On Easter Sunday 2006, at the age of six, Frankie, my Dachshund, suffered a fall and ruptured a disk in her back.
Frankie doesn’t have control of her back legs, bladder and bowels. In the beginning, caring for a disabled pet felt daunting and overwhelming. Poop and potty here, there and everywhere just about did me in. One day after cleaning up yet another mess, I decided to change my thoughts. I literally said out loud to myself, “There are worse things in life than poop!” From that day forward, acceptance took over. Acceptance gave me the patience to focus on the timing of Frankie’s bathroom habits and caring for her became much easier.
Applying what I have learned from motivational and inspirational speakers, I decided to look for the blessing in our situation. I realized Frankie was teaching me about challenges and that I had a choice about my attitude. Not once did Frankie feel sorry for herself. Despite three months of physical therapy, and then being fitted for a dog cart, she never gave up.
Frankie easily accepted her new way of getting around by scooting at first, then learning to roll in her doggie wheelchair. She is still the same sweet Frankie she has always been. Nothing about her has changed, except for the use of her back legs. She continues to face each day with joy and enthusiasm.
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Yes, Frankie’s paralysis was an adjustment, but the blessing is that she helped me find my life’s purpose, which led me to writing her story, Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog. We now share the lessons we’ve learned, visiting schools, nursing homes and hospitals to show others that disabled dogs can live quality lives, and that anyone can overcome challenges with a positive attitude.
Barbara Techel is the award winning author of Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog. Barbara’s book was awarded National Best Book from USA Book News, Merial Animal-Human Bond Award from Dog Writer’s of America, and Editor’s Choice Award from Allbooks Review. Frankie was inducted into the 2009 Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame. Please visit Barbara’s blog and Frankie’s blog.
During the month of April, a portion of Frankie, the Walk ‘N Roll Dog book sales will be donated to Rolling Dog Ranch, a non-profit charitable animal sanctuary in Montana that rescues and shelters disabled animals.