Turning Around

Hello Friends,

Many of my K9 companions are either in the Ghost Town of Iditarod or are almost there. Now it’s going to get interesting. Teams will be heading back to Deshka Landing the same way they came, but there will still be teams racing to get to Iditarod. Awoooooo! I am anxious to hear the stories when this is over.

Sled dog using long bushy tail to keep nose warm.

Shout out to Ms. Nahlen’s 4th graders who are wondering how many dogs started the 2021 race. There were 46 teams and 14 dogs per team. 4th graders, you’re the ones with opposable thumbs so you’ll have to do the math. This class is also wondering how the dogs stay warm when resting on the trail. First of all, we sled dogs have many  pawsome adaptations to keep us warm including 2 layers of fur. We also have a long tail so when we curl up we can tuck our nose in our tails. Each checkpoint supplies straw for teams. When teams come in, if they are staying, they are directed to a spot for the dogs to bed down. Mushers lay out the straw and the dogs curl up for a warm rest. Some mushers would rather rest further down the trail so they will pick up straw on their way through the checkpoint. Most mushers also have jackets for their dogs that are put on and taken off easily as they are fastened with velcro.

Reyse wants to know what would happen if teams don’t take their mandatory 8 and 24 hour layovers. That’s easy – it’s cheating and they would be withdrawn from the race. Mushers know the importance of keeping the dogs well rested during the race so they strategically take their layovers when they feel the dogs need it most.

Email questions to askzumadog@gmail.com. Thanks for all the great questions, my paws are working hard to try to keep up.

Tail wags,