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Tag: trail

Expressing yourself, doggie style

As was the case with our kudzu dogs, this one requires just a squirt of imagination.

Ace and I were walking the streets of downtown Missoula when we saw a chocolate Labrador stopping to pee — well, not really stopping at all, which was the interesting part.

For almost half a block, he zig-zagged along the sidewalk, leaving a squiggly trail behind him.

Perhaps he, or his owner, had no time to stop — maybe the human had an urgent appointment, or maybe the dog had a weak bladder; or maybe, just maybe, the dog was expressing himself in the other meaning of the phrase.

Maybe he’d discovered a way around not being able to speak human — and it’s just a case of no one having discovered his amazing ability yet.

Sure, it doesn’t look like much now, but let’s see what happens when we turn it sideways.

Don’t bother moving your computer; allow me:

If I’m not mistaken, it spells Missoula, Montana.

Mackey wins fourth straight Iditarod

mackeyAlaskan 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.

Dog rules re-examined after death on trail

losalamoscreektrailA freak accident in San Jose has the city re-examining its dog rules, particularly those governing bicyclists riding with dogs on trails.

A meeting was held Wednesday after the death of Beverly Head, who fell on the popular Los Alamitos Creek trail after her legs became wrapped up in the leash of a Siberian husky running alongside a cyclist.

Head, a 62-year-old phlebotomist, initially remained conscious after the Sept. 16 fall, even speaking with the bicyclist until paramedics came, but she died the next day, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The bicyclist — who was riding with two Siberian huskies — has not come forward and the Head family is offering a $5,000 reward for his identity. The death has been ruled an accident.

“This is a horribly tragic accident, but we can’t legislate accidents,” said Justin Grosso, a San Jose resident who argued at the meeting that additional rules aren’t necessary. Others favored new city laws addressing the issue.

Suggestions included adding more signs on the trails, separating trails for walkers and bicyclists, and banning leashes more than 6 feet long.

About 125 people attended the meeting, which was convened by San Jose Councilwoman Nancy Pyle. The city’s current laws require that owners keep their dogs “under control” at all times and keep them on leashes of up to 20 feet in city parks.

“We’re here to get ideas from the public so that shared trails don’t become hazardous, and we can find ways to coexist,” she said.

California dog owner offers big reward for pups

erev0902reward01A California dog owner is offering a $3,000 reward for the return of her two pit bull puppies.

The two 10-week-old pups, named Chocolate and Ashley, disappeared from the backyard of Fair Norton’s home in Hayward Aug. 12, according to the Oakland Tribune. Norton suspects they went through a hole in the fence.

A pet detective, hired for $600, used a bloodhound to determine the pups had followed a creek bed into a quarry. But the trail ended there.

“I just have a feeling that somebody has them,” Norton said. “If something happened to them, we would have seen something … someone would have found a dead dog.”

Norton said the dogs were early wedding gifts from a cousin who owns the puppies’ parents.

Chocolate is brown and white, with green and hazel eyes and a brown and pink spotted nose. He has a brown leather studded collar. Ashley is gray and white, with steel gray eyes and a black leather collar. Both have white-tipped tails.

Anyone with information may call Norton at 323-384-1640 or 209-834-4317.

Iditarod starts today

They’re off and mushing — almost.

The 37th Iditarod begins this morning, with the ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage.

Lance Mackey is the odds-on favorite to join Susan Butcher (1986-88) and Doug Swingley (1999-2001) as the only mushers to win three races consecutively, USA Today reports.

The race, which began in 1973 in memory of a 1925 sled dog rush to relay diphtheria serum to Nome, covers about 1,100 miles across precarious and frigid Alaska terrain.

In 2009, the world’s most famous dog-sled race, which continues to take a beating from animal welfare organizations who see it as cruel, is being hit by the recession as well, Reuters reports.

The purse for the grueling 1,100-mile trek to Nome, which commemorates a lifesaving medicine relay in 1925, has been slashed to about $650,000, from $900,000 last year. And 67 mushers and their dog teams are scheduled to start Alaska’s most important sporting event, down from last year’s record field of 96.

To keep tabs on the race, visit its offical website, where you can also sign up to be an Iditarod Insider, receiving regular updates, and, for a fee, video of the race.

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