About Me

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Barbara Techel is the author of the multi-award winning Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog book series. When her dachshund, Frankie, suffered a spinal injury, Barbara had her custom-fitted for a wheelchair. Frankie persevered, and Barbara realized the beautiful opportunity she had to share Frankie and give others hope and inspiration to be the best they can be. Along with sharing Frankie’s story with children, Barbara and Frankie routinely volunteer as a therapy dog team at a local hospital, senior assisted facility, and hospice community, spreading joy wherever they go.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Frankie Inspires Kids to Read and Write More!

Thank you, Karen, teacher-librarian from Canada for sending us the Literacy & Compassion Post (1-27-09) and how I am inspiring kids to read and write more. WOW, if a dog could blush, I would! Keep writing and reading everyone! Reading can take you anywhere you want to go! And writing can lead you to all your hearts desires. I am so proud of each and every one of you! I can't wait to read the stories you are writing about me!!

Frankie makes the Front Page of The Sheboygan Press!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! And yes, Frankie is being just a wee bit more spoiled today. If that is even possible! She is quite spoiled already (and deservedly so!). Hee Hee

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thank You Elkhart Lake Elementary and Middle School!

Between last week and this week Frankie and I visited our community school and did a total of six presentations! We had a ball!

The staff and the students and especially Mrs. Nevin's the librarian extraordinaire were so good to us. Frankie and I now feel like a part of the school family! I felt today feeling so good about all the new friends we made. I have always loved Elkhart Lake, but now I love it even more. My community has been so supportive of Frankie and now being at school has made us feel even more a part of wonderful Elkhart Lake.

The teachers just started putting together websites for their classrooms. They took pictures of our visits and I want to thank Mrs. Reineking and Mrs. Matthias for posting pictures of our visit (please be patient as they do take a bit to download).

Thank you again, especially to all the students for their enthusiasm, kindness and compassion for Frankie. We will never forget our three very special days with all of you!!

I'm going on Vacation!

Hi everyone! Just wanted you to know I won't be blogging from Feb. 6th-Feb. 15th. Mom and Dad are taking me on vacation to NY, PA & Washington DC. Arf-a-roo!! But be assured I will return and tell you all about my trip! I will miss all of you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Frankie Loves Dinner Time... even in her wheels!

Question submitted by Emily, 11

Are you able to eat from a dish with your wheels on?

Absolutely yes! I love breakfast and dinner time! I think it is my favorite two times of the day. Below are three short videos my mom took of me when it was time to eat dinner. YUM!

Frankie's an Inspiration

Question submitted by Parisa, age 10
What is it like going and inspiring people?
What a great question, Parisa! It is without a doubt, paws down, the best thing ever!! I feel very honored my mom wrote a book about me, so I could share my inspirational story with others. It always makes my heart feel all warm and fuzzy when kids learn from me. Just like 3-year old Jackson in the photo above. He has a form of cerebral palsy and has to wear braces on his legs during the day and a special brace at night. He didn't want to wear his brace at night. Then his mom read him my story and he saw my wheels! You see, we all have our own challenges, but we just have to be an inspiration to others and face our challenges with a positive attitude. That is exactly what Jackson did and he now calls his night brace, "my Frankie brace." He accepted having to wear it and does not complain. So being an inspiration to him makes me very, very happy. And now he will be an inspiration to others. You too and all the kids in your school can be an inspiration to each other. It is very easy and fun to do... and it makes your mom and dad very proud. I love making my mom and dad proud... then I get extra treats! WOOF!

Learning to use my wheels!

Question submitted by Rachel, age 11
How long did it take you to adjust to your wheels?
The above picture is an illustration from my book, Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog. This shows me when I first got my wheels and I how I learned to roll in them. When my mom first put me in my cart I wasn't sure what to do. I stood still as a statue and wouldn't move an inch. The my mom ran in the house and got my favorite treats. She placed them a few feet apart on the road in front of our house. They looked so good I rolled towards them and gobbled each one up and before I knew it, I was rolling!! ARF-A-ROO! So it took me about a whole five minutes to adjust to my wheels. I had to learn how to back up, which didn't take me long either. And now when I get stuck on the corner of a table or chair, I know how to get myself unstuck.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thank You to our Canada Friends!

Dear Karen and 6th & 7th grade students:

Thank you so much for your kindess in sending us the T-shirts. We love and adore them! As you can see, Frankie looks pretty cute and comfy in her T. I love to cuddle with her when she is wearing it. Of course, I love to cuddle with her at anytime! And I love my T too! I can't wait till it is ummer so I can wear it more. It was below zero outside when my husband took the photo's so we could share them with you. I had to put my big heavy sweater on right after he snapped the photo! Thank you for being the first school we ever did a Skype/Webcam with. We hope to do more in the future.

