When he’s not sleeping with his legs straight up in the air or searching for his next gourmet meal, Winston, a four-year-old Pomeranian pup, is “touring” the world with the help of his mom, Cynthia Finefrock, and her new book.
Finefrock grew up and attended school in the Scottsdale and Paradise Valley area until she headed to college at USC in California. She then went to Cornell in New York City to become a physician’s assistant. After graduation, she practiced in an office in NYC for a bit but realized her true passion was in a different industry.
“I took some time away from medicine to focus on my photography, and shortly after my website went live, the pandemic hit,” Finefrock said.
At a loss for things to do, Finefrock and her friends were joking about photoshopping Winston into her travel photos – and an idea took hold. Her (and Winston’s!) first children’s book, Winston the Traveling Dog, was published in June 2021.
Finefrock wrote the book on a rooftop in New York City in two months. After her lease was up, she headed for the sunshine and moved back to Phoenix.
She spent the next nine months taking photos of Winston in themed outfits and photoshopping him into her photos.
Finefrock has been to 42 countries worldwide, so she had plenty to work with. After she wrote the story and got the photos squared away, Finefrock hired a book designer to add graphics. In the book, Winston “travels” to London, Paris and Italy to see the sights, enjoy new cuisines and make friends along the way.
Folks can find the book at various distributors and stores around the world.
“It doesn’t feel real. I mean, I have a copy sitting in my room, and I’ll look at it and be like, ‘Wow, Winston is on the cover of a book,’” she said. “Traveling has had a big impact on who I am as a person; it’s made me more independent, patient and compassionate, and I want to make children aware of the world that exists beyond what they see directly in front of them.”
One critical theme is Winston being nervous about embarking on this journey overseas alone. Finefrock wanted to sell the point that stepping outside of comfort zones and doing something new is often scary, but the rewards are almost always worth it.
The book won first place for photography and the reader’s favorite 5-star review award at the Purple Dragonfly Book Awards.
“I feel like Winston knows that he’s on the cover of a book, and it’s turning him into a little bit of a diva, especially when it comes to his food,” Finefrock laughed. “He likes Asian and Indian food. His palate is so sophisticated.”
While waiting for his next meal or getting his fill of belly rubs, Winston is also helping his mom prepare for the next installment of Winston the Traveling Dog, which Finefrock hopes to have published by spring 2022.