Here’s an appropriate title to start out a Happy New Year with:
If you’ve been with us for any length of time here at AlmostPerfectPets, you’ve read my mentions of another author of books about disabled pets, Barb Techel. She writes and blogs and gives speaking presentations about her dear little dachsie, Frankie, the Walk ‘n Roll Dog. Well, Barb’s gone and done it again, folks! Her new book is titled Frankie the Walk ‘n Roll Therapy Dog Visits Libby’s House.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure before I go on, you should know Barb did send me a complimentary copy of her book to read and keep. And I’m darn glad, because what a great book is it is! I cobbed this passage from Linda and Allen Anderson’s review, because it’s right on:
Frankie the Walk ‘N Roll Dog keeps rolling along in her doggie wheelchair. This paralyzed dachshund’s unabashed healing, exuberant spirit, and spunky personality is a blessed gift to everyone she befriends. In this true, inspirational story, Frankie tells how she became a registered therapy dog and shares her visits to Libby’s House, a senior facility where many residents have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Frankie teaches us that patience, listening, and understanding opens our hearts to what matters most—love.
But what this passage doesn’t reveal is that the story is appropriate, entertaining and educational for all ages. And what it’s difficult to communicate is how lavishly it’s illustrated with the unique and charming renderings from Victoria Kay Lieffring. These pictures capture in stylized detail the range of emotions Barb writes about as the residents of Libby’s Place discover, enjoy and finally, love Frankie.
The one of Daniel staring into the eyes of a rapt Frankie on page 30 is just perfect: sweet and the absolute embodiment of a clear conduit of bonding between members of separate species who nevertheless have discovered that matchless common ground of shared experience. And that’s what this touching book is about, that which makes us all fellow travelers on this earthly plane: our shared vulnerability, and the reality that when all else is stripped away, all we have is each other and the comfort we can humbly share.
I challenge anyone to read this book and come away with dry eyes and without a smile of recognition. And it’s that juxtaposition of the sometimes difficult realities of life with the always hopeful knowledge that each of us brings something of value to the world that we can share with each other that makes this little story something that will stay with you long after you’ve closed the cover.
I urge you to get a copy of Frankie Visits Libby’s House for yourself, and consider it as a rich but affordable gift for those you care about. Kids will understand the straightforward lesson that therapy animals can reach older folks whose worlds may have contracted from their previous horizons. Teens and young adults will see a potential opportunity for public and personal service beyond their daily worlds. Adults will appreciate the many subtle messages of hope and inspiration.
There’s no one who can’t find an important and hopeful message in this true story, handled with such respect and grace by Barb Techel. Personally, I found it the perfect antidote to the insincerity of so much of today’s mainstream “entertainment.” Those so-called “reality shows” are nothing but some cynical people’s ideas of what we should accept as reality instead of the overblown, drama queen-fests they are.
I don’t know about you, but I choose to live in a world where people still care for each other and try to soothe hurts instead of exploiting them; where humans can count among their proudest moments those they spend reaching out to creatures of other species; and where we can all recognize that those gifts can and do come full circle back to us from small, brown doggies on wheels, with big, floppy velvet ears and eyes that glow with the deepest understanding and concern for every living thing.
Frankie-land is my reality show. And I intend to stay tuned in for as long as my brain can still absorb the lessons of love and acceptance she and her mom have to teach us all. Treat yourself to Frankie’s love in all its high-def glory on the pages of her latest expedition to Libby’s House. You’ll be glad you did.