If you aren’t familiar with a series of children’s books called Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog, I will explain why they should be part of your child’s home library. The books are written by award-winning author Barbara Techel who became an animal advocate for dogs with IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease) after Frankie, her sweet dachshund, became paralyzed from the condition.
Like many of us who have become the caretaker for a paraplegic pet, the experience made a permanent impression on Barbara’s life.
Frankie became paralyzed suddenly after she had an accidental fall. That’s when she was diagnosed with IVDD which is a condition where the material inside the spinal discs dries and hardens prematurely. IVDD is painful and can lead to paralysis and unfortunately Dachshunds are prone to the condition.
As Frankie’s caretaker Barbara came to appreciate that dogs in wheelchairs can live happy, long lives. She realized it is okay to be different.
Barbara took that idea and turned it into a series of children’s books with Frankie as the main character. Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog and Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Therapy Dog became huge hits with children that were suffering from long term illnesses or having other struggles in their lives.
Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog is an inspirational story about how Frankie’s life started like any other dog until the spinal injury left her paralyzed. Frankie is fitted with a wheelchair and learns to keep rolling and enjoying life. She shares the lesson that all things are possible even if you are different.
Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Therapy Dog, won the Indie award for Excellence in Children’s Non-Fiction books. Frankie explains how she became a registered therapy dog even with paralyzed hind legs. The book teaches children about patience, understanding and empathy.
The Real-Life Story
In real-life Barbara and Frankie took their message and Frankie’s books to schools and children’s hospitals everywhere. Together they made more than 400 appearances and aided countless kids. Frankie passed away in 2012.
Barbara continues to honor Frankie each year on September 22 through the National Walk ‘N Roll Dog Day. It is a day that celebrates dogs in wheelchairs and raises donations through Frankie’s Wheelchair Fund to buy wheelchairs for dogs whose families cannot afford them. The fund has granted wheelchairs nearly 60 dogs.
A Book for Adults
In 2013 Barbara released a book about her life with Frankie and her journey after her beloved dog passed on. Through Frankie’s Eyes: One Woman’s Journey to Her Authentic Self, and the Dog on Wheels Who Led the Way tells how Barbara came to adopt Frankie, their work together with children and the new direction Barbara discovered after Frankie’s death.
Each of the books is available on Amazon.
Next month Barbara is due to release her latest book, Wisdom Found in the Pause – Joie’s Gift. In honor of the book’s release Barbara will be writing a special guest post for the readers of Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog. Stay tuned!
Disclaimer: Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog is an affiliate of Amazon. The small revenue helps me continue my work of bringing information to pet parents of paraplegic dogs and cats.