MSU student Charmayne Morrison has been dog sledding since she was fourteen years old. What started as a fascination with the Iditarod soon became an obsession. Ordering her own sled and assembling it herself, Morrison hooked her two dogs into a harness and convinced her sister to stand at the end of the driveway calling the dogs so that she could get a feel for sled dog racing. Weeks later she had conned her parents into her first actual sled dogs and, as time continued on, more dogs joined the racing family. “My kennel quickly grew, as did my love for these amazing dogs and the sport,” Morrison said.
The racing process has been tough for Morrison, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic and adjustments with class formats. “Just caring for the sled dogs, in general, is very time-consuming, not to mention the time commitment during the fall and winter that is our training season,” she said. Morrison even mentioned that she spends more time with her dogs than she does with her “actual human family.” To her, the dogs are a stress relief and will always take priority in her life. Coursework comes second. “These dogs are so much higher on my priority list than a good grade,” Morrison said.
In the future, Morrison is hoping to run the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest with her family of sled dogs. This winter she completed her first Iditarod qualifying race out of the three she needed to complete. “It is more important to me to have a happy team that I can enjoy running long term without stressing about getting enough miles in or preparing for races.” Her more immediate goals include raising her own litter of puppies next summer, preparing for the future of her kennel and preparing her adult dogs for long-distance events and future endeavors. While she is currently not fundraising, she plans to in the future. For those who would be interested in helping Charmayne in the future, you can find her email and the link to her kennel below.
The sled dogs are bred to run. “They are absolutely not forced in any way whatsoever to do this. That is something I always stress. They are some of the best cared for athletes in the world,” she said. The dogs are fed the best food, given daily exercise and taken to veterinarian checkups two or three times a year with mandatory checks before each race. “Most people do not have any sort of experience with sled dogs, and I really want to stress that these dogs are treated like gold. After all, a musher isn’t going to travel very far at all if their team doesn’t love and trust them.”
Morrison would like to write a book in the future about her experiences with sled dogs and the adventures of her and her team. Social media linked to the Morrison Racing Kennel is attached below. Good Luck Charmayne!