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 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