About Me

My photo
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 29, 2010

The Gift of Second Chances- Occasioanl Paws Feature Story

My mom is a contributing writer for our local paper, the Depot Dispatch.  I know you will find this hard to believe, but she writes about animals... mostly dogs.  Arf!  This is a story about my new friend, Ruby.  Mom and I just love her and think she is the BEST.  Here is her story as it recently appeared in the paper, written by my mom.  Arf-a-roo!

It is my belief that everything that happens, happens for a reason. I may not always like some of the changes that occur, but when I look back, I can usually see the divine purpose that was my guide in helping me learn something new.

So it was with Ted. While at a car show in Beaver Dam with his wife Dianne, Ted was not feeling quite himself. As they were about to leave for the day Ted said, “I just don’t feel well. I need to get out and walk around.” As Ted got out of the car he fell over. Dianne went into shock and everything around her became surreal.

Ted was not breathing and had no pulse. Lucky for him his guardian angels swooped in and saved his life. Near-by participants were able to resuscitate him. Ted was rushed to the hospital and had bypass surgery.

Recovering at home Ted was feeling a void. When they moved to their new home in Glenbeulah a few years ago, their dog Muffy, a Springer and Basset hound mix made the move with them, but passed away a few weeks later. Thinking a dog might be the answer, Ted began his search for a new furry friend to bring into his life.

He went from pound to pound looking for that “special one.” He ended up at the Fond du Lac humane society where he met Ruby. Though she was skin and bones and only weighed 55 pounds, he felt a connection with her.

I asked Ted what made her stand out. “She was not barking and was very calm. She was so docile and her colors were beautiful” he said. Ruby had been there for eleven days.

The volunteers took Ruby outside as Ted watched. The girls were hugging and loving Ruby and she ate it up. Some people may be hesitant to do this because of the stigma placed on certain breeds. Ruby happens to be a Doberman. She is chocolate in color, with lighter shades of chocolate mixed in, and one of the most beautiful Doberman’s I have ever seen. And there is just something about her that draws you right into her soul.

Ted was pretty sure this was the dog for him. He went home and told Dianne. They decided to bring Ruby into their life. When Ted went to pick her up he was handed pedigree papers for her, which surprised him. How did a pedigree dog end up in the pound?

During a baby shower at their home Ted watched as a young child pulled and tugged at Ruby’s ears and neck. She would whimper a bit, but never growled and remained the same sweet, docile dog Ted observed a few weeks earlier.

That is when it occurred to him that Ruby might make a wonderful therapy dog. He had wanted to give back ever since his life was saved. Now that he and Ruby had been given second chances, he felt this was what they were meant to do.

Since Ted had the pedigree papers he was able to contact the breeder of Ruby. Now call it coincidence if you want, but the breeder happened to live in Beaver Dam. As he talked with her he learned her dogs are registered therapy dogs. She also told him that Ruby was the pick of the litter. As a puppy she gave Ruby to a girlfriend for a show dog. A year and a half later that girlfriend gave Ruby away and that was how she ended up at the humane society. A divine purpose was at work as Ruby traveled many roads to her final destination with Ted.

There was no doubt Ruby’s purpose, and soon she passed her Canine Good Citizen award. Ted then went to a therapy dog testing site one day simply to observe what had to be done to have Ruby become registered. He had no intentions of doing the test that day. But as he watched the other dogs he decided on a whim to try with Ruby. He had a hunch she was a natural, and indeed she was. She passed with flying colors.

Ted and Ruby now visit nursing homes two to three times a week. They have made visits to Rocky Knoll, Arbor view, Pine Haven and Prairie Crossing. Many of the residents eagerly await their visit and won’t go to bed until they see Ruby. She also made the day of kids at a daycare in Plymouth, who welcomed meeting the large, gentle giant. Since June, Ruby and Ted have made over fifty visits!

“Ruby knows she is priceless and we call her Diva” Ted said. Final proof of that is the night Ruby would not let Ted sleep. Ruby normally sleeps downstairs, but woke Ted with a constant pawing at the side of the bed. She’d leave after Ted’s scolding, only to return again and again. The last time she returned she put her paw on Ted’s chest intent on getting his full attention. So Ted finally got up, went downstairs and discovered the slow beep of the smoke alarm. As soon as he put in new batteries, Ruby was content to let Ted head back to bed, as she also snuggled in for the remainder of the night. Yes, I would absolutely agree that Ruby is priceless!