Petizens Animal Commnity

Check it out! A fun community for animals and their humans. Petizens contacted us and asked to do a story about Frankie. Read it here! Thank you, Petizens for helping us share Frankie's message of hope and inspiration.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Frankie's Bathroom Habits

Question submitted by Nikita, age 11
When Frankie goes to the washroom does she keep her wheels on?
That is a very good question, Nikita! First, no I don't keep my wheels on. I need help from my mom to go to the bathroom. Being paralyzed means I can't feel when I have to go. Mom has to help me go potty 5-6 times a day. This is called, "expressing my bladder." She feels for my bladder, gently squeezes and I go right into the toilet. It is kinda fun! And this way I don't have to go out in the cold and the snow! When I am done sometimes she puts my wheels on, most times not. When I am at home I can scoot and hop around pretty good. My wheels help me to go faster!

Question for Frankie's Mom

Question submitted by Peter, age 10

Why did you name her Frankie?

Well, there was a movie and song from many years ago. Before you were even born!! The movie's lead female character's name was Frankie. I remember thinking how fun that was for a girls name. So I knew long before I got a wiener dog that I would name her Frankie. Her real name is Francesca, but her nickname is Frankie. She prefers Frankie cause Francesca means she has to behave. Hee Hee

One of Frankie's Favorite Activities

Question submitted by Ryan from Longfellow School

Do you like to sleep? Do you still like to play?

I love to sleep! It is one of my favorite things to do! I especially like to have a warm spot in the sunshine when I take a snooze. This picture of me is after my mom and I did a presentation at school. When we got home I was really tired!

I also love to play too. My favorite toys are anything with squeakers. The more the better!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Frankie to be inducted into the Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame

Frankie is a dachshund who overcame adversity after suffering from a spinal injury.
She was custom fit for a wheelchair and keeps on rolling.
Frankie teaches us that animals with disabilities can live quality lives and give back to the world in a positive way.

Elkhart Lake, WI—The Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association has chosen Frankie, dachshund of Barbara & John Techel, to be inducted into the Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame.

This is the 15th year WVMA has honored pets who have enhanced human lives because of their outstanding contributions. The awards ceremony will be held on Feb. 28th, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Pets are nominated by their local veterinarian in one of the following categories, hero, companion and professional. Frankie was chosen for the companion category. This means she has provided a benefit to her humans, Barbara and John, as well as her community.

Each veterinarian making a nomination is required to send a letter to WVMA explaining why they feel the animal has made a difference. Dr. Greg Bohn of the Kettle Moraine Veterinarian Clinic nominated Frankie and in part had this to say, “Frankie and Barb never gave up hope. Frankie was fitted for a cart and adapted well to her new wheels. She continued to greet and wag her tail at her numerous veterinary visits. I am sure Barb hoped Frankie would walk again and still probably would choose that for her companion if she could. But day by day they make the best of each and every moment. Barb and Frankie have reached out to many others by publishing a book and telling their story. They have made many school appearances and special needs kids are made to feel extra special when Frankie visits.”

Two years after Frankie’s paralysis she became a registered therapy dog through Therapy Dog, Inc. to further her positive message that animals with disabilities can live a quality life and bring joy to others. Frankie now enriches the lives of the elderly, hospital patients and people in hospice.

Bringing a positive face and voice to animals with disabilities has become a passionate mission of Barbara’s because of the lessons she has learned from Frankie. Barbara says, “Frankie never felt sorry for herself. She has taught me that any challenge can be overcome with a positive attitude. Frankie has taught my husband and me what is really important in life. Sharing Frankie’s story with others and knowing she is making a difference is so rewarding. Sometimes I can’t even find the words to express how my heart feels. I am honored WVMA has chosen Frankie for this recognition and the message of hope that Frankie is.”

Frankie continues to inspire Dr. Bohn and the Kettle Moraine Veterinarian Clinic each time she visits. Dr. Bohn ended his letter of recommendation by saying, “When Frankie visits our clinic, you can feel her presence. She has a contagious optimism that causes everyone to pause and notice because they want to be a part of that good feeling that Frankie imparts. As a veterinarian, she has taught me that it is not the outcome that is so important. It is the journey that holds the most meaning. This insight has made me a better doctor.”

Inspired by Frankie’s ability to “keep on rollin” Dr. Bohn is committed to helping pets and their owners make the most of their journeys and the time they have together. Frankie in turn will do what she does best and continues to live life to the fullest and share her infectious spirit with others.

To learn more about Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog you can visit www.joyfulpaws.com and to learn more about WVMA you can visit them on their website at www.wvma.org.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thoughts on Frankie's Wheels

Question submitted by Kaiden, age 10

What is it like having wheels?

