This isn't the story we set out to write. That story was a celebration.

This isn't the story that we wanted to write, although we knew we would eventually. This story is a memorial. But because the subject of the story naturally inspired such things, it's a celebration as well.

On June 4, Frankie the Walk 'N Roll dog announced her retirement. She was tired, and it was time for her to take it easy. On June 14,she made her last public appearance. On June 21, unexpectedly, she passed from the world, brought down by chronic heart disease. She was two months shy of her 13th birthday.

Most of you who visit this site know about Frankie – Francesca, to use her proper name. But for those of you who are newcomers, here's the summary. Until 2006, Frankie was like any other dog. Sweet of face and much loved, just like your dogs and ours. In 2006, while staying at a boarding kennel, she jumped onto her food container, slipped off and injured her spine. Barb Techel, Frankie's mom, did all the right things. She got Frankie right into surgery, then worked with her at hydrotherapy and rehab. But to no avail. It became clear that Frankie would not walk again.

That's when both Barb and Frankie got rolling. Some people, when given lemons by life, will make lemonade. Barb made Greek egg-lemon soup, Chinese lemon chicken, and a perfectly beautiful lemon soufflé for dessert. After getting Frankie fitted for a chair from Eddie's Wheels, Barb started a seemingly non-stop round of visits – in person and via Skype – to schools and libraries. With Frankie in tow, she spread the message that, like Frankie, we should all stay positive and keep on rolling. She wrote story books and activity books to bring the word to children who couldn't see one of her presentations. She also took Frankie to hospitals, senior facilities and hospices, bringing smiles to many who were struggling to find any reason to smile.

In fact, Frankie's good works are continuing even after her passing. Barb has started a memorial fund to provide wheelchairs for dogs whose owners would not otherwise be able to afford them. If you're interested in being a part of this effort, click here.

Barb is a deeply spiritual person, and she has said more than once that she and Frankie were destined for their mission together. We won't dispute that, and it's clear that she and Frankie gave strength to each other and became more than they could ever have been separately. But we also know that being inspired to do good works is only the beginning of a long and hard road that few have the strength to travel. Barb led the way on that road, and she and Frankie went farther along it than almost anyone could have believed possible. Barb is a brave, strong and good woman, and we hail her and wish her comfort as she mourns her sweet friend.

We will be writing about Frankie one more time. Earlier this year, Barb completed the manuscript of a book titled Through Frankie's Eyes: One Woman's Journey to Her Authentic Self and the Dog on Wheels Who Led the Way. We will be reviewing it for you when it's published early next year. In the paragraph just before this one, we said that Barb led the way on the road that she and Frankie traveled. The title of Barb's book gives that lead position to Frankie. Let's just split the difference and say that they walked – and rolled – side by side, and that Frankie will always, like the good dog she was, be by Barb's side.

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