If you wish to use this article on your web site or in your E-magazine, you are welcome to, as long as you include this bio with it:

Barbara Techel is a local resident of Elkhart Lake and the multi-award winning author of Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog & Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby’s House. The Frankie books are true, inspirational stories about Frankie who became paralyzed and was custom-fitted for a doggie wheelchair. Despite Frankie’s disability, her exuberant spirit and spunky personality earns her friends wherever she goes. Frankie teaches us that no matter what, we can always have a positive attitude and give back to the world in our own unique way, which has earned her the titles of Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame Companion and Mascot for National Disabled Pets Day. Learn more by visiting Barbara at www.joyfulpaws.com or www.frankiethewalknrolldog.blogspot.com


Thursday, January 28, 2010

NEW! Author Visits EBook Guide for All Teachers

Calling all teacehrs!!  Mom and I want to make planning a visit with us easy, whether virtually or in person (and dog!), because we know how hard teachers work.  So we came up with an idea... ok, well, my mom did.  We now have a Author Visits Ebook guide to planning a successful visit with us.  It is yours for free by visiting our new teacher section on our website.  Just click and download... then feel free to give us a call or email us to book your visit with us.

REMEMBER:  We are giving away 10-free Skype presentations (or other video conferencing if you prefer) to the first schools that contact us (one per school).  Hurry, before they are all gone!


Friday, January 22, 2010

A 7-Year Old that Will Give You Goose Bumps

WOW, wait till you see this sweet little 7-year old boy who belted out the National Anthem.  See, boys and girls-- you can do anything, and I mean anything, you set your minds to do!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Marvelous Marvin Goes to Heaven

My mom and I are sad today to have learned that Marvelous Marvin, a beautiful black lab who did lots of good in the world, has died.

Taken from Marvin's website:

Marvelous Marvin is based on the true story of an 3-year-old black Labrador who was relinquished by his original owner only to be rejected a second time because of a disability. 
Despite his disability and rejection, Marvin never gave up hope and overcame his disability and rejection.
Marvelous Marvin has a happy ending, but getting there will certainly evoke your emotions.

To read more about Marvin visit this online story.

Rest in peace, Marvin.  Good dog.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Invite Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog & Her Author Mom to Your Classroom or Library Via Skype- No Cost!


Award-winning children’s book author Barbara Techel and her dog Frankie who is well known as the Walk ‘N Roll Dog because she gets along in a doggie wheelchair are offering free Skype programs (see details below) to the first 10 teachers or librarians that contact them. Frankie is the star of her own books, Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog  and Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby's House. Both books are true, inspirational stories about overcoming challenges by thinking positive and giving back to the world in our own, unique way despite our challenges.

Enjoy a program where children can virtually meet Frankie via the technology of Skype, learn about disabilities, help students overcome their own challenges in a positive way, see a demonstration of how Frankie’s wheelchair works and how she can "fly" in her wheels, as well as hear a selected reading of Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog book. Overall you and your students or patrons will have a dog-gone good time meeting and learning about Frankie and her mission to bring a positive face and voice to all animals with disabilities, and encourage others who also have challenges. To learn more, visit Barbara and Frankie on their author visits link on their website at or Skype an author.

We are offering 10 free presentations via Skype (one per school or library), first come, first serve and this is for a limited time and expires March 31st, 2010. If you are interested please contact us via email at joyfulpaws@yahoo.com Please feel free to share this information with the teachers and librarians in your life!


Students at my school in Canada used Skype to connect via the Internet with Barbara and Frankie who live in Wisconsin. The students were so excited and were amazed at the experience. It seemed as if Frankie and Barbara were sitting right in their classroom! The students were able to interact with Frankie and Barbara and asked and answered many thought provoking questions. They learned a lot about animals with disabilities and how to stay postive no matter what challenges they might face. The Skype has been their favorite part of the school year!

~Karen Keys, Teacher Librarian Canada


Monday, January 18, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Tribute to Sebastian the Disabled Duck

In Loving Memory of Sebastian... a very special duck

A Special Place

You have a special place Dear Lord
that I know you'll always keep
 special place reserved for ducks
when they quietly fall asleep

With large and airy meadows
and a yard for finding bugs,

Lord, I know You keep this Special Place
And so to You I pray,
For one Special duck who quietly died today
She was full of strength and love
and so very, very wise.
she went to join the other ducks
To Your land that is so Divine
So, speak to Sebastian softly please
And give her a warm hello.
She's a Special gift to You Dear Lord
From Sharon, who loved her so....

