[Warning: Harry Smith’s audio is pretty loud]
Rookie musher @BlairBraveman is still racing in the Iditarod. Her followers, the #uglydogs, are supporting her and school kids as well. @HarrySmith has the story. #Igivearod pic.twitter.com/Uvjbcnyy5c
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) March 16, 2019
A favorite to win the Iditarod sled dog race has decided to drop out of the race — less than 200 miles from the finish line — after his dogs refused to continue when he raised his voice at one of them. https://t.co/gk7D0omDTU
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) March 13, 2019
Everyone who’s lived with multiple dogs knows this stalemate — although most of the time, the consequences are smaller:
… Nicolas Petit of Girdwood, Alaska, and his 10 dogs were just off the Shaktoolik check point on a stretch of Bering Sea ice when a disagreement between two dogs, a veteran and a younger dog, caused the sled to pause, then completely halt, when Petit raised his voice to discipline the animals.
The 38-year-old’s sled earlier in the day left Shaktoolik in the lead “like a rocket,” he told local television station KTUU. But then one of his dogs wanted to stop for a bathroom break and an older dog jumped on top of it in disagreement. Petit raised his voice and it spooked the rest of the team, which refused to mush.
“Everybody heard daddy yelling. Which doesn’t happen. And then they wouldn’t go anymore. Anywhere,” he said to KTUU.
Petit took his dogs back to a cabin at Shaktoolik to rest, but later decided to drop out of the race entirely for the good of his dogs.
“They’re all fine, they all ate good, no orthopedic issue. Just a head thing,” he said Monday.
Last year, Petit held a lead of several hours when his bid for first place was scuttled while on the sea ice. Lost in a snowstorm, he navigated off course and lost precious time. He ultimately lost the race by 2 hours 15 minutes. Petit, a native of France, made his Iditarod debut in 2011 when he finished in 28th place and was named rookie of the year. His highest finish came last year when he placed second overall and he had been a top 10 finisher in four consecutive races before this year’s event…
(Before y’all yell at me… I ended up in the hospital on intravenous antibiotics after getting bitten while breaking up a fight between two of my little foo-foo rescue dogs. And the one that bit me wasn’t even The Biter — it was an accident!)
One more Iditarod story, from the Washington Post, illustrating the old proverb, Take what you want, and pay for it:
Yotam Haber is an established composer and pianist, an assistant professor at the University of New Orleans, a former artistic director of New York’s MATA festival and winner of a Guggenheim fellowship and a Koussevitzky Foundation commission, among many other honors and awards. Since childhood, though, he has had another dream: to race sled dogs in Alaska.
Last week, Haber’s dream came true. On March 2, he got to ride through the streets of Anchorage in the ceremonial opening leg of the 2019 Iditarod, the legendary dog-sled race, on the sled of Blair Braverman, one of the most visible contestants in this year’s race. Haber had come to Alaska to help with Braverman’s sled dogs, as well as to record the sounds of runners on the snow to incorporate into a piece he was writing for the New York-based Argento Ensemble.
But the dream ended three days later when, dragged behind a tipped dog sled, Haber watched his right index finger snap off “like a twig,” followed by a geyser of blood.
“I told people on Twitter that I’m going to call my piece ‘Finger Lake,’ ” Haber said ruefully on Sunday from his home in New Orleans after surgery to reattach his finger. (Finger Lake is a stop on this year’s Iditarod course.)…
UPDATE: Reached by phone on Wednesday, Haber said that the surgery to reattach his finger had been successful and that his doctor was optimistic it would regain much of its function. He has already begun physical therapy — though unable to move his finger more than a millimeter — and even changed two diapers on his 1-year-old daughter.
On Wednesday in the Iditarod, Peter Kaiser won the race with a time of 9 days 12 hours 39 minutes and 6 seconds, 12 minutes ahead of last year’s winner, Joar Leifseth Ulsom, who took second place this year. Blair Braverman was still on the trail, in 35th place.
Dear #UglyDogs and #teamseveredfinger my excellent surgeon has successfully connected tendon and nerves. Started therapy today. Asked him when this surgery would have not been possible. Before circa 1973. Same year Iditarod began! Coincidence?
— Yotam Haber (@yotamhaber) March 12, 2019
Dear #uglydogs, heartfelt thanks for your many well wishes!! From the morning of my accident, this pure joy that I get to share with you. Like all of you, I am continuing to follow Blair’s courageous race at every turn. pic.twitter.com/JZZv60msPp
— Yotam Haber (@yotamhaber) March 9, 2019