Kennek News

Trouble the Dog Helps Hampton, Virginia Police and Fire Departments

Trouble the Dog and The Kennek Foundation of Marblehead, Mass. were back in Hampton, Virginia for another donation of Trouble plush dogs and books for local Police and Fire Departments to have on hand for children in crisis.   The donation to these First Responders was made possible, thanks to generous contributions from citizens in the community and from local businesses, including WalMart and Willow Beach Real Estate.

Participating in the donation are, L to R: Ptl. D. Taylor, Sgt. M. Keough, Susan Donahue, The Kennek Foundation, Karey Englert, Lorelai Englert, Tom Hendrickson, Master K-9 Trainer, MPO W. Ward (kneeling front) Ptl. J Low, Sheila Duncan, Founder, The Kennek Foundation, Lt. R. Warren, (kneeling, front), City Manager Mary Bunting, Chief Terry L. Sult, (kneeling, front), Pam Double and Serena Schmidt, Willow Beach Real Estate, and Sgt. J. Curtis.


Trouble the Dog Helps Loudon, NH Fire Department Respond to Children in Crisis

Plush K-9 Trouble the Dog and The Kennek Foundation of Marblehead, Massachusetts were back in Loudon, New Hampshire for a donation of Trouble plush dogs and books for the local Fire Department and First Responders to have on hand for children in crisis.  The generous donation was made possible, thanks to contributions from members of the Concord, NH Chapter of the Harley Owners Group (HOG). 

Participating in the donation are, front row, L to R: Loudon Fire Chief Tom Blanchette, Concord, NH Chapter Harley Owners Group members: Sandy Mitchell, Nancy Ray, Michelle Hermis, Peter Duford, Cheryl Schneider, and Sheila Duncan, Founder, The Kennek Foundation. Back row, L to R: Loudon Fire Lieutenant Kelly Clark, Firefighter Rich Maltais, EMT Sydney Rollins, and Firefighter Theo Partington. 
Photo courtesy: Mark Banks, Concord Chapter, Harley Owners Group.

2018 Trouble the Dog Motorcycle Ride

Generously sponsored by Marblehead Opticians, the fourth annual Trouble the Dog Motorcycle Ride was held at Shriners Auditorium on 9/9/18 in Wilmington, MA. Proceeds from the ride helped to place Trouble plush dogs in firetrucks, ambulances and police vehicles to help first responders provide a source of comfort to children in the event of a fire, accident or other emergency. Donations helped to deliver Trouble plush dogs to representatives from Massachusetts police and fire departments. Special thanks to the Merrimack Valley HOG Chapter for their generous donation and continued support — we are very grateful to you all!

And a sincere thank you to the enthusiastic riders who helped make the 2018 Trouble the Dog Motorcycle Ride a success!

Photos by Aisling Photography


WMUR-TV, Manchester, NH Reports on Trouble the Dog Donation to Police Department

A donation of Trouble the Dog stuffed animals and companion books to the Manchester, NH Police Department, made possible through a partnership between NH Speedway Children’s Charities and The Kennek Foundation, was featured on WMUR-TV. More


Trouble Testimonial from the Marblehead, MA Police:

“All of Marblehead’s patrol cars are equipped with “Trouble” and on one recent call, it made the difference. Patrol officers were summoned to a child in acute distress. School officials, a parent and the police were all having difficulty in controlling the child until Officer Mike Roads remembered his partner “Trouble” was in the cruiser and gave him to the child. Roads recalled that “it was like flipping a light switch”! The child instantly clutched “Trouble” and settled right down and was able to ride in the ambulance without any issue.”


Trouble’s Spring Adventures!

Thanks to Dr. Gary Freedman, owner of Marblehead Opticians, a “pack” of plush Trouble the Dogs and children’s books was delivered to Shriners Hospital for Children – Springfield. According to Lee Roberts of Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield, “Plush animals are used every day by our child life specialists to make blood draws less frightening, distract children who are getting casts removed, and accompany children into surgery. From left: Lee Roberts, Shriners Hospital for Children – Springfield, Sheila Duncan, The Kennek Foundation, Dr. Gary Freedman, Marblehead Opticians, and Samantha West, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield.

Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, accepts a generous donation at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction in Billerica from Sheila Duncan, founder of The Kennek Foundation. The donation will benefit some of the inmates’ children who will receive plush Trouble Dogs and books when they come to visit their fathers. The Trouble Dogs will be utilized by staff as a calming, soothing resource for children during visitations.

Boston Bruins legend Terry O’Reilly gets into “Trouble,” helping first responders deliver Trouble the Dog to children in crisis.

Boston Bruins legend John Wensink get into “Trouble,” helping first responders deliver Trouble the Dog to children in crisis.


Trouble the Dog at Shriners Hospital

(Photo, right) Sheila Duncan, founder of The Kennek Foundation and Dr. Gary Freedman, owner of Marblehead Opticians, at Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston. The donation of plush toys and children’s books is enjoyed by children and families that come to Shriners Hospitals for medical treatment for orthopedics, cleft lip and palate, and burn care.

The donation, presented on December 14, 2017, was made possible by The Kennek Foundation’s annual motorcycle ride, which will be held for a fourth consecutive year on September 9, 2018.


Kennek Happenings:

Kennek receives Generous Donation from New Hampshire Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities

Speedway Children’s Charities and The Kennek Foundation have missions that align – helping children in need. The Kennek Foundation works much of its magic through the original American-made children’s character they created – Trouble the Dog.

Trouble The Dog was created to provide comfort to children in crisis and has helped hundreds of First Responders to comfort children in the event of an accident, fire or other emergency.

Thanks to the successful partnership between The New Hampshire Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities and The Kennek Foundation, Trouble the Dog plush toys and children’s books will be donated to First Responders starting in Loudon with more distribution planned for the near future.

Taking part in the donation. are, front row, L to R: Hillarie Scott, Assistant Director, Speedway Children’s Charities; Sheila Duncan, Founder, The Kennek Foundation, and Cheryl LaPrade, Director, Speedway Children’s Charities.
 Back row: Louden Police Chief Kristoffer Burgess, Sgt. William Burke; Christopher Wyman, NH Fire Marshal’s Office; Sgt. Andrew Player; Lt. Kelly Clark, Loudon Fire Department , and J. William Degnan, NH State Fire Marshal.


The Kennek Foundation Donation to Boston Police Department

On October 5, 2017, Sheila Duncan, founder of The Kennek Foundation and Melanie Fleming, author and public relations executive for The Kennek Foundation, visited Boston Police Department headquarters to donate 100 Trouble the Dog plush toys and children’s books to the Boston Police Family Justice Center (FJC).  Trouble the Dog was created to provide comfort to children in crisis and has been utilized by first responders to give to children in the event of an accident, fire or other emergency.

The donation will enable BPD officers working in the FJC to give the plush puppies to children who are witnesses or victims of domestic violence, providing them with comfort and security in their time of need. The donation was made possible by CBS Films’ Patriot’s Day movie, featuring Mark Wahlberg, through the Edward Charles Foundation.

Accepting the donation on behalf of the BPD are, L to R: Captain Hayes, Boston Police Family Justice Center, Melanie Fleming, Police Commissioner William Evans and Sheila Duncan.


Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield Receives Donation from Masons Mount Tabor Lodge via The Kennek Foundation

The Kennek Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to bringing hope and inspiration to those going through tough times, today announced the delivery of fifty Trouble the Dog plush healing puppies to Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield. The delivery of plush animals and books was made possible through a generous donation from the Masons Mount Tabor Lodge AF & AM. The Masons and Freemasonry, which dates back centuries, describes itself as “one of the world’s oldest and largest non-religious, non-political, fraternal and charitable organizations.” > More


Sheila Duncan, center, Founder of The Kennek Foundation, was able to donate two large boxes of Trouble The Dog plush dogs and children’s books to the Lynn Police, thanks to a generous donation from the GE Employees Good Neighbor Fund. The donation will help police officers to have Trouble plush dogs in their cruisers as a resource in providing comfort for children in difficult situations – including accidents or other emergencies. Participating in the donation are, L to R: Officers Rick Connick and Bob Mason, Sheila Duncan, The Kennek Foundation, Officers Joe Curley, Rob Sirois, and Lt. Glenn Dunnigan with Paul Crowley, representing the GE Employees Good Neighbor Fund.


