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Unexpected Blessings Abound from the Love of a Wheelchair-Bound Dachshund

”MAD” About Dachshunds are pleased to feature a guest blog post by Barbara Techel…





JoieThe year 1999 will forever be etched in my mind. It was the year I decided I just had to have a Dachshund!

When I began my search I recall my husband, John saying, “Why do you want a Dachshund?” He was not too happy as we already had one dog, a chocolate Labrador named Cassie.

“Well, I don’t really know why. They are just so cute.”



John knew well enough not to ask further questions as he knew when I get something set in my mind that I want; I find a way to make it happen. He was not totally on board with the idea, but I pursued anyways.


It was not easy for me to find a smooth short haired red female Dachshund in my state of Wisconsin. I ended up finally finding the little one that would become my Frankie making a four hour round trip to bring her home from a breeder I had finally found via the Internet.


I knew Dachshunds could have back issues, but the extent of it, and the fact there was an actual disease for it, was not something I knew. But I didn’t let that deter me. After all, who thinks it will happen to their dog, right?


Things were great with Frankie for six and half years. She was a happy pup and loved going for walks and playing with her Lab dog sister.


The year 2006, and specifically Easter Sunday is a day that is also forever etched in my mind. It is the day I got the call that every Dachshund owner fears. Frankie had fallen while staying at a kennel (we were on vacation) and had ruptured a disc in her back.


My sister-in-law, Lori had rushed her to my local vet who diagnosed her with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD). Surgery was highly recommended. I gave my permission and Lori whisked Frankie off to a specialized clinic one hour away.


Three weeks after Frankie’s surgery I took her to a vet that specializes in IVDD. It was suggested that if Frankie didn’t gain back the use of her legs within about five more weeks that a dog wheelchair would be a viable option. At the time, I just couldn’t imagine Frankie having to live her life in a wheelchair. It seemed so unfair. I had a hard time accepting if this would be the case.


The next three months were a blur, exhausting and quite overwhelming at times. I was doing everything I could to help Frankie regain the use of her now paralyzed back legs, doing physical therapy the vet taught me, as well as acupuncture. The surgeon said she had a 10-30% chance of recovering and walking again.


Frankie was ultimately fitted for a wheelchair through Eddie’s Wheels. Once I accepted the idea, I could hardly wait for her custom wheelchair to arrive. Three weeks later it came in a big box, all assembled.


I chuckled and said to my husband as I opened the box, “Wow, open box, take out wheelchair, insert dog, and watch her run!”


Well, it wasn’t quite that easy!  But within a half hour Frankie did have the hang of it. Watching her roll and walk for the first time twelve weeks after her surgery was like watching a newborn walk for the first time. I was over the moon with joy!


Little did I know at the time, but this was a huge blessing about to unfold. It would lead me to what I believe is my calling–to educate others about IVDD, as well as dogs in wheelchairs—that they can lead a quality life with the right information and care. I also came to realize that through my love for writing I could write a children’s book about Frankie.


Frankie the Walk 'N Roll DogFrom my children’s book series, Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog, Frankie and I would, over a five year period, visit 400 schools and libraries in our state of Wisconsin including many via Skype. We were also a therapy dog team logging over 250 visits to local facilities.

Ultimately, one of the greatest gifts Frankie gave me was a healing that would take place within me—healing around what seem ordinary issues, but also things I carried some shame and guilt about. I was able to overcome and move through these things and come out on the other end liking the person I am today.  To think a dog who is 10 inches tall, shaped like a sausage dog, and rolled through life in a doggie wheelchair, truly warms my heart and makes me smile.



Through Frankie's Eyes- smallThe journey and lessons Frankie would teach me as well as thousands of others, I share in my first adult nonfiction inspirational book, Through Frankie’s Eyes: One woman’s journey to her authentic self, and the dog on wheels who led the way.

To think all of these blessings would come because of Frankie becoming wheelchair-bound is still quite astonishing to me to this day.

For as long as I live I’ll continue to do what I can to bring positive awareness to IVDD, educating others that it is not a death sentence. There are many viable options to help our Dachshund friends who may be diagnosed with this disease. For those who end up with dog wheelchairs, well, that is something I will also be passionate about also. They truly can (and do!) lead quality lives if given a chance.







About Barbara



Barbara Techel is a passionate advocate for dogs with Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and dogs in wheelchairs. She is also passionate about helping others see their challenges in a positive way. After her dachshund, Frankie suffered a spinal injury she was custom-fitted for a wheelchair and Barbara realized the beautiful opportunity she had to spread a positive message that animals with disabilities can and do live quality lives if given a chance.


Frankie and Barbara




In her newest book, part memoir and inspirational, Through Frankie’s Eyes she takes you on a journey that led her to live her own truth and live with more joy, all because of what Frankie was teaching her along the way.


