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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.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Special Needs Pet Feature: Dixie

There are so many caring pet parents out there who take care of special needs pets. To bring more attention to these joyful animals, and extraordinary people, this is a new feature to my blog. If you care for a special needs pet and would like your pet featured, please email my mom through her website contact.  Send a photo and she will forward the questionnaire for your pet to be featured in an upcoming post.
Hope Dixie Truck 
What is your pet's name?
Dixie (her papers say Cindy's Dixie Doodle)
Owner - C. Hope Clark, owner FundsforWriters.com
 
How old is your pet?
15
 
Where did you get your pet?
My husband purchased her from a breeder as a surprise for me.
 
What is your pets physical challenge?
Dixie went blind from glaucoma. She started with migraines, and lost most vision in one eye literally overnight. We fought to save her vision in the other eye, working closely with a canine ophthalmologist, but we lost the fight. She's also 90 percent deaf, which happened within a year of her losing her sight. Cause unknown. All of this happened to her at the age of 12-13 as well as losing her life-long spaniel-mix partner that died at the age of 17. She had a string oftraumatic events happen to her in terms of a few months, especially at so late in life
 
She endured depression for several months. We made her walk around the house, however, and find her way. We had to learn how to keep the furniture in its place and keep things picked up from the floor, like shoes and such, or she'd trip over them. She learned to follow the walls and maneuver around the house in a very short time. She can still go up steps, but of course will not go down. But she adapted well. We have a bed in three rooms so she can find a familiar place to rest. She'll patrol the house sometimes, just checking out where people are. She might be slow, but she's steady. She has slowed more this year, and her favorite spot is on the sofa "watching" movies with my husband who has been known to  talk to her about the quality of cable television.
 
What is your pets favorite thing to do?
She has found her voice back, and we are delighted. She's learned to bark since she cannot always find her way to the kitchen fast enough to suit her, and cannot find her way fast enough to the door to ask to go out. When it's dinner time, she barks in the kitchen. When it's time to get out of bed, she barks. When she is thirsty, she barks. She might not be able to see or hear, but she can sure communicate when it's time to eat, drink, wake up or go outside. She's regained some life.
 
 
What is your pets favorite thing to eat?
Venison and rice. She has lost all but 5-6 teeth now. Since she has some food allergies, we struggled years ago finding what she could eat. My husband fills the freezer with venison each fall, and he's created a veterinarian-approved recipe we call rice-a-deer. The minute we start browning the meat, Dixie comes alive, barking until it's done and a sample put in her bowl. She loves it best when it's fresh cooked.
 
 
What do you love most about your pet?
She's a cuddler in the bed and still loves to ride in the car. She may not see, but she can stick her nose to a vent and imagine what's outside. She travels frequently with us. Just this past year she visited family for Christmas, the beach, an apple orchard, a pumpkin patch, along with numerous trips around town.
 
 
What has your pet most taught you?
Patience. She's also taught me to appreciate life and health, because it can change overnight when you least expect it.
 
 
Anything else you'd like to share?
Animals with disabilities can give love back to owners as much as and even more so than healthy animals. They adapt and turn lemon into lemonades better than most human beings.  We can learn from their positive outlook.
 
Personally, I just wish she could still see her squirrels and ducks outside. I had a window box built in my study with steps, so she could jump up and watch the wildlife around the lake. I'm a freelance writer, and she used to sit in my lap, sleep at my feet or sun on the window seat - my steady companion as I worked hard. Today she's happier in her bed or on the sofa, sleeping most of the time as she relaxes in the senior season of her life. But we have memories as I'm sure she does, too. And now, she's earned the spoiled pampering she receives.
Hope Beach Dixie
Thank you, Hope for sharing your beloved Dixie with us.  My mom really appreciates your honesty about wishing Dixie could see the squirrels as you know how much she loved seeing them.  My mom still has pangs of wishing I could walk on my own so she understands having those feelings.  But she also knows, like you, that she would not trade one moment with me.


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2 comments:

The Storybooking Gal said...

Love this new feature of your Blog Barb! There are so many special animals out there with equally amazing owners who love and care for them. Thank you for introducing us to Dixie and Hope!

Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog said...

So glad you love our new feature, Lisa! It is sooo rewarding sharing these special animals and their special people with others. Warms our hearts!