Posted by April Scott on 2/1/2013 to Monthly Newsletter
The first we heard of Frankie The Walk 'N Roll Dog was when we got a copy of the book her best friend, Barb Techel, had written about her. You have to understand that, even in these days of the Internet, when anyone can make anything they think public, getting a book into print is not an easy task. Illustrated books are even tougher. Publishers take the raw words of the writer, have them edited, hire an illustrator, engage a book designer, send it all to the printer, then market, market, market the result. It's clear that all these jobs cannot be handled by one person. Fortunately for Barb, she didn't realize this, so she did it all, anyway. We were impressed, and we said so on this site. The story, however, didn't end there. Barb had always wanted a therapy dog and thought that she would be using her Lab, Kylie, for that purpose. But when her little dachshund, Frankie, was injured, lost the use of her hind legs and ended up in a cart, it gradually became clear that it wasn't Kylie, but Frankie, who would take on the task. Barb realized that Frankie could forge a bond that a dog with four functioning limbs couldn't. So Frankie became a therapy dog, as well as a visitor to Wisconsin schools, and, through Skype, schools around the country. She became an ambassador for Barb's message of "always be positive, make a difference and keep on rolling." More books followed. Frankie and Barb kept a full schedule until it was clear that Frankie was slowing down and needed to retire. Sadly, within a month of her retirement, congestive heart failure claimed Frankie's life. And even then, her spirit kept rolling. She is still the heart and soul of National Walk 'N Roll Dog Day, celebrated every September 22, and her name is on a fund that helps disabled dogs get carts like she used. So we thought we knew the full story. We didn't. We didn't know it until we read Barb's new book, Through Frankie's Eyes. Barb, in fact, had struggled for years with wanting to be accepted and with fearing what others thought of her. And when it became clear that Frankie would never walk again, she feared that she couldn't didn't want to watch her little dog be miserable or keep up the daily maintenance routine of helping Frankie eliminate wastes. She was a wreck. And the heart of the book tells how watching Frankie adjust with courage and joy led Barb to conquer many of her own problems with that same courage and joy. I was watching Frankie spin her way through the grass, as happy as can be, when something really struck me. Frankie didn't care that she was in a wheelchair. All that mattered to her was that she could get around and be a dog. This is a very brave book. Few of us could admit to our doubts and fears and failings like Barb does, and have the courage to share them in a message of inspiration and empowerment for readers. We review books about dachshunds on this website. This is certainly a book about a dachshund, but it is much, much more. You'll want to get a copy of this book, but you're going to have to wait until mid-February to do it. From February 8 through February 22, Barb is going to offer a chance to get a special edition of the book plus an additional item that you will want to have. The regular edition of the book will be available through the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. To find out about the special edition as soon as that news is public, you have a number of routes to follow. You can send Barb an e-mail at [email protected] with the words Special Edition in the subject line. Or, alternately, you can visit her website and sign up for her newsletter. Or, finally, you can follow her Facebook page or Twitter feed, and you will find the news there. Whichever route you choose, read this book.