Thank you, Alicia, for having me as a guest on your blog today! I’m happy to be here to share my dachshund, Frankie’s story with your readers.
Frankie suffers from a disease that is quite common in dachshunds. It is called Intervertebral Disc Disease. IVDD for short. Because of the length of the dachshund back their discs can degenerate over time.
On Easter Sunday in 2006, my husband and I were on vacation in Florida. Frankie was staying at a kennel in our home state. To the best of our knowledge, Frankie tried to jump onto a container within the kennel, which housed her food and extra blankets. We think she tried to jump onto the container to see her 6-month old lab sister, Kylie, in the kennel next to her. She fell off the container, and that is when she ruptured a disc in her lower back.
It was one of the hardest calls I have ever received. Nine months prior to this, my chocolate lab, Cassie Jo, had passed away from cancer. I was devastated and scared I may never see Frankie alive again. I was told Frankie had only a 10-30% chance of walking again if she went into surgery as soon as possible.
I have to be honest and say I had many thoughts spinning through my mind. If Frankie did not walk again, I wondered if she would have a quality life. I was assured by the surgeon Frankie could lead a happy, long life in a doggie wheelchair if she didn’t gain the use of her legs back after the surgery.
My next set of thoughts was wondering if I could take care of a handicapped dog. What would it be like? How would I have to adjust my life? And yes, I was angry. I could not understand why this was happening to me so soon after losing my other dog to cancer. It just did not seem fair.
Frankie endured three months of physical therapy, which I was taught to do by a vet specializing in spinal injuries. Twice a day I would move through the exercises with Frankie’s little limbs, praying with all my might she would walk again. I was told that statistically if she would walk again, we should see improvement within the first three months after surgery. I did all I knew to do, including acupuncture and consulting with an organization called Dodgers List. I could only do so much financially also, but was determined to do all I could for Frankie.
Towards the end of June 2006 I hit bottom in my emotions. Nothing had changed in Frankie’s legs and it was evident we needed to have her fit for a dog cart. Frankie also has no control over her bladder and bowels. The thought of helping her go to the bathroom for the rest of her life overwhelmed me. For a time I felt sorry for myself and for Frankie.
Then one day I realized Frankie never felt sorry for herself. After all she had been through, she continued to be the same sweet dog she always was. It was then that I realized I had a choice. I could be sad and mad about this for the rest of her life, or I could look for the blessing, and why this happened.
I had wanted to write a book, and that is when the blessing revealed itself. I really wanted to help children overcome their own challenges, and teach them they always have a choice. I knew I could do this through Frankie’s beautiful example. Children relate so wonderfully with animals, and I felt like I could really make a difference by sharing Frankie’s story.
It has been a remarkable journey ever since. One of the biggest things I have realized is challenges are a way for us to grow. One of the best things we can do with those lessons learned is to share it with others. Giving hope to others is so rewarding, and seeing the smile of a child when they meet Frankie is worth every moment of heart ache at the beginning of her ordeal.
Frankie has truly taught me that I always have a choice, and I choose to be positive and make the best out of this thing called life…. and to pass that wisdom on whenever I can.
Barbara Techel is the author of a column, "For the Love of Animals," which 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. 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.
To learn more, and to order a copy of this multi-award winning picture book, please visit http://www.joyfulpaws.com
Other Sites to Check Out:
Barbara's Blog: http://joyfulpaws.typepad.com
Frankie's Blog: http://frankiethewalknrolldog.blogspot.com
To See the Tour Schedule: http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/05/frankie-walk-n-roll-dog-virtual-book.html
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 -- http://www.cafepress.com/Joyfulpaws. These include two Frankie t-shirts and two Frankie tote bags.