Trouble Times

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See for yourself the joy Trouble the Dog brings to a child meeting him for the very first time.





Sheila Duncan – Creator of Trouble the Dog®

Video courtesy of MHTV, Marblehead, MA



You Gotta Love Marblehead Featuring Trouble the Dog®

Video courtesy of You MHTV, Marblehead, MA



Listen To Trouble’s Story on The Kevin Ross Emery Show

Audio courtesy of




Albert F. Argenziano Community After School Program Holds Event in Recognition of U.S. Veterans
Somerville Patch.

 Students attending the Albert F. Argenziano Community After School Program in Somerville recently participated in a special program made possible by a gift honoring the life of U.S. Army Veteran, James K. Donahue. Mr. Donahue was a military veteran honored for his service to our country during World War II in Normandy for which he was awarded the coveted Bronze Star medal and the Silver Star for his service in Korea.

The Argenziano Community After School program offers students innovative opportunities for social engagement, learning and development. The program provides children with a variety of supervised enrichment and academic activities for families who are at work, school, or want their child to have the opportunity to socialize with other children their age outside of the classroom. The goal of the program is to support children’s healthy social, emotional and academic development with programs including Yoga, Martial Arts, Parkour Generations, Cooking, Art and more.

During this special event, children’s author, Sheila Duncan, co-creator of the character, Trouble The Dog, performed a reading of the story – “Where There’s Trouble…There’s Hope.” The book introduces a new character to the popular book series – a puppy named Hope. It’s a sweet story that inspires children to have hope, believe in themselves, and follow their dreams. The sponsor of today’s program is also enabling every child in the program to receive a plush Trouble dog, an autographed copy of the storybook, and a custom Trouble doghouse to decorate and keep as their own.
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Trouble the Dog Plush Toys and Books Given to Cape Ann Dept. of Children and Families for Foster Children
Marblehead Patch

Darius NoonanSheila Duncan, co-creator of the comfort character for children – Trouble The Dog, recently embarked on a campaign to help foster children in the care of the Cape Ann Department of Children and Families (DCF). The campaign resulted in a successful collection of nearly 50 plush Trouble dogs and children’s books for the kids to have as their own. Cape Ann DCF’s mission is to ensure that children are able to grow and thrive in a nurturing home environment. > More


Give a Foster Child Trouble the Dog this Holiday Season
Marblehead Reporter

This holiday season, Marbleheader Sheila Duncan hopes to bring her lovable stuffed animal, Trouble the Dog, to foster children at the Department of Children and Families in Salem. She encourages readers to buy Troubles to send to the children, who have been removed from their homes.

According to Carla King, foster parent recruiter at the DCF in Salem, there are about 300 children in local foster care, and they usually have little more than the clothes on their backs when they arrive. > More

Mayor Kennedy Hosts Story Time at City Hall
By Michele Durgin,

LYNN — Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy entertained youngsters at City Hall on Monday with a reading of “Where There’s Trouble, There’s Hope.” The children, ages three to eight, are participants in Reading and Educational Assistance for Learning (REAL). The Lynn-based nonprofit’s mission is to to boost literacy by providing books, homework assistance and fun activities for children.

The book, co-authored by Sheila Duncan of Marblehead and Melanie Fleming and illustrated by Joan Samuelson, both from Lynn, centers around the notion of never giving up.

It tells the story of the star character, Trouble The Dog, and introduces a new puppy named Hope. Duncan created the character ofTrouble the Dog in 2006 after her niece, Kendra, lost her dad, grandmother “Nonnie” and the family’s golden retriever “Irish,” all within a short amount of time. > More



Sheila Duncan Interview with Deb Lawler on WBZ – June 2016

Deb Lawler co-anchors “The WBZ Morning News” broadcast on WBZ News Radio 1030. Lawler recently interviewed Sheila Duncan about the character she created for children – Trouble the Dog. Lawler explored Trouble’s mission of hope for kids and helped Duncan to introduce the second book in the Trouble the Dog series – “Where There’s Trouble, There’s Hope.”

