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Second Act Of The Month Award (March 2022): Sheila Duncan

second act award sheila duncan


Each month, we give the 50PlusToday SECOND ACT Award to an individual who made an intentional decision to change gears in this phase of life. It’s our goal to recognize and support people who reinvented themselves at age 50Plus and we choose recipients who are creative, innovative and inspiring to others. Their pivot might involve a new career, business, community effort or lifestyle. A successful, happy and meaningful life means different things to different people; reading what others did might start you thinking about your next journey! The bottom line is that your second half of your life can be as good as, if not better than, the first!  We hope to inspire our readers with success stories from others. (Is there someone you know that created a wonderful second act that you would like to nominate? Complete this form to submit their name for consideration!

The recipient for March 2022 is Sheila Duncan

Photo credits: James Maroney
At age 56, Sheila found her true passion. One day her then 12 year old niece, Kendra, drew “Trouble the Dog” after experiencing multiple losses. Kendra showed Sheila the picture and explained, “His name is Trouble and he is going to help kids”. Sheila set out to make Kendra’s selfless compassion come true. Sheila oversaw the creation of a made-in-America huggable soft toy based on the drawing. She also launched the troublethedog website and authored three children’s books since then.  Trouble the Dog provides comfort to thousands of people around the world – victims of tragedies, natural disasters, patients in hospitals, residents of nursing homes, injured veterans, and children who are homeless, have nightmares or just had a bad day and need a hug. Through kindness and compassion, Trouble the Dog is becoming a phenomenon in his own right as a “socially conscious comfort toy”. Today Sheila is 71 and says she’s just getting started!

Sheila’s Journey...

50PlusToday: What are your unique skills that contribute to your success:  

SD: I believe my most important skill is being an excellent listener.

50PlusToday: What did you do before starting your entrepreneurial journey?  

SD: I was a business education teacher for a short time, worked in the travel business and ultimately ran my family’s world-famous restaurant for 18 years.

50PlusToday: Tell us about what you are doing now.

SD: I am the co-creator of a global children’s character – Trouble the Dog.  Trouble was initially drawn by my then 12 year old niece after many family cancer losses.  She was at my home one evening and the St. Jude Telethon was on television.  She looked up and said “I have to help those kids” and instantly – and in one of those divinely inspired moments you hear about – she drew Trouble the Dog. 


50PlusToday: What passion led you to start this new endeavor?

SD: I was born to be an entrepreneur and once I saw the initial drawing of Trouble the Dog and his mission to help kids going through tough times it quickly became my passion.  Trouble the Dog is now a plush comfort dog made in America and has his own series of children’s books.



50PlusToday: How does your age and experience help in your success?

SD: I believe the combination of business and life experiences I’ve had allow me to look out of the box for solutions.  And … I never give up.

50PlusToday: What unique skills did you have from your previous job/business/lifestyle that help you in this new position?

SD: Over the years I have worked with such a variety of people that I’m able to engage in a confident, meaningful and productive way no matter what position someone holds.


50PlusToday: What advice would you give someone in this age group searching for their meaningful second act?

SD: I would advise taking time to be still … really think about what lights you up … and look in that direction.

50PlusToday: Please give us three random facts about yourself.  

I am 71 years old and just getting started!

I am a dog lover who is presently dogless.

I love the ocean.

50PlusToday: And your favorite quote?

Always treat others as you wish to be treated.

Sheila duncan
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