Paws Along the Trail with Rules About Dogs
To have an effective classroom, we teachers know there have to be expectations. The same is true for the Iditarod Race. Today we teachers took a field trip to Iditarod Headquarters to see Vet Check. The Iditarod is very strict on dog care before, during, and throughout the race. A huge percentage of the race rules have to do with dogs on the race. I counted 15 out of 53 rules which specifically protected dogs.
Talking to three volunteer veterinarians led to interesting info as we waited for more dog trucks to arrive. They apply and come to the Iditarod from all over. These three are from Florida, Oklahoma, and Michigan. Leading up to this opportunity is an application, lots of literature to read to familiarize themselves with the race and sled dogs, and then training sessions and meetings here in Alaska. They will be assigned to certain checkpoints along the way to examine the dogs and help if needed. A two-time Iditarod volunteer vet told me, as we watched a rather rotund dog trot up (not a sled dog), that he would be more the type of dog she’s used to seeing: not in as good of shape.
I also got to talk with Kristen Bacon and Tara Cicatello while waiting for their dogs to be checked. Tara is running the race with Kristen’s dogs. Tara said last evening she brought the sled into the kitchen and was adding runner plastic to the runners, adjusting the sled, and also continuing with her packing. She is excited and nervous for her rookie run.
Jeff and Katti Deeter allowed us to peek into their dog truck. Katie said that the first box is the favorite of their dogs. When the dogs are loaded in, they are allowed to choose bunks. She followed them and found three in the favorite spot! “One per bunk!” is the policy she has to enforce.
Lots of stethoscopes, dogs licking the vets while they tried to examine them, and a building excitement is felt as the start of the race approaches!