Special Needs Pet Feature of the Week: Gabbi

What is your pets name? 

Gabrielle (Gabbi) S. Carolina

How old is your pet? 

15 ys. this past Oct.  2010

Where did you get your pet? 

Came from shelter in South Carolina thru DRNA (rescue).  Former owner had broken her back.

What is your pets physical challenge? 

Paralyzed from abuse.

What is your pets favorite thing to do? 

‘Nurse’ on doggy stuffed toy, or blanket, or bedding, or whatever.   Stress reliever for her.

What is your pets favorite thing to eat?


What do you love most about your pet?  

Personality (tho’ can be aggravating @ times!!) b/c she is going to be sure you know she is ‘present & alive’!!

What has your pet most taught you? 

Patience & deeper love for special needs.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Gabbi was always a ‘tough little cookie’, which is prob. how she survived until she was rescued from prev. owner.  Now @ 15+ yrs. of age, sad to see the aging changes, as she was always so Alive & Vocal!!   Gotta love her tho’!


***If you care for a special needs pet and would like your pet featured, please email me through my website contact. Send a photo and I will forward the questionnaire for your pet to be featured in an upcoming post.***

Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog Interviews Author Barbara Techel (Part 1)

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.


Disabled Dachshund Becomes First Ever Cyber Therapy Dog with Companions for the Soul


Award-winning Author Barbara Techel and her paralyzed therapy dog, Frankie, have been chosen as the first ever cyber therapy dog team. They will appear via Skype to share their inspiring story of learning to see challenges in a positive way and encourage volunteerism despite obstacles we may face.

ELKHART LAKE, WI — Barbara Techel and her 11-year old wheelchair-bound dachshund will share their inspiring and uplifting story about how Frankie suffered a spinal injury, was custom-fitted for a wheelchair, persevered, and became a volunteer therapy dog through Barbara’s award-winning book series, Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog.

They will be appearing via Skype in conjunction with Companions for the Soul(CFTS)who is hosting this first time event on May 31st, 2011.  Barbara and Frankie will be sharing their story with Woodside Elementary School and their K-2 Literacy program. CFTS is a non-profit therapy dog organization based in California and is hosting this first time ever event. CFTS’s programs are targeted at enriching the lives of the handicapped, autistic and special needs children. When executive director, Ginger Mozzetti, discovered Frankie and Barbara through their website, and the work they are doing, she contacted Barbara to ask if Frankie would be their first ever cyber therapy dog and partner with CFTS.

Barbara will share Frankie’s story, a selected reading, and answer questions. And most importantly, Frankie will be there to promote both her books, Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog and Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby’s House to bring the children smiles and joy by being in her presence, as well as encourage the students to read and see their challenges in a positive way.

We all face challenges in life, but when we choose to be positive despite obstacles, we find that our challenges can often time lead to some of our most pivotal learning opportunities.  Frankie taught her owner, Barbara just that, and now Barbara finds great joy in helping others benefit from Frankie’s amazing attitude and valuable life lessons.


Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog book series is a true collection told from Frankie’s viewpoint. The first book tells how Frankie overcame adversity and lives every day to the fullest despite her disability, while the second book in the series, tells how Frankie became a registered therapy dog and gives personal accounts of her visits to the residents of Libby’s House, a senior assisted facility where many residents have Alzheimer’s or dementia.

To learn about Barbara and Frankie visit http://www.joyfulpaws.com and to learn more about CFTS visit http://www.companionsforthesoul.org.