That is a very good question Kaiden. I'm so glad to have wheels. I'm very thankful for Eddie's Wheels who made my custom cart for me. If I didn't have wheels I couldn't zoom around the yard very fast. I can also go on walks with my mom, papa and yellow lab sister, Kylie because I have my wheels. Otherwise I would have to stay home and then I would be sad. Years and years ago they didn't make wheels for dogs with spinal injuries. My mom and I are grateful for all the companies that make them now. My wheels have given me a life I never dreamed of. It is so fun and wonderful to meet kids. It is also so nice to be able to visit people in the hospital and cheer up the elderly in nursing homes. They always smile when they see me rolling through the door! So having wheels is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I will always be grateful my mom and dad bought them for me. I love them very much.

Frankie's Favorite Costume

Question submitted by Doran and McHale,
age 10

Does Frankie have a favorite costume?

Paws down it is my train costume! Choo-choo! My papa made me this train cause he loves trains. At first when he hooked me up I thought he was crazy. I looked at him as if to say, "You think I can pull this train?" Well, my papa made it so easy I didn't even know I was pulling a coal car and caboose! I won 1st place for this costume at a festival called Germanfest. There were lots of dachshunds dressed up and it was quite funny. The local TV station's weatherman was one of the judges. My mom thought he was cute. Oh mom!

I still have the train costume and hope to wear it again someday. Here are two other "wieners", err, I mean winners that day:

Frankie Rolls on

Question submitted by Julian and Brett, age 9
How long has Frankie been on her wheels?
I have had my wheels since July 2006, so that makes it almost 2 1/2 years. I've got lots of miles on these tires already. I'm hoping my mom will let me trade it in someday for a sporty cart. HA! Just kidding. I love my cart. It gets me everywhere I want to go!

Friendship Lessons from Our Animal Friends

Thank you to my mom for sending me this wonderful video. This is a perfect example of being kind to everyone despite our differences. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBtFTF2ii7U

Advice on Writing a Children's Book

If you are thinking about writing a children's book someday, or any book for that matter and have questions, check out my interview on Writer's and Authors Blog with Jo Feliciani. Find out my inspiration behind writing Frankie's story also! Please feel free to post a question at my interview on Jo's blog and I'll be happy to answer it for you!
And hey kids, now is the best time to start writing!! Pick a subject you are passionate about and just start writing! If you love writing, think about starting a kids writing group. Put posters up in your school with a time and date you can meet each week in the library.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wild Ride with Frankie!

Submitted by Justin, age 10
Does Frankie ever get hurt when she is wheeling?
Good question! I tend to like to take the corner on one wheel, but mom scolds me and tells me to slow down. One time I went around the corner in the living room and my left wheel fell off! My mom was working in her office and I couldn't move, so I started to whimper & bark until she came into the living room. She started laughing when she realized I lost a tire! In no time at all mom attached my tire and I was off wheeling again.
Another time I was outside while my mom was planting flowers. She let me roam around the yard. I wondered into the garage and my tire got stuck on the front car tire so I couldn't go anywhere. My mom was frantic calling and calling me. She had the whole neighborhood looking for me. I didn't bark or whimper cause I wanted to see how long it took her to find me. I guess that wasn't so nice because she was pretty upset. But it all ended well and mom found me in about five minutes. Now she watches me more closely so I can't be as sneaky. Drats!

Frankie's Favorite Outfit

Submitted by Nicole, age 10
I am wondering what Frankie's favorite outfit is?
I would have to say my favorite outfit is my pink satin quilted heart jacket. It has white fuzzies around the collar and it makes me feel like a movie star. Oo-la-la! I debuted this outfit last February at my book launch for my book, "Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog." Everyone oooed and ahhed when I made my entrance into the grand entrance at The Osthoff Resort. My friends mom, Victoria made special people cookies shaped like hearts to match my jacket. Each cookie had a paw print stamped in the middle. So, yup, paws down, this is my favorite outfit because it was one of my favorite days the day I got to wear it.

Frankie and Snow

Submitted by Niko, age 10

Does Frankie like to play in the snow?

Absolutely, without out a doubt, this is a very easy question for me to answer... NO WAY... NOPE...NO! I am a "weenie" when it comes to the snow and cold. I shake and shiver and carry on like I am going to freeze to death... and that is in 40 degree weather! I admit it, I don't care for winter. But this is where my mom and dad live, so I just have to put up with it. Mom buys me lots of pretty sweaters and coats though to keep me warm, so I'm very happy about that. I'm a little spoiled. BIG GRIN. Now, my sister, Kylie.... well, she LOVES the snow! She is a yellow lab and snorkels her snout in the snow and puffs the flakes out her nostrils. It is very funny to see... from the front window looking out I might add.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Pillow Fight

Pillow fights are the best, aren't they? Well, they are rather fun to snuggle up with too. A fan of mine, Wendy, sent me a photo of the Christmas gift she received, which was a Frankie pillow! Did you know I have those? I do! I do! You too could snuggle up with me... check it out in my on line store at Cafe Press. You will find the pillow there with lots of other Frankie goodies. Wendy said she loves her new pillow, and so do her really cute little doxie's Gretta and Elliot. Happy dreams!