A necropsy has shown that Dorado, the only canine fatality in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, died from asphyxiation, smothering in a snow bank after being pulled from the race.
Dorado, 5 years old, was found dead last Friday in Unalakleet, an Inupiat Eskimo village and race checkpoint on the Bering Sea coast. He was being cared for there after dropping from the race due to sore muscles, Reuters reported.
His death was the first canine fatality in the race since 2009, officials said.
The dog belonged to the team of rookie musher Paige Drobny, who continued with the rest of her team to Nome and finished in 34th place.
The necropsy determined the cause of death was asphyxiation from being buried in snow in severe wind conditions, race marshal Mark Nordman said.
Dorado had been left at Unalakleet and was set to be flown back to Anchorage, Nordman said. The animals were left outside, with their condition checked at 3 a.m. on Friday, he said.
“Between that time and daylight, drifting snow covered several dogs and Dorado was found to be deceased,” Nordman said.
The fatality broke a safety streak that race supporters had cited as a defense against race critics, and as evidence of the good veterinary care animals receive during the contest.
Animal rights supporters say competitors push the dogs too hard and subject them to dangerous conditions.
“Our stance on the Iditarod has always been that people who care about dogs should not support the race. It’s a cruel spectacle,” said Ashley Byrne, campaign specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Sixty-six mushers and their dog teams began the 1,000-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which was won this year by Mitch Seavey.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 18th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alaska, animals, asphyxiation, cruelty, death, dog, dogs, dorado, fatality, iditarod, musher, necropsy, paige drobny, peta, pets, race, sled, smothered, snow, unalakleet
When Abby wandered off from her home in Fairbanks, Alaska, during a snowstorm, her family held out only a little hope.
Abby was 8-years-old. Temperatures were dipping to 40 degrees below zero. And Abby was blind.
But a little hope turned out to be enough.
Seven days later, after walking 10 miles to the edge of a local musher’s dog yard, Abby, a brown-and-white mixed breed rescued from a shelter as a pup, was found and returned to her owners, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
“It’s a miracle, there’s no other words to describe it,” said McKenzie Grapengeter, who has three sons under the age of 10. “We never expected to have her to be returned safe and alive.”
Musher and veterinarian Mark May said he came across the dog while running his team on Dec. 19, but didn’t stop to pick her up. The next day, the dog showed up at May’s house.
May said the dog had no signs of frostbite. “No frozen ears, no frozen toes, she’ll probably go back home and it’ll (be) business as usual. She’s no worse for wear but quite an adventure,” he said.
“We’re so, so grateful…” Grapengeter said, calling Abby’s return “the most amazing Christmas gift we could ever ask for.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 26th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: abby, alaska, animals, blind, christmas, christmas miracles, dog, dogs, fairbanks, found, home, lost, miracle, pets, returned, snowstorm
A collar belonging to Warren G. Harding’s Airedale terrier, Laddie Boy, was stolen this week from the former president’s historic home in Ohio.
Strangely, it was apparently the only item taken in the Tuesday heist at the Harding Home and Museum in Marion.
“I don’t think there is a single item in this collection that matters more or is more important or special to the thousands of schoolchildren who pass through this home each year,” Sherry Hall, site manager, told the Columbus Dispatch.
“It’s a real connection to history for them” added Hall, who has overseen the site for nearly13 years. “They see that collar and learn about Laddie Boy and say, ‘Look. I have a dog, too. I’m just like the president.’”
On Tuesday morning, a groundskeeper found a ladder leaning against the home and a second story window open. A pry bar was found close by.
Hall, when she arrived at work, found a jewelry box belonging to Harding’s wife, Florence Kling Harding, broken and on the floor and other rooms in disarray.
Marion police distributed photos of the collar, hoping that if a thief tried to pawn it or sell it, it would be reported.
“I would say whoever stole it had been in there before, knew what it was and where it was and went in to get that and only that,” Marion Police Lt. Mark Beaschler said.
The dog collar, made from Alaskan gold nuggets, was fashioned especially for Laddie Boy, whose name is written in raised letters on the center.
During Harding’s term as the country’s 29th president, Laddie Boy had his own chair at the White House, which he sat in during cabinet meetings.
(Photos: Ohio Historical Society)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 13th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: airedale, alaska, animals, burglary, chair, collar, curator, dogs, gold, harding home and museum, historic, historical, home, investigation, ladder, Laddie Boy, manager, marion, museum, nuggets, ohio, pets, police, president, presidential, presidents, pry bar, sherry hall, site, stolen, terrier, warren g harding, warren harding, white house, window
A mushing mortician in his second Iditarod brought one of his dogs back to life after the 9-year-old husky collapsed on his way down a steep section of the Dalzell Gorge.