"Visiting a loved one in jail can be a difficult experience for a youngster. Thanks to the generous donation made by The Kennek Foundation, MSO staff was this week able to present a young girl with a Trouble the Dog, bringing them a measure of comfort during a difficult time.” Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, Middlesex Sheriff’s Office

“Visiting a loved one in jail can be a difficult experience for a youngster. Thanks to the generous donation made by The Kennek Foundation, MSO staff was this week able to present a young girl with a Trouble the Dog, bringing them a measure of comfort during a difficult time.”
~ Sheriff Peter J. Koutoujian, Middlesex Sheriff’s Office


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Click the Magic 106.7 logo for interview with Sheila Duncan


By Bike, Wagon, or Car, Trouble to the Rescue!

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Forty
 riders, escorted by the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Dept., joined us for the Trouble Toy Ride – a scenic motorcade through Lexington and Wilmington, sponsored by Prime Motor Group. Proceeds helped us to organize another beautiful donation of Trouble plush healing puppies to the Shriners Orthopedic Hospital in Springfield.


 Watch MHTV’s Profile of The Kennek Foundation!

Beloved children’s author Sheila Duncan, co-creator of the huggable children’s character, Trouble the Dog, formed The Kennek Foundation to continue her mission to promote compassion and hope. Kennek activities consist of, but are not limited to, visiting children’s hospitals with gifts of plush toys and books to brighten the day of children who are ill, making appearances at shelters for the homeless with donations and gifts for the children, delivering hope to wounded vets and, at times, assisting animals in need here in the United States and throughout the world.

With funding from generous sponsors and corporate partners, Kennek identifies those most in need and delivers hope to children and their families after crises and natural disasters.

Kennek also has plans to help fund a children’s television series, which will be centered around teaching children how to handle life’s “bumps in the road” gently and with humor. The philanthropic outreach of The Kennek Foundation builds on a reputation of compassion and caring for those who need it most.

As you plan your charitable giving, please consider supporting The Kennek Foundation and the good work it does for children and families. Your donation will be put to immediate work. Kennek brings plush toys and books to Hasbro Children’s HospitalRonald McDonald House, Emmaus, Pathways for Children, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Boston & Springfield, Boston Children’s Hospital and many other wonderful organizations. It helps families facing illness, chemotherapy, homelessness, and so much more. The need is great and requests for help keep pouring in. Your donation will enable Kennek to expand its reach and visit with more children and families that need hope.

Donation by Marblehead Opticians to Benefit Children Undergoing Treatment at MassGeneral Hospital for Children

From left to right:The Kennek Foundation’s Sheila Duncan, cancer survivor Kathy Clifford, and Child Life Specialist Heather Peach from MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

Over the holidays, Sheila Duncan, founder of The Kennek Foundation, delivered plush toy dogs and books to children receiving treatment at the Center for Hematology-Oncology at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, thanks to a generous donation by Dr. Gary Freedman, owner of Marblehead Opticians. Duncan was accompanied by Kathy Clifford, who shared the story of her personal battle with cancer and how she donated a Trouble plush dog to a young patient undergoing chemotherapy treatment at MGH. Dr. Freedman was deeply moved by Clifford’s story and added to her donation in an effort to provide a source of comfort to other children currently undergoing treatment.

“We are so grateful for this donation,” said Child Life Specialist Heather Peach, MS, CCLS, at MGHfC. “These beautiful, plush Trouble dogs will provide a soothing source of comfort for children who are receiving care here. Plush toys are known to help ease the transition from the clinic setting to home for children.”


