The Team

Quick Navigation: The Musher & About Mushing 
The dogs: Dexter - Denali - Knoxville - Willow - Blitzen

Jessica (The Musher)

By trade, I am an artist, graphic designer, and project manager from central New Jersey. I work remotely for a tech company, which makes owning a small sled team possible.

I grew up in an animal-loving household and my interest in sled dogs started early on. The movie Balto was most likely my first glimpse into dog mushing. After attaching my childhood Rat Terrier to a doll stroller didn't go so well, my mushing aspirations went dormant for awhile. 

It wasn’t until after college when I started pursuing my first purebred husky that I realized New Jersey and Pennsylvania had mushing clubs. Before I even got my first sled dog, I was hooking up Dexter (my rescue mutt) to a rig in the middle of the Pine Barrens.

I ended up buying that rig for dry land training. I also bought all the attachments for another type of dry land mushing known as bikejoring, where dogs pull the driver on a bike. I eventually added a beautiful, hand-crafted Arctic Star dog sled to my mushing equipment collection.

I’ve been mushing for a few years now and I can safely say this addiction will be shaping my life. For now, I’m limited to the number of dogs I can keep and the amount I can train, but hopefully the future will hold more possibilities for me and my team.


Dexter

I adopted Dexter when he was around 9-weeks-old from C.A.R.E. At 21-years-old, very few rescue organizations would let me adopt from them. I was living at college with a small, fenceless yard — not the ideal situation for raising a puppy. I had wanted to adopt a Siberian Husky puppy, but that just wasn’t in the cards for me. After many phone calls and applications, I was finally offered to see Dexter, and later approved to adopt him.

Dexter was a handful as a puppy. To be fair, I had never raised a puppy on my own before. Add on college courses and a job; I could see why most rescues didn’t want to adopt to me. Despite the struggles, Dexter had a decent upbringing. He was rarely alone, living in a household with six roommates.

When I brought Dexter home, I had no intention of one day mushing with him. I never even knew it was an option in the less-than-snowy state of New Jersey. His mushing “career” only began when I started looking into a second dog — this time a Siberian Husky, from a breeder. I met a breeder who was an active member of the Jersey Sands Sled Dog Racing Association — and that’s how it all began.

In 2010, I started training Dexter with mushing commands. I hiked with him in his x-back harness and eventually had him running alongside my bike. That fall, I purchased a dryland dog rig and Dexter got his first chance out in front of it. Every weekend I had available, I went down to the Pine Barrens and ran Dexter with a pair of borrowed dogs. He caught on quick and seemed to really enjoy it. Even though he looks nothing like any of the other sled dogs, I’d like to think he’s got it in him — buried deep, somewhere.

Dexter is great with commands, both in harness and out, so training him to be a sled dog was not difficult. Keeping him motivated proved to be the challenge. After several years of mushing, I realized Dexter was ready to retire. Fall of 2016 marked the end of his mushing career. Now his job is to guard the van while we're out on the trail or snooze on the couch at home.

Stats:

Nicknames: Dex, Bub, Dexter Doolie
Date of Birth: June 17th, 2008
Color: Tan and White, Black Mask
Eyes: Blue and Parti-colored
Sex: Male
Breed: Unknown Mix
Lineage: Unknown, Rescue from C.A.R.E.
Position: Retired

Races Completed:

Dick Dalakian Memorial Sweepstakes Race 2011
Pine Barrens Dryland Run 2011
Fair Hill Challenge 2011
Pine Barrens Dryland Run 2012
Betty Carhart Memorial Race 2013
Pine Barrens Dryland Run 2013


Denali

A few months prior to Denali’s birth, I had been admiring her parents on the Sibersong Sleddogs website. When I learned that a litter was planned between them, I was elated. Even better, a fellow musher knew the breeder and offered to recommend me for a pup. The stars aligned, Denali was born, and I was approved. Towards the end of May, I traveled up to New Hampshire and brought home my second dog.

I have grown up around dogs, but I never had more than one at a time. Dexter and Denali hit it off, as I knew they would. Dex always falls in love with every dog he meets and Nali was no exception.

