Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guest Poster: Author, Barbara Techel

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

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.


Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) said...

Jennifer M. made a comment about your note "Guest Poster: Author, Barbara Techel":

Hi Barbara! I am the owner of 3 daschunds (and I grew up with them). I have followed Frankie's story for awhile. We also had a Frankie, as well! Needless to say we are a full blown daschund family. We are fortunate in that we have had 7 daschunds between all of our family and only 2 have had back issues. Our dog, Higgins, has had bulging discs a few times which we were lucky to treat with meds, restrictive activity and therapy. My sister's pup has had 3 surgeries on her back. Luckily she can walk without a cart but she does need constant care. Sick dogs can certainly teach a lot to people about how to handle human issues as well. It seems that animals are so much easier to relate to. Higgins also has seizures and Pooh Bear is diabetic. Our oldest son has been raised with us caring for epileptic, diabetic and allergic dogs with back troubles and he is so good with them and wants to be a vet. He also is able to be around people who are sick and is comfortable around them.

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

Hello Jennifer! Thank you for following Frankie's journey. Was your Frankie a girl or boy?
God Bless you for all the care you give to animals. They may require a little extra care, but the rewards are priceless for caring for them.
I think you son witnessing what you do for animals is truly a blessing and will no doubt make him a compassionate human being. AWESOME!


tiffrutherf said...

Hi, just wanted to drop by and say "HI"...Im trying to catch up on everything..This post makes me want a dog so bad..I should i thought of that before i got pregnant..dang it..why didn't i think "Dog"... oh well, too late now..(JUST KIDDING, REALLY I AM PEOPLE!!)

Jeannie said...

Alicia, will read this later. Just wanted to post this link to my site to let you know I posted a link to your Mac-n-cheese story.

Thanks for the inspiration. It was a fun blog to write.

Alicia (aka Dr. Mom) said...



Hey Alicia! Thanks for forwarding my post about Frankie. I wanted to reply to Barbara but for some reason the verification popup icon will not work and it won't let me reply. Could you post this for me? Thanks. I was going to go to her site but then thought she might not realize what I am talking about!

Barbara, our Frankie was a girl (Francis). I originally posted to Face Book on Alicia's page and ran out of characters. I wanted to get across how much animals with health issues really help people cope with issues they may face. My son had to deal with our diabetic dog in ICU for several weeks and I think that helped him deal with his little brother being in a NeoNatal ICU for a few weeks when he was first born. We just kept relating back to our dog, his best friend! I know that it definitely has helped us to have taken care of such wonderful dogs and we are better able to deal with whatever comes our way!

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