A Magical Spell is Cast

A Magical Spell is Cast

Magicians Gidget and Kylie

What is it about dogs

that just like that


They can make a chore you don’t care to do

the feelings of ho-hum

just simply vanish

when out of the blue

you turn around

and there they are

looking at you with those

sweet, adoring eyes

as if casting a spell

and making life full of joy once again.

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Chinese Medicine, Dr. Andrea and Gidget: Update

Chinese Medicine, Dr. Andrea & Gidget: Update

Gidget getting her second acupuncture session

Today Gidget had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Andrea of Anshen Veterinary Acupuncture. She practices both Western and Chinese medicine. She is working with us to see if we can’t help Gidget with seizures she has had.

You have to look very closely at the photo above to see the needles along Gidget’s spine. Because of her coloring, they almost blend right in!

Gidget didn’t sit as still during this session as she did the first time three weeks ago. Though it could have been because this time we had a morning appointment verses last time we were there mid-afternoon.

But after reviewing everything with Dr. Andrea since our last visit, I’ve decided to try her on some Chinese herbs to see if that will help with the seizures and imbalances she has.

gidget and dr andrea

Gidget with Dr. Andrea

Gidget’s body being out of balance likely a long time since her diagnoses of IVDD before I adopted her, I feel, is definitely something that needs to be considered.

There are so many reasons why seizures can occur.  Oftentimes there is never a distinctive cause found, though I still have a theory with Gidget. But it’s really still a wait and see.

In the meantime, I’ve heard and read many good things about Chinese herbs helping with seizures so I want to give this a shot. I also incorporated a reading with my animal communicator, Dawn. From that reading I’ve incorporated massages I’m giving Gidget twice a day.

This has been an interesting journey to travel. From the beginning, in January, with her first seizure I just didn’t feel right putting her on medication should her seizures continue.

While she has had a total of six so far and two in April, I’m hopeful we are on the right track and she will be seizure free with the different modalities I’m trying.

I’m a believer in treating myself as a whole person when looking at when something is off in my own body and what could be contributing to an imbalance. And I feel the same way with animals.

Dr. Andrea has discussed Gidget’s diet with me, her personality, her habits, her environment, and so much more. All in an effort to try and determine the best way in which to try and help Gidget.

I’m not opposed to medication, but I also want to be sure that is the best and right route specifically for Gidget. While many drugs have come far in not being as toxic when treating for seizures, I have to follow what my gut is telling me right now.

It’s been difficult at times as I don’t want to cause any harm to my sweet girl. But in my heart I truly believe I’m doing the right thing for her for now.

If and when we need to add a drug, well then, I will surely do that.

But treating her as a whole dog is something I’ve leaned into over the years growing stronger in what I believe and being able to express that.

This is, at times, just as much about me as it is about her. I’m learning once again to stand in my truth and have faith I’m doing the right thing.

Meanwhile, in Gidget’s world, she is curled up under her blanket snoring away as I write this post. This is a good thing.

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Joie, My Wheelchair-Bound Dachshund, Featured in “The Surface” Movie. Great Movie. Great Honor.

Joie, My Wheelchair-Bound Dachshund Featured in "The Surface" Movie.

Standing outside the Marcus Cinema Theatre in Appleton, WI

Yesterday as we got into the car to head to the Marcus Cinema Theatre in Appleton about one hour away, John looked at me and said, “Here we go. We are going to see Joie!”

I had been trying to hold it together all morning – the excitement, the anticipation, the wishing she could have been here for this, and how proud I am of her – and in those words John said, my emotions all came to the surface.

A mixture of happy and sad all rolled into what we call bittersweet.

Memories flashed through my mind from the day Joie and I we were on set of The Surface movie in August of 2013 to now here—almost two years later, and all the time and effort that goes into making a movie, finally here, on the big screen.

The day before we headed to the theatre I printed out the photo of Joie that was taken on the set and put it in a frame. It was my plan to have a picture taken of me holding her photo next to the poster at the theatre.

As we got comfortable in our seats at the cinema I felt like I was holding my breath as the movie began. I also didn’t want to blink for fear of missing Joie’s few seconds of fame when she rolled across the screen.

Based on a true story and written and produced by Jeff Gendelman who persevered 18 years to bring this story to life, is one of two ordinary men, each at the end of their rope who meet in the middle of the vast, cold waters of Lake Michigan.

The Surface movie

Each with struggle’s of their own, they come to find in each other that they are not alone in those moments when one feels at the very bottom of tough challenges life can hand us.

I felt connected to the story line with my own ordinary challenges I’ve faced over the years. But especially with the more challenging ones for me which have been caring for my first dachshund, Frankie who became paralyzed.

But from that challenge came a calling I couldn’t ignore and I had to tell Frankie’s story through the books I’ve written about her.

From that love of Frankie came another calling to adopt another paralyzed dachshund after Frankie passed away in June of 2012.

Joie would come to me from the Oregon Dachshund Rescue, flown here by volunteer Linda.

To think in those ten short months she was with me that she’d take part in the filming of a movie still makes me shake my head in wonder and smile.

As one of the main characters, Kelly (played by Chris Mulkey) reflects on his life in a flashback, though I wasn’t sure when Joie’s part would be shown, I knew in that moment that this was it. My heart began to beat faster.

As the film moves into that scene, the camera angle shows Joie from the front, then the back, as she rolls down the front hallway toward Kelly who is leaving for work that morning. Kelly’s daughter played by Jeff’s daughter Megan, comes bounding down the stairs, scoops Joie up in her arms and kisses her dad (Kelly) goodbye.

End of flashback. It went so fast but yet as if in slow motion as I saw my sweet little girl, roll down that hallway just like she often did in our home.

“Oh Joie, how I’d love to hold you just one more time.” I thought silently. I was giddy with excitement while at the same time felt a moment of grief and sadness — but most of all I felt so so proud.

Another part in the movie, unbeknownst to me is when Kelly tells the other character, Mitch (played by Sean Astin) that he needs to get a dog. Kelly then tells Mitch about his dog, a dachshund, shot in the back when out for walk with him in the woods, but that he survives.

At first I thought they got it wrong that Joie was a girl.

And then when the film credits rolled I understood. In the list of the cast was Joey, played by Joie the dachshund…and then in parenthesis (in memorium).

This is when I thought I’d lose it because I was deeply touched they acknowledged Joie’s passing.

And I guess it’s not everyday that you can also say, hey, there in the special thanks section was my name, Barbara Techel of joyfulpaws.com

Wow. So surreal. So fun. Such an honor. A real honor.

I saw Joie in my mind’s eye as I meditated this morning. She was standing there before me as I looked into her adorable little face. She wasn’t in her wheelchair, but healed and standing on all four paws. A beautiful light was shining down on her and I could feel how happy she is as she turned around and slowly walked away, fading into the light.

While she could only be with me for ten short months before she succumbed to the challenges of IVDD the gift of her will remain in my heart for a very long time.

I’ve put together an album on Facebook when we were on the set of The Surface.

I’ve heard from many of you wanting to know when The Surface will be playing in your local area.  Linda, rescue volunteer who brought Joie to me, contacted The Surface. This is what she heard back, “Later this summer it will screen on VOD across the country, and a DVD release will follow down the road.”

I’ll be sure to announce here and on Facebook too when I hear more.