Matthew Failor with one of his puppies.

The positivity, joy and love an animal can bring into a person’s life is unmatched. No one knows that better than Matthew Failor.

Failor is a Mansfield native and graduate of The Ohio State University and St. Peter’s High School. 

He is also an Iditarod musher and record-setter for the Kuskokwim 300 dog sled race, which he won in 2019. 

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Failor with one team of his dogs.

He has his own teams of dogs for the races, which means he cares for a kennel of 50 dogs on a daily basis. 

His race preparations are not exactly what one might imagine. Failor doesn’t follow a training or workout regimen and doesn’t stick to any diet. He takes care of his dogs, trains and exercises them everyday, and gets them ready for the race.

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Two of Failor's dogs training.

“My life’s work keeps me in shape,” said Failor. “Having a kennel and being competitive keeps me moving.”

Failor noted how important it is to be mentally prepared for the race. 

“You can will yourself to do anything if you’re mentally strong, so I’m always in that headspace. If you want to be competitive, the Iditarod consumes your life. I’m always thinking about the dogs’ nutrition, medicine, race strategy and race training. Just being with the dogs gets me in that headspace.”

Spending time with the dogs is important to Failor for the purpose of race preparation.

He doesn’t practice meditation or yoga in order to mentally prepare for this grueling race that stretches over 1000 miles. Instead, Failor finds his peace through spending quality time with his dogs. 

“If you have a dog, or any pet, you know that feeling you get when you come home from a long day at work and your pet is just so happy to see you. Think about spending the entire day with your dog, and multiply that by 50. That’s the joy and love I feel every single day with my dogs.”

Everyone can feel that joy and love, even if having a kennel of 50 dogs isn’t something they see in their immediate future.

Countless studies show us the physical and mental benefits of having a pet. These benefits range from lower blood pressure and cholesterol to lower anxiety levels and lessened symptoms of depression.

Now is the perfect time to experience these health benefits while also changing the life of an animal in need of a loving home.

Humane Society Dogs

This pup is not yet available for adoption, as she is on her long road to recovery and is being cared for at the Humane Society.

All through the month of August, the Humane Society of Richland County is running a special promotion: adoption fees are $25 off. 

Director of Operations and Animal Care Missy Houghton explained this “Tail End of Summer” adoption event as well as the importance of adopting over shopping.

“We always recommend adoption because there are thousands of great animals who are homeless through no fault of their own,” she said. “As long as there are animals looking for homes, adoption should be the route that you go.”

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She also suggested going to to find a specific breed instead of working with a breeder. This way, an animal in need gets a home.

Currently, the Humane Society of Richland County has 29 dogs. Their capacity is 22.

The Humane Society is a no-kill shelter, but because they are so overpopulated, they cannot rescue any more animals in need.

Humane Society Cats

Rooney is available for adoption at the Humane Society of Richland County.

The shelter currently cares for about 50 cats, which is near capacity as well.

Adoption is needed for these animals, now more than ever. The animals brought in to the Humane Society have been surrendered to the shelter after living in an abusive or neglectful environment. These animals are ready to be loved and find a forever home.

“Animals don’t require a whole lot from you,” said Houghton. “They want your time, your attention, and your love. And in return, you are their whole world. They will love you forever for rescuing them and giving them a second chance.”

While being an Iditarod musher may not be attainable for everyone, the positivity and love an animal can bring into a person’s life is unmatched. Adopt today

Marketing Intern

Marketing intern and Thrive Reporter for Richland Source. Graduate of Lexington High School. Current student at Miami University studying public administration, law, and Arabic. Avid ice cream-consumer.