My name is Barbara Techel and I guide women to pause often, listen deeply, and capture what matters most. I do this by encouraging women to tap into their intuition through creativity, nature, animals & ancient wisdom teachings and connect with their true essence to live a more meaningful life.

My workshops online and in-studio are a community where we learn to gently hold space for each other as we share stories, open our hearts and learn from each other. It’s a sacred time where self-discovery is gently explored, reflective time is honored, and witnessing of others is done with compassion, curiosity and non-judgement.

Many women find their way to my offerings because they are in transition, searching for purpose, or wish to live from a place of peace within.

You can read what others have to say about my workshops here.

My workshops include:

SoulCollage®—an art form working with imagery to answer to life’s bigger questions. SoulCollage® is a language that speaks to the soul and through us. It can be transforming and works on various levels as you search for more meaning in your life. The beautiful thing is that you don’t need to be an artist—anyone can do this process easily.


Some of my SoulCollage® cards. More here in my gallery.

Ancient Wisdom and Nature— For over three years I’ve been a passionate explorer of the indigenous culture. It speaks to my soul as the way back to finding inner peace and a healthier planet for all. These workshops which tap into the wisdom that is already inherently within—and that being in touch with nature, animals, and our ancestors can provide us with healing energies—and guide us to our own authentic path to live a more fulfilling life.

It’s so intriguing as I saw myself in the place I am today almost ten years ago. But my passion to help guide women to their 
own souls intuitive knowing didn’t come to realization until after the unexpected passing of my disabled dachshund Joie, ten months after I adopted her. It was then that I made what felt like one of the scariest decisions of my life. I stopped everything I was doing and took a two month sabbatical to learn how to just be.

It was during this time of reflection and stillness I discovered how vital it is to our well-being to pause often, listen deeply, and capture what matters most. It was by opening to that innate wisdom already within that the next leg in my life’s journey was able to gently bubble to the surface. I came to understand that transition is a portal to what is next on our life’s journey if we can find the courage to open to its many gifts waiting for us.

I chronicled and published this story in my recent memoir, Wisdom Found in the Pause – Joie’s Gift.

I’ve been on a spiritual path since 2001 expanding more fully into who I am every day. I owe many of the teachings I’ve come to know to the dogs in my life. Hence the reason my website is called Joyful Paws. One of the greatest lessons they have taught me is to follow my heart by pausing often to think about what it is that brings me joy.

And tuning in often to my heart continues to be my best mentor for the truth of what matters to me. It’s in my Zen writing cottage where I begin each day with centering myself  with meditation and yoga before I move into my continued desire to make a difference in the world.

CBS 58 Milwaukee interviewed me about my “she shed” beautifully capturing what my sacred space means to me.

My Zen writing cottage is featured in She Sheds – A Treasure Trove of Women’s Creative Spaces and has been featured on ABC.com. Today.com and Australia’s #1 breakfast show, Weekend Sunrise.

It was my first disabled dachshund Frankie, who helped me understand that I had a choice as to how I wished to live my life. Never having had the experience of living with, and caring for a paralyzed dog, I marveled at how this ten inch tall dog rolled along in a wheelchair with gusto and confidence.

The more I was in her presence and saw how others positively reacted to her that my own confidence grew. I was able to heal guilt and shame I’d carried with me for a good part of my life, gently letting go of a burden worrying what others thought of my choices, which had often stopped me from moving forward.

I was profoundly and forever changed for the better for the lessons Frankie taught me about perseverance and having a positive attitude.

My first memoir Through Frankie’s Eyes: One woman’s journey to her authentic self, and the dog on wheels who led the way shares the heartwarming journey that we embarked on together.

From the time Frankie was seven years old and rolling in her wheelchair until the day she left this planet at almost thirteen, we were an amazing team helping children and adults see their challenges in a positive way. We logged over 400 visits to schools and libraries, plus using Skype, and made over 250 visits as a therapy dog team to a local hospital, senior assisted living facility and hospice community.

Frankie’s story touched thousands of lives through the children’s books I published about her. Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog and Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby’s House.


Frankie’s legacy lives on in National Walk ‘N Roll Dog Day which I founded in her honor and as a way to carry on her message that dog’s in wheelchairs can live quality lives.

I also established The Frankie Wheelchair Fund which to date has granted over sixty wheelchairs to paralyzed dogs in need. This is done entirely from the generous monetary donations from others who support my special mission. 


Frankie’s likeness and positive message is memorialized at a storybook garden in Sheboygan, Wisconsin called Bookworm Gardens.  She continues to touch the lives of thousands who visit each year.

