This is part one of Frankie’s interview with me, author Barbara Techel. Stay tuned for part two Thursday. June 1st. You never know what this little dog on tires will say or ask, so tune in again next week!
So I just have to ask the most important question right away. What is it that you love about me?
Oh Frankie! As always, you are the little stinker, aren’t you? I love everything about you! You are such a special little dog with a very big heart. I love that you have taught me to expand on my compassion by teaching me what a blessing special needs pets are. I never thought about pets with disabilities until you were diagnosed with IVDD—now I can’t imagine my life without a pet with special needs.
I also love how you are so loyal to me, how you would snuggle on my lap all day if I let you, and how you intently stare at me each morning with your little brown mouse eyes and don’t give up until I finally stir and wake up. You are relentless!!… but I still love you.
Most of all I love all the feelings of joy and love you have put in my heart… I truly believe I am a better human being because of you.
Aww shucks, Mom… if I could blush, I would. Ok, so about those books your wrote about me, Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog book series- why did you write them?
Well you see little Frankie, though I don’t want you to feel bad about this, I almost made a very, very bad mistake and put you to sleep when you were diagnosed with IVDD and were only given a 10-30% chance of walking even with surgery. I just couldn’t imagine that you would have a quality life if you couldn’t use your hind legs.
Thank goodness I didn’t do that because of the help from your grandma, your papa, and the vets assuring me all would be ok, I did the right thing for you. And wow, you took over from there and watching you move forward despite all you had been through, made me realize I could help other dachshunds and pet parents see that IVDD is a manageable disease. So many people don’t know the options available.
I also was so surprised when I took you out in public for the first time and how children loved seeing you in your wheels and were asking all kinds of questions about you.
I then got this really awesome feeling in my heart after all we had been through and knew, just knew, that even though I had never written a children’s book that this is what I was meant to do! You gave me the courage, little Frankie, to write your story and to not be afraid, but to just go for it… and follow my heart.
Wow, Mom, I did all that for you? ARF-A-ROO! So what is one of the biggest lessons you have learned from me?
I have learned so much from you, sweet Frankie. The one lesson that is in my mind today is one I shall share for this interview.
I used to worry so much about what others thought about me. I was so insecure. I always had to make sure I looked my best when going out, and would constantly worry if I was skinny enough or pretty enough. Oh, how I wish I could take back all that worrying! When I look back now, it seems such a waste of time.
When I had to make the decision to have you custom-fitted for a dog wheelchair, it was not something I immediately accepted. You see, I really wanted you to walk on your own again. I was also worried what others would think of me if I had a dog in a wheelchair, as if that was a bad thing. But I realized by getting you a dog wheelchair that you could run and play and do all the dog things you could before, so I knew then the wheelchair was the right thing for you. But I still had to get over my fear that others would think it mean or strange that I had a dog with wheels.
I so wish I had never thought that way, but now I know better. When your wheelchair arrived and you tried it out for the first time, I was elated! Watching you get around in your wheels, it occurred to me that you had no concern for how you looked, but only that you had your freedom again. It was as if you didn’t even realize you had wheels now for back legs.
I knew then by observing you being who you always were that I had a choice, too. I could worry what others thought about me, or I could do something positive and educate others that dogs with wheelchairs can live quality lives, and that there is nothing wrong with a dog having a wheelchair. You taught me to hold my head high no matter what… and ultimately t that spilled over into many other areas of my life.
Now I don’t worry so much anymore. Ok, so once an a while I do, but that is because I am human and believe me, there are days I truly wish I was a dog like you living with loving, caring parents like you have. You got it made little one! But all kidding aside, I have come so far in being me and liking me. It is such a good place to be… and all because of you, Frankie…. You taught me that.