Iditarod is animal abuse; it's not cool

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by [email protected], Jan 19, 2006.

  1. Hello,

    Someone on the list wrote that the Iditarod is "cool." It's not. The
    Iditarod has a long,
    well-documented history of dog deaths, illnesses and injuries.

    In the Iditarod, dogs are forced to run 1,150 miles, which is the
    approximate distance between Detroit and Miami, Florida, over a
    grueling terrain in 8 to 15 days. Dog deaths and injuries are common in
    the race. USA Today sports columnist Jon Saraceno called the Iditarod
    "a travesty of grueling proportions" and "Ihurtadog." Fox sportscaster
    Jim Rome called it "I-killed-a-dog." Orlando Sentinel sports columnist
    George Diaz said the race is "a barbaric ritual" and "an illegal
    sweatshop for dogs." USA Today business columnist Bruce Horovitz said
    the race is a "public-relations minefield."

    The Sled Dog Action Coalition (SDAC) was founded in 1999 to educate
    America about the exploitation of sled dogs in Alaska's annual Iditarod
    dog sled race. The SDAC and its efforts to educate people about the
    brutalities associated with the Iditarod was profiled in USA Today and
    in the Miami Herald. I am emailing copies of these and other articles.

    Please visit the SDAC website http://www.helpsleddogs.org to see
    pictures, and for more information. Be sure to read the quotes on
    http://www.helpsleddogs.org/remarks.htm and on all the quote pages that
    link to it. Links can be found in the drop box at the top and at the
    bottom of the page. All of the material on the site is true and
    verifiable.

    Iditarod dogs are simply not the invincible animals race officials
    portray. Here's a short list of what happens to the dogs during the
    race: death, paralysis, penile frostbite, bleeding ulcers, broken
    bones, pneumonia, torn muscles and tendons, diarrhea, vomiting,
    hypothermia, fur loss, broken teeth, viral diseases, torn footpads,
    ruptured discs, sprains and lung damage.

    At least 126 dogs have died in the Iditarod. There is no official count
    of dog deaths available for the race's early years. In "WinterDance:
    the Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod," a nonfiction book, Gary
    Paulsen describes witnessing an Iditarod musher brutally kicking a dog
    to death during the race. He wrote, "All the time he was kicking the
    dog. Not with the imprecision of anger, the kicks, not kicks to match
    his rage but aimed, clinical vicious kicks. Kicks meant to hurt deeply,
    to cause serious injury. Kicks meant to kill."

    Causes of death have also included strangulation in towlines, internal
    hemorrhaging after being gouged by a sled, liver injury, heart failure,
    and pneumonia. "Sudden death" and "external myopathy," a fatal
    condition in which a dog's muscles and organs deteriorate during
    extreme or prolonged exercise, have also occurred. The 1976 Iditarod
    winner, Jerry Riley, was accused of striking his dog with a snow hook
    (a large, sharp and heavy metal claw). In 1996, one of Rick Swenson's
    dogs died while he mushed his team through waist-deep water and ice.
    The Iditarod Trail Committee banned both mushers from the race but
    later reinstated them. In many states these incidents would be
    considered animal cruelty. Swenson is now on the Iditarod Board of
    Directors.

    In the 2001 Iditarod, a sick dog was sent to a prison to be cared for
    by inmates and received no veterinary care. He was chained up in the
    cold and died. Another dog died by suffocating on his own vomit.

    No one knows how many dogs die in training or after the race each year.

    On average, 53 percent of the dogs who start the race do not make it
    across the finish line. According to a report published in the American
    Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, of those who do
    cross, 81 percent have lung damage. A report published in the Journal
    of Veterinary Internal Medicine said that 61 percent of the dogs who
    finish the Iditarod have ulcers versus zero percent pre-race.

    Tom Classen, retired Air Force colonel and Alaskan resident for over 40
    years, tells us that the dogs are beaten into submission:

    "They've had the hell beaten out of them." "You don't just whisper into
    their ears, 'OK, stand there until I tell you to run like the devil.'
    They understand one thing: a beating. These dogs are beaten into
    submission the same way elephants are trained for a circus. The mushers
    will deny it. And you know what? They are all lying." -USA Today, March
    3, 2000 in Jon Saraceno's column

    Beatings and whippings are common. Jim Welch says in his book Speed
    Mushing Manual, "I heard one highly respected [sled dog] driver once
    state that "'Alaskans like the kind of dog they can beat on.'"
    "Nagging a dog team is cruel and ineffective...A training device such
    as a whip is not cruel at all but is effective." "It is a common
    training device in use among dog mushers...A whip is a very humane
    training tool."

