Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:01 am
Staying positive when someone you love is so far away from you is no easy task, but professional meeting facilitator Bill McGinnis, CFA, and his dog Comet are doing just that and then some.
Staying positive when someone you love is so far away from you is no easy task, but professional meeting facilitator Bill McGinnis, a Chartered Financial Analyst charterholder in MIlwaukee, and his dog Comet are doing just that and then some.
McGinnis’ long term girlfriend, and Comet’s “best friend,” Julianna, was deployed by the U.S. Air Force to Iraq in July of 2009. In search of a way to stay connected to her, and keep her connected to friends in the Milwaukee area, McGinnis began setting the stage for his online children’s book titled "The Adventures of The Comet Dog – Missing Someone is Hard."
“I originally decided that using the dog to visit a lot of the places she would go to would be a fun way for her to stay connected to the area and her friends back home,” McGinnis said.
What started out as a small project to keep his girlfriend amused has turned into something much larger, which has involved McGinnis coming up with a back story to how Comet becomes the lovable super hero The Comet Dog.
“It has become so much more than just the story,” McGinnis said. “We get to tell this story through the innocent eyes of a dog, but we are hoping that through this effort we can also help children understand something about why people they love can’t always be around.”
The online book, available at www.TheCometDog.com, is written as imagined from Comet’s perspective and takes readers to various locations while he searches for his best friend.
“I think the subject is applicable to everyone,” McGinnis said. “It goes beyond those who have family members or friends that are in the military. It goes beyond individuals who live in Milwaukee. I think missing someone is hard for a lot of people, and we’re hoping that The Comet Dog and his adventures can provide some hope, and teach people about commitment, love, duty and sacrifice.”
According to McGinnis, the project has also led him to form “Team Comet Dog” which participated in the annual Susan G. Komen run/walk for breast cancer awareness in September, and has also led to raising funds for pillows to send to wounded soldiers at a hospital in Iraq.
“Throughout this program we learned that soldiers being transported from the main medical unit in Iraq to the hospital in Germany are not supplied with pillows for the flight,” he said. “We decided that injured soldiers should have everything that they need in order to feel comfortable.”
Through negotiations with individuals who believe in his cause, McGinnis has managed to get the cost of sending a pillow to Iraq down to just over $3, he said.
“Right now, there is no place to make donations on the website, but individuals as well as corporations have been contacting me,” he said.
Julianna is a nurse practitioner, stationed at the main medical unit in Iraq, and was recently surprised by a delivery of more than 1,500 pillows and their cases for the wounded soldiers.
“The pillows weren’t something I ever intended to do, but the project just keeps growing, and I like to let it go where it wants to,” McGinnis said. “It’s definitely something we will continue throughout the project. I have been working on this for about seven months. Of course, I didn’t start taking any of the pictures until after Julianna left, but now she knows about it and loves checking the updates and sharing the story with her patients.”
McGinnis updates the website with the story of Comet’s adventures, but also sends Julianna 8×10 photos of the pages which she shares with her patients at the medical unit, he said.
The story will end when Julianna comes home, McGinnis said, but for now fans of The Comet Dog can check out his story on his website, www.TheCometDog.com, his Facebook page or they can follow him on Twitter @thecometdog.
“The Comet Dog sends out tweets and Facebook reminders when he updates his story book,” McGinnis said. “Right now we are doing that just about three times a week.”
Upcoming chapters of The adventures of The Comet Dog – Missing Someone is Hard, will showcase The Comet Dog in many prominent and high profile situations as he searches for his friend, McGinnis said.
BizTimes Reporter, Alysha Schertz sat down with McGinnis and The Comet Dog in Milwaukee’s own Veteran’s Park. Click on the video below to view a webcast of that interview.