Oh, did I love this tribute to this special duck named Sebastian, who sadly died on December 26, 2009.  But if it were not for his human mom, he would have not had the great LONG life that he did... and what a grand life it was, thanks to her.
Thank you to Mary Shafer at Almost Perfect Pets blog for alerting us to this story and then directing us to Handicapped Pets who shared the full story... be sure to check out the full story.  It is well worth it.

This story reminded me of "Lemon the Duck" which is also another true story about a disabled duck.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sharing Wheely Willy's Extraordinary Life

I'll never, ever forget little Wheely Willy... he was my hero.  If you didn't know the whole story of how Willy came to be, I thought you might really like reading about his story.  This reporter did an excellent job in sharing Willy.  Hope you enjoy.

Reprinted from The Orange County Register, article by Lori Basheda

Wheely Willy, superstar Chihuahua, dies

Yes, it's true, his "mother" Deborah Turner found him curled up next to her in bed on the morning of Dec. 22, his tiny heart stopped. She wrapped a blanket around the dog, cradled him in her arms, held onto his little paws and wept.

But Wheely Willy the symbol lives on. Just ask any kid who attended elementary school between 1999 and now.

Chances are they met Wheely Willy. And if they met Wheely Willy, chances are they haven't forgotten him.

"Life is what you make of it," was Willy's message.

And that's a pretty powerful message, coming from a 4-pound Chihuahua that overcame hate, paralysis and homelessness to become a TV star and eventually tour the world, bringing even the royal prince and princess of Japan to their knees.
No one really knows where Wheely Willy's life begins or what horrors befell him.

But he got a second chance in the early '90s when a woman came upon a cardboard box, sealed with tape, on some street in Los Angeles. Inside she found a hairless, emaciated, shivering little dog.

He didn't bark, or even whine, because, she later learned, someone had cut his vocal chords. Nor did he try to jump out, because, she later learned, his back was broken, leaving his hind legs paralyzed.

The woman took the little dog to a vet she knew who did rescue work, and there he lived, in a cage, for the next year. Until Deborah Turner heard about him.

At the time, Deborah owned the Doggie in the Window pet store in Long Beach, and she too did rescue work. She arrived at the vet's office one day expecting to find a sad sack. Instead, she found one of the most playful dogs she had ever met, dragging his legs behind him like he didn't have a care in the world.

"We were all standing around looking at him with tears in our eyes," she recalls. "Well, he didn't know what the sad story was."

The vet had named him Chilly Willy, because before his hair grew back and he put on some fat, he shivered all the time.

Deborah's plan was to return to Long Beach to spread the word of Chilly Willy's plight and try and find him a home. But when the vet put Willy back in his cage, his ears went all hangdog droopy.

"OK, give him back to me," she announced.

And soon Willy was in a Ford Explorer on his way to Long Beach.

Deborah's first order of business was to give Willy his legs back. She tried putting his hind legs on a small skateboard, but his front legs couldn't keep up. Next she tied a bunch of helium balloons to the back of the baby pajamas she had bought him, but instead of just lifting his back legs, it lifted his whole body off the ground.

Then she saw an ad in a pet magazine for the K-9 Cart. The day it arrived, she hooked Willy up to his new wheels. He took off running, head thrown back, ears flying.

"This might sound dramatic," Deborah says. "But it took his world from black and white into full blown color. Because that's where life began for him."
Deborah took Willy everywhere she went. He rode in the cart at Wild Oats. And he waited in line at the bank. He even went to the restroom with her since she had to express his bladder for him because of the paralysis.

Out on the streets, it seemed like everyone wanted to know: What's the story there with that little guy?

Soon the newspapers came calling. Then TV.

She also got a call from the people who owned the trademark to Chilly Willy, the cartoon penguin: We really think Willy's a great dog and all, but drop the name or we'll sue, was the gist of their message. And that's how Chilly Willy became Wheely Willy.

Suddenly, Wheely Willy was everywhere.

He did Animal Planet (where he remains one of their highest rated shows), National Geographic and the talk show circuit, sitting down with Mike and Maty, Leeza and Tammy Faye Baker.

The publicity led to personal appearances. And soon every hospital and elementary school around wanted to book him. Deborah even did some high school graduation keynote speeches, giving some version of the "I can" speech with Willy by her side.