    Mushers believe in "culling" or killing unwanted dogs, including
    puppies. Many dogs who are permanently disabled in the Iditarod, or who
    are unwanted for any reason, are killed with a shot to the head,
    dragged or clubbed to death. "On-going cruelty is the law of many dog
    lots. Dogs are clubbed with baseball bats and if they don't pull are
    dragged to death in harnesses....." wrote Alaskan Mike Cranford in an
    article for Alaska's Bush Blade Newspaper (March, 2000).

    Jon Saraceno wrote in his March 3, 2000 column in USA Today, "He
    [Colonel Tom Classen] confirmed dog beatings and far worse. Like
    starving dogs to maintain their most advantageous racing weight.
    Skinning them to make mittens. Or dragging them to their death."

    Iditarod administrators promote the race as a commemoration of sled
    dogs saving the children of Nome by bringing diphtheria serum from
    Anchorage in 1925. However, the co-founder of the Iditarod, Dorothy
    Page, said the race was not established to honor the sled drivers and
    dogs who carried the serum. In fact, 600 miles of this serum run was
    done by train and the other half was done by dogs running in relays,
    with no dog running over 100 miles. This isn't anything like the
    Iditarod.

    The race has led to the proliferation of horrific dog kennels in which
    the dogs are treated very cruelly. Many kennels have over 100 dogs and
    some have as many as 200. It is standard for the dogs to spend their
    entire lives outside tethered to metal chains that can be as short as
    four feet long. In 1997 the United States Department of Agriculture
    determined that the tethering of dogs was inhumane and not in the
    animals' best interests. The chaining of dogs as a primary means of
    enclosure is prohibited in all cases where federal law applies. A dog
    who is permanently tethered is forced to urinate and defecate where he
    sleeps, which conflicts with his natural instinct to eliminate away
    from his living area.

    Iditarod dogs are prisoners of abuse.

    Margery Glickman
    Director
    Sled Dog Action Coalition, http://www.helpsleddogs.org
     
    Tags:


  2. Well duh.............."Iditarod" is an Inuit Eskimo phrase meaning "I
    killed a dog."
     
  3. Alan

    Alan Guest

  4. Tony S.

    Tony S. Guest

    "Alan" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote in
    > news:[email protected]:
    >
    > > Hello,
    > >
    > >

    > What does this have to do with running????


    It's a reference to a discussion about extreme sports in a thread, where I
    said that I thought the iditarod is cool, and I still think it's a cool
    race. Of course it's good some people are concerned about the dogs, but by
    most accounts they love to run. These dogs wouldn't exist without humans
    working them over 100's and 1000's of years, and they're superb athletes, so
    I say: let them keep running.

    -Tony
     
  5. Tony, you mentioned the Iditarod, so I responded. You are wrong to
    think the Iditarod is cool. The race is dog torture. On the average 53
    percent of the dogs who start the Iditarod can't make it across the
    finish line. Studies show that 81 percent of the dogs who finish the
    race have lung damage and that the damage is long lasting. Another
    study found that when the dogs start the Iditarod zero percent have
    ulcers. However, 61 percent have ulcers at the end of the race. Why
    should the dogs be forced to run in the Iditarod? Humans have a choice
    about running. The dogs don't.

    I invited you to take the Iditarod Challenge: Read and verify the
    quotes on http://www.helpsleddogs.org/remarks.htm and on all the quote
    pages that link to it. The links can be found at the bottom of the
    page. All the quotes are correct and verifiable.

    Margery
     
  6. Tony S.

    Tony S. Guest

    <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Tony, you mentioned the Iditarod, so I responded. You are wrong to
    > think the Iditarod is cool. The race is dog torture. On the average 53
    > percent of the dogs who start the Iditarod can't make it across the
    > finish line. Studies show that 81 percent of the dogs who finish the
    > race have lung damage and that the damage is long lasting. Another
    > study found that when the dogs start the Iditarod zero percent have
    > ulcers. However, 61 percent have ulcers at the end of the race. Why
    > should the dogs be forced to run in the Iditarod? Humans have a choice
    > about running. The dogs don't.
    >
    > I invited you to take the Iditarod Challenge: Read and verify the
    > quotes on http://www.helpsleddogs.org/remarks.htm and on all the quote
    > pages that link to it. The links can be found at the bottom of the
    > page. All the quotes are correct and verifiable.
    >
    > Margery


    Ok, I noticed that the only source *from Alaska* in those remarks was an
    "interview" with the Alaska govener by Bill Maher. Most human endevours have
    their upside and their downside. A bunch of articles written from afar don't
    impress me. I don't doubt that some dogs die and that many are injured. From
    that perspective, unfortunately, that's the life of sled dogs, who might not
    otherwise be born. Regarding statistics, they're so frequently
    selectively-cited and abused that I don't give them much credence unless the
    original sources are fully cited and are independent of any position on the
    matter, which is often difficult to verify.