“Boom! Laid right down. It was like a guy my age having a heart attack,” Scott Janssen told the Anchorage Daily News.
“I know what death looks like, and he was gone. Nobody home,” said Janssen who owns a funeral home in Anchorage and bills himself as the “Mushing Mortician.”
Janssen said he rushed to the dog, named Marshall, and administered mouth-to-snout CPR, compressing the husky’s chest and breathing into his nose.
After about five minutes, Janssen said he talked to the dog: “I’m like c’mon dude, please come back.”
“And he did.”
Marshall collapsed late Monday night as the 51-year-old musher navigated a tricky section of trail that follows Rainy Pass as mushers exit the Alaska Range. Marshall, believed to be one of the oldest dogs in the Iditarod this year, has finished about five or six races, and this was to be his last.
Janssen carried Marshall in his sled until the Rohn checkpoint, where veterinarians examined him and administered an IV.
“He was fine this morning,” Janssen said. “He’s still at the checkpoint and they’re flying him back home today.”
Fatalities have been common during the Iditarod’s 40-year history, but no dogs have died in the past two years.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alaska, animals, cpr, deaths, dog, dogs, husky, iditarod, injuries, marshall, mortician, mouth to snout, mushing, mushing mortician, pets, race, revived, revives, scott janssen, sled, sled dog, trail
Twins Anna and Kristy Berington were born five minutes apart. Yesterday, again just minutes apart, they started off on the 975-mile Iditarod Trail, the first twins ever to compete in the race.
Kristy is a two-time Iditarod finisher; Anna is competing in her first Iditarod.
“Our mom didn’t even know she was having twins until Anna was born,” Kristy, who is five minutes older than her sister, told the Anchorage Daily News. “She never even got an ultrasound and our heartbeats were completely identical.”
While sled dog racing tends to run in families, Iditarod officials say the twins are the first — and the first sisters — to compete in an Iditarod.
The twins are also known to turn a few heads in a sport where — at least in the Iditarod — three of four racers are men.
“A lot of people kind of get the feeling that she’s just a pretty face — that she doesn’t know what she’s doing, that kind of thing,” Anna said of Kristy. “But she’s definitely proven that she is a dog musher.”
Kristy finished 39th in the 2010 and 29th in 2011. She came in ninth in this year’s Yukon Quest, a 1,000-mile race — and won the Veterinarian’s Choice Award for best dog care among the mushers.
The sisters grew up in northern Wisconsin, where they built dog sleds from downhill skis and a milk crate and used their Great Pyrenees and a border collie as their sled dogs, the Daily News reports.
The Beringtons began the race within minutes of each other at the timed start Sunday in Willow. Kristy drew position No. 31; Anna is No. 33.
(Photo: Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alaska, animals, anna, anna and kristy berington, berington, dogs, first, iditarod, kristy, pets, race, racers, sisters, sled dog, sports, start, twins, wisconsin
Apparently, word of that hasn’t spread to black bears.
Brooke Collins, A 22-year-old resident of Juneau, said Wednesday she punched a black bear in the face to save her small dog from being carried off and possibly eaten.
It happened Sunday night when the hairdresser saw a bear clutching her dachshund, Fudge, and biting down on the back of the little dog’s neck, according to MSNBC.
“It had her kind of like when they eat salmon,” Collins said Wednesday. “I was freaking out. I was screaming at it. My dog was screaming. I ran up to it … I just punched it right in the snout and it let go.”
Collins, who takes precautions with her dogs given all the bear sightings around Juneau, said Fudge darted out the door before she could stop her.
Fudge was not seriously hurt in the attack, but Collins said she is keeping her inside for now.
(Photo: By Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 1st, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alaska, black bear, brooke collins, dachshund, dog, dogs, fudge, hairdresser, hit, juneau, punched, punches, rescue, saves, wildlife, woman
It looks like something straight out of Lassie — a dog leads Alaska State Troopers down a series of winding back roads to a fire in his owner’s property.
It was all captured on a dashcam video that shows the German shepherd — Buddy — running to meet the trooper’s vehicle, then racing to the house on Caswell Lakes on April 4.
Troopers say Buddy and his owner, 23-year-old Ben Heinrichs, were in the family workshop when a heater ignited chemicals. According to the Associated Press, Heinrichs told Buddy: “We need to get help.”
The dog eventually found a trooper responding to a call about the fire and led him to it. Heinrichs suffered minor burns on his face, and his workshop was destroyed.
