Warm Hearts Make Warm Dogs 2024

Calling all classrooms! Our students are the biggest fans and supporters of the race especially of the dogs!  The Iditarod Return Dog Team is in need of 300 fleece dog blankets to be used at checkpoints AND to have on hand for dogs returned to Anchorage during the race.  While the dogs are being cared for on their way home from the trail, the return dog team uses these dog blankets as an extra layer of comfort and warmth when needed.  Sometimes extra layers of blankets to snuggle under are appreciated by our furry athletes.  If you would like to volunteer for the 2024 race from afar, this might be for you. Here is a lesson that explains the who, what, where, when, and why of returned dogs:

Returned Dogs by 2018 Teacher on the Trail Heidi Sloan

These blankets are very simple to make.

  • The size should be a square at least 1 yd. x 1 yd. and no bigger than 40″ x 40″.  Make this a math lesson – converting between standard units, converting between standard and metric, using the symbols instead of the word inches, what is the perimeter and area of the blankets you are making, how much material do you need to make 1 blanket or more, what will the total cost be, what is the cost per blanket…..and on and on and on!
  • Our vets say that most blankets rest on the dogs and the dog moves it around and puts it where it wants it to be. So, no head or leg holes are necessary.
  • Some of our spirited athletes look at the fringes as something to be chewed on.  Consider making blankets without cut fringe. Please limit the fringe-style blankets,  if you do decide to make blankets like that here is a lesson plan idea Conservation of mass – measure the mass of the fleece before cutting the fringe, and have student hypothesize how cutting and tying knots might affect the mass, and then test their hypotheses.
  • 10 blankets is the maximum donation per teacher/classroom.  That way more of our friends can participate.
  • These are required to be in Alaska at headquarters by January 20th, 2024 to be able to be shipped out on time. If they arrive later than that, there is no guarantee they will be used.

Be creative.  Use light fleece – any color, any pattern.  And your students could sign their names or write encouraging messages on the blankets. YES!  The Return Dog Handlers, Veterinarians, and Volunteers actually read these messages to the dogs. 

We have little storage space, so please do not make and send blankets without being added to the list and confirmed as a donor.  If you are interested in contributing blankets for the 2024 race, please click on this link, 2024 Iditarod Dog Blankets, 

Thank you in advance!  

It’s race time and we are getting ready for the best race ever thanks to our volunteers!