    -Tony
     
  7. On 2006-01-24, Tony S. <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Ok, I noticed that the only source *from Alaska* in those remarks was an
    > "interview" with the Alaska govener by Bill Maher. Most human endevours have
    > their upside and their downside. A bunch of articles written from afar don't
    > impress me. I don't doubt that some dogs die and that many are injured. From
    > that perspective, unfortunately, that's the life of sled dogs, who might not

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    > otherwise be born. Regarding statistics, they're so frequently

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    So for example, is it acceptable to have children for the purpose of abusing
    them on the grounds that they "might not otherwise be born" ?

    In fact, is it even acceptable to breed dogs for no other purpose than to abuse
    them ? (same justification -- otherwise they wouldn't be born)

    It would probably be easier to say that you're not all too concerned with
    animal abuse and be done with it. Or if you are concerned about animal abuse,
    do some research into the matter and verify the accuracy or otherwise of
    the articles.

    Most of the articles on that page are as you say not very interesting (very
    vague claims from remote sources) but the links at the bottom of the page are
    more interesting (most of the articles cited in the links are from a local
    paper)

    > original sources are fully cited and are independent of any position on the
    > matter, which is often difficult to verify.


    I think it's generally pretty hard to find an "unbiased" source. Wikipedia does
    give the issue a more balanced treatment.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iditarod

    Cheers,
    --
    Donovan Rebbechi
    http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/
     
  8. Dally

    Dally Guest

    On Tue, 24 Jan 2006 15:23:23 +0000 (UTC), Donovan Rebbechi
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >So for example, is it acceptable to have children for the purpose of abusing
    >them on the grounds that they "might not otherwise be born" ?


    Even your relatives had to have sex Rebecchi.
     
  9. Tony S.

    Tony S. Guest

    "Donovan Rebbechi" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > On 2006-01-24, Tony S. <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > Ok, I noticed that the only source *from Alaska* in those remarks was an
    > > "interview" with the Alaska govener by Bill Maher. Most human endevours

    have
    > > their upside and their downside. A bunch of articles written from afar

    don't
    > > impress me. I don't doubt that some dogs die and that many are injured.

    From
    > > that perspective, unfortunately, that's the life of sled dogs, who might

    not
    >

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    > > otherwise be born. Regarding statistics, they're so frequently

    > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    >
    > So for example, is it acceptable to have children for the purpose of

    abusing
    > them on the grounds that they "might not otherwise be born" ?


    Oh come on. Animals are bred to eat, to race on tracks (dogs and horses), to
    fight, etc. etc... Some people think all of that is wrong I'm sure. I may
    dislike aspects of each kind of use of animals in some way, but that doesn't
    mean I think the activity of breeding them for a specific purpose is wrong
    in every case. Of course I wasn't saying that sled dogs are born to be
    abused. They're born to be raced and/or worked, and that does not equate to
    abuse.

    > It would probably be easier to say that you're not all too concerned with
    > animal abuse and be done with it. Or if you are concerned about animal

    abuse,
    > do some research into the matter and verify the accuracy or otherwise of
    > the articles.


    If you wish to do that, that's your choice. I can like something, in this
    case the itidarod sled dog race, without liking every aspect of it, even
    thinking there should be improvements to it.

    > I think it's generally pretty hard to find an "unbiased" source. Wikipedia

    does
    > give the issue a more balanced treatment.
    >
    > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iditarod


    I read the section on the dogs, and as I said before, it's good that people
    are concered for the dogs and this of course forces them to try to ensure
    better treatment of the dogs.

    -Tony

    > Cheers,
    > --
    > Donovan Rebbechi
    > http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/
     
  10. On 2006-01-25, Tony S. <[email protected]> wrote:

    >> So for example, is it acceptable to have children for the purpose of
    >> abusing them on the grounds that they "might not otherwise be born" ?

