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.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Silly Dog Magnets a Booming Business for Artist, Brianna Lennox Brunsell

Congratulations to our friend, Brianna Lennox Brunsell for her feature story about her Silly Dog Magnets business and it's success. Brianna has done Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog magnets for us and we love them. We have them for sale on our Joyful Paws website if you'd like to check them out.

Photo and story reprinted from Salina online journal

Salinan finds niche in making dog magnets

By ERIN MATHEWS Salina Journal

For Salinan Brianna Lennox, the attraction to dogs is magnetic.Lennox, 26, has successfully combined her whimsical artistic style and love of dogs into a home-based business that ensures her creature creations are on refrigerator doors and other metal surfaces all over the world.
In Salina, the magnets are for sale at two locations downtown -- the Toy Parade, 119 S. Santa Fe, and Ad Astra Books and Coffee House, 141 N. Santa Fe.
"It turns out people really love dogs," Lennox said Wednesday. "Everybody has a big soft spot in their heart right where that pet is."
The creator of Silly Dog Magnets, Lennox made her first set of magnets out of pictures she drew of Chinese Crested dogs in 2008.
At the time, she was managing CD TradePost and, in her spare time, had begun experimentally offering an array of handmade items for sale online at a website called etsy.com, which bills itself as the world's handmade marketplace.
Swedish not selling
Lennox said her Dala horses, Viking finger puppets and other items weren't finding enough buyers to replace the income from her day job.
It wasn't until she posted the Chinese Crested dog magnets that she found she had something that would sell.
"I started making random things until I found my niche," she said. "My niche turned out to be dog magnets."
A Lindsborg native, Lennox attended Salina Area Technical College for training in commercial art. She also worked previously as a gallery attendant for the Salina Art Center. She said she learned her love of dogs from her mother, who worked as a dog groomer.
Lennox started to draw more dog breeds, and the colorful magnets quickly took off online. She developed her own Web site at sillydogmagnets.com, and the business continues to grow. In the past couple of years, her magnets have been featured in the magazines Modern Dog, City Dog and Tails.
This spring, she left CD TradePost to devote herself full-time to her magnetic canine creations -- and to her real canine, Billie Bumbler, her 2-year-old dapple dachshund.
"I love it," Lennox said. "It's so fantastic. It frees me up a lot of time for me to spoil my dog rotten, which is what I do in my spare time."
Billie, who can weave through Lennox's legs and leap into the air on cue, has learned an impressive array of tricks now that Lennox is home more. Lennox calls Billie her "inspiration and quality control."
"I refer to myself as the CEO and her as the DOL, which stands for 'Dog on Lap'," Lennox said. "You can't have a dog magnet business without a mascot."
Lennox may not be a Salinan much longer. She has her house on the market and plans to relocate to Omaha, Neb. Her business is portable, she said.
Lennox creates her drawings with artist-quality markers, then has them professionally copied. She cuts the copies into a circle with a press in her office, then presses the picture into a button maker.
Instead of a pin, she glues a magnet on the back, mounts her creations on a display card, and they are ready to ship.
On Wednesday, 100 freshly glued magnets were drying on the counter. They had been ordered by a couple of dog lovers who were getting married and planned to give any cash wedding gifts to a dog charity, Lennox said. The couple ordered the magnets to give to wedding guests.
Lennox said she has had the opportunity to work on projects for several breed rescue organizations, and she has created custom work for various fundraising projects -- including magnets of Sparkles the fire safety dog and Frankie, the walk 'n' roll dog, a dog who makes presentations about living with disabilities. She has even created ribbons for wiener dog races.
"That's the beauty of a handmade product," she said. "A lot of times it's customizable, too."
Lennox's boyfriend, Candy Pacheco, helps with the magnet production process and fulfillment of online orders, which are usually shipped within 48 hours.
"You know business is good when the guys at the post office know you by name," she said.
Lennox said that in 2011 she sold more than 5,000 sets of six dog magnets, which easily doubled the amount she sold the previous year.
She has about 50 different dog breeds represented in her collections, and she said she intends to keep adding a new breed every couple of weeks, "just to keep things fresh."
She also has one cat set.
"It's not that we don't like cats; it's just that my business is silly dogs," she said.
She said she doesn't think she'll do a "mutt" collection, but she does custom work. She charges $34.99 for one customized portrait of a dog and a set of six magnets, which can be ordered through her Web site.
Of course, her favorite -- and her best seller -- is the dachshund, which takes two magnets to depict -- one for the front half and one for the hind quarters. She has dachshunds dressed in Halloween costumes, wearing sweaters and party attire, and riding in wheelchairs.
Lennox said that with most of her business being online, she doesn't get a lot of feedback, which makes the contacts she does receive special. She said the biggest fan she is aware of is a 10-year-old girl in Colorado who asks for her magnets for birthdays and Christmases and has sent her letters and her own dog drawings.
"I love getting letters from people who say I captured one of their dogs in my drawings," she said. "It makes my day."

-- Reporter Erin Mathews can be reached at 822-1415 or by email at emathews@salina.com.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Casting Call! Special Needs Pets for American Dog Magazine

American Dog Magazine is working hard to promote the blessings and joy that special needs pets bring to our lives. Do you have a special needs pet?  If so, let them know!  Your pet might be featured in the spring 2012 issue to help bring positive awareness and more adoptions of these special pets.
Email them directly with your pets name, age, and info, plus picture in high-res and 300 dpi.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog Coloring & Paper Doll Activity Book a Hit with Young Kids

Thank you, Susan for sending my mom and me these delightful photos (below) of your grandkids, Ally and Nathan (8 and 9), enjoying Frankie's coloring and paper doll activity book. As you can see, dear readers, the "doll" is actually me!  Complete with my wheelchair and many outfits you can dress me in.

