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Our Mission at Peace Pups

My goals and reasons for creating Peace Pups Dogsledding:

I am a local Vermont resident who grew up on a 100 head dairy farm in North Ferrisburg before moving to the mountains of Central Vermont where I have lived since 1978. I live in Elmore Vermont with my wife, and a "several" Siberian Huskies. We adopted our first Siberian husky named Jake from a local shelter in 2001. We blame our dramatic change in lifestyle on him. With the trend being toward Alaskan Huskies and hounds for racing we have decided to stick with Siberians because we love their personalities, their love of running and even their sometimes stubborn dispositions.

I believe small is beautiful, and am committed to keeping my business small. At times it is tempting to grow in order to accommodate more guests each season but I have seen other businesses go this route and have seen the problems that arise. I take pride in the fact that I am involved in all aspects of my business from scooping poop to answering the phone to driving the sleds. I feel that this allows me to provide a high level of care for my customers and my dogs. It also means that if we have a slow period or a bad winter I will still be able to provide for dogs that I have. Having too many dogs and no work can create a situation where the dogs have to be given away or placed due to the expense. In these days of mergers and huge business models I believe small and personal is the way to go even though it may mean turning away customers at times.

My focus is not on racing what I really enjoy is just being out in the woods with my canine family and exposing people to the exciting world of dog powered sports. I have been a professional woodworker for more than thirty years and worked for one of the largest custom furniture companies in New England for eighteen years. My goal in 2004 was to move toward a more outdoor oriented lifestyle and gradually move away from furniture building. I'm happy to say that I have been successful in doing that and now my entire life revolves around my dogs. I do still enjoy working on and building dog sleds and much of my own dogsledding equipment but I do not do much "woodworking" these days. More time in the fresh air, more time with the dogs!

It's all about the dogs here at Peace Pups. The reality is that no one would trek all the way to Vermont from half way around the world just to see me; but they do to meet our dogs. There is no doubt that there is a special connection between the dogs and the people who come to visit them and it brings me great pleasure to be a part of that. At Peace Pups we have made a conscious decision not to breed dogs. Although we had a litter in 2004 and 2013 and love them all dearly we have found that there are already plenty of dogs out there who could benefit from coming to live with us. We strive to provide the best care possible for our dogs. This means providing a safe loving environment where each dog can blossom and reach their full potential as well as providing the best possible food, shelter and veterinary care. We are proud members of Mush With Pride; a organization that seeks to improve dog care by providing information on all aspects of sled dog care. Since we adopt sled dogs from many different kennels and lines It's often hard to predict how a new dog will get along with the dogs currently living here. If things do not work out I take accept full responsibility for finding that dog a appropriate home where it will hopefully spend the rest of it's life. It can take a lot of time and effort to find the right match for a given dog but it is worth it to me to know that the dog will continue to receive the best care possible. Any dog we place is welcome back at any point in time if things do not work out with the new home. I do not want any dog which has been with us to end up in a shelter or in a situation where it is not receiving the best care possible. We try to stay in contact with every owner and often receive pictures or even visits from the dogs we have placed. I come to think of the dogs new families as part of our extended Peace Pups family.

One of the biggest benefits of what we do is that it allows us to teach each and every visitor about compassion and caring for animals. Taking guests out with the dogs gives them the rare privilege of seeing a dog team doing what they love to do; run. Inviting people to visit our home allows us to show the high level of care our dogs receive, what loving animals they are and how happy they are. I enjoy being able dispel misconceptions people sometimes have in regard to sled dogs or "working" dogs. I've had dog trainers tell me they felt that Huskies were one of the worst dogs to try and train due to their lack of focus. I've had people who thought that Siberians were vicious and dangerous dogs. I've had people who thought there was a radical difference between "working dogs" and "pets" and I've had people ask "isn't it mean to make them run?". These misconceptions couldn't be further from the truth and a hour or two with the dogs makes that evident. This is the easiest part of my job because the dogs speak for themselves!

Ken Haggett

My Mission at Peace Pups Dogsledding is to stay a small sustainable business. My goal is to donate ten percent of my profits to non profit organizations working to promote world peace while at the same time providing the best possible care for my dogs. I feel this is a way that I can act locally and have a positive global impact. I strive to spread the joy of working with dogs to a broad audience and promote dog sledding in Vermont as well as encourage people to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty of our state.

How are we doing? I will attempt to keep the information below updated in order to be accountable for my 10%. The dating below can be a bit confusing as our main season is over the winter and falls into two separate years.

