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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.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Frankie and Sparkles Make History!

It is a day I will never forget!  Read the full press release below... and be sure to check out my new blog with Sparkles... Frankie and Sparkles for upcoming, fun projects we two canine friends will be doing together!

Canine Friends Visit via Skype to Make History

Author Barbara Techel and her paralyzed dog, Frankie, along with Author Firefighter Dayna Hilton and her dog, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog, came together today via the internet to educate children about disabilities and fire safety.

Clarksville, AR- Two educators of the four-legged variety from different parts of the country, came together today to share fire safety with the children of Clarksville Primary School.

The first presentation of its kind in the country, Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog from Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog from Clarksville, Arkansas, along with a little support from their human friends, children's authors, Barbara Techel and Firefighter Dayna Hilton, participated in this historic event. The four participated in a Skype visit, sharing the importance of fire safety and encouraging children who may have family or friends with physical challenges to help them have a plan, among other fire safety messages, so they and their families and friends can help stay safe from fire.

500 plus children sat glued to their seats as they listened intently as Frankie and Barbara shared their story of inspiration and hope. The students clapped and cheered loudly when Frankie and Sparkles met virtually for the first time. Kathy Howell, library media specialist for the school, was not sure initially how the visit via Skype would go as the school had never participated in one before. Excited about the end result, Howell stated, “The presentation was tremendous, and the excitement from the children continued throughout the day.”

“It was cool watching Frankie and Sparkles make history,” said one six year old student.

With the help of their new four-legged friends, Frankie and Sparkles, the children of Clarksville Primary School now have the tools necessary to stay safe, be positive, and keep on rolling.

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History of Frankie and Sparkles’ first Skype visit:

Techel, one of the pioneers of Skype author visits, met Hilton over Facebook and the two developed a unique fire safety program for schools, with a little help from Frankie and Sparkles. The two plan to bring Sparkles and Frankie together again with their messages in future Skype visits, so more children across the country will benefit.

About Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog:

Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog, is a dachshund who suffered a debilitating spinal injury and now walks with the aid of a doggie wheelchair. For the past two years, Frankie has been helping children of all ages realize that their challenges can be overcome by having a positive attitude, and despite these challenges, they can be a contributing member of society in their own unique way. Frankie is the mascot for National Disabled Pets Day and is the 2009 Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame Companion Dog. Frankie’s motto is, “Always be positive, make a difference, and keep on rolling!”

About Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog:

Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog, a Dalmatian who was rescued from a home with 62 other dogs, travels across the country with Firefighter Dayna educating children and their caregivers about fire safety. Sparkles has helped deliver fire safety tips on PBS KIDS Sprout, reaching millions of children and their caregivers nationwide. To date, Sparkles has been credited with helping save the lives of two children and their two families.

To learn more about Frankie and Sparkles and their upcoming projects, please visit their website at www.frankieandsparkles.com

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