Blog, book give a dog’s-eye view of life
Lina the toy Australian shepherd always gets the last word.
No fan of water, she lives on Crystal Lake in Burnsville with Robin Kelleher, the “clueless and shallow Momma” who takes her paddleboarding.
Short on common sense, Kelleher frets needlessly over her beloved pet, whisking her to the vet way too often.
But Momma also gave Lina a gift — a blog and a book through which to chronicle her “tumultuous” life.
The continuing adventures of Lina are at LinasDogBlog.com. The book, “Lina Unleashed,” came out last summer. It’s available online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Itasca Books, and is carried at the Barnes and Noble stores in Burnsville and Edina.
“I would describe it as a new genre. It’s kind of chick lit, only I call it dog lit,” said Kelleher, 68, a one-time music teacher and Realtor who later attended law school and is mostly retired from a career in labor and employment law.
“It’s in Lina’s voice, with a very critical eye. She recounts horrible tales that she’s had to go through with Momma, like the time the house almost started on fire last year and the alarm goes off in the middle of the night.”
The blog Kelleher launched three years ago has had more than 15,000 views and 5,400 unique visitors, she said. The book, self-published through Beaver’s Pond Press, recently earned a third-place honor in the INDIES Book of the Year Awards sponsored by Foreword Reviews. It has sold 500 copies, half its first printing.
“Lina is planning a sequel, which will be based on the next two years of her difficult life with Momma,” Kelleher said.
After a career with the Seaton, Peters and Revnew law firm and a brief stint as deputy commissioner and acting commissioner of Labor and Industry under former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Kelleher turned to writing.
“I started a book once before and I didn’t finish it, sadly,” she said. “But I’ve always liked humor, and my English teacher at school — I went to Bemidji State University — encouraged me to write. And I feel like I honed my writing skills in law school and as an attorney. And now that I have the time to focus on writing, I do it as often as I can.
“It’s become my new passion. Let me put it this way: My new passion is to help Lina write her blog and book.”
It seems the pair disagree on much, such as Momma’s penchant for living near water, including a winter place on Marco Island in Florida.
It seems Lina, being Australian, is afraid President Trump will deport her.
“She holds grudges against Momma for a number of things,” Kelleher said. “For example, Momma is a Republican, and Lina is a die-hard Democrat. Momma calls her a snowflake. So they’re at odds there.
“I think with all good stories, there’s got to be some tension, some give and take. I feel pretty strongly about my political beliefs, and maybe I’m a little over the top and maybe Lina noticed that and started poking fun at me in my blogs.”
When Kelleher had the privilege of hosting U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy at her lakeshore home during an August fundraiser for 2nd District U.S. Rep. Jason Lewis, minor mayhem ensued.
“It was awkward when she interrupted (McCarthy’s) speech,” Kelleher said. “But then she learned to like him because he has an Aussie (shepherd), and she was all over it. He showed her pictures of his Aussie, and it went very well.”
McCarthy left with a “pawdographed” copy of “Lina Unleashed.”
“She’s a doll,” said Kelleher, a dog lover since her childhood days on a northern Minnesota farm. “She’s 11 and a half pounds. She has the best disposition for a dog that I’ve ever seen. She’s so smart and so good and so loving. She’s a dream come true.”