Good Trouble: Plush Comfort Dog Helps Ease Anxiety of Sunset Point Campers
Spreading joy and granting lifelong memories to children for over 100 years, Sunset Point Camp is a safe haven from the stresses of everyday life, providing campers a week of carefree fun in the idyllic setting of Hull, Massachusetts. Among those working hard to maintain the magic that defines Sunset Point Camp is a plush, gray dog with floppy ears, a black ring around his eye, and a big round, black nose. This Dog is aptly named Trouble for his ability to absorb and take away children’s troubles.
Due to a gracious donor, fifty Troubles were donated to Catholic Charities Boston this summer through The Kennek Foundation. Trouble’s warm and caring spirit can be felt across Sunset Point Camp, bringing comfort to campers who may be missing home, experiencing anxiety, or facing adversity in their lives.
Sheila Duncan, the founder of The Kennek Foundation, firmly believes Trouble is an agent of change. He first came into the world in 2006 when her niece, Kendra Duncan, who had recently lost her grandmother, her father, and her family dog to cancer, was watching a St. Jude telethon. Duncan recalled how Kendra looked up and said, “I need to help those kids,” proceeding to draw Trouble, a dog that would help comfort children in need. Duncan said she believes that moment was divinely inspired.
Today, Trouble the Dog is made in America, sold across the country, and featured in three children’s books, a comic book and a series of videos. Now more than ever, children are in need of positive coping mechanisms, with the pandemic, food insecurity, and political strife escalating anxieties nationwide.
“We call him an angel in disguise,” said Duncan. “I’m completely serious when I say, “There’s a magic to this dog. Children feel comfortable whispering their concerns into Trouble’s soft, waiting ear.”
Beyond his ability to comfort children going through tough times, Trouble is also a model of compassion and hope, teaching children how to be there for others in need. In fact, Duncan said children often request Trouble the Dog be given to another child in need.
“Trouble the Dog came about through the pure heart of a child who just wanted to help other kids,” said Duncan.
Now, Catholic Charities’ Sunset Point campers are able to partake in that magic––a quiet but powerful reminder they are not alone.
“Where there’s Trouble, there’s hope.”
Sunset Point Camp serves children ages 6-14, the majority of which come from low-income households around Greater Boston and the South Shore. The camp relies on generous donors and sponsors to keep the registration fee $25, which covers the cost to send one child to Sunset Point Camp for a week. To learn more about becoming a sponsor, please visit ccab.org/sunset.