To purchase your copy of my new coloring and paper doll activity book visit our website, Joyful Paws today. It's on special through Dec. 24th, 2011!

Here I am in my train costume that I won 1st place for in a contest!  Good job Ally and Nathan!

Decked out in my pink bandana and doggie sunglasses! Love it, Ally!

Here I am as a Packer dog!  Thanks, Nathan!

Me as Mrs. Claus!  Merry Christmas Nathan, Susan and Ally!

Monday, December 19, 2011

1st grader got Frankie's Positive Message in a Beautiful Way

Recently I visited first graders at Longfellow Elementary school in Wisconsin. As many of you know part of my story is to help encourage children to be positive even when facing challenges.

After my mom was done sharing my story and the kids settled in for reading time, as we packed up, one little girl asked the teacher if she could go to her locker. She said she had something for me. She ran to her locker and came bounding back in the room with a big smile, handed it to my mom and said, "This is for Frankie!"

The teacher noticed what she gave me and told my mom and me that the kids get these "passes" when they do good things. They then get to turn those in for chances at prizes each month. To think she gave up a chance to share her positive pass with me that would mean she might not win a prize is so special for so many reasons. It's one of the bestest gifts I have ever gotten!

To learn more about Frankie's books that help teach children to be positive and make a difference check out the right hand side of her blog. Or check out the books on our Joyful Paws website (we have a really good special running now through Christmas!)  All books ordered through our website are autographed with inscription and pawtographed by Frankie.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Meet Digby Who Has IVDD and a Doggie Wheelchair Just Like Me

Digby's mom, Emily emailed my mom asking if she would be upset if she shared a video she made of Digby her dachshund with IVDD to help bring positive awareness to this disease to those to in the UK where she and Digby live. She told my mom she used the same music and was inspired by Frankie and the video about me. Emily didn't want my mom to be upset that the video is similar... stay tuned until end for Digby's touching video.

It was so nice of Emily to be concerned, but of course not, my mom was not upset at all. Wow- the more of us who share our stories, she told Emily, the more dogs we can save who are diagnosed with IVDD. This is a beautiful thing!

So my mom told Emily, "Send the video on over and I'll share with Frankie's fans!"  So check out Digby, living a quality life despite an IVDD diagnoses. Could he be any happier?  Thank you, Emily and Digby for this video that will be another extension of our work that will no doubt save more lives.



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bella A Disabled Dog with Special Bailey's Chair

What an amazing dog who does not let her special needs slow her down!  Love this video of Bella and her Bailey's Chair!!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another Wheelie Dog in Town!

There's a new wheelie dog in town!  Well at least in the town over from me. Her name is Kahlua or a.k.a. Miss Lu or Tink.  She was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor August 25th. She was given two months to live. Yup, count it out on your fingers, Christmas Day will be four months since her diagnoses.  She is still pretty much the same, though her mom feels somewhat improved. Hot diggity dog!

Because of the brain tumor this has affected her back legs and walking. Kahlua's mom knows me and my mom well since she makes all our Frankie t-shirts and tote bags. So she knew getting Miss Lu a wheelchair was a viable option. 

Miss Lu stopped over today to show us her new wheels from Eddie's Wheels! Weeeeeeee..... she is still adjusting to them, but we hope in no time she will be buzzing around fast as a speeding bullet.

As far as her brain tumor, well we continue to pray for her and ask if you could send a little prayer to the big guy upstairs too. She's a miracle so far with almost outliving her 2 month prognosis.  We love you, Kahlua!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Frankie Giveaways! Just Because We Like to Give & It's the Holidays!

Okay, it's super easy to do!! All you have to do is email us your full name and we will enter you into our giveaway. In subject line please put: Frankie's Holiday Giveaway! Yup, it's that easy to do! Tell all your friends too!! Email us by midnight on Friday, December 9th to be eligible (US and Canada residents only). We will choose one winner at random per product!

We are giving away:
  • One Be PAWSitive Tshirt with bracelet
  • One Be PAWSitive Tote bag
  • One Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog book
  • One Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby's House book
  • One Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog Coloring and Paper Doll Activity Book
  • One Frankie Dress Up Magnet Set (6-pack)
  • One Frankie Magnet Set (6-pack)
We will contact each winner by email no later than Monday, December 13th. GOOD LUCK!!


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Please Help Sweet Doxie Win Photo Contest

Tulsa is hanging on to the lead by a very slim margin in a photo contest. Tulsa's Mom, Karen recently lost one of her dachshunds (13 yrs old) to 2 types of cancer. Tulsa's winning photo will win her mom some much-need funds towards the vet bills. The contest ends Monday. We need to rally the dachshund troops!

Just click on this link and then click on vote for Tulsa- that easy (you'll need to scroll down a bit!  Thanks Frankie fans for helping us out!


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Letter from 8-year old Meghan- She Loves Frankie and the Frankie Books!

There is nothing sweeter in this world then getting a handwritten letter from a child whose life I've affected... makes this little dog's heart wanna burst right out of my chest.  So in the spirit of the holiday season and all things that matter I share the letter, along with a picture that Meghan drew of the cover of my second book, Frankie the Walk 'N Roll Dog Therapy Dog Visits Libby's House. Thank you, Meghan for making not only my day, but my mom's as well!!


Poor, Poor Frankie... Does No one Want Her?

Here I am in my kennel, where sometimes I have to hang out when Mom and Papa eat dinner.  Ok, so this usually happens when I sit on the floor and whine, so I am "sent to my room." So then I try my "oh poor rescue dog needs a home" look by putting my snout through the opening. You guessed it- that does not work either. But hey, you can't blame a little dog for tryin' right?