This second book introduces a new puppy for kids named Hope. Duncan came up with the Trouble character along with her niece and released the first book in 2007. She then designed a plush version of Trouble the Dog. Trouble brings comfort to children — victims of tragedies, natural disasters, patients in hospitals, and children who are homeless, have nightmares or just had a bad day and need a hug.

“The world is full of unpredictable and scary events for children,” said Duncan. “We need hope more than ever before. Hope is something we can never give up on. Trouble the Dog is making a difference for children who are most vulnerable, delivering a message of hope for future generations.”

Sheila Duncan and her staff have delivered thousands of Trouble the Dog plush puppies and books to children undergoing chemotherapy and patients receiving services through organizations including: Shriners Hospitals for Children, Boston Children’s Hospital, Mass General Pediatric Oncology Unit and Hasbro Children’s Hospital. Sheila works with the Ronald McDonald House, Children’s Miracle Network, Meeting Street and Emmaus, a shelter for homeless families. Trouble the Dog plush dogs and storybooks have also helped children attending Camp Phoenix, a medical student-run community program for pediatric burn survivors.

Karen Leavitt “The Sky’s the Limit” Radio Interview — June 1, 2016

KarenKaren Leavitt, Host of The Sky’s the Limit World Talk Radio Program, interviews guests Sheila Duncan and Melanie Fleming about their new book, “Where There’s Trouble, There’s Hope.” LISTEN


The Michele McPhee Show WMEX 1510 Interview with Sheila Duncan.

 Michele McPhee is a lifelong Bostonian, best-selling author, Emmy-nominated investigative television producer, and award-winning newspaper reporter. She is the author of five true crime books and is at work on her sixth, Maximum Harm, a revealing investigative study of the Boston Marathon bombers, to be released by Fore Edge Books in 2016. McPhee is also the recipient of many journalism awards, including the Society of the Silurian’s Feature News Award for her coverage of the events of 9/11 for The New York Daily News.

Michele McPhee interviewed Sheila Duncan about her inspired mission to help children and helped to launch her new children’s book, “Where There’s Trouble, There’s Hope.”

Directly following the show, 12-year-old Jerry Austen and mom Marlene from Weston reached out to speak with Sheila about a community service project. Jerry has set a goal to raise funds to bring 50 plush Trouble the Dog toys to Shriners Hospital and to the Waltham Fire Department for children being served by first responders.


Massachusetts General Hospital Pediatric Oncology Receives Generous Donation from the Camarda Family

Darius Noonan

Boston, Mass. (November 25, 2015) — Massachusetts General Pediatric Oncology Unit today announced that some of the children and families they provide care for will be the fortunate recipients of Trouble the Dog plush healing dogs, thanks to a generous donation from the Camarda family of Marblehead and Salem, Mass. The Massachusetts General Pediatric Oncology Unit provides world-class care for children through a comprehensive program backed by the full resources of Massachusetts General Hospital.

“We are so grateful to the Camarda family for this wonderful donation,” said Heather Peach, Child Life Specialist, Massachusetts General Hospital.  “The Trouble healing puppies provide a soothing source of comfort for children that come to us for needed medical treatment.  We provide care for more than 30 families each year and the plush dogs will be like a warm piece of home that children can have with them when their real family pets can’t be. They can keep the plush toys, easing the transition from here to back home.”

Jeannine and Paul Camarda, founders of the Frank Camarda Golf Tournament, generously donated a portion of proceeds of their successful tournament to make this donation happen. The donation included 50 hand-knit hats, made by Susan Byors of the talented Team Trouble.

“The golf tournament was created in loving memory of our brother Frank who was a very giving person,” said Jeannine. “We are working with Sheila Duncan and Trouble the Dog to keep Frank’s legacy of love alive, bringing smiles to children receiving care at Mass General Hospital. He touched so many hearts and will continue to do so through this wonderful, caring program.” 


Celebrated Children’s Author Sheila Duncan Visits with Preschool Children at Meeting Street in Providence, RI

 Sheila Duncan, co-creator of the children’s character Trouble the Dog, visits with preschool children at Meeting Street in Providence. Seventeen preschoolers participated in a storytelling and an introduction to Trouble the Dog. Ms. Duncan shared a lively narrative of “Here’s Trouble,” a children’s book she authored that takes young listeners through the adventures of this quizzical puppy. The book teaches kids about hope, resilience and compassion.  Meeting Street provides educational, therapeutic and diagnostic services to more than 4,000 children and their families each year.

