Alyssa Martin knew from a young age dogs were going to play a huge role in her life. Not having the best childhood at home meant finding solace in her first dog, C.T., a black lab who she describes as her sweet and loyal protector. After losing C.T. at the age of 11, Martin worked hard for two years to adopt her first Siberian husky at the age of 13.
Now 27 and residing in Portola, Martin owns 14 dogs, 11 of which are Siberian huskies. Between years of being obsessed with dog sitting, and eventually tapping into dog grooming, Martin became a master caretaker. She received her first sled when she was 11, at 12 years old she went to watch her first race, and today she competes in races up to 100 miles in length.
While caring for 14 dogs undeniably presents challenges, Martin describes the family as “one symbiotic organism living together,” and with dog mushing, it really is all about taking care of the animals first. “The competition I want to enter most is called the Eagle Cap Extreme in Joseph, Oreg.,” Martin said. “Over the course of three days the entire town makes food for the mushers, and the largest monetary prize in the competition goes to the team with the best cared-for dogs.”
Martin currently works as a hair and make-up artist at Mane Attraction in Truckee and Solstice Weddings, which she co-owns. At a certain point she realized “people don’t bite” and wanted to separate her passion from her employment. Martin welcomes anyone interested in running their own dogs with hers; the experience will leave you buzzing from the joy a family of dogs can instill into the heart.