Doug Butler was born and raised on his family dairy farm, and has worked there his whole life. In 1975 he saw an ad in the paper and he purchased his first dog team. Ever since, he's worked long hours on the farm and trained sled dogs in what little spare time he had. Over the years he's become notorious in the New England and Quebec racing circuits for being the crazy farmer-musher with an uncanny ability to drink beer on the race course.
Unfortunately, the times have been tough on small farmers in this country, and in 2019 Doug was forced to sell his dairy herd. Saying goodbye to cows that Doug raised from the day they were born was incredibly hard, but Doug still had a family and 65 sled dogs to support. He switched his farm over to raising beef cattle and now sells premium Butler Beef to hospitals, nursing homes, and individuals all across Vermont.
Without the milk checks coming in every month, Doug was missing crucial financial support for the dogs. Raising sled dogs correctly is costly, and our athletes deserve the best. So, in the fall of 2019, Doug teamed up with Ben Barrett and Jules Struyzna to found Cobble Hill Kennel the business to support these amazing animals. Ben and Jules first started working with Doug in 2016 and 2017 respectively, during their freshmen years, and quickly fell in love with the dogs. Starting last September, the three of them started selling dogsled tours, rides, and special events to raise money for the animals and expose people to this wonderful sport. None of them take any salary from the kennel; all proceeds go towards taking care of the dogs.
This year, we were able to raise enough money to send Doug and Ben out West to compete in the 2020 Wyoming Pedigree Dogsled Race, the largest dogsled race in the lower 48 states. We also gave many tours and ran programs with Middlebury College, teaching a dogsledding winter workshop for 15 students and bringing the dogs to campus for Middlebury's Winter Carnival. None of this would've been possible without all the amazing support we've received from the Vermont community - thank you!
The COVID-19 pandemic produces unique challenges for our small business, but we're dedicated to the dogs and the sport. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @CobbleHillKennel to keep in touch, and consider sponsoring a dog to help support us in these difficult times!