Through Frankie’s Eyes
Joyful Paw Prints (2013)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/13)
I have spent my journey experiencing life changing moments that were instigated by my relationship with animals, especially dogs. I cannot imagine anyone going through life without having these special relationships. I was excited to discover “Through Frankie’s Eyes” by Barbara Techel because in addition to loving animals, I also work with adults who have disabilities. I anticipated that Frankie’s story would help me find a connection between the two. What I didn’t expect was finding a book that would help me snap out of feeling stuck and burned out. This was a huge, wonderful surprise.
In “Through Frankie’s Eyes,” Barbara Techel tells the story of when her dachshund named Frankie developed Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) and how dealing with this crisis changed both their lives. Initially, I assumed that the whole book would be about Frankie, however, Barbara also shares the stories of two other special dogs who were in her life. I loved that she included pictures of all of them. I felt myself relating to Barbara as she goes through work-related dilemmas. I could totally understand her need to bring in an income yet her desire to be called to do something different. Being able to tie that calling into her love for her dogs makes what happens even more special.
While recovering from the loss of a beloved lab, Barbara decides to get a puppy that she can train to be a therapy dog. Seeking out the perfect lab for this role, she is pleased to find one that seems to fit the bill. When she and her husband bring the puppy home, Frankie readily accepts the new addition to the family. Everything seems to be going fine, until a crisis occurs involving Frankie’s paralyzing spinal injury. As Barbara struggles to adapt to Frankie’s special needs, their world changes when Frankie gets a wheelchair designed for her. Frankie is finally able to move around again. The adaption is not easy, but obviously it opens up both of their worlds, especially when Barbara starts taking Frankie out in public. Fearful of negative remarks, the majority of people are positive and supportive about Frankie’s wheels. Barbara also finds that people who have disabilities can relate to Frankie. As the positive experiences grow, Barbara starts writing books about this special dog, and making public appearances with her. Getting Frankie certified as a therapy dog leads them into the hospice world where they share some incredible experiences.
It is amazing how something tragic can evolve into something incredible. Not only was their life changed, but so were the lives of the people who got to interact with them. Reading their story and seeing how Barbara relied greatly on her faith to take risks really helped open my eyes to getting my life back on track. Seeing how this worked for her made me realize that if I don’t take some risks and make some changes in my world, nothing will happen. I am so grateful that this author shared her story, and revealed so much of herself while doing so. I know that I don’t have control over everything happening in my life; however, I do have control over how I choose to deal with these things. Starting today, I consciously choose to make my life better and more meaningful. Thank you, Barbara Techel, for sharing your story in “Through Frankie’s Eyes.”