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Who Are We?

Barchelle (“Chelly”) Bolger Wathen, a native San Diegan, now enjoys living with her husband George and sweet Shayla in Prescott, Arizona. Chelly is a college graduate (Master of Public Administration degree), and a retired senior paralegal (San Diego City Attorney’s Office). She now works as a State Ombudsman Specialist. author, and co-business owner ("Wathen Custom Woodcrafts"). She also enjoys volunteering with DogTree Pines Senior Dog Sanctuary.


From college papers and thesis to legal documents and grant proposals, Chelly always enjoyed writing. Today she focuses on writing Shayla's books and producing plays based on those books. Follow the remarkable shepherd dog Shayla's true journey from a Ukrainian orphanage to her forever family in America. A journey inspired by God and friends she meets along the way. 

But her favorite activity is enjoying God’s creation with family and friends - kayaking, ziplining, and hiking mountain trails. Every moment is a blessing, especially when it is shared with sweet Shayla.

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Shayla & Friends

This book appealed to me because it was a dog-story, based on actual circumstances. It is beautifully written from the perspective of a husband and wife whose hearts were ready for another dog to help fill and heal a void left in their hearts following the loss of one of their dogs, which left their other dog grieving as well. This is a poignant read about a miraculous rescue of 15 dogs out of war-torn Ukraine to the United States, and the story of how Shayla (formerly named Layla) became a treasured member of the author's and her husband's family. Shayla had been abandoned as a pup and was wandering the streets when a boy from the orphanage befriended her and brought her back with him. The father and his two daughters in charge of the orphanage allowed Shayla to stay, be fed, loved, and grow in a safe environment. This book contains wonderful photographs. Shayla's story will warm your heart.
This is a well written and wonderful story of a little stray dog in a foreign land that had little hope for survival. But this story takes her from the street where she existed to a children's home, and then across the ocean to a forever family. Along the way she influences many people, especially children, and continues to impact people's lives with her courage, kindness and extreme inner and outer beauty. A wonderful uplifting story.
This is a heartfelt true story about struggle, faith and redemption.
Powerful, enjoyable, and spiritual true story. I love the children's book as well. This book is for dog people, and anyone who believes in human rights, dignity, and kindness. Great read.
Get In Touch

Barchelle "Chelly" Bolger Wathen

(619) 206-1010

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