Growing up, my family always had dogs. There was Scooter the Pomeranian and Harold the Miniature Schnauzer. But our most influential family dog was a German Shepherd named Crash. He was full of energy and needed an outlet. When I was 17, I began rollerblading alongside Crash as we raced around our neighborhood. He loved it and anytime I touched my rollerblades he would begin barking with excitement. Out of curiosity, I began timing how fast we could make it around our “trail.”
By the time I turned 24 I was fresh out of college and looking to get a dog of my own. Enter: Koivu, the world’s worst puppy! Koivu, a Siberian Husky, completely changed my life. His dad happened to be the lead dog on a recreational sled dog team. I never wanted to have a sled dog team, I had spent 5 years in college learning how to edit movies. But Koivu’s persistence soon had me heading down the right trail. Before his first birthday I found myself back in school taking a course to become a dog trainer.
While in school I volunteered at shelters and rescue groups and saw all the dogs in need of families. I told myself if I ever DID start a sled dog team it would consist of all adopted huskies. Enter: Fleury, Spezza, Mandy, Chara, Roenick, Mikko, Cookie, Backes, Marleau, Kaiya, Bure, Juneau, Yashin, Teemu and Hossa. Their ages range from 2 (Hossa) to 14 (Koivu). Each dog has a story that is too long to type! Our “Breakaway Siberians” have competed in 17 sled dog races to date.
Professionally, I spent 6-months working at a dog kennel before leaving to help open a doggy daycare at a different location. For the next 5 years I managed the daycare and training programs. I left to pursue training full time but my friends had other ideas for me. They needed a place for their dogs to stay while they traveled and before I knew it, we had dogs boarding at our house! Melissa was one of those friends and we soon found ourselves planning our vision of what could be the best experience for dogs and owners alike! A place where the dogs are free to run and burn off that excess energy! And most importantly, a place where the dogs are always put first!
I met my wife Leah because of Koivu and we have two wonderful boys: Lucca and Brady. Koivu even helped deliver Brady – no joke!