National Walk ‘N Roll Dog Day was founded in August 2012 by award winning author and advocate for dogs with Intervertabral Disc Disease (IVDD), and dogs in wheelchairs, Barbara Techel. She created this day in memory of her beloved dachshund, Frankie, and in honor of all wheelchair dogs.
Barbara witnessed first hand from Frankie, who became paralyzed after a fall and diagnoses of IVDD, that dogs in wheelchairs can live happy, long, quality lives if given a chance. We should not take pity on pets who lose their mobility, but instead celebrate and embrace their perseverance and adversity. In Frankie’s memory, Barbara founded this special day, National Walk ‘N Roll Dog Day, to continue to bring positive awareness to all dogs in wheelchairs around the world.
Frankie touched the lives of thousands visiting over 400 schools and libraries and logging over 250 visits to a senior assisted living facility, hospice and hospital as a registered therapy dog. She spread love, joy and hope wherever she went.
In June 2012 after the passing of Frankie, The Frankie Wheelchair Fund was established from donations received in her memory. The fund remained in place until August 2017, and with many generous donations over the years, The Frankie Wheelchair Fund granted over sixty-five wheelchairs to paralyzed dogs in need.
Frankie lives on in the two children’s books Barbara wrote about her, Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog and Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby’s House, and a memoir, Through Frankie’s Eyes: One woman’s journey to her authentic self, and the dog on wheels who led the way.
Barbara’s second memoir, Wisdom Found in the Pause – Joie’s Gift is about the disabled dachshund she adopted after Frankie’s passing and how Joie taught her that in transition gifts can be found if we open our hearts to receive them.
Frankie’s legacy also lives on in a very special place called Bookworm Gardens—gardens connecting nature with literature to enrich children’s lives — located in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.