Buddy is receiving an award from the State Troopers today — an engraved silver-plated dog bowl in Anchorage.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 23rd, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alaska, alaska state troopers, anchorage, animals, ben heinrichs, buddy, dashcam, dog, dogs, fire, german shepherd, hero, heroics, leads, news, ohmidog!, owner, pets, troopers, video, workshop
With the final teams crossing the finish line Saturday night, race officials say not a single dog died in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race — possibly a first in the event’s history, the Anchorage Daily News reports.
“To stand there and watch that last team come in, I’ll tell you, is the highlight of my veterinarian career,” chief race veterinarian Stuart Nelson said after the final musher crossed the finish line.
Last year’s race saw six dogs die — from fluid-filled lungs, hypothermia and, in one case, a rocky airplane ride — prompting People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to demand an investigation of the deaths.
Supporters say the sheer number of dogs — more than 1,100 started the 1,000-mile race this year — make a death inevitable over the two-week competition.
This year, Iditarod organizers increased scrutiny of rookies, calling for veterinarians and race officials to rate potential Iditarod contenders on their ability to care for themselves and their dogs. Four mushers were asked to complete additional races before competing in the main event.
On Saturday, top finishers said relatively good trail conditions, low temperatures and the lack of a major storm this year helped teams complete the race faster and healthier than in 2009, the Daily News said.
After last year’s high death count, the chief vet had appeared “on edge” at a mushers meeting before this year’s race, said musher Hugh Neff, who finished ninth. “He put out the word to all of us that the dogs were going to be checked more thoroughly and that after what happened last year, we needed to be more vigilant.”
Nelson said he can’t remember a year without any deaths since he became involved in the race in 1986. At least twice, there has only been one death: in 1994 and 1996.
The average number of deaths rose from about two a year in the 1990s to roughly three deaths a year as the field of mushers ballooned to 80 or 90 competitors around 2000, Nelson said.
“I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that this is a first,” he said of the zero deaths in 2010.
The achievement isn’t likely to end criticism of the race.
Margery Glickman of Miami, Fla., who founded the Sled Dog Action Coalition in 1999, says officials still aren’t doing enough to protect dogs.
“If it’s true that there have been no dog deaths, I hope that remains the case for however long this race is run and I hope that they make other improvements,” Glickman said Saturday. She says officials ought to require mushers to take mandatory rests at checkpoints and shorten the length of the race overall to reduce not only deaths but injuries and illness.
(Photo: from BBC’s Frozen Planet series)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2010, alaska, animals, death, deaths, dog, dogs, iditarod, iditarod trail sled dog race, margery glickman, mushers, mushing, news, no deaths, race, safety, sled dog action coalition, sled dogs, sleds, stuart nelson, veterinarian
Alaskan musher Lance Mackey has won the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race and set an Iditarod record for most consecutive wins.
Mackey, 39, of Fairbanks, completed the 1,049-mile Iditarod race in just under nine days. He was cheered across the finish line in Nome by family and friends, including his father, Dick Mackey, the 1978 Iditarod champion, CNN reported.
“You’ve done something that will never be repeated, son,” the senior Mackey said, hugging his son at the finish line.
Mackey could be heard on the broadcast microphones speaking to his dog team just before reaching the finish line on Nome’s Front Street, “Nice, nice. This is so cool. We’re almost there, guys. You did such a good job.”
Arriving in Nome at 2:59 p.m. local time, Mackey’s official time was 8 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 9 seconds.
Mackey, a throat cancer survivor who says he began racing “at birth,” was inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame in February “for capturing multiple titles in two of the world’s longest sled dog races.”
More than 54 teams remained on the Iditarod trail headed toward Nome, including rookie Jamaican musher Newton Marshall, who was in 48th place. Marshall trained with Mackey this season in preparation for his first Iditarod run.
Fourteen of the original 71 teams that entered this year’s race have scratched en route.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 16th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alaska, consecutive, dick mackey, dog, dogs, fourth, iditarod, lance mackey, musher, mushing, news, nome, race, record, sled, sports, trail, winner, wins
Here’s an interesting role reversal. Snausages, the dog snack, sponsored what it describes as the first man sled race earlier this month — one that let the humans pull the dogs for a change.
Four teams, each representing a pet related charity, competed in the March 2 race in Anchorage.
The Snausages Man Sled Race was no Iditarod;the human teams only had to cover 75 yards. The winning team received a $5,000 donation to their charity. The second, third and fourth teams each raised $1,000.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alaska, anchorage, animals, charity, dog sled, dogs, fundraiser, funny, humans, man sled, man sled race, mushers, pets, pull, pulling sleds, race, role reversal, sled, snausages, video