Donation from Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbor Fund to Help First Responders Help Children

Several members of the Lynn Police and Fire Departments gathered to take part in a generous donation for first responders made possible by the Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbor Fund. Janet Melanson and Walter Guptill, Board Members of the Fund, helped to arrange the donation of dozens of Trouble the Dog plush toys and children’s books through Sheila Duncan, founder of The Kennek Foundation.

The donation is designed to help first responders in the city of Lynn provide comfort to children in times of crisis. Duncan helped to deliver the Trouble dogs for police officers and firefighters to use as a resource in providing comfort to children in the event of an accident, fire, domestic situation, or other emergency.

Participating in the donation (l to r): Officer Taylor Kulakowski, Police Lt. Glenn Dunnigan, Walter Guptill, Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbor Fund, Officer Ryan Dulong, Fire Captain Joe Zukas, Sgt. Bob Godbout, Officer Matt Coppinger, Officer Elvis Rodriguez, Sheila Duncan, founder of The Kennek Foundation, Janel Melanson, Lynn G.E. Emplopyees Good Neighbor Fund, LOt. John Arsenault, firefighter Andre Painchaud, and firefighter Rod Haddow.


Speedway Children’s Charities – New Hampshire Provides Grant to The Kennek Foundation to Benefit Children in Need

Sheila Duncan, Founder of The Kennek Foundation (third from left) joined (l. to r.) New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s David McGrath, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, Manchester NH Mayor Joyce Craig, Speedway Children’s Charities’ Hillarie Scott, and mascot Milo on stage for the grant distribution ceremony. “Thank you, Speedway Children’s Charities – New Hampshire,” Duncan said. “Together we can continue to deliver plush Trouble the Dog toys to first responders in New Hampshire for children in crisis. We are grateful!”


Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and The Kennek Foundation Facilitate Donations to Help Families Affected by Explosions in the Merrimack Valley

Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and Lawrence Police Department Chief Roy Vasque and Sgt. Sandy are working with The Kennek Foundation’s Sheila Duncan sharing “Trouble the Trauma Dog.” Columbia Gas of Massachusetts has donated plus Trouble Dog toys to the LPD. Trouble’s message is “always have hope.”

On November 07, 2018, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts and The Kennek Foundation of Marblehead presented donations of “Trouble the Dog” plush toys to first responders in Andover, North Andover, and Lawrence, MA. The plush toys will be used by first responders to give to children who have been affected by the recent explosions in the Merrimack Valley. Columbia Gas facilitated the donation, working with Sheila Duncan, Founder of The Kennek Foundation, as a way to support the local community.

Andover Police Lieutenant Edward Guy noted, “It is without question that donations like these, to the Andover Police and Fire Departments, help us to better serve the children in our community that have been affected by a tragedy or a significant incident. We appreciate these types of donations because they are a tool that we can use to help children and comfort them in their time of need.”


From Peabody Patch: Donation to Peabody Police and Fire Departments

On October 24, 2018, the Peabody Police and Peabody Fire Departments accepted donations of “Trouble the Dog” plush toys from Eaves Peabody, an AvalonBay Community, and The Kennek Foundation of Marblehead. Georgine Weber, Assistant Manager of Eaves Peabody, facilitated the donation, working with Sheila Duncan, Founder of The Kennek Foundation, as a way to support the community. The Kennek Foundation provides comfort to children in crisis with the help of the character, Trouble the Dog and the affiliated plush dogs and children’s books. Trouble the Dog will be utilized by first responders in Peabody to give to children in the event of an accident, fire, domestic situation, or other emergency. (Read more on Peabody Patch)


From Andover Patch: Help for Families Affected by the Explosions in Merrimack Valley

Representatives from Columbia Gas, The Kennek Foundation, and the Merrimack Valley MA/NH Chapter #3185 Harley Owners Group met to deliver a donation to help local families affected by the explosions in the Merrimack Valley. Charlie Fox, Director of the Merrimack Valley MA/NH Chapter #3185 Harley Owners Group, facilitated the donation to the Mass State Police on behalf of his group’s ongoing support of The Kennek Foundation’s annual Trouble the Dog Motorcycle Ride that supports first responders and the children they serve. (Read more on Andover Patch)


Taking part in the donation (L to R):
Dennis Bertulli, Eric Lekberg Merrimack Valley HOG Chapter; Marty Feldmann, NiSource; Sheila Duncan, Founder, The Kennek Foundation; Liz Cellucci, NiSource; Sgt. Byron Rizos, MA State Police; Lt. Shawn Conway, Lawrence Police Department.