Peace Pups was founded in the fall of 2005. Our first winter of 2005-2006 left us showing no profit. A small number of guests and start up costs took their toll but we did make enough to pay for the next years dog food and to keep things running for another year which was all that I really expected the first season.

We have had a great year in 2006-2007 with good snow and many happy customers. Our dry land activities are growing and we ran twice as many cart tours in the fall of 2007 as we had the previous year and our sled tours have seen similar increases. Being our third year in business I like to think that I can attribute this to positive word of mouth advertising from satisfied guests. Although we barely made it out of the red this year I have decided to make a $500.00 out of pocket donation to Democracy Now. The reason I settled on Democracy Now for this donation is because I feel it is important to have some form of independent media left in this wonderful country of ours. So often the main stream media has very little in depth coverage of world events. I believe having well informed citizens is a valuable asset and helps us all to make good decisions which will make for a better world in the future. I will consider whether to donate to Democracy Now again this fall or possibly another cause. I welcome your suggestions.

After reviewing our records for 2007-2008 I have found that we showed a $5,000.00 profit; that gives me the same amount as last year to donate only this time it is not an out of pocket donation but actually my first 10% of profit. Hopefully this will continue to grow as the initial start up costs of getting the business off of the ground begin to decrease. This year I have again decided to donate $500.00 to Democracy Now with the hope that they will be able to continue to bring us their un-imbedded news reports from around the world. WIth most of our media being controlled by roughly five large media companies (at last count) it is more important than ever to help support small news organizations. As always I am happy to discuss other options for next year if you have thoughts on this subject.

After reviewing our records for 2008-2009 I have found that we showed a $6,733.00 profit which is a slight increase from 2007-2008 and shows that we are moving in forward direction rather than backwards. Given the state of the economy these days I am very happy with this. Since I have no intention of growing the business any larger we may be getting close to our maximum income potential. With two teams and and a limited number of days in the winter there are only so many tours we can do. The biggest potential for growth seems to be with our fall cart and scooter outings. For donations this year I am continuing with my contributions to Democracy Now and the other organizations listed below. 10% of our profit comes to $673.00 this year so I will once again contribute $500.00 to Democracy Now and $50.00 donations to the groups listed below for a total of $850.00 donated this year.

Other charitable donations made:
Breast Cancer Relief Fund
Special Olympics Vermont
Native American Aid
Council Of Indian Nations
Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont
March of Dimes
WGDR, our local independent radio station

2009-2010 This year 10% of our profit comes to $965.00 so I will once again contribute $500.00 to Democracy Now with miscellaneous donations to the groups listed below. In the interest of spreading things about next year I will only donate to one group from each field. For example the Native American Relief fund and the Council of Indian Nations. I will only donate to one of them so that I can donate to another worthy cause as well.

Other charitable donations made:
Special Olympics - 25.00
Breast Cancer Relief - 15.00
Native Am. Relief - 20.00
Council of Indian Nations. - 50.00
Special Olympics - 25.00
WGDR - 50.00
Professional Fire VT - 50.00
Special Olympics - 50.00
Special Olympics - 35.00
Breast Cancer Foundation - 35.00
WGDR - 50.00
Professional Fire VT - 25.00
Breast Cancer Relief - 35.00

2010-2011 This year 10% of our profit only came to $650.00. Our season was a bit shorter this year due to snow conditions.My main contribution was still to Democracy Now but I only donated $300.00 this year.

Other charitable donations made:
Special Olympics - 50.00
Council of Indian Nations. - 50.00
Professional Fire VT - 50.00
Breast Cancer Foundation - 35.00
WGDR (our local community radio station)- 100.00
Breast Cancer Relief - 50.00
Stephen Huneck Gallery - 25.00

2011-2012 This year 10% of our profit only came to $742.00. Our season was a solid 4 weeks shorter than average this year. We had a late start and then it warmed to 75 degrees in mid-March brining sledding season to a grinding halt. This year I have made a decision to cut back on small donations and focus on some larger causes. Two of those that I chose this year are the Against Malaria Foundation and Earth Rights International. Both have high ratings and seem to be very good causes.

Donations made:
Special Olympics - 75.00
Professional Fire VT - 50.00
Woman to woman breast cancer foundation - 50.00
WGDR (our local community radio station) - 50.00
Vermont Department of Recreation - 50.00
Democracy Now - 150.00
Against Malaria Foundation - 167.00
Earth Rights International - 150.00

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