Jacqueline Sheehan’s Book, Picture This, A Favorite Read of The New Barker.

Picture This by Jacqueline Sheehan is the third book read and reviewed by The New Barker. We enjoyed it just as much as her first bestseller, Lost & Found, one of our all-time favorite books. The second book we reviewed by Sheehan, Now & Then, is the story of a remarkable journey involving one big dog, Madigan, an Irish Wolfhound, and a wonderful cast of characters.

Picture This, by Jacqueline Sheehan, a favorite read by staff of The New Barker.
Picture This, by Jacqueline Sheehan, a favorite read by staff of The New Barker.

Picture This is actually the sequel to her bestseller, Lost & Found. But you needn’t read Lost & Found (which has been optioned for film by the actress Katherine Heigl) to enjoy Sheehan’s latest book. Like the two previous books we reviewed, Sheehan writes about love, heartbreak, inner strength and the courage to restore and rebuild.

Rocky Pellegrino, the book’s heroine, lives on an idyllic spot, Peaks Island just off the coast of southern Maine. She works at what seems to be the perfect job for her, as the animal control warden. As with the storylines in her first two books, this one is a mystery, with several plots that will eventually lead to an amazing ending. Sheehan’s training in psychology is certainly integral to her writing, especially in understanding motivation, she says, which is at the core of character development. Her descriptions of people, animals, Peaks Island and even the houses, are as alive and robust as if watching them unfold on stage.

Rocky’s constant companion is a Black Lab named Cooper. They protect and support one another, and Sheehan provides knowing insight on the special relationship shared by Rocky and Cooper. It’s a description that every dog lover is familiar with. “You don’t have to make choices like this,” Rocky says to Cooper. “As much as you might disagree, I can’t stay in the almighty now, every single minute like you do. I know, you’re the dog, and you are constantly rejoicing.”

Yes, dogs remind us of the importance of living in the now, not only for our health and well-being, but to keep an eye out for what might be waiting for us – good or bad. By not focusing on the moment, what things could we possibly be overlooking?

Rocky is a cool, tough woman on the outside. She seems to have contentedly settled into a comfortable life, while still recovering from the sudden death of her husband, Bob some time ago. A bit guarded when it comes to love, she opens up to it, only to be hurt once again. She throws herself into renovating an old house, which to her seems haunted bittersweetly by lost love and forgotten secrets. The house speaks to her soul, and it’s fun to discover those secrets while we live vicariously through Rocky, and the home’s renovations.

Then, a mysterious phone call from a young woman looking for her biological father, throws the story in to full mystery gear. Bob was Rocky’s soulmate, her true love. Could the girl possibly be Bob’s long-lost daughter? Could this be the connection Rocky has longed for, maybe even a message from Bob himself?

The women in Sheehan’s books are all vulnerable, but tough. They live life as it comes, and fall hard in love. Luckily, they have a dog who is forever their protector, and the one constant in all of their lives.

Jacqueline poses with Captain, the day he auditioned for the role of Cooper in a promotional video for the book, Picture This.
Jacqueline poses with Captain, the day he auditioned for the role of Cooper in a promotional video for the book, Picture This.

Special Note: Jacqueline Sheehan was also recently featured in The New York Times Sunday column, Modern Love. Read, Though Now Apart, We Faced a Common Enemy. Another poignant piece of writing.

The New Barker is Florida’s top dog lifestyle magazine. To subscribe, visit www.thenewbarker.com. A one year subscription is only $16/four issues, mailed to you (or your dog).

Dog Lovers Around the World Agree: That’s One for Pope Francis.

The new pontiff was presented to the world as: “Cardinalem Bergoglio, qui sibi nomen impost Franciscum.” (translated: Cardinal Bergoglio, who takes for himself the name of Francis). Bergoglio’s decision to become the first pope ever to be known by the name Francis is almost unprecedented and a bold choice, according to Vatican analyst John Thavis.

Picked in a reference to Saint Francis of Assisi, the most iconic saint in Catholic tradition, the name symbolizes poverty, humility, simplicity and peace. “What has made this pope an early hit with the public is the sense that Francis is more than a name. It is a statement about the kind of pope he wants to be,” Thavis wrote on the National Catholic Reporter.

So, it is no coincidence that one of the first privileged to receive a physical blessing from Pope Francis’s hands this past weekend was a Labrador Retriever named Asia. Scores of journalists came from all over the world to cover the conclave that led to the election of the first Jesuit, the first non-European and the first Latin American pontiff. Asia is a service dog belonging to visually impaired radio journalist, Alessandro Forlani, who works for Italian RAI radio.

As Forlani waited in line with Asia to enter the hall, security guards told him that most likely he would not be allowed inside. “But after a few minutes, Vatican officials gave me the green light, and I was accompanied by a Swiss guard to the audience hall,” said Forlani. He and Asia were seated near the first row of seats.

At the end of the pope’s magnetic speech, a previously-selected group of media notables was presented to the pontiff. While the journalists lined up to be greeted by Pope Francis, Vatican officials approached Forlani and Asia.

Pope Francis blesses Asia, a Labrador Retriever. Photo credit Discovery News.
Pope Francis blesses Asia, a Labrador Retriever. Photo credit Discovery News.

“They said that Pope Francis had asked to meet me. He had seen Asia and wanted to see both of us,” said Forlani, who asked the Pope for a blessing for his wife and daughter at home. Then, Pope Francis bent down to caress Asia and said, “and a special blessing for (your) dog too.”

It was a fitting image for a pope inspired by the patron saint of animals.

The New Barker dog magazine is Florida’s top dog lifestyle magazine.