Gidget, me, Paulo and Ellen at our local cafe in Elkhart Lake, Off the Rail
When I decided to take a leap of faith and write my children’s books about my dachshund, Frankie, in a wheelchair, and then my memoir Through Frankie’s Eyes, little did I know who I’d meet along the way.
I just knew I had to tell Frankie’s story. I just knew I wanted to make a difference. I just knew I wanted to give others hope.
Writing my books has connected me to some truly wonderful people. Paulo and Ellen are two of those people – friends, really, because we will forever share a bond because of our love of dachshunds.
Not only that, but both our dogs came down with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and needed a wheelchair to help them move around.
Paulo, half way around the world, lives in Brazil and found out about me, Frankie, and our story. Initially he came across me via the great organization, Dodgerslist which helps pet owners whose dogs have been diagnosed with IVDD.
I still remember receiving an email from him asking if I could send my memoir to him in Brazil even though it was going to cost him quite a bit to have me ship it internationally. I was so honored and touched.
Paulo is Italian, but his parents feared Hitler and what was happening in Germany during that reign of terror. His parents traveled to Holland thinking they’d be safe there, but after crossing into Holland without even realizing it, they feared Hitler and his army could do the same just as easily.
His father wanted an ocean between him and his wife and that terrible time in history, so they ventured to Brazil. This is where Paulo was born and has lived for most of his life.
He attended an American school in Brazil which helped him to get into UW-Madison, Wisconsin, where he studied for 12-years. To think he was only two hours away from me during that time!
But it would first be yesterday that we met in person right here in my small village of 950 people in Elkhart Lake.
Being a car enthusiast he has been to Elkhart Lake a few times and the last time in 2011 to see the races at our well known track, Road America. When I think about the fact that he was here about 9 months before Frankie passed away, I wish he could have met her.
But it wasn’t meant to be and it was only when his Poncho went down with IVDD that he discovered my story and the connection was made.
Back in Elkhart Lake this weekend for the spring vintage car races at Road America, he looked me up on Facebook and sent me a message—could we meet for coffee?
It was sunny and in the upper 60s yesterday and perfect for us to sit outside. I was able to bring Gidget along for him and his wife, Ellen to meet, and their friend Tom, who joined us also.
The spirits of Frankie and Poncho were in my heart as we sat together, talking about our beloved dachshunds and getting to know each other better.
Paulo and his belated, beloved Poncho
I really didn’t want the time to end because being with them felt familiar in that our journey’s so similar. But most of all, the love we shared for our special needs dogs is something that has changed us all for the better.
And what brought us together even though we live worlds apart.
It was a magical morning and a memory I’ll carry in my heart right along with Frankie who resides snug and sound as the little dog on wheels who made this all possible.
Safe travels home my friends always, Paulo and Ellen!
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