Musher Stories

If You Mush Know: Happy Feet!

This month’s question comes from….. Aarav What does it mean when a musher says a dog has “good feet?” Do only dogs with bad feet wear booties? Happy Feet A musher is a coach choosing his or her team and beginning to prepare the dogs to perform at their best. The dogs will be running …

If You Mush Know: Time to Harness Up and Train

This month’s question comes from…. Teddy What does it mean when the mushers say they are in “fall training?” Time to Harness Up and Train A chill is in the morning air, fog swirls as the morning sun rises, and an extra bounce is in the dogs as they sense the change in seasons. It …

Iditarod: The First Ten Years – September 2021

Welcome back to a new school year! The 2022 race is the 50th running of the Iditarod. The anthology, Iditarod: The First Ten Years, was compiled to preserve the stories of those who launched The Last Great Race. The goal of the Old Iditarod Gang was to have this book for classrooms to use as …

If You “Mush” Know: Summer Diets

This month’s question comes from….. Abby What do the dogs eat in the summer? Is it different than during the racing season?   What is on the menu for sled dogs? What a sled dog eats is very important to their performance year round.The dogs’ diet affects their overall health, muscle development, and ability to …

If You Mush Know: Run, Snack, Love

This month’s question comes from: Jack What do the dogs do when a big race like Iditarod is over? What do they do when they get home? What’s next? The Iditarod teams have completed 823 miles of running on the Gold Trail Loop as a team and have navigated tough trail sections and overcome many …

If You “Mush” Know: How Big are Sled Dogs?

This month’s question comes from….. Grant: How big do sled dogs get? Do they have to be a certain size to race?   Willingness and Heart   Sled dogs come in many sizes with mushers’ preferences ranging from larger dogs with muscular strength to smaller quicker runners. Martin Buser, 4 time Iditarod champion, once wrote, …

If You “Mush” Know: Poop Scooping

This month’s question comes from….. Every kid in America:  What happens if the dogs have to go to the bathroom? Do you have to stop and scoop it up?    Chocolate Kisses and Goggles   Excitement echoes in the kennel as the dogs, supreme canine athletes, are getting ready to do what they love – …

If You “Mush” Know: Stopping a Team

This question comes from Mrs. Dagenais’ Class in Baltimore: How does a musher stop their team of sled dogs? Gary Paulsen describes in Dogteam the beauty of a winter night run with a team of dogs pulling the sled taking you on a wonderful ride along a trail. Paulsen shares the beauty of the energy …

If You “Mush” Know: Places in the Team

This Month’s Question:  How do you decide which dog goes where in a team? Can they change places? The sled dogs make a team. A team includes the leaders, the team dogs, and the wheel dogs. Like a coach of a team like soccer or basketball, I as the musher want to know my dogs …

Painter and Ugly: Friendship at the Jr. Iditarod

  One of the special benefits of the Jr. Iditarod is that the young mushers bond with each other in a unique and lasting way.  In the woods at Yentna Station, after taking great care of their dogs for the night, they bonded over a campfire and shared trail stories.  It was remarkable to see, …