    >
    > Oh come on. Animals are bred to eat, to race on tracks (dogs and horses), to
    > fight, etc. etc... Some people think all of that is wrong I'm sure.


    The point is that the purpose for which they are bred does not justify their
    mistreatment. If you think it's generally not OK to kill animals for food,
    then presumably you also would believe that it's not OK to breed animals so
    that you can kill them for food. In fact deep down, no-one is silly enough to
    buy such an argument, as people generally either believe both or neither
    (either it's OK to kill animals for food *and* breed them for that purpose, or
    that neither of those things are OK)

    > I may
    > dislike aspects of each kind of use of animals in some way, but that doesn't
    > mean I think the activity of breeding them for a specific purpose is wrong
    > in every case. Of course I wasn't saying that sled dogs are born to be
    > abused. They're born to be raced and/or worked, and that does not equate to
    > abuse.


    Fine, but then the fact that they are bred for that purpose can't be used to
    justify or rationalise abuse either.

    >> It would probably be easier to say that you're not all too concerned with
    >> animal abuse and be done with it. Or if you are concerned about animal
    >> abuse, do some research into the matter and verify the accuracy or
    >> otherwise of the articles.

    >
    > If you wish to do that, that's your choice. I can like something, in this
    > case the itidarod sled dog race, without liking every aspect of it, even
    > thinking there should be improvements to it.


    I suppose so -- that's another reasonable position one could take, though it
    wasn't clear to me that this was your point of view in your other post.

    Cheers,
    --
    Donovan Rebbechi
    http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/
     
  11. Doug Freese

    Doug Freese Guest

    "Donovan Rebbechi" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > If you think it's generally not OK to kill animals for food,
    > then presumably you also would believe that it's not OK to breed
    > animals so
    > that you can kill them for food.


    I think I have just read a ad for PETA. ;)

    > In fact deep down, no-one is silly enough to
    > buy such an argument, as people generally either believe both or
    > neither
    > (either it's OK to kill animals for food *and* breed them for that
    > purpose, or
    > that neither of those things are OK)


    This is your generalization. I have no problem munching on the animal
    kingdom but I don't like to see domestic animals abused. If I could only
    learn to eat dogs and cats.....

    I can remember watching a documentary on the sled dogs and while the
    dogs do get worked hard, the dog owners were very careful not get them
    hurt. A lost dog in a race is detrimental. I'm sure there are some that
    less careful and I can only hope there are checks and balances to insure
    their safety.

    Some of my races also include a parallel horse race. Those horses have a
    series of mandatory vet checks and they get more care then people. Since
    horses are basically dumb and don't taste good, I'm glad they have those
    protections.

    I notice Dot is staying away from this. Living in the world of mushers I
    wonder how she sees this?

    -Doug
     
  12. Doug Freese wrote:
    > If I could only learn to eat dogs and cats.....


    Maybe you just don't have the right cookbook yet:
    http://tinyurl.com/b6xax

    If and when I head north to join you and the harem for a run in
    Middle-of-Nowhereresville, I could loan you my copy.
     
  13. On 2006-01-25, Doug Freese <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > "Donovan Rebbechi" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    >> If you think it's generally not OK to kill animals for food,
    >> then presumably you also would believe that it's not OK to breed
    >> animals so that you can kill them for food.

    >
    > I think I have just read a ad for PETA. ;)


    I don't think you comprehended my post. Try again.

    >> In fact deep down, no-one is silly enough to
    >> buy such an argument, as people generally either believe both or
    >> neither
    >> (either it's OK to kill animals for food *and* breed them for that
    >> purpose, or
    >> that neither of those things are OK)

    >
    > This is your generalization. I have no problem munching on the animal
    > kingdom but I don't like to see domestic animals abused. If I could only
    > learn to eat dogs and cats.....


    No. This is your misreading of my post.

    Let me try to restate: consider the following propositions:

    (1) it's OK to kill animals for food *and*
    (2) it's OK to breed them for that purpose

    Clearly, if you believe (2) you also believe (1). I would also argue that
    everyone who believes (1) also believes (2). I've yet to meet a
    counter-example. Certainly almost everyone who consumes meat believes (2) (and
    yes, that would include you)

    So the point is that
    (a) the fact that the animal is bred for a particular end does not justify that
    end, and indeed,
    (b) deep down, everyone understands this.