Lynn Resident Illustrates Children’s Book (Lynn Journal) – July 1, 2016


Curriculum Instruction Teacher, at the Julia F. Callahan School in Lynn, during a recent visit with second-grade students.

Mrs. Samuelson met with students in three second-grade art classes to read the touching story about the star character – Trouble the Dog and answer students’ questions about what it takes to use their imagination and ideas to create stories and drawings of their own.


A Kind Voice Radio Interview with Sheila Duncan – July 2016

 Host Kita Szpak interviews Sheila Duncan, who has used her kind voice as co-creator of Trouble the Dog to help children going through hard times. LISTEN



Watch Marblehead TV Headline News — “Everyone Needs a Little Hope” — May 2016

Video courtesy of Marblehead TV, Marblehead, MA

Trouble the Dog Visits Families at Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s Tomorrow Clinic – March 26, 2014


Children’s author Sheila Duncan, co-creator of the Trouble the Dog® brand, visited with children and families on Friday, March 14, 2014 at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, R.I.. Duncan’s visits benefit The Tomorrow Fund, an organization that helps to ease the traumatic financial and emotional effects of childhood cancer. Its founders recognized that, in addition to the very best medical care, families need financial and emotional assistance to cope with the overwhelming challenges of this disease.

Ms. Duncan is all too familiar with the emotional toll that childhood cancer can have on children and their families, having visited with children at Children’s Hospitals across the country. “Trouble the Dog brings a source of comfort, hope and support that these families really need,” said Duncan. “The children’s eyes light up when they see him and it is so heartwarming to witness the sheer joy that Trouble brings to these children and to their families.”

Hasbro Children’s Hospital’s Tomorrow Fund Clinic is widely recognized for its outstanding medical treatment and compassionate approach. Duncan visited with several families throughout the day, bringing smiles and hugs to the open arms of several children. A staff member at the hospital, Cathy Miguel gave her granddaughter, Bella a Trouble Dog on her first birthday. According to Bella’s mom, Jen Farley, “From the moment Bella saw him, she could not take her eyes or hands off of him. There is just something remarkably calming and comforting about that little dog.”

Duncan visited with “Princess Lisa”, a patient at Hasbro Children’s Hospital. According to Princess Lisa’s mom, the family has been helped immensely by The Tomorrow Fund.

Trouble the Dog has a mission to help kids going through troubling times. He has been applauded as a socially conscious toy; a therapy dog and a comfort toy.


An American Journey to Be an Icon of Hope for Children

Marblehead, MA — Marblehead resident and award-winning entrepreneur Sheila Duncan (recently recognized as a rising entrepreneur by Exceptional Women) has developed a line of plush toys and children’s books that are starting to cause a stir. Here’s Sheila’s story, which all started with a little Trouble….

In today’s fast paced world, it’s not easy to be a kid…kids are pressured at school, over-exposed to technology, and have to deal with big issues such as poverty, divorce, cancer, cyber bullying and so much more. Sheila and her niece created a plush toy and book series to help kids deal with their troubles. “Trouble the Dog” is a plush little pup that kids can hug and play with, helping to absorb worries and replacing them with smiles. Trouble the Dog is a simple yet powerful concept. He is the ultimate comfort toy for kids to hug, use to express themselves and simply play. No batteries required!

Sheila has visited people all over the world. She has been warmly received when presenting Trouble the Dog to families affected by overwhelming circumstances – including victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut and the Haiti earthquake, to name a few. It is Sheila’s personal goal to turn Trouble the Dog into a global ambassador of hope for children.

Sheila has been generously giving away Trouble plush toys and books to children at children’s hospitals around the country, to residents of nursing homes, VA Hospitals and other places – but she also has a business to run. Sheila needs people to know how they can give Trouble the Dog as a gift of hope.

According to Sheila, “Our business is unique in that instead of simply creating a children’s character, book or plush toy, we created a character with a mission. The book helps kids to learn how to deal with the bumps that life brings – gently and with humor.”

