A team of sled dogs and mushers from Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel of Jefferson, N.H., will attempt a history-making ascent on Mount Washington, which at 6,288 feet is the highest peak in the Northeast, March 7, 8 or 9, depending on weather conditions. The run will not just be to make history -- it will be the first-ever sled-dog attempt in winter -- but to raise awareness and funds to support the more than 100 dogs the kennel has rescued and cared for over the past eight years, said kennel owners Karen Tolin and Neil Beaulieu.
The partners created the non-profit New Hampshire Sled Dog Rescue, History and Education Center earlier this year to support their cause: Taking in rescue dogs to run sled tours year round near the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods (they use wheeled sleds when the snow goes away) and give the pooches a place to live while trying to find them new owners. Many of the dogs love tromping through the woods pulling a sled, Tolin said, but none are forced to do it. Those preferring a more sedentary lifestyle are found homes via a very selective adoption process, she said.
The kennel was created in 2004, and while technically a for-profit business, it never makes any, Tolin said. The kennel business creates no salary for the owners, neither of whom have ever drawn a salary and both of whom work in education to support themselves and their labor of puppy love. Whatever money is generated from the tours goes right back to the dogs.
"Dog sledding is an unsustainable model as a sole source of supporting the dogs," Tolin said. "They eat five tons of food every two months."
They came up with the sled jaunt to the top of Mount Washington to build awareness of the nonprofit and raise money for the dogs. In addition to one team making a full-out assault on the summit via the Auto Road, seats on two others "guest sleds," which will run only to just above tree line, will be auctioned off on eBay. That site is http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=120860877148
Sponsorships are also being sought, Tolin said. Go to http://www.dogslednh.com/ or call 603-545-4533 for more information.