In August 2012 she founded National Walk ‘N Roll Dog Day in memory of Frankie and in honor of all dogs in wheelchairs. She also started the Frankie Wheelchair Fund which helps dogs who need wheelchairs whose families may not be able to afford them, or for dogs in rescue.


She is the award-winning author of the children’s book series Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog which are true, inspirational stories about her paralyzed dachshund. Frankie teaches us that no matter our challenges, we can persevere with a positive attitude. And despite our challenges we can each give back in our own, unique way. Frankie is Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame Companion Dog.


Barbara’s books have received National Best Book for children’s picturebook, Merial Human-Animal Bond award, Editor’s Choice from Allbooks Review, Indie Excellence finalist and Indie Excellence winner.
Frankie’s story also appears in “Every Dog Has a Gift” by Rachel McPhearson, published by Penguin/Tarcher March 2010 and “Dogs and the Women Who Love Them: Extraordinary True Stories of Love, Healing and Inspiration” by Linda and Allen Anderson published Fall 2010 by New World Library (recommended by Oprah’s O Magazine).


Also featured in Woman’s World magazine, The American Dog, Dog Living magazine, USAToday.com and AOL PawNation.


Follow Barbara 



Please feel free to leave comments. Barbara has kindly offered 1 free ebook for one lucky person who leaves a comment.The winner will be selected at random. Closing date 1/5/13.


If you would like to write a guest blog post for us please contact us

24 Responses so far.

  1. Leah says:

    I was so touched by this story. I too have a dachshund that needed back surgery. She is precious, we thought we were headed down the road of a wheelchair for her, but she is doing well. Her first surgery failed, having been done incorrectly, and had to have a second 3 days after the first, devastating. She is big and crooked,she runs like an armadillo, but she runs. She isn’t able to walk, just run. She spends most her day in a 4X4 wooden pen custom made for her, with her bed, water, toys. She is happy there, she goes out does her duty, runs in the house and goes right to her pen which in in eye site and petting reach of everybody, so she is never alone. The floors in the house are wood, so she slides and is unable to get around well, and she knows it. I am so happy to say, I have a happy beutiful dog who will be 10 years old in June. I am so glad we did this for her. I have a special needs son, and a special needs dog, I too have learned so much. She has so much love to still give, and recieves the same love in return, she is still who she is, her disability didn’t change her, it just gave both of us a few more challenges in life!!! <3

  2. Hi Leah,

    Thank you for sharing your story of your little one. Glad she is doing well. And wow, a special needs son too– I bet they have a wonderful relationship. Thanks for stopping by!

    -Barbara Techel

  3. mitzi frank says:

    i have wanted to read this book since i first heard about it…was hoping to get it for my birthday, but that hasn’t happened…i would love to win this book!

  4. Teresa Shively says:

    I loved reading Franke’s story. It reminded me of my little paralyzed girl Miss Tiger Lily, a red brindle, whom came into my life at age 6, already paralyzed, after her Mom died. I became Lily’s last Mom on this earth, and we shared life for 7 more years. She was the spokesdog for Colorado Dachshund Rescue and I loved her!

  5. I have followed Barbara for many years and have read her books. I also have an older Dachshund Winnie who is now nearly 13 and failing. I am experiencing the feelings that Barb has described watching my fur angel slowly fade. Each day is a blessing with my girl and my last tie to my late husband, Never a dog person when she came into our lives he had just gone on disability and was his companion while I worked.He fell in love with her and when he died 3 years ago she mourned for over a week..howled and cried until she was hoarse!What a blessing in Love she has been..

  6. Chris Pawlak says:

    It warms my heart to read stories with happy endings. My rescued Doxie fortunately does not have IVDD, but my rescued Basset Hound Daisy went blind do to glacoma. One eye went blind and I had the choice of removal or aspiration. I decided on the aspiration, with the hope that it would not happen to her other eye. But, one month later, her other eye was affected. I was so upset,. The doctor assured me that Daisy would adjust, but I was so devestated, I could not believe. Well, the doctor was right! It took a few weeks, but Daisy was back to her old self, she was up and down the stairs, at the windows barking and attending the Guardian angel Basset Rescue Annual Waddle. I did make some adjustments in my house to accomidate her blindness, but now knowing how well she accepted her disability, I would never hesitate to adopt another blind dog!

  7. Beckie Tramel says:

    I just found out about you and your site! I ordered your book via amazon, but have not received it yet. I have 2 beautiful red daschunds who are 6. 8 weeks ago one our them had a large blood clot on his spine and lost use of his back legs. He is in therapy 2 times a week and got wheels this week, if Hitch ( Alred Hitchcock) never walks again , he could not be more loved! It is a true blessing helping him. He has started wagging his tail this past week and I know he is a happy boy. Thank you for ALL your insight and encouragement!

