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, April 23, 2010

Wheelchair Dog Stars in Movie with Jennifer Lopez

Photo from People Pets

Wow, Nubbins is one lucky dog being in the movie, The Back Up Plan with the beautiful Jennifer Lopez!  Though I must say Nubbins is holding her own in that decked out wheelchair.  Thank you Jennifer and everyone involved with the movie for bringing a beautiful face to special needs pets.  You just have to roll on over to the movie trailer and see it... soooooo cute!  Keep on rolling, Nubbins!!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fido Friendly Shares the Story of Me and My Pal Sparkles

Doing a wheelie in my chariot for the great story about Sparkles and me featured on Fido Friendly Blog, Frankie and Sparkles: Heroes Unite.

And be sure to remember to enter our fun give-away we are doing!  Ends May 1st so do hurry soon and check it out!


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poems Written for Frankie and Sparkles

If a dog could shed tears, I'd have cried a bucket full!  And just so you know they would have been happy tears, not sad ones.
After Sparkles and I visited with a school in western Canada via Skype, their teacher sent us poems they wrote about us.  Our little hearts melted.  Here is one example of a poem... and you can read the rest at our special blog, Frankie and Sparkles.  A big tail wag to all the special writer's for sharing your poems.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Frankie and Sparkles Big Give-Away!

Sparkles and I had so much fun together that we want to celebrate by giving away a great bunch of gifts- worth $175.00!  That is alot of money, don't you think?  So head on over to Frankie and Sparkles blog to see how you could win!  Good luck!


Frankie and Sparkles Making the News- Far & Wide!

I've been catching up on my naps after my whirlwind mini-tour with Sparkles the Safety Dog last week!  Now the news of our adventure is spreading far and wide... pretty hot-diggity dog exciting!  Today in the Courier News in Russelville, Arkansas our story was featured as "Virtual Friends."  Cara, the reporter did a tail waggin' good job of interviewing my mom, Barbara, and Sparkles mom, Dayna.  You can read the full story at Courier News.

Other features we are showing up on are:

AOL's Paw Nation
9 News Now WUSA9.com
Joyful Paws
USA Today Paw Print

Monday, April 12, 2010

Frankie and Sparkles Two Dogs Rollin' Tour Re-cap

It was the BEST tail waggin' time meeting my new friend Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog!  Our tour was a huge success... and now I nap... well, ok right after I share this press release with you below.  Be sure to read all the way to the end for some great pictures!  And hot-diggity dog, USA Today Paw Prints blog picked up our story and shared it today!!


Frankie and Sparkles~ Two Dog’s Rollin’

April 8th and 9th, 2010 were no ordinary days for two dogs known for inspiring others. Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog, along with her owner Firefighter Dayna Hilton, made the almost 900 mile trek from Clarksville, Arkansas, to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, to meet Frankie the Walk ‘n Roll Dog and her owner, Barbara Techel, in person (and “dog”) to work on some very special projects.

Frankie, a dachshund, suffered a debilitating spinal injury and now walks with the aid of a doggie wheelchair. For the past two years, Frankie has helped children of all ages realize that their challenges can be overcome by having a positive attitude, and that despite these challenges, they can be a contributing member of society in their own unique way.

Sparkles, a Dalmatian, has a unique story of her own. Rescued from a home with 62 other dogs in 2002, Sparkles now travels across the country with Hilton, educating children and their caregivers about fire safety. To date, this canine educator has been credited with helping save the lives of two children and their two families.

Meeting via Facebook in October 2009, Techel and Hilton first made history in February 2010 when Frankie and Sparkles “met” over Skype during Techel’s and Frankie’s presentation to Clarksville Primary School (http://www.frankieandsparkles.com/2010/02/frankie-and-sparkles-make-history.html).

While in Wisconsin, the four came together for their first presentation in person (and dog) together to elementary students at Elkhart Lake/Glenbeulah Elementary School, sharing the fire safety message and encouraging children to be of service by helping those with special needs.

The four also participated in a Skype visit to an elementary school in western Canada, 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. Karen Keys, District Digital Literacy Teacher, and Matthew, a Canadian Firefighter, also assisted with the event.

Of the event, Keys stated, “The Frankie and Sparkles buzz was everywhere at lunch! I got a great response from the teachers involved who thought it was a wonderful presentation! The kids LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My principal was very impressed with the whole event and so was Matthew the Fireman.... he couldn't wait to go back to the firehall to tell all the other firemen about it.”

Techel stated, “Skyping with Dayna and Sparkles, along with Frankie, to a classroom in western Canada was such a thrill! Because of school budget constraints as well as economic challenges I think Skype is such a win-win situation. And the ultimate winners are the children who were able to learn about fire safety from Sparkles, and being positive and helping others with special needs from Frankie's message. Combine that with helping kids learn technology, which is our future, and you create a highly motivational way for kids to grow and thrive.”

