Joyful Paws Looks Back at 2012. A Few Tears. But also Much Joy.

As I look back on 2012 I see how the writing and final preparation steps of my manuscript, Through Frankie’s Eyes led the way to where I am as we get ready to close out 2012… and it was the final gift of my dear, sweet Frankie.

Just the other day my friend Cassy asked when I started working on my book to be released in February 2013.  I really had to think. After looking back at some things, I realized I started the actual writing of it in January 2011. But the idea came to me six years ago. Interestingly enough, I realize now, the story I wanted to write six years ago had to morph into what it has ultimately become– I had many paths I first had to travel. Finishing my book was a huge accomplishment for me this year. It will now carry me into 2013 and a whole new journey.  As I look back I see how everything was all in divine time.

January the manuscript was ready for the crucial eye of a developmental editor… and then the real work began.  As I diligently went back and forth with my manuscript with the editor, little Frankie lay at my feet, guiding me each step of the way.


February, March and April continued the shaping of my manuscript. I also began giving serious thought to fully retiring Frankie from her therapy dog work and school visits already having semi retired her.


May my manuscript went to my copyeditor and the process of polishing it even further began. It was really beginning to take shape and I couldn’t believe how far I had come. Frankie continued to be the confident presence I needed to finish this important piece of work for me.

June I officially retired Frankie from her work and one week later she passed into eternal life. It was not anything I could have ever anticipated, nor did I fully understand the impact of her truly knowing she knew I was ready to move on without her guiding me from the physical world– but now in spirit and always in my heart.


July is honestly somewhat of a blur. But from Frankie’s passing came her legacy and my work with her expanding in a way I am so thankful for.  The outpouring of love for my love dog on wheels was truly remarkable. The Frankie Wheelchair Memorial Fund was established to help small dogs in need of wheelchairs be able to get one.  Whether a family is in financial stress and needs one for a beloved pet, or a dog in rescue was in need, the memorial fund donations collected was $2,700 and began helping dogs in need. Filmore (below) was the first dog we were able to help!


August things really began to take shape as I realized the profound love of one little dog on wheels and carrying on her legacy with National Walk ‘N Roll Dog Day being established and founded as a day to be celebrated every September 22. It was founded in Frankie’s memory, but also in honor of all dogs in wheelchairs around the world.


September kicked off a fundraiser for The Frankie Wheelchair Fund in conjunction with National Walk ‘N Roll Dog Day.  With T-shirt sales marking the first annual celebration over $900 was collected for the wheelchair fund. Oodles of photos for our photo contest poured in also and it was such a joy posting them all to our Facebook page dedicated to this special day. How thrilled I was also for LoveyLoaves Special Needs Animal Sanctuary and Astrid Diaz Coraballo and a local animal hospital in Puerto Rico who also embraced this day with celebrations of their own. September also began the little whispers to my heart that I was ready to love another little love dog on wheels. The push also began to make my book a reality and begin the book cover design and book layout process.


October we welcomed little Joie into our lives after our dream destination of visiting Vermont was complete. I continue to be so grateful for the help of Oregon Dachshund Rescue with a very special thank you to volunteer, Linda, for flying all day with Joie from the state of Washington to our home state of Wisconsin. Also, not a day goes by that I don’t think about Joie’s mom before me who had the courage to let Joie go.

joie 1

November and December continued work on all the design aspects of my book and the beginning of what will now be the real work–birthing it and pushing it out into the world. December 27 I held the actual paperback proof in my hands and yes, shed a few tears of what it all means.  Tears of what was, what is, and what will be mixed with much emotion of some sadness, but much happiness, too.

frankie3D book cover

Though it has only been one year that has passed, I feel like a whole chapter of my life has closed– and I feel like a whole new chapter is beginning. I embrace 2013 with open arms ready for the journey to begin.

Wishing each of all that you wish for in 2013.  And a huge and grateful heart to each and every one of you for being on my journey with me. There are no words to express my sincerest thanks, but know I am deeply grateful.

My New Love Dog on Wheels Meets the Thein Family– Frankie Fan’s and Now Joie Fan’s.

cameron, joie and karinCameron and Karin with Joie– our friends from Illinois

As you all know, I’ve had so many blessings because of my work with Frankie.  People I would have never met, but now know because of my little love dog on wheels.

Three years ago I had the honor of meeting the kindest family. They were visiting our small village staying at the big resort in our town, the Osthoff.  They ventured off to the small shops one day. It was there that eight year old Cameron spotted the book about Frankie which the local shop, CottageWood, carried. It was perfect because he happens to adore dachshunds.

As he carried the book proudly in his arms he ran into my dear friend, Victoria who happened to be the manager of the shop at the time, along with the small complex of a grocery store and coffee shop.  She saw the book Cameron was carrying and said, “I just happen to know the author of that book.  I can’t promise anything, but just maybe I could see if she and Frankie could come meet you.”

These are the moments in life that sometimes feel unsure, but then turn out to be something that stays in your heart always.  Frankie and I ventured down to the shop and it was hard not to fall head over heels in love with the sweet little boy who was shy, but excited to meet his new hero of the book he just got.  As it would also turn out a TV station from the neighboring big city wanted to do a story about Frankie.  We arranged it that Cameron and his parents could be part of the interview.  A lovely and beautiful memory was made… but most importantly, a friendship began.

They visited again the following year and Frankie and Cameron were united once again… and little did we know for the last time. They grieved the loss of Frankie, along with so many Frankie fans.  But they were so happy to hear when Joie came into my life. Their third annual trip was in the making to once again visit our village this year, so they emailed to see if they could meet Joie.

We spent a lovely morning with Cameron grinning from ear to ear, happy to meet his new pal, Joie, and also Kylie. Dog stories flew left and right and my heart melted for the love of these special people and sweet son for their love of not only Frankie, but now Joie too (and of course, Kylie).

karin, joie and cameron 1

I couldn’t help but give the big stuffed Frankie toy I had gotten from “Build-A-Bear” to Cameron. I know he will take the best care of it and will add to his collection of stuffed toys who are no doubt very well loved.

I’ve had many grateful moments in my life because of Frankie and I begin them again with Joie… and the Thein family I count among those treasured moments.