  8. Sharron Mitchell says:

    Barbara, so amazed at all the wonderful things you continue to do for our little paralyzed fur friends. The wheelchair fund brings an amazing quality of life to a needy pet. There is nothing more special to me to say to my little Bandit, “You wanna ride?” and seeing him hop, and his eyes light up! Bless you!!

  9. Pawie chavez says:

    I was so moved by your story.tears just ran down from my eyes as i was reading about your story.i have 22 dachshunds and i love each and everyone of them like my own children and i would just die thingking if anything would happen to any them especially ivdd.god forbid, i hope none of them will experience this for nobody makes wheelchairs for dogs here in the phils.
    I salute you for not giving up on frankie and instead you extended your patience in taking care of him and loving him more.i would have done the same.thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story of frankie and i just cant wait to read your book.

    • I’m honored and happy to share my story– if it helps another doxie live a quality life with IVDD, then that makes my heart sing. Just so you know a company called Eddie’s Wheels (www.eddieswheels.com) ships wheelchairs all over the world– in the event you, or someone you know, would need one. They are awesome.

  10. Debbie Walker says:

    Well now I have added a doxy & a bassette added to 3 jacks. I always thought jacks were funny but this little spotted doxy Kaylee Bug is like she is always on stage. Then she stops her silly act and waits for our laughter. We dress her in a princess dressed (too long) for a Humane Society event. She sat on her dress and pulled herself down the runway. People rolled as she looked like she was floating! She won and became Miss Feb, on their calender (raised $160.00). Then she sold kissesa at their next event and raised $179.00 for the homeless animals.
    We get a why are you laughing at me look from her. Then a bark that will pierce your ears. Why do I want 5 dogs! Well their human Mama died and they went to death row and showed their faces the day before time was up on facebook. Now they are my blessings! As I know Frankie was yours. The one thing I will always remember about frankie is her happy joyful look! She rolled like the world was hers and she was loved by it! And she was! I know there is sadness she is gone. But I also know there is joy having known her. We cannot imagine had Barbara passed an angel knocking at her door by. How many people do? Thank God you opened!And received bountiful blessings for opening your door and your heart! 🙂 Debbie

  11. Stasa ILGES says:

    I love reading Barbara’s inspiring words. The past four months have been a difficult time and I have learned more about my Margo’s condition. Thankfully Barbara and other owners faced with these difficult times are what brings you through those moments of tears and dark days when you hope your furry one will make it. I am following Barbara’s words of inspiration because as a family who is faced with this new challenge we want to continue to be the best motivator for Margo. I love Barbara’s drive and spirit she portrays in her words and it pushes me and gives me ideas on how to help my Margo. If Barbara were to read this, please tell her thank you. There are days her words and even a picture may bring a tear or two, but that is a good sign she is doing her job and inspiring others. We as a family will be attending our first doxie fest and it’s all because of Frankie and his wheels!

    • Thank you so much for your kind thoughts, Stasa. I feel so blessed to spread the word I do about IVDD and dogs in wheelchairs. Frankie chose me to be her mama to do just that and I’ll always be grateful for all the blessings. I now have Joie (hers is the top photo) helping me just like Frankie did. Doubly blessed I am! Enjoy your first doxie fest!

  12. Kevin Benner says:

    As the owner of several dachshunds with IVDD including one in a cart I know what Barbara is talking about. When Chickie got her cart back in 2006 we were expecting her to have to get used to the cart. When we put her in it for the first time we weren’t expecting what was going to happen. Chickie chased our feral cat down the walkway and under my car! There was a period of adjustment for Chick to learn how to clear items in her way and she sure learned how to clear them!

  13. Deb Russell says:

    Barbara, I have felt such a connection with you & Frankie because we were going through so much of the same journey at the same time. ( I even entered the contest that you won! ) I’m not a writer but I loved my Rusty as much as you do Frankie. However, I have to thank you because I was dealing with so much resistance from my husband’s family in how I kept Rusty going in a wheel chair. My husband loved Rusty too and said it was my decision but he loves his family. His family said I was being cruel… I needed to let him go. Then out of the blue, I received a letter from his “Attorney” brother (the smart one in the family – LOL!) It was a note with your story of Frankie, the rock & roll dachshund. No longer did they question what I was doing; they just let me love him for as long as God would allow before bringing him home to heaven. Thank you so much; you made the end of journey easier.


    • Wow, Deb… thank you so much! What a heartfelt note from you. I’m so glad it all worked out for you and Rusty. It is hard when others don’t understand, but we gotta stay strong. 🙂

      Just curious which contest it was that we both entered?

      Thanks for stopping by. Your note really made my day!


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