Trouble Dogs Heading to Kids Affected by Gas Explosions

Representatives from NiSource, The Kennek Foundation, and the Merrimack Valley MA/NH Chapter #3185 Harley Owners Group met to deliver a donation to help local families affected by the explosions in the Merrimack Valley.  The Merrimack  Valley MA/NH Chapter #3185 Harley Owners Group, facilitated the donation to the Mass State Police on behalf of their group’s ongoing support of The Kennek Foundation’s annual Trouble the Dog Motorcycle Ride that supports first responders and the children they serve.

The Kennek Foundation provides comfort to children in crisis with the help of the character, Trouble the Dog and the affiliated plush dogs and children’s books.


NH Speedway Children’s Charities and The Kennek Foundation Partner to Donate Trouble the Dog Stuffed Animals and Books to Manchester, NH Police

“Here I give Tim ‘Trouble” and a book signed by the founder of such an amazing initiative! Our children are most important in what we all do in life!”
Chief Willard, Manchester, NH Police

The Manchester, NH Police Department has a new partner in its effort to help local children going through difficult times (See WMUR-TV’s coverage of the donation). A recent donation of Trouble the Dog plush dogs and companion books to the Manchester Police Department was made possible by a collaboration between the New Hampshire Speedway Children’s Charities and The Kennek Foundation. Available to give to children at the moment a crisis hits, Trouble stuffed animals can provide invaluable comfort. “This generation of children has more stresses than ever before,” said Sheila Duncan, founder of The Kennek Foundation. “I believe they need they need a confident, I believe they need a buddy, and their own coping mechanism.”

According to Manchester Police Captain Nick Willard, “The impact of [NH Speedway Children’s Charities and The Kennek Foundation’s] generosity to provide us many stuffed animals named “Trouble” to give to kids is beyond description.”


Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbors Fund Enables Donation to First Responders 

Several members of the Lynn Police and Fire Departments gathered recently to take part in a generous donation for First Responders – made possible by the Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbor Fund. 

Janet Melanson, Secretary of the Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbor Fund, helped to arrange the donation of boxes filled with Trouble the Dog plush toys and children’s books through The Kennek Foundation.  The donation is designed to help first responders in the city to provide comfort to children in crisis. 

Sheila Duncan, Founder of The Kennek Foundation, helped to deliver the Trouble the Dog plush toys for police officers and firefighters to use as a resource in providing comfort to children in the event of an accident, fire or other emergency. 

Participating in the donation (see photo above) are, L to R:  Lt. Kevin Wilkins, Firefighter Ian Gauslin, Firefighter Pat O’Sullivan, Captain Joe Zukas, Firefighter Brian McManus, Firefighter Paul Tucker, Firefighter Bob Rotondo, Lt. Kevin Downey, Officer Taylor Kulakowski, Officer John Clem, Officer John Mackin, Officer Ray Therrien, Janet Melanson, Lynn G.E. Employees Good Neighbor Fund and Sheila Duncan.


Dorchester Police Department Receives Plush Toys to Help Children in Crisis, Thanks to Donation Made in Loving Memory of Sister Frances Donahue SND 

Participating in the donation, left to right are:  Sheila Duncan, Founder , The Kennek Foundation, Dorchester Police Community Service Officer Tahisha Skeen, Community Service Officer Tim Golden, Vietnamese Community Liaison Tram Tram, and Area C-11 Captain Timothy Connolly.

