Rob Farley: Sharing his love of dogs through October Siberians

Rob Farley and his Siberian huskies.
Rob Farley and his Siberian huskies.
Rob Farley’s day job involves conducting surveys and issuing permits for the Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, but around Hinesburg, where he has lived for 25 years, he is known as the sled dog guy for his forays along the trails and backroads with his team of Siberian huskies.

In 1994 he took his first sled dog ride and he was hooked. Soon, he adopted his first Siberian husky and a second one followed. Farley is drawn to the breed because they are energetic, independent and beautiful, he said.

When Farley and his wife opened their home to a third husky, they decided on a name for what was clearly becoming a kennel. They had met in October, married in October, moved into their house in October and adopted their first sled dog in October, so it was only natural to name their operation October Siberians. Soon, their first litter was born, also in October.

October Siberians officially began as a dog sled business in 2004. Touring season starts each December as soon as there is enough snow and continues into March. Teams of eight to ten of their 15 dogs take tourists on two-hour rides in Little River State Park in Waterbury and 20-minute evening rides at the Snowflake Resort in Stowe.

Although most of their clients are from out-of-town, many locals give gifts of his rides as Christmas presents. “It’s for those who would rather give an adventure than a thing,” Rob Farley said.

Farley enjoys sharing his passion with others. “It’s a very solitary activity,” he said. “There’s a peacefulness to being out in the woods and I love being on the back of a sled, watching the dogs perform and seeing the progress they’ve made over the years. I like being able to share that with others.”

The sleds are designed for two drivers. Farley stands in the middle with a second driver spot behind him and another passenger space up front. The second driver can be as interactive as he or she chooses, but Farley remains in control at all times.

Taking his clients out in Little River gives Farley a variety of options. “We can do loops in the park or tight turns,” he said. “That’s what makes my program unique. I can make it as thrilling or as placid as people want.”

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