Frankie’s statue at Bookworm Gardens, Sheboygan, WI

My work with Frankie has been featured on numerous radio shows, in magazines and on blogs, plus the following books:

Magical Dogs: Love and Lessons from our Canine Friends

Faithfully Yours: The Amazing Bond between Us and the Animals We Love

Dogs and the Women Who Love Them: Extraordinary True Stories of Loyalty, Healing, and Inspiration

Animals and the Kids Who Love Them: Extraordinary True Stories of Hope, Healing, and Compassion

Every Dog Has a Gift: True Stories of Dogs Who Bring Hope & Healing into Our Lives

Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Pets with Disabilities (Volume 1) 

And now a little personal background and the path I’ve traveled that led me to who I am today…

From the time I was a little girl, I’ve always felt a deep connection to animals. To this day, when I see a cat, dog, horse, squirrel, or any animal for that matter, it floods my whole being with a vibration of joy.

Me at about 3-years old with kitten, Tiger

Growing up, there were times I often felt different, though I couldn’t name exactly why that was. It wouldn’t be until my early 40s that a life coach would introduce me to a book called, The Highly Sensitive Person.

Reading that book and giving myself the gift of inner exploration with a compassionate life coach, is when I finally began to feel at home in my skin and soul.

Understanding I was empathetic, helped me to recognize and trust my intuition in a new way. This would lead me to living a more meaningful life with integrity, intent, and joy.

During a moment of self-reflection, a memory surfaced of my eighth grade teacher who encouraged me to write even though I had a difficult time understanding verbs, nouns, adjuncts, etc. Oh, how it frustrated me! But my teacher saw in me that writing was a way in which I could express what was truly in my heart. How grateful I am for her encouragement! 

Writing and journaling is now part of my life as a way for me to tap into my inner world, allowing me the quiet and still space to give voice to all the many parts of myself in a compassionate and gentle way.

Me and Gidget

As I continue this journey of awareness and what a meaningful and spiritual life looks like for me, it is the willingness to be open to symbols and signposts the universe generously gifts me, asking for help when I need it, integrating creativity into my daily existence, understanding the wisdom of animals and nature, and connecting with my inner self through various rituals that peace is allowed to find a soft place to land within me….and it is this peace within that I wish for everyone.

With love and joy,


 The best way to stay in touch with me is via my newsletter. You can sign up here:



6 Responses

  1. Good Morning Barbara,

    I am inspired by you to write a children’s book with all profits going to an area non-profit children’s home. I am interested in resources that could assist me with this venture. May I ask how you went about getting your first book published? I would be grateful for any assistance you can provide.

    By the way, your children’s books are wonderful!

    Thank you.

  2. Hi Barbara ~

    I just bought your book, “Through Frankie’s Eyes” and I absolutely loved it. I am also a dachshund lover and currently have two little clowns named Tucker and Joe. Thank you so much for all of the work you do for our four-legged furry angels in wheelchairs.

    I’m an empty nester, and I am trying to “honor” this transition in life as I discover my authentic self. I married my high school sweetheart, and we are celebrating 34 years of marriage this summer. I am also an aspiring writer who loves children, animals, and nature. I want to write a vast array of books: children’s books, Christian books, “how to” books, and books about animals and nature. I am currently working on my autobiography. I have about 800 letters from my childhood that I am sorting in chronological order as those memories begin to resurface. It’s overwhelming, but I know that my story will help others someday.

    Barbara, I would appreciate any advice you can give a beginning writer. I’ve written my entire life in childhood diaries and journals as an adult, but I don’t know where to begin publishing my first book. What resources have helped you the most? Thank you for inspiring a fellow writer and animal lover. May God richly bless you and expand your life’s work as you touch people’s lives with animals.

    Grace & gratitude ~


    1. Thank you for your lovely note, Maria. Love the names of your doxie’s and that you call them clowns – as they sure can be that!
      Regarding your publishing question, this is a huge topic – so much to think about. My advice for now is to just begin writing your stories. Try not to worry about the publishing part of it too much yet – though you might want to give thought to your goals for your books and whether you want to publish with a publishing company or self-publish. If you have a local writers group, you may want to join that also. That helped me so much in the beginning as a new writer! Hope this helps. -Barbara 🙂

      1. Barbara ~

        Thank you so much for the great advice. By the way, I plan to have a writing cottage in the future. Your cottage rocks!!!

        ~ Maria

        1. I’m SO HAPPY for you, Maria that you will be getting a writing cottage! Be sure to let me know and share a photo when it is done. I’d love to see it! -Barbara 🙂

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