MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
Click photo to visit

Monday, June 8, 2009

Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Dog -- An Inspirational Story

I'm happy to have Barb Techel, the author of Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Dog, as my guest today on my blog. Barb's wonderful book is a truly inspirational story for children and adults, especially for those facing physical challenges. Welcome, Barb!

Thank you, Dawn for having me as a guest on your blog today! It is an honor to be here to share with your readers how my wheelchair-bound dachshund, Frankie, has changed my life.

Each morning when I wake, I slowly rise and lean over the side of the bed. I hope to catch a glimpse of Frankie before she wakes up. She sleeps content in a crate at the end of my bed. Because of her paralysis she does not have control of her bladder so she no longer sleeps with me.

Within minutes she begins to stir. As she lifts her head her green blanket encircles her sweet face. “Oh, my little babushka,” I say.

Sometimes tears fill my eyes, and my heart catches in my throat. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for the gift of Frankie.

Three years earlier on Easter Sunday the holiday brought me much heartache. While vacationing in Florida I received the call that every dachshund owner fears. Frankie had ruptured a disc in her back. My sister-in-law rushed Frankie to a nearby animal hospital for surgery. The surgeon gave her a 10-30% chance of walking again.

I was scared and angry, and I felt helpless so many miles away from home. How could this be happening, I wondered. I had lost my chocolate lab to cancer nine months prior. In a moment of anger I yelled at God, “This is not fair!”

You see, I had my life all planned out. I was writing a monthly column for our local paper called, “For the Love of Animals.” After losing Cassie Jo and realizing the amazing bond I had with her, I brought home another lab and named her Kylie. I was in the process of training her to become a therapy dog. I wanted to share the love of animals with others who didn’t get that connection on a daily basis. I wanted to share those stories through my writing.

Now my life was turned upside down. How would I care for a handicapped dog? How would I have to adjust my life? What did the future hold?

Little did I realize, in the beginning of Frankie’s ordeal, that my purpose for being here on earth was about to reveal itself. After three months of physical therapy and acupuncture, it was determined Frankie would not walk on her own again. She was custom-fitted with a dog cart from Eddie’s Wheels.

This is where Frankie changed my life for the better. I realized Frankie’s spirit was fully intact, and she was still the same sweet dog. She just looked a bit different now with the help of her wheels to get around.

As I took her out in public, people would ask me what happened. I told the story over and over again, never tiring of telling it. What was especially heart-warming was how children responded to Frankie. One young boy after hearing Frankie’s story said, “It does not matter what you look like on the outside, but what is inside.”

Frankie taught me that with all challenges there is normally a blessing in disguise. We just have to be open to see what the blessing is. I knew without a doubt I was meant to write Frankie’s story. The knowing was so intense that I knew if I didn’t write her story, I would regret it at the end of my life.

How do I thank my angelic little dog who has taught me compassion, kindness, integrity, generosity, patience and tenderness? It really is quite simple. I pay it forward by sharing Frankie with others, and giving them hope that all things are possible.

So each morning when I rise, I am eager to start the day once again knowing I have a wonderful opportunity to make the world a better place because of Frankie, and how she changed my life for the better.

About Barbara Techel

Barbara is a writer and animal lover. Her column, "For the Love of Animals" has appeared in the Depot Dispatch. Frankie the Walk 'n Roll dog, her first children's book, was awarded the 2008 National Best Book Award (children’s picture book soft cover) by USA Book News, the Merial Human-Animal Bond Award by Dog Writer’s Association of America, and the Editor’s Choice Award by Allbooks Review. It was also a finalist in the 2008 Indie Excellence Awards. Frankie herself was inducted into the 2009 Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame.

About Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Dog

Frankie is a dachshund, and this story is told from her point of view. She survives the normal challenges of puppyhood, including a struggle with house training, after Barbara and John adopt her. After a spinal injury, her human family nurtures her through a long period of rehabilitation and buys her a custom-fitted wheelchair. It takes a while to adapt to her new wheels, but soon she is joyfully rolling and playing.

Barbara wrote this book to offer hope and inspiration to people who face challenges. A lifelong animal lover, she realized Frankie's paralysis was an opportunity to spread a positive message.

Thank you for reading about Barbara Techel and Frankie the Walk 'n Roll Dog. To learn more, and to order a copy of this multi-award winning picture book, please visit

Other Sites to Check Out:

Barbara's Blog:

Frankie's Blog:

To See the Tour Schedule:

There will be a SPECIAL OFFER FOR VISITORS TO THE VIRTUAL BLOG TOUR. Each guest who comments on a post in Barbara and Frankie's tour will be entered in a drawing for some fun, unique gifts that will especially appeal to Frankie fans and other dog lovers. We will give away several items from Frankie's store -- These include two Frankie t-shirts and two Frankie tote bags.

Posted by

Dawn Kairns
Author, MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life


Laughing Stars said...

Thank you for hosting Barb and Frankie on your wonderful blog. :-)

Laughing Stars said...

Oh ... and I ordered a copy of your book. I can't wait to read it!

Barbara Techel, Author said...

Thank you, Dawn for having me on your beautiful blog today. I truly do feel we are kindred spirits in our understanding of all animals, but especially dogs. I am so happy to be connected with you.


Ingrid King said...

This sounds like a wonderful book - it's on my amazon list!

Animals are amazing when it comes to "handicaps" - they simply adjust and continue to enjoy life. Buckley, the subject of my upocming book "Buckley's Story - Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher" had a deformed hind leg, but she didn't know the meaning of the word disability. It certainly didn't slow her down or affect her life in any way other than that it made her special.

I can't wait to read your book.

Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog said...

Ingrid, you are so right. Animals don't look at it as a disability. They simply adjust and move on with life. Isn't it amazing to be in the light of an animal such as your Buckley? I've gained so much from my Frankie and consider her such a blessing.


Dawn Kairns, Author of MAGGIE: The Dog Who Changed My Life said...

Laughing Stars:

You are so welcome! It's my pleaseure having Barb & Frankie here. Thank you for visiting my blog, and for ordering MAGGIE!


You are very, very welcome! Thanks for choosing my blog as part of your tour. I'm glad we connected, too , Barb, and look forward to a continued kindred spirit animal connection!

Hi Ingrid -- It is a wonderful book,beautifully illustrated, so well done. Remember when I was a finalist for the DWAA Award? Barb is the person who won the DWAA Award! Thank you for visiting my blog today. I always enjoy your comments!

Dawn Kairns

Dawn Kairns, Author of MAGGIE: The Dog Who Changed My Life said...

I love that phrase, Barb, about being in the light of our animals!


Dawn Kairns, Author of MAGGIE: The Dog Who Changed My Life said...

P.S. I want you to know, Barb, that I finished your wonderful Frankie ahead of schedule last night. I started it and couldn't put it down! What an incredibly positive attitude you and Frankie both developed at a time you could have gotten really down. The way you have not only transformed yourselves in the face of adversity, but the way you both give of yourselves to others is truly inspiring!A beautiful tribute to the canine and human spirit!