Monday, January 18, 2010

Meet Frankie and her person, Barb



How long have you and Frankie been together?

We have been together since the beginning.  Ok, not the beginning of time.  Ha!  But I bought Frankie from a breeder when she was 3-months old.  She was the last one left of the litter.   When I look back, I realize God had a purpose for bringing her and me together.  I had searched high and low for a dachshund and was having a hard time finding on.  The fact Frankie was the last one of this litter, I believe was all divinely planned.

When and how did her injury occur?

Frankie injured herself on Easter Sunday 2006.  She was staying at a kennel while my husband and I were vacationing in Florida by my mom’s place.  From what we can gather, since the kennel owner was not in the kennel at the moment it happened, is that Frankie tried to jump up on a Rubbermaid container that was within the kennel.  In that container extra blankets, leashes, etc. are kept for any particular animal that is staying in the kennel.  So we think Frankie tried to jump onto the container to see her sister, Kylie, a yellow Labrador, that was housed next to her.

When Yvonne, the kennel owner, went out to check on the dogs again after lunch, the container was tipped over and Frankie was not moving her back end.  Her butt was on the floor and she was looking at Yvonne funny.  Yvonne sensed right away that something was very wrong.

My sister-in-law, Lori who was the emergency contact picked Frankie up and rushed her to my veterinarian.  He diagnosed Frankie with a ruptured disk and advised me that Frankie needed to be rushed to surgery, which had to be done at an animal hospital one hour away.

After surgery and months of physical therapy Frankie’s back legs did not gain back any movement, so we ordered her a doggie wheelchair.  In essence her wheelchair acts as therapy for her back legs, as well as helped her regain her mobility.  She has had her wheelchair for 3-1/2 years now.  When not in her wheels she has gained some mobility back on her own and can stand for 2-3 minutes at a time.  She also has lots of energy and motivation for food in the morning and evening so at those times you will see her hop like a bunny to her food.  So she has come a long way!


 

What inspired you to write, was it just Frankie or a combo of things?

It was a combination of things.  I had begun writing a monthly column called, “For the Love of Animals” for our local paper about two years before Frankie hurt herself.  What led me to writing was some soul searching I did before that looking to do something that would matter to me and could possibly make a difference in the lives of others.

When Frankie suffered her paralysis I didn’t understand at first why God was doing this to us.  As Frankie healed, got her wheels, and then I started taking her out in public I realized the divine blessing.  Children were so fascinated by Frankie and I realized Frankie could teach kids many valuable lessons through everything she had been through.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would write children’s books.  But the calling and knowing was so strong I could not ignore it.

How old is Frankie now?

Frankie is 10 years old.  Her birthday is August 20th.



Frankie seems pretty happy, what is her outlook on life and what does she enjoy doing?

Frankie is very happy!  Her outlook on life is contained in her motto and from what I have learned from her in our experiences, which have played out in our two books to date:
“Always be positive, make a difference and keep on rolling!”

Frankie enjoys napping in front of my petite gas fireplace that is in my writing studio, while I work during the day.  She also loves to ride in a basket that is attached to the front of my bike.  Another favorite is going for walks in a dog stroller I purchased for her this past summer.

Frankie also loves her therapy dog work.  Three to four times a month we share our volunteer time between visiting a senior assisted living (Libby’s House), our local hospital and a community hospice.

Frankie is such a joyful dog and there isn’t too much she does not like to do.  I’d say one of her favorite things is cuddling.  She is a great snuggler, or as I call her when she snuggles, my little snuggle buggle.

Do the two of you ever do motivational speaking?

We do.  We have done many talks for our local schools, as well as various organizations. We have also done many radio programs, which we really enjoy too.  We just recently began doing presentations via Skype (http://skypeanauthor.wetpaint.com/page/Barbara+Techel) and are hoping to get the word out about this wonderful way for teachers and librarians to introduce authors to their classrooms and patrons.

Is there anything you or Frankie could tell people about living differently-abled that might encourage them?

One big thing Frankie has taught me is to look at each challenge we face in a positive way.  When we change the way we think about things and look for the positive, it is amazing how much easier your life can be.  Frankie never once felt sorry for herself through all she had been through.  In that, she taught me to be aware and look for the blessing in why this happened to us.  The blessing did not immediately reveal itself, but I kept an open mind and decided I would accept what I was given in our situation. 
Once I did that, it was amazing what transpired and how this passion in me came through.  In my soul searching years before I made a decision that whatever I did from that point on, I wanted to do from my heart.  I didn’t want to live from my head, but rather follow my heart.

I really believe that animals can teach us so much about life… Frankie adjusted to what her new situation was, without hesitation, or pity for herself.  I think that is what life is.  We are always going to have challenges in our lives, but learning to adjust, see what the lesson is, use it, and share it, that is what this thing called life is all about.


 Feel free to add anything else!


What I’d like to add is to let everyone know that Frankie’s injury was not the fault of the kennel owner.  Frankie’s injury is actually a disease in the breed that is quite common.  It is called Intervertebral Disc Disease, or for short, IVDD.  For anyone every faced with this situation a great resource is Dodgerslist, http://www.dodgerslist.com.  Another wonderful resource is http://www.handicappedpets.com.  Frankie’s wheelchair came from http://www.edddieswheels.com

I also make myself available to those going through the beginning stages of an IVDD diagnoses.  I was very uneducated when this all happened to Frankie.  So to give back and give others hope I am always happy to help someone via email or phone.  For more resources I also encourage others to check out the resource page on my website, http://www.joyfulpaws.com

Thank you so much, Michelle for the opportunity for Frankie and I to be featured on your blog!

I am so thankful that Frankie and Barb took the time to do this for all of us!  See there is hope no matter your situation so don't count yourself out ever!  Make the most of what you have and you will find your place in life!

1 comment:

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

Thank you, Michelle for sharing our story on your blog. We sincerely appreciate it! Keep us posted on Bennie!

Barbara & Frankie (walk 'n roll dog)