Nobody Knows the Trouble I’m In

This scene is very familiar to me.  We have a new dog, Bo Bo.  Bo Bo is a yellow lab who is ten months old.  I often come home to lots of chewed up stuff. If Bo Bo needed any instruction on getting into trouble, he could turn to our 13 year old brown lab, Buddy.  In his youth, Buddy once ate an entire chocolate birthday cake, the contents of my wife’s clutch purse and my mum’s eyeglasses over the space of a month.  All those items passed through Buddy without a hiccup.  Whenever a dog eats something that he knows he is not supposed to eat, he intuitively knows that he is in for trouble when his human parents get home.

All dogs that it is except for Leona Helmsley’s dog Trouble. Leona Helmsley, the “Queen of Mean“, was not particularly well-regarded when she was living.  But perhaps Helmsley’s most bone headed move was leaving a $12 million bequest to her dog Trouble.

Trouble was the source of trouble for many years.  After becoming the richest dog in the world, Trouble spent her final years in Sarasota, Fla., being cared for by Carl Lekic, the general manager of the Helmsley Sandcastle Hotel.  Trouble’s lifestyle was crimped somewhat when in 2008 a judge determined that Trouble’s inheritance should be trimmed to $2 million.  

Thankfully, Trouble was able to scrap by in her final years on about $190,000 per annum. If you can believe it she had her own security team and those security teams don’t come cheap.  Trouble’s cost $100,000 a year.  Her grooming team cost $8,000 a year, she put away $1,200 of food a year and her medical expenses ran from $2,500 to $18,000 per year.  Oh, and let’s not forget Mr. Lekic’s annual guardian fee: $60,000. If anyone knows of a rich pooch in need of a guardian, I’m available.

While Ms. Helmsley’s Trouble’s tail is simply troubling, Sarah Mazzone of the Made in USA Challenge blog let me know about a much more inspiring Trouble the Dog story.  This Trouble is a plush Dog who is the inspiration of Sheila Duncan.  Sheila wanted to create a huggable dog whose sole purpose is to bring comfort to children facing a variety of emotional struggles.  Take my word for it:  Don’t click on the video of the little boy on the Trouble the Dog website unless you want to start blubbering like I did on hearing his story!  Sheila also wanted her Trouble to be made by members of our extended American family, and she succeeded.  Any Trouble the Dog you order will have been created by the manufacturer Sheila partnered with in Arizona.  I encourage you to support Sheila and Trouble.

Finally, what post on trouble would be complete without a link to a classic version of Louis Armstrong’s “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen.  Certainly not this one.


About Simply American LLC

I live in Seattle and love telling stories about Americans, the places where they work and the things that they make. I have just published a book, Simply American, encouraging Americans to purchase American made products; the book can be ordered at
This entry was posted in american made, Dogs, gifts, Made in America, made in usa, Pets and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Nobody Knows the Trouble I’m In

  1. Jennifer Graylock says:

    Hello John, you are using my copyrighted Leona Helmsley Dog Trouble photograph for your personal gain. You have no right to use the image. Cease and desist immediately and remove my image. In addition, I require payment for said unauthorized usage. Please forward your billing info. This is not a joke, I am not happy finding my image on your site. From my perspective its 100 percent theft. Had you made the slightest effort, you would have been able to find my information and contact me to request usage.

    • John Briggs says:

      Dear Ms Graylock: Thank you for your message. When I received it I removed the Leona Helmsley Dog Trouble photo from my blog. I am sorry I did not reach out to you to request permission to use the photo. My “Simply American” blog is not a commercial enterprise; I have never received any remuneration whatsoever from anyone for being featured on the blog.


      John Briggs

  2. Jennifer graylock says:

    I’m sorry John, that you are unaware photographers create images as a way to support families and pay the rent. It does not matter if your blog is commercial or not. You stole my image to your betterment. As I appreciate your removing my copyrighted image and abiding by the cease and desist, your act of infringement has caused me further damage as other blogs picked up your article and ran my photo as well. I charge for any and all copyright infringements. Your actions have consequences. Nothing is free. Please forward your billing information.

    • John Briggs says:

      What do you mean by billing information please?

      • Jennifer Graylock says:

        John, you used my photo without permission. That’s like going to McDonald’s eating a hamburger and not paying. You can’t steal intellectual property and be surprised or plead Ignorance when you are caught. You are responsible to pay for your unauthorized usage of my copyrighted image. Please forward your billing info (address) for the invoice.

      • John Briggs says:

        Dear Ms. Graylock:

        I have looked into the use of your photo on my blog, and it appears that my use amounts to “Fair Use” under 17 U.S. Code § 107. Such fair use is not an infringement of your copyright. In determining whether a use amounts to Fair Use, one important factor is whether the use was of a commercial nature or for nonprofit educational purposes. As I told you earlier, my blog is not a commercial enterprise, but rather an effort to educate people about issues relating to trade and domestic production of consumer products. As I told you earlier, I never received any income from the blog. I have taken the photo down from my blog and I consider this matter closed.


        John Briggs

      • Jennifer Graylock says:

        I’m sorry John, but you are not correct. You have advertising on your website, that in itself shows your website is a commercial use entity. In addition, my copyrighted image of Leona Helmsley and Dog Trouble has nothing to do with trade or domestic production of consumer products. You did not receive permission to use my photograph, you made no attempt to request such permission, you stole my photograph and used it for your betterment. There is nothing fair in your use. Removing the image at my request does not absolve you from liability in paying for your copyright infringement. You made a mistake and that mistake has consequences. Next step, we either settle your copyright infringement amicably or I turn this over to my attorney.

      • John Briggs says:

        Dear Ms. Graylock: My blog is on the WordPress platform. I have no control over the ads that WordPress puts on my blog and I receive absolutely no money from those ads. I would propose that we agree to disagree as to whether the use of your picture on my blog post amounts to fair use. I too am interested in amicably settling this matter. In order to do that, I need a little information. First, can you let me know the copyright information for the photo that I posted on my site. Second, if I had contacted you in 2013 about your license fee for the photo in question, what figure would you have quoted me? I await your answer to these two questions.


        John Briggs

  3. Jennifer Graylock says:

    Dear John
    I have tried to respond several times to your latest email. However, my reply, bounces back with your server message stating it is not deliverable.
    As you already know, I’m not happy with your theft of my exclusive photo. Now it seems you are “ghosting”. You have my direct email, please respond. Let’s get this settled.

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