Sheila Duncan, co-creator of the children’s character, Trouble the Dog, delivered plush Trouble dogs and books to Dorchester Police Headquarters to help children in crisis. The donation was made possible, thanks to a generous gift from the family of Sister Frances Donahue to The Kennek Foundation to honor her life.

The donation is a fitting tribute to Sister Frances, of the Sisters of Notre Dame, who spent most of her life dedicated to the service and well-being of others. Sister Frances received a master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis on population studies from the University of Pittsburgh, where she was also awarded a Ph.D. in public health research and evaluation. She taught biology and chemistry at St. Mary’s High School in Lawrence and biology and microbiology at Emmanuel College. In 2000, Sister Frances joined the staff of St. Mark’s Parish in Dorchester, where she continued her commitment to social justice. She worked closely with the Dorchester community alongside Father Dan Finn, now Executive Director and Pastor of the Irish Pastoral Centre.

“Sister Frances was passionate about social justice and helping people – especially children,” said Sheila Duncan, Founder of The Kennek Foundation. “We are honored to be involved in this donation to the Dorchester Police Department as a fitting tribute to the life of Sister Frances and as a reflection of our longstanding commitment to help First Responders, supporting the wonderful work that these officers give to the community to help families every day – just as Sister Frances did.”

Through this generous donation, The Kennek Foundation delivered several boxes of Trouble the Dog plush toys and books for police officers to have on hand in their cruisers as a resource in providing comfort to children facing difficult situations.

“We are grateful for this donation and will be certain to use the plush toys as a source of comfort to children in the event of an accident or other emergency situation,” said Captain Timothy Connolly, District C-1, Dorchester Police. “Working together, we can all help to bring about positive change in our communities by supporting those in need. This program to help children and families in crisis is an excellent start toward that common goal.”


The Notre Dame Health Care Pedi Pals Team Donation in Memory of Sister Frances Donahue, SND

The Notre Dame Health Care Pedi Pals team, Sr. Virginia Sheehan SND, and Spirit the NDHC dog.

Fact: Notre Dame Health Care Pedi Pals Team: Entering our sixth year of helping children with life limiting illnesses get the most out of life.

Funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

An extension of the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and Notre Dame Health Care to provide care for the most vulnerable in our community.

Trouble will help these kids endure painful symptoms and treatments, have difficult conversations, and feel less alone.


Charity Work at Its Finest

Trouble The Dog healing puppies and books have been delivered to Catholic Charities North. Catholic Charities North serves 900 to 1,000 children and families and provides more than 15,000 hours of clinical work in a fiscal year. Trouble will be a great source of comfort for these children facing the perils of poverty and homelessness.


Shriner’s Donation 

Shriner's Hospital

L to R: Craig Walsh, Shriners Hospital, Sheila Duncan, Founder, The Kennek Foundation, Melanie Fleming, Public Relations, The Kennek Foundation, Taylor Pennelli, Manager of Therapeutic Services, Shriners Hospital and Jack Bigelow, Shriners Hospital for Children.

Shriners Hospital for Children – Boston recently received a wonderful donation from The Kennek Foundation, thanks to Mason Gary Freedman, owner of Marblehead Opticians. The donation enabled Sheila Duncan, Founder of The Kennek Foundation, to deliver thirty Trouble The Dog plush healing pups and beautifully illustrated children’s books to children receiving care at the hospital. Shriners provides advanced care for children with orthopedic conditions, burns, cleft lips and palates, and spinal cord injuries. The Kennek Foundation was formed to bring hope and inspiration to those going through tough times. Ms. Duncan created the loveable character, Trouble The Dog to help carry out this mission. Trouble comforts children and has been applauded by CNN as a “socially conscious toy,” MSNBC as a “comfort toy” and noted as a “therapy dog” by the Boston Herald.


Sheila Duncan and Trouble

Sheila’s photo courtesy of Josh Reynolds, Boston Globe

Sheila Duncan expands Trouble the Dog’s reach with foundation (Boston Globe, March 22, 2015)

Marblehead resident establishes foundation to help children in need (Marblehead Reporter, March 26, 2015)