Sheila has received hundreds of letters from families sharing how Trouble the Dog has indeed become an instant friend that children seem to gravitate toward and use as a coping mechanism when faced with adversity. He is a trusted confidante that children whisper their concerns and fears to…helping children to express their feelings openly, and making them smile and feel safe.

Trouble the Dog is one of the few plush toys available in the U.S. that is 100% created and handcrafted in the USA. Sheila notes, “It costs our company more to have Trouble produced in the United States, but the quality of craftsmanship, fabric and plushness of the pup are superior – and that is very important when presenting a toy to children.”

Huggability is indeed a key factor of Trouble’s immediate acceptance with children and his iconic face attracts kids like a magnet.

Trouble the Dog was created by Duncan’s niece, after losing her dad, grandmother and family pet all to cancer within a very short time period. That is why Sheila is very passionate about her mission. She is on an American journey to make Trouble the Dog a household name and an icon of hope for children around the world.

Trouble the Dog Featured on MSNBC’s Your Business – February 4, 2014


s Trouble the Dog the next big thing in toys since Hello Kitty or Cabbage Patch dolls?  Could very well be.  Sheila Duncan, President of Larkin, Ltd. recently presented the brand she created — Trouble the Dog — on MSNBC’s “Your Business.” The program aired Sunday morning, February 2, 2014 at 7:30 AM.  Duncan was invited to participate in the “Elevator Pitch” segment with host JJ Ramberg at NBC studios in New York.  Trouble the Dog was ranked 10 out of 10 for passion and for his mission to help kids, which is what sets him apart in the toy industry. You can view Trouble the Dog’s Dog’s MSNBC appearance HERE. 


Trouble the Dog: Helping Kids Through Difficult Times

According to the MSNBC web site, “Trouble the Dog will warm any child’s heart. He is no ordinary canine. This socially conscious toy is designed to provide comfort to children who need a little extra attention.”

“Feedback to our appearance has been phenomenal,” said Duncan. “We are in discussions with potential distribution partners to find the right partner who appreciates our efforts to make Trouble a household name, while understanding the enormous untapped potential for products, books, accessories and an animated television series.”

Duncan presented to Gene Marks President, The Marks Group, PC and Columnist, New York Times (@genemarks) and Angela Lee, Founder of 37 Angels (@37AngelsNY). Marks owns the Marks Group PC, a highly successful firm that provides technology and consulting services to small and medium sized businesses. Marks writes weekly for The New York Times, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, and the Huffington Post. Angela Lee is an educator, entrepreneur, and angel investor.  Founder of 37 Angels, an angel network and angel education program, Angela is passionate about education and has started several companies in that space.

Trouble the Dog Makes Debut on The Today Show Bringing Comfort and Hope to Alexis Shapiro 


Marblehead resident Sheila Duncan,co-creator of Trouble The Dog®, was delighted to see Trouble in the arms of 12 year old Alexis Shapiro during an interview on The Today Show.

Alexis Shapiro has tugged the heartstrings of our nation.  A typical little girl just two years ago, Alexis is the young girl from Texas who underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor.  The surgery is said to have affected a part of her brain, causing her to feel hungry all of the time – resulting in rapid weight gain. When Duncan heard about Alexis, she wanted to do something to help. She sent the family one of her plush toy dogs — “Trouble” — to provide a source of comfort during Alexis’ surgeries and hospital visits.

“I read about Alexis in People Magazine and had to do something,” said Duncan.  “Helping children like Alexis is exactly what Trouble The Dog was born to do. Seeing her hold him and hearing how much she loves the Trouble puppy brought tears to my eyes – knowing that he is providing comfort during this incredible ordeal.”

When interviewed on The Today Show, Alexis is hugging Trouble The Dog in her hospital bed.  The surgery was successful and the diabetes that surfaced has been reversed.

According to Alexis’ mom, Jennifer,“People from all around the world responded to Alexis’ story, and we are grateful for this generous outpouring of support from wonderful, giving people – like Sheila Duncan and Trouble the Dog.”



Trouble The Dog
P.O. Box 1272
Marblehead, MA 01945

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(781) 631-0887