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Sheila Duncan

137|Sheila Duncan - Podcast Interview

I knew nothing about children’s books, or children’s characters, or the entertainment industry, or anything. But I knew this was meant to be. - Sheila Duncan

It all started one day in 2006 when Sheila was spending time with her twelve year old niece, Kendra who had experienced a series of losses. First, her father passed away, then her grandmother “Nonnie” died of cancer, and finally, the family dog, Irish died as well. Through her tears, Kendra looked up at the TV and saw a telethon about children with cancer. She drew a picture of a small grey puppy and said: “His name’s “Trouble” and he’s gonna help kids having trouble in their lives”. Sheila remembers believing very deeply that something “divinely inspired” happened that day. The story line and the concept for the popular “Trouble The Dog” children’s book series was hatched and Sheila became the force that carried her niece’s compassion forward to the world. And it hasn’t been easy! In this interview, Sheila talks about what it takes to breathe life into an idea. With experience in the restaurant and the travel industries, she tapped into her inner-entrepreneur, figuring out how to break into the children’s book market with the first two books in the Trouble The Dog series, and then, how to manufacture a huggable plush toy by the same name, made in the USA. Throughout this interview, Sheila talks about the value of persistence, even when no one believes in your idea: “I listened to my intuition and to what the kids were saying to me. It was like there was a big foot in my back, propelling me forward. I just kept on going.” Trouble The Dog has given comfort to children in foster care who receive him as part of their therapy. He has traveled to Haiti after the earthquake, and to Newtown, Connecticut where he comforted children directly affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook. And it’s not just children who feel his love. Trouble has even helped wounded soldiers at Walter Reed cope with their injuries. With the upcoming release of a third book in the Trouble The Dog series, Sheila and Kendra’s mission to bring Trouble’s message to the world keeps on going. Says Sheila: “There’s something enchanting about this pup called Trouble. He comforts kids. Our next step is to bring Trouble to life on your TV screen as a meaningful cartoon series!” #hope #troublethedog

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