Go Big or Go Home – Jamaican Street Dogs Show the Way

This way to the Jamaica Dog Sled Team.

Jamaica Dog Sled Team This Way – click image to learn about the photographer

You could adopt one dog, give it a home after an early life on the streets.

Or you could adopt twenty and form a dog sled team. At least that’s what Danny Melville did.

Oh, and did I mention he did it in Jamaica?

Crazy Ideas

Danny Melville ran an adventure travel business providing entertainment for Caribbean tourists. One day he got the crazy idea of starting the Jamaica Dog Sled Dog Team.

Jamaicans would train and work with the dogs who would be available for tourist adventures. And the mushers would eventually travel around the world to race dogs.

Insane, right?

The sled dog tourist adventures ended last year. But Jamaican musher Damion Robb has been a medalist in Canadian races. And his teammate, Newton Marshall, has completed both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod in the middle of the pack.

Now the idea doesn’t seem so crazy, does it?

Maybe the key to doing anything interesting is to be just a little bit crazy.

Think Big

Newton Marshall, Jamaican Musher, at the 2010 Iditarod.

Newton Marshall, Jamaican Musher at the Ceremonial Start of the 2010 Iditarod – click image to learn more about the photographer

One of my biggest failings is that I think too small.

It’s not that I don’t have big ideas. But I see other people carrying them out, never me.

I don’t have enough confidence. Or gumption. Or maybe I’m just not crazy enough.

But I’m inspired by shelter dogs learning to accept affection and forming a team of pullers. And I’m simply astounded that anyone would leave Jamaica for northern Canada or the U.S. in the winter at all, much less to race hundreds of miles behind a pack of dogs.

The next time I’m making plans for a new enterprise, I’ll try to channel the Jamaican sled dogs and their mushers.

Learn the Full Story

You can learn the story of the Jamaican Dog Sled Team in the documentary film Sun Dogs. Read my full review at A Traveler’s Library for Pet Travel Tuesday.

Maybe it will inspire you to think big. Or at least just a little bit crazy.

Do you have a crazy idea you’ve never had the courage to try? Or have you succeeded at being crazy? Do tell.

Disclaimers: The link to the film is through Amazon. If you buy anything using that link I will earn a few cents to support Something Wagging This Way Comes without costing you any more. Thanks for your support. The pictures come from Flickr under a Creative Commons license. Click the images to learn more about the photographers.

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Comments

  1. We started SlimDoggy – that’s our crazy idea! Taking in a scruffy shelter dog (SlimDoggy Jack) and then taking him from obese to svelte and building an iPhone App around the tools we used to help him? Kind of crazy, but great fun. We love helping other doggies lose weight and donating some of our proceeds to shelters, well that just helps many more doggies. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! We may not monetarily ‘successful’ yet, but we’ve successfully helped many dogs.

  2. My craziest idea is probably to go sky diving. I have the courage myself, but none of my friends/family have the courage to join me and its not something I want to do alone.

  3. Those are some lucky dogs!! What an adventure! I do crazy things all the time. It amuses my Mom Person. Thanks for sharing this story. We’re going to watch that documentary and tell our detention boys about it.

  4. That’s so cool. Bet those Jamaican doggies loved getting out in the snow!

    I used to live very big and crazy….living in a cave in SE Utah, going on tour with a hippie marimba band in the PNW, living in my van, traveling by bus all over Guatemala…and still feel very close to those roots, although life is a bit more conventional. I don’t think we’re quite done with that spontaneous way of living in this lifetime–at least, I hope not.

  5. It is also inspiring to read about how many people believed in Danny’s idea and gave emotional and monetary support. The Alaskan mushers could be a closed old boys’ club, but they have shown in every way their willingness to include others with a dream.
    Newton Marshall is a good role model for children who might not have a good education, but can still realize their crazy dreams.

  6. I’m just crazy. I have all these grandiose plans and no idea how to make them happen. Normally I just feel sad, sitting back watching others have success and feeling like I’m a failure.

    Hey, you asked.

  7. Wow. Really makes the stuff I struggle to accomplish – or even get motivated to start – seem trivial!

  8. When I was 21, I moved 2700 miles away to the Pacific Northwest where I knew no one to open a grooming shop with someone I hardly knew. Stayed there for 5 years and wished I was still there. At the time it didn’t seem crazy, but looking back, maybe a little.

  9. I saw Sun Dogs (we’re docu-junkies) and I just think this whole thing is great. Those are some lucky street dogs who end up on the team!

  10. That’s crazy talk. But the good kind of crazy! I’m not a dreamer. I’m an ideas person, but usually when brainstorming for someone’s project. What’s known as a firestarter. Someone else can take the torch and make it reality. I’m happy to have good ideas.

  11. Well, I have certainly never dreamed that big! It would be nice to be able to quit my day job and just take pictures of the dogs all day, have adventures and write the blog! And no, I don’t see that happening. Part of it is because I don’t want the blog to feel like a job. But it’s nice to dream!

  12. Simply fascinating! I’ve heard of this before, somewhere, although I don’t think it was in Jamaica!!

    I’m afraid to dream big, maybe for a moment or two, but what happens when that big dream doesn’t come to pass? It’s taken a lot to just dream big enough of having a dog team someday to do local races. And there’s a reason I want to do it with Blaze’s pups. Those are HUGE dreams to me. Just writing about it makes me want to dismiss it that it can’t happen. I don’t know HOW dreams even happen…

  13. Wow – that’s cool. I’m not great at crazy, big ideas. My craziest idea was probably to move to Bermuda in my 20’s – and that actually worked out fantastic, since I met my hubs there. I guess I should try crazy ideas more often!

Trackbacks

  1. […] from ATL: Pamela expands on lessons learned from this book about taking chances. Read it at Something Wagging This Way Comes. And if you are planning a trip to the island, learn more about travel in Jamaica from local expert, […]