Denali started training in an adjustable puppy x-back harness at around 4-months-old and hasn’t slowed down since. She pulls with the spirit and intensity of a dog three times her size. Her focus never waivers and she used to drag 60-pound Dexter away from distractions. She caught on to commands almost instantly and has certainly followed in her daddy’s pawprints as a lead dog.

Stats:

AKC Name: Sibersong’s First Ascent
Nicknames: Nali, Nal, Egghead
Date of Birth: March 10th, 2011
Color: Grey and White
Eyes: Blue and Brown Bi-eyed
Sex: Female
Breed: Siberian Husky
Lineage: Sibersong Sleddogs
Position: Lead

Races Completed:

Dick Dalakian Memorial Sweepstakes Race 2011
Pine Barrens Dryland Run 2011
Fair Hill Challenge 2011
Pine Barrens Dryland Run 2012
Betty Carhart Memorial Race 2013
Pine Barrens Dryland Run 2013
Betty Carhart Memorial Race 2014
Mt. Misery Mush 2015
Betty Carhart Memorial Race 2016


Knoxville

Knoxville was adopted from Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue on November 6th, 2011. He and his siblings were born under a porch in South Carolina, then brought up to Pennsylvania to be adopted.

Shortly after Knox was adopted, I almost returned him to the rescue. A mistake in his paperwork listed him as being a month older than I thought — making him a lot smaller than I hoped. After some digging, I was able to determine the error. Still, I was worried he might not grow large enough to run with my team.

At 2-years-old, it was safe to say my worries were unnecessary. I was lucky and he shaped up to be a great sled dog. He’s got long, sturdy legs, huge feet, and a lot of power in his lanky body. I’m not sure if he's mixed with another breed or a husky not bred to standard, but whatever he is, he loves to run.

Knox has been canicross hiking with me and the team since he was 3-months-old. At six months, he joined the team on short runs. At a year old, he was already kicking butt in harness and completed his first race. Now he runs in wheel and provides power alongside Blitz.

Stats:

Nicknames: Knox, Monster, Fuzz
Date of Birth: September 5th, 2011
Color: Black, Brown and White
Eyes: Blue
Sex: Male
Breed: Siberian Husky Mix
Lineage: Unknown, Rescue from Sixth Angel Shepherd Rescue
Position: Wheel

Races Completed:

Pine Barrens Dryland Run 2012
Betty Carhart Memorial Race 2013
Pine Barrens Dryland Run 2013
Betty Carhart Memorial Race 2014
Mt. Misery Mush 2015
Betty Carhart Memorial Race 2016


Willow

Willow was bred out Sibersong's Mamma Mia SD and Kelim's Merlin SD. Mia is actually Denali's almost-identical sister, which makes Willow her niece.

For over a year I followed the Sibersong planned litters in hopes to get another dog closely related to Denali. Another pairing between Denali's parents was made, but sadly did not work out due to complications. When I heard Mia was to bred, I knew I had to jump on the opportunity. I'm so glad I did!

Willow has grown into what I consider to be the ideal recreational sled dog. She's friendly and sweet out of harness, but a total spitfire when it's time to run. She's proving to be an even better leader than Denali, with more focus and a lower prey drive. She's the smallest dog on my team but has the most heart.

Stats:

AKC Name: Sibersong's Snow White
Nicknames: Willy, Wilbur
Date of Birth: June 10, 2015
Color: Grey and White
Eyes: Blue
Sex: Female
Breed: Siberian Husky
Lineage: Sibersong Sleddogs
Position: Lead

Races Completed:

Betty Carhart Memorial Race 2016


Blitzen

Blitz comes from great lines. He was bred by Steve Renner of Team Snowspeeder. His father comes from Sibersong and he's yet another descendent of Sibersong's Stars Hollow (Denali's father and Willow's grandfather).

Blitz joined the team in January of 2017, taking Dexter's place in wheel alongside Knox. He's already proven to be a powerhouse in harness, running hard right from day one. I can't wait to see what type of sled dog he matures into.

Stats:

AKC Name: Snowspeeder's Lightning Bolt
Nicknames: Blitz
Date of Birth: July 15, 2016
Color: Black, Grey, and White
Eyes: Brown
Sex: Male
Breed: Siberian Husky
Lineage: Snowspeeder
Position: Wheel

Races Completed:

None yet!