This was Hilton and Sparkles first time to participate in a presentation with Frankie and Techel via Skype in person. Hilton stated, “As a fire safety educator, Sparkles and I have participated in hundreds of fire safety presentations over the years. This event was very special in that not only did we share this presentation with our two very good friends, we concentrated our efforts on the importance of sharing the fire safety message with those with special needs. According to the National Fire Protection Association, physical disability was a factor in an average of 360, or 13%, of home fire deaths. Together, we hope to change this unfortunate statistic”

Other activities included a visit to the Elkhart Lake/Town of Rhine Fire District where Firefighters Rob Schmidet and Shane Hughes assisted with Frankie and Sparkles' upcoming e-books for children.

For more information on Frankie and Sparkles, please visit their blog at http://www.frankieandsparkles.com

# # #
Additional Information:

At 46, children's book authors Dayna Hilton and Barbara Techel have senior dogs whom they love deeply. Both credit their dogs for helping them find their purpose in life.

Techel, embracing technology, shares Frankie’s story of hope with children around the world via Skype. Hilton recommended Techel’s Frankie program via Skype to Clarksville Primary School in her home state of Arkansas, and the rest, as they say, is history~ literally.

In talking with Hilton one day via phone to thank her for the connection, an idea was hatched. Hilton shared with Techel, “What if Sparkles and Frankie were to meet via Skype? Imagine how thrilled the children would be to be a part of this!”

As far as the two knew, no two dogs had ever met via Skype and the event would be the first time Techel and Hilton would “meet” as well. The two were thrilled in knowing that there would be no better way to do this than in front of 500 plus children, elated with glee to witness this historic day. In addition, the two came to the realization that this would be an exciting way to bring two friends and educators together with their two special dogs to share their inspirational and life-saving messages.

Both will never forget that day. After sharing Frankie’s story, Techel was so proud to introduce Hilton and Sparkles, her friends, whom she adored and admired for their work. According to Techel, as she watched Hilton and Sparkles via Skype approach the front of the room, her eyes misted over. The moment brought her such joy to see the love that Hilton has for Sparkles and the passion she has for sharing her fire safety message with children (to watch the video of this amazing day, visit http://www.frankieandsparkles.com/2010/02/video-footage-of-frankie-and-sparkles.html). Hilton felt the exact same way as she watched in admiration the story of Frankie unfold before them and a room full of children.

Both are grateful for each others friendship and encouragement. Though the two are states away from each other, they feel a connection with each other as they continually inspire each other to be the best that they can be, knowing that they are just a click away on the computer.

Meeting for the 1st time!

Listening intently to the fireman as they show us the firestation

Getting a tour of Elkhart Lake/Town of Rhine Fire District firestation

Yup!  My mom and Sparkles Mom have our pics and website plastered on back of their trucks

Sign made my children in Canada welcoming us on the Skype visit


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pets with Disabilities

"Because their spirits are not broken"

This is the saying on Pets with Disabilities website.  As a dog on wheels, I have to say, this is right on!  One big thing I taught my mom after I was hurt and my back legs didn't work so well anymore, was that I was still me.  I had not changed one teenie weenie bit!  The only difference was now I needed  a special tool to help me walk and that special tool is my wheelchair.
Each quarter my mom and I choose a disabled animal charity to donate a portion of my book sales to. So this quarter we chose Pets with Disabilities for all the extraordinary work they do to help animals like me that may not have been helped due to a disability. Below you can read more about them which is a blurb from their website.   I hear my mom tell people all the time how blessed she feels to have me in her life... awwwww shucks!  So next time you are considering adopting a pet maybe you might want to consider a special needs pet... they need lots of love too... and I promise they will love you so much in return you won't even believe it!

Pets with Disabilities Founders Joyce Darrell and Mike Dickerson

Joyce Darrell, along with her husband Michael Dickerson, founded the Pets with Disabilities organization in 2000. Their lives were changed forever after their rescue dog Duke broke his back playing as a puppy.

Having nowhere to turn for help in caring for him, they started the organization Pets with Disabilities - a rescue and resource that provides information and support to families caring for pets with disabilities. The story of Duke (and later Misty, another wheelchair-bound dog) has helped raise awareness about disabled pets and has reached thousands of people worldwide. The grassroots organization and Web site, www.PetswithDisabilities.org provides support and information to animal caretakers whose pets suffer from birth defects or have become disabled due to illness or injury.

Mike and Joyce travel all over the country with Duke and several other dogs, promoting their mission: "Provide a positive voice for dogs and cats with disabilities that desperately need homes"

Powerful spokes-dogs Duke and Misty have been featured on NBC’s Today show, as well as in Prevention and Dog Fancy magazines. They are always the center of attention at every pet exposition they attend!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Give-Away Today Only!

Be sure to stop by Two Dogs Rollin':  Frankie and Sparkles Big Adventure 2010 blog to see what you can win!  Hurry!  Today only!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Pet Holidays to Celebrate


• Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month

• National Pet First Aid Awareness Month

• National Pet Month

• National Animal Control Appreciation Week, April 11-17

• National Pet ID Week, April 18-24

• Pet Parent's Day, April 25

• National Kids & Pets Day, April 26

• Hairball Awareness Day, April 30