by Gwen Romack
Details at the end of this post on how to win an ebook copy of Year One the Finn Chronicles, and links to purchase both books.
When I started introducing the world to our rescue Finn, the question I got most was, “What kind of dog is he?” That was often followed by, “A what?” Vizsla (veeeeeshhluh) are a Hungarian breed known for their sensitive and clingy personality. They’re known as “Velcro” dogs because they’re almost always touching their person if they can be. Finn is actually a Veagle, a Vizsla mixed with Beagle and some Pittie sprinkled in for good measure. This combination, it turns out, makes for a hilarious, stubborn, vocal little dictator we like to pretend isn’t the boss of us.His full name is Finnegan Count Smooshie Tushie, and this is the story of how he went from wandering the streets of Swansboro, North Carolina, under the age of one, to the good life as an author and social media star spreading laughter and joy to all of us who need it more than ever. It’s also the story of how he saved me, when I needed it most.
Finn came into our lives unexpectedly, when his rescue hero at Airsong’s Angels in Georgia found a cement truck backed into her living room wall. No, really. A cement truck drove into her house. Suddenly, she needed all the rescues fostered – and fast. Finn had been pulled from a shelter in Carteret County, North Carolina, by his first hero, a lovely woman named Rhonda. She got him connected with Kat at Airsong’s, and she set out to find him a furever family. Finn was a particularly challenging guy, having been previously kicked out of a few homes for his stubborn, untamed behavior. We agreed to take him as a foster, planning to correct his nutty behavior and set him up for a great life with another family. From the very first day, we could tell Finn was going to be a challenge. He bonded instantly to my husband, who he considered the “alpha” immediately. He decided my role in the pack was to be dominated as the “charlie” to his “bravo”. The pack order was formed almost instantly, and it was clear my husband would be the most important hooman in Finn’s world.
I started posting weekly “updates” in Finn’s voice to various Vizsla and Beagle Facebook groups thinking it might help some prospective adopters fall in love. The updates recounted his challenges trying to tame and train his newly-assigned rescue hoomans, who he only referred to as, “the Hairy One” and, “the Squishy One” for his first few months. I’ll let you guess which one of us was which. Funny, irreverent, and often sarcastic, Finn’s voice emerged as he detailed the various ways in which we weren’t providing adequate service, or his struggles teaching us to do things the way he wanted. He has his own vocabulary, like calling seagulls, “beach chickens” and ice cream, “frozen dairy slop”. He also reflects on the absurdity of our strange hooman rituals, like Santa breaking and entering while we pretend the plastic tree Christmas tree is a real tree. As time went on, the posts got really popular and fans would even reach out via private message to find one they missed.
Fast forward a few months and it was clear that starting Finn over in a new home was a bad idea. His OCD and strong will to control everything had finally calmed a bit in his new routine. He found comfort in his Hairy One and rather enjoyed bossing around the Squishy One. He announced he’d be officially adopting us and hinted that the reports might not happen anymore. His fans protested, and that’s when I realized how much joy his posts, pictures, and videos were bringing people who’d fallen for him. So, we continued faithfully every week and recently posted week 136.
Fast forward again to April 2020. I lost my corporate job and found myself job hunting during a pandemic. I also found myself watching way too much Netflix and way too many YouTube videos about growing tomatoes. Spoiler alert: fertilizer is the key. Anyway, for years, fans, friends, and family had urged me to write a book about Finn and his “Finnanegans”. I decided it was time. Sourdough bread starter and artisanal pickles could wait. Thanks to helpful people like Bestselling Author Melissa Bourbon and Marketing Expert Ana Maddox who were willing to help me navigate the complex world of book-making, I was able to figure things out and get started.
Fast forward one more time. Between May and Oct of 2020, Finn published two books (one covers his first year of reports, the second covers year two), built up a 3,500+ person social media base, sold more than 600 books into the US, Canada, the UK, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and even Cambodia! He’s been profiled in three newspaper articles and will be profiled in a magazine in November. He’s even on the shelves of public libraries in five states. It’s been a crazy summer!
I’ve always volunteered with rescue and been passionate about saving dogs. I’ve always loved the way rescues, in particular, seem to love a little extra and bring a little extra “crazy” to the party. Finn is no exception. He’s become the very best dog and helped us heal over the grief of losing our last dog, our first fur-child who was with us to the age of fourteen. He’s brought me a purpose and new sense of joy I didn’t know I could find. And he’s brought thousands of readers and fans so much laughter and light in these dark times. He plans to keep posting his daily antics and musings on social media and keep putting out books as long as folks enjoy them. Each book lists his favorite rescues and encourages donations! These rescues work so incredibly hard and need our support.
The best part about this whole process has been spreading joy. It was fun to dust off my neurons to learn something new and stay busy during an otherwise depressing time. But, the messages from fans telling me how much joy his posts and books bring them: how one of the books helped them find joy during a family member’s grave illness, or how their children were totally hooked on reading thanks to Finn. Those have been the most incredible gifts to me in this process. I didn’t really even consider kiddos when writing, but I love that so many have fallen in love with reading thanks to Finn. The photos showcasing his hundred facial expressions don’t hurt, either. Every comment, review, and message telling me how much happiness Finn is bringing people wakes up my endorphins and propels me forward. That’s an extra and fantastic gift he’s given me.
The books will make perfect holidays gifts for kids and adults of all ages. Find book one HERE and book two HERE. You can even contact the me directly via email at thesquishyone@thefinnchronicle[dot].com for customized pawtographed copies that will make the gift even more special.
“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” Karen Davison
Editor’s note for mystery fans: Finn is the inspiration for a dog in Melissa Bourbon’s mystery novel Murder in Devil’s Cove-you can learn more in this review and guest post by Melissa.
To enter to win an ebook copy of Year One the Finn Chronicles follow Finn’s Facebook or Instagram or sign up for his newsletter on his website, and then comment “done” on this article. A winner will be chosen December 12, 2020. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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