He made kids on chemotherapy laugh for the first time in weeks. And a woman in an Alzheimer's home in Los Alamitos saw Willy and broke into "Silent Night," singing the entire song, word for word, and prompting nurses to phone the family so they could quickly drive over and see their mother speak again.

Together, Willy and Deborah traveled the globe, making appearances in Germany and Canada. "He's particularly popular in Japan," she says.

She and Willy met Prince Hitachi and Princess Hanako a few years ago. When they saw the dog, the royals got down on the floor, causing a minor sensation. Out on the streets of Tokyo, pictures of Willy flashed on the giant Jumbo Trons.

Willy's story made it into the "Chicken Soup for the Cat and Dog Lover's Soul" book. In "Working Dogs: Tales from Animal Planet's K-9 to 5 World," his work in the spinal unit at the Long Beach Veterans Hospital (where his picture still hangs) is documented. His story is even on the standardized reading proficiency test given to school children in Texas.

Sometimes someone would ask if Willy did any tricks. "His trick is that he can wake up every day happy," Deborah would tell them.
A rainy day last January marked the beginning of the end.

Deborah was on her way to an elementary school presentation when she slipped off her rain-slicked porch and Willy flew out of her arms. She wound up in a wheelchair with a broken leg. Willy wound up in a hospital with a broken hip, leg and jaw.

Three surgeries followed, but Willy never really recovered.

On New Year's Day she met me at a coffee shop, carrying a little royal blue velvet bag. Inside was a round tin of Willy's ashes.

"There's some part of me that knew he wasn't going to live forever," she told me. "But then there was some fanciful part of me that thought maybe he will live forever."

That's the part she should listen to.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Meet Ms. Eloise

Mom and I hear from many dachshund pet parents who are going through what we went through 3 1/2 years ago when I became paralyzed.  It can be a tough road... but we are alwasy here to give others hope... and when they find me and see there is hope, there is nothing greater then getting an email from them telling me how happy I made them, knowing that yes, there is hope after their own dog has hurt their back.  Many of the dogs we hear from do walk again (woo hoo!) and some end up in cool wheelchairs like I have and go on to live a wonderful life.  Recently we heard from Ms. Eloise, who is just the cutest ever!  She is a wire-haired dachshund.  While I have straight short hair, she has sassy curls that I am envious of. 
At any rate, she recently hurt her back, but is coming along nicely and very hopeful she will walk again.  What is so great about Ms. Eloise is she has a handsome brother who is helping her feel better every day.  So I just had to share these great photos with you from Ms. Eloise... and oh yes, her mom, Karen who helped send them.  So always know... there is always, always hope.

Ms. Eloise at the hospital

I am a sad girl

Little loving from my mom when home from hospital.  Look at the big "zipper" in my back!

My brother Mr. Puppy moves close by to keep me company

Mr. Puppy exhausted from taking such good care of me

Mr. Puppy wants in...

and in he comes for snuggle and cuddle time

My new red wheels which mom moves me around for different views

Looking out window for squirrels... I love my new red wheels!

Brother likes my wheels

Relaxing with Dad... how lucky we both are to have such loving pet parents as I heal

Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers Ms. Eloise!!


Friday, January 8, 2010

A Boy and his Dog

This is my pal, Jackson and his new dog, Chance. My mom and I just LOVE these pictures! Aren't they the cutest? Chance will be such a good friend to Jackson. I just know it! My mom wrote about me and Jackson meeting last Christmas. Jackson is one of the greatest kids I have ever met!


Thursday, January 7, 2010

Memorial Service for Wheely Willy

The little chihuahua with a huge heart went to doggie heaven on December 22nd at the age of 22. Wheely Willy, along with his mom, Deborah Turner helped so many kids and adults see that animals with disabilities can live a wonderful life. They also were great teachers in teaching compassion and kindness to all animals. There will be a memorial service for this little champion on Jan. 19th in Long Beach, CA. If you are in the area, I know Willy's mom, Deborah would love your support. My mom has been hugging me extra much since Willy died, because she feels so sad for Willy's Mom. But I know Willy is happy in heaven and Deborah and Willy will see each other again in heaven.
Below is the information on the memorial service, as well as an awesome video of "A Day in the Life of Wheely Willy." Thank you Willy, for all the GREAT you did in the world. I'll always think you ROCK (and roll!)

