The Growth of Jennifer & M.U.S.H.E.R.S.
Living on a small wilderness farm between St. Charles and Hagar for the past ten years, Jennifer has rapidly acquired a fondness, knowledge and affinity to the wilderness, wildlife, and what was to become her first love – her beloved Siberian Husky sled dogs.
No normal childhood was in store for this unique, young woman. Home Schooling, while not common these days, offered Jennifer special opportunities and benefits. This suited her lifestyle of disciplined learning, enriching and empowering her quest for knowledge and learning from the classroom at her doorstep.
Inheriting, from her mother, what were to become her 25 best and most loyal friends, Jennifer managed and juggled scholastic work and the caring for her Siberian Huskies. She successfully completed her high school studies before the age of 16, and was confronted with the dilemma of what to do next – no confining career options for Jennifer.
Reinforced by her love of animals and nature, Jennifer embarked on the Bio-Med course at Laurentian University before her 17th birthday, pursuing the laudable goal of becoming a veterinarian – her inspiration being her 25 huskies. Her first year at university was a whirl of classes, travelling back and forth to Laurentian (an hour each way), and the demands of caring for her family of 25 very exuberant, high energy dogs that commanded lots of attention.
While Jennifer rose to the challenges of algebra, chemistry and cellular biology, an introductory course in psychology changed her course of study. She changed her focus to the Psychology program which enabled her, through her strict self disciplined approach to self learning, to take many of her courses through distant learning. However, this change meant that she could spend more time with her dogs and develop skills that she would call upon in the future. To pursue a career in psychology, as with most other vocations, would detract from her interest and time that she could spend with her canine friends.
Her enjoyment of sledding and the delights of sharing her hobby with others led to notion and possibilities of developing her sled dog interests and skills into a full time business. The best of all Worlds: the love of Husky dogs and sledding, and the sharing of the activity and wilderness experience with people.
After six months of careful study, planning, researching and good old fashioned hard work, a vision and business plan was in place for M.U.S.H.E.R.S. Dog Sled Tours. In spite of the lack of formal business training, Jennifer was able to access government resources for small businesses with an outstanding plan which was submitted to Economic Partners (funded by Industry Canada and Fednor) for seed money loans, all before the age of 19. Community development officers were not burdened with confidence about loaning money to a 19 year old but after some hard work and some extreme challenges about her plans she finally was approved a loan just after her 20th birthday.
After her graduation in 2009, Jennifer saw the rapid approach of her second year in business. Plans had to be made and business goals established with all the pre-season demands of time and energy.
The Visions, Goals, and Philosophy of M.U.S.H.E.R.S.
The final product was a dog sled touring company that offers standard winter packages and customizable unique experiences. In fact, so unique to other dog sledding companies in Ontario, that Jennifer named the business M.U.S.H.E.R.S.: Making Unique Siberian Husky Experiences Running Sleds. Using primarily Siberian Husky sled dogs – though she rescues many dogs – she therefore can't always pick and choose the breeds, she offers a historic experience designed for all ages and abilities that challenges your physical and psychological limits, promoting healthy, active living.
To see some of our recent accomplishments, please click here!