new things, which I do, but animals are, and probably always will be my main subjects. It's always been the most natural for me to draw.

FSM: How long to create a commissioned work?  
TFF: Wow, that can vary a lot.  Usually the minimum is two to
three hours, but that depends on style and complexity. A very realistic painting could be probably 10 to 20 hours possibly, but since I don't do it in one sitting (or even two or three most of the time), I am not sure.

FSM: Do you do custom artwork?  
TFF: I do! I love taking commissions! Since it's the holiday season, I've been working on several tree toppers and hand appliqué wool Husky pillows, but I also do a lot of pet portraits--some realistic, some almost "Disney" style in a way.

FSM: What do you need to create a custom piece – photos?  
TFF: Yes, photos are a must, the clearer the better! If someone doesn't want me to do a direct-like-the-photo drawing, I need several shots and possibly several angles. Another REALLY important thing for me is to hear about the dog's personality. I don't like my art to look lifeless, and knowing something about them helps me to feel their heart as it were, making it easier for me to capture their spirit!

FSM: Tell us something about yourself that may surprise us! 
TFF: I guess unless you know me personally, a lot of people don't know I'm the oldest of eight kids! When I first moved out of my family's house the silence was so loud, I always had to keep music playing in the background!

FSM: What project(s) are you working on now?  
TFF: A LOT. We call unfinished projects UFO's around here--UnFinished Objects--and I always have some of those. Some of my current projects are two realistic dog oil portraits, a dog tree topper, three Husky wool pillows, a Christmas chicken card design for my mother-in-law, and a huge Santa riding a crow decoration. Once in a while, I have to really pace myself and tell people no, but I hate to do that.

FSM: What would be your dream project?  
TFF: Ever since I was a kid I wanted to illustrate children's books. It is VERY hard to get into that field though. I'm in the process of doing some character design of two dogs, a Golden and Husky, so that my husband can write stories for our kids and I will illustrate them. Though not official, it's still fun.

FSM: How can someone contact you? 
TFF: The best way is to send an Email to or to message me on my The Frenzied Fox Artwork Facebook page!  And don't forget to tell her the FiveSibes sent you over!

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One (1) dozen whimsical holiday Husky art  greeting cards!
And if you don't win, you can order them on The Frenzied Fox Artwork Facebook page for 12 for $12, plus shipping AND, according to Maria, 30% of the proceeds goes toward helping several Siberian Husky rescues this holiday season!!! "I want to help as many dogs as I can so my goal is to sell 112 more packages!" she notes! Woo!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Joining us again this week is our co-host, those beautiful Sibes and their mom from Love is Being Owned by a Husky blog! Be sure to pop by on our Flashback Friday Blog Hop and say "hi" to our co-hosts!