Memorial Service for Wheely Willy

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

12:00pm to 2:00pm

The Memorial Garden at Long Beach Animal Care Services, P.D. Pitchford Companion Animal Village, 7700 East Spring Street, Long Beach, CA 90815

The Memorial Service is hosted by the Long Beach Animal Care Services and Friends of Long Beach Animals. After the ceremony, all of Willy's friends and fans are invited for refreshments, conversation and reminiscences about Willy. In lieu of flowers, we ask that a donation be made to Friends of Long Beach Animals in appreciation for the role they play in improving the lives of so many animals in need. We recall that Willy began his life as a rescued pet.

You can also check out Willy's books, which I have both of them and love them!


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Announcement: 2009 Dogs & the Women who Love them True Story Contest Winners

Arf-a-roo! I'm very, very proud of my mom... she won 2nd place in a very cool contest sponsored by Linda and Allen Anderson of Angel Animal Network. She was so excited she almost did a cartwheel! And a-hem, the story was about lil' ol' me. I blush.
A big CONGRATS to ALL the winners!

Grand Prize Winner

"K-9 Major, Unchained Fury"
By Marilyn Walton

Second Place Winners

"The Blessing of a Wheelchair-Bound Dachshund"
By Barbara Techel

"Working Girl"
By Teresa Ambord

"Euri, the Miracle Worker"
By Bobbi Leder

"Buddha Boom!"
By Sage Lewis

"Judy and McDuff: Soul Mates"
By Judy McFadden

"Miquel's Legacy"
By Rosanne Nordstrom

Honorable Mentions

"Ziggy Heals My Heart"
By Marti Wegner

"For $2.00 She was Mine"
By Debra J. White

"Fritz, the White Angel"
By Paula Timpson

"Love Barometer"
By Lori Scott

"Ordinary to Extraordinary"
By Lori Durante Rardin

"Better with Barney"
By Linda Panczer

"The Dog Who 'Carried My Healing'"
By Jane Norling

"I'll Have Honey with My Sake', Thank You Very Much!"
By Diane L. Massie

"A 'For Real' Black Beauty"
By Carolyn S. Lemay-Strass

"Paws 4 a Miracle"
By Virginia Kukuk

"The Things I Did for Love"
By Susan Hartzler

"Cissy Girl"
By Mary Haack

"Life According to Olive"
By Stephanie Feldstein

"Healing Together: Kimberly and Lucy"
By Kimberly J. Brown

"The World's Best Talking Dog"
By Jill Alphine

"Jack Opened My Heart to Love"
By Lyndra Antonson Hearn

By Kim Dudek

"Lessons from Teddy"
By Diana M. Amadeo


Monday, January 4, 2010

Overcoming Challenges and Making a Difference

Who's Your Dachshund Blog, which is one of my favorite blogs hosted me and mom on their blog today. Arf-a-roo! Thanks, Ben!! Check it out!


Friday, January 1, 2010

Pillow Fight!

OK, so not really a pillow fight... but I think you'd rather cuddle with this pillow. A fan of mine, Wendy sent me this pawsome picture of her with her Christmas gift.. yup, that is yours truly on the pillow. It does look like me, now don't you think? Woof! Wendy's doxie's Gretta and Elliott like to hang out with me too... awww, I love you guys! If you want to cuddle with me you can too with a Frankie pillow from my Cafe Press store. You'll find lots of other goodies there too!


May Pet Holidays to Celebrate

Yours truly is humbled and honored to be the mascot for National Disabled Pets Day, May 3rd.  Please help me in celebrating ALL special needs pets and their wonderful caretakers!


• Go Fetch. Food Drive for Homeless Animals Month

• National Pet Week, May 2-8

• Be Kind to Animals Week, May 2-8

National Disabled Pets Day, May 3

• Respect for Chickens Day, May 4

• National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 16-22

• World Turtle Day, May 23

• Hug Your Cat Day, May 30


May Pet Holidays to Celebrate

Yours truly is so very humbled and honored to be mascot of National Disabled Pets Day, May 3rd.  Help me in celebrating ALL animals with special needs.  Hugs to each and everyone of them and their caretakers.


• Go Fetch. Food Drive for Homeless Animals Month

• National Pet Week, May 2-8

• Be Kind to Animals Week, May 2-8

National Disabled Pets Day, May 3

• Respect for Chickens Day, May 4

• National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 16-22

• World Turtle Day, May 23

• Hug Your Cat Day, May 30