Posts Tagged ‘chicken skins’

Iditarod (4): The Chicken Skins Edition


March 11th, 2016 Posted 9:10 am

On the Iditarod trail with Rebecca, CEO of Snowhook Kennel – our team!

Since completing their 24 in McGrath, the team picked off the Takotna, Ophir and Cripple checkpoints. While the team trots on the trail bound for Nome, life at the kennel continues. Thursday’s agenda included a trip into town to load a half pallet of kibble and 200 pounds of beef as well as collecting Snowhook’s two dropped dogs, Abe and Garrett from the women’s correctional center.

The two brothers, wheel dogs, were curled in the straw at the dog lot established at the prison. Both are shy by nature and perked when they saw me. Papers were signed, dogs loaded in the truck, and inmates thanked for their care before officers opened the razor-wire adorned gate. The reason for Abe and Garrett’s early return home?—Tired. That is all the paperwork completed by volunteer vets indicated. It happens. Dogs do not necessarily have to be injured or ill to be dropped. In fact, it does not surprise me that AJ would drop dogs for being tired. It is Snowhook’s practice to be conservative with our dog care which includes sending a tired dog—or in this case, dogs—home.

Vets from all over the world volunteer for the race each year. They are sent in teams to each checkpoint on the trail. When a team reaches a checkpoint, the vets give the dogs the once over. However, if a musher has a concern, he or she can request immediate care from a vet targeted on a specific dog upon arrival or during their stay. The race is not a sight-seeing trip or a Sunday drive. No, mushers not only pay attention to the trail for trail markers and potential hazards, but also to the dogs. Knowing when to drop a dog or when to push a dog is largely due to knowing your dog. AJ will look for an uncharacteristic gait, a change in appetite, or behavior not normal for a particular dog. Knowing Abe and knowing his brother, Garrett also means that AJ knows that they are a pair, They do better together than they do apart.

Abe and Garrett were welcomed home from the trail with a treat ranking up there with a Slim Jim—chicken skins! Welcome home, boys, welcome home.


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