Chantal Dostaler with Junkyard and Neon - Instigator of Vote for Hope
Chantal Dostaler with Junkyard and Neon - Instigator of Vote for Hope

I worked in the dogsled industry, as a musher (or dogsled guide) for 5 years.

My introduction to dogsledding was at a small kennel, it was a work trade, I worked with the dogs in exchange for housing and food. The kennel had approximately 25 dogs and through this opportunity, I got to understand the very personal trials and tribulations dog owners face. This is also where I met my best friend, Ooch dog.

Looking for a challenge and the opportunity to grow as a dogsled guide, Ooch and I moved on to a larger company in the same community. When I started there, we were a small crew taking care of 400 dogs. I had to continually fight and prove myself for this demanding position. I loved the dogs, I loved the outdoors, and I felt so grateful to be able to share this experience with hundreds of people a year. After 4 years I was let go, by then, we only had 250 dogs remaining in our care.

Why the blog

This blog's purpose is to share my experience working as a musher for this large kennel and to expose what happened to those 150 + dogs during my years of employment. To explain how it was to be a worker, taking care of them. To tell the story of how the dogs were cared for, how they lived, how they died. Since I can no longer be physically present for them, I use my time and energy to advocate for the dogs and their rights.

Many Canadians have a dog in their home which they considered part of the family and would do anything to protect their wellbeing. Dogs in the sled dog industry are essentially farmed but rather than being consumed, the dogs are put to work.  My experience speaks not only to the lack of animal protection laws in the farming industry, but also for peoples pets.

Sled dogs and pet dogs (as well as other animals) deserve to have their rights recognized by the law in Ontario and the rest of Canada.

I welcome everyone to take action moving forward, to ensure that the legal system truly represents what Canadians values in regards to animal well being.

I hope that by allowing for better protection of the animals, we, in turn, find ways to protect the people whose job it is, to take care of them.



“This will come as a shock, unfortunately, we do have some of the worst animal protection laws in the western world”

Camille Labchuk
Executive director of Animal Justice


The mission


To inform, educate, motivate and bring change to the current laws and regulations for the ethical treatment of animals. I hope to gain allies and to move people towards a sustainable and fair legal system for the animals and animal caretakers. This blog will recount all the work that has gone into and continues to be done, towards accountability... My mission is to clearly inform, from first-hand experiences and in layman’s terms, on the issues and the discrepancies in the current animal welfare system.

Through perseverance and teamwork, I aim to provide access to pertinent information and also to help you find ways to become an active member and harbinger of change.

What now?

Read the Blog

Read about the dogs, the musher and the advocacy work.

Friends and Allies

Devoted to the protection and welfare of sled dogs and other animals, check out these resources.

Contact us

Questions, suggestions: Contact the Virtuous Musher