    Cheers,
    --
    Donovan Rebbechi
    http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/
     
  14. Tony S.

    Tony S. Guest

    "Doug Freese" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > "Donovan Rebbechi" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]
    > > If you think it's generally not OK to kill animals for food,
    > > then presumably you also would believe that it's not OK to breed
    > > animals so
    > > that you can kill them for food.

    >
    > I think I have just read a ad for PETA. ;)
    >
    > > In fact deep down, no-one is silly enough to
    > > buy such an argument, as people generally either believe both or
    > > neither
    > > (either it's OK to kill animals for food *and* breed them for that
    > > purpose, or
    > > that neither of those things are OK)

    >
    > This is your generalization. I have no problem munching on the animal
    > kingdom but I don't like to see domestic animals abused. If I could only
    > learn to eat dogs and cats.....
    >
    > I can remember watching a documentary on the sled dogs and while the
    > dogs do get worked hard, the dog owners were very careful not get them
    > hurt. A lost dog in a race is detrimental. I'm sure there are some that
    > less careful and I can only hope there are checks and balances to insure
    > their safety.
    >
    > Some of my races also include a parallel horse race. Those horses have a
    > series of mandatory vet checks and they get more care then people. Since
    > horses are basically dumb and don't taste good, I'm glad they have those
    > protections.
    >
    > I notice Dot is staying away from this. Living in the world of mushers I
    > wonder how she sees this?


    I noticed that too. I was initially taken aback. It's hard to respond to
    'the iditarod is not cool because the dogs are abused' without sounding
    insensitive. Unfortunately the poster who challenged my statement reminded
    me of an old friend of mine who turned into a vegan natzi - someone who
    simply can't tolerate meat-eaters, and who accosted me with his beliefs so
    much that it ruined our friendship and I had to throw him out of my house.
    The world is never as black-and-white as some zealous advocates want it to
    be. People are entitled to their beliefs, and they're entitled to voice and
    argue those beliefs, but the way and degree to which they argue either helps
    inform others, or just turns people off.

    At first I felt like Donovan had taken a page out of the Karl Rove playbook
    by making my words appear to say something I don't believe I said, but then
    I realized he was just being logical. I'm open to thinking about things and
    hearing others opinions, but I can't tolerate intolerance. All this has made
    me think about a hypothetical.

    If someone wanted to re-create Amundsen's south pole trek in an historically
    accurate way today, what would I think of that? I'd want to read a fuller
    account of that journey before deciding, but I believe they took about 100
    dogs to haul supplies, and that they ate the dogs during the journey. I'm
    sure many would oppose re-creating that because they would say it's wrong to
    make the dogs work (is that in-and-of-itself mistreatment if some get
    injured or die? - I say no) and then eat them. Personally I don't think I
    would have any problem with re-creating that journey.

    That's just part of my world-view at this point in my life. Lest anyone
    think that I advocate deliberate animal abuse, I don't, and I actually love
    pet animals and get along well with dogs. It's a question of what you
    consider mistreatment / abuse, and also whether incidental hardship or death
    of some animals always trumps the endeavor at hand. I don't think it does,
    though obviously there are limits to what human judgement can tolerate.

    -Tony

    > -Doug
     
  15. Donovan Rebbechi wrote:
    > (1) it's OK to kill animals for food *and*
    > (2) it's OK to breed them for that purpose
    >
    > Clearly, if you believe (2) you also believe (1). I would also argue that
    > everyone who believes (1) also believes (2). I've yet to meet a
    > counter-example.


    I realize your argument/misunderstanding is with Doug.

    Just wanted to chime in and mention that, if your world allowed for
    shades of gray, you could tally me as someone who unhesitatingly
    believes (1) but finds (2) some shade of unfortunate, the exact shade
    varying per the specific details, e.g. the treatment of the animal. I
    guess I'm thinking "breed" also implies "raise" here.

    Veal, for instance - though it can be some mighty fine eatin'! - I hold
    to be considerably less OK than say free-range bison.
     
  16. On 2006-01-25, Tony S. <[email protected]> wrote:

    > insensitive. Unfortunately the poster who challenged my statement reminded
    > me of an old friend of mine who turned into a vegan natzi - someone who
    > simply can't tolerate meat-eaters, and who accosted me with his beliefs so
    > much that it ruined our friendship and I had to throw him out of my house.
    > The world is never as black-and-white as some zealous advocates want it to
    > be.


    Indeed. It's interesting that your friend "turned into" this. Most such people
    would do well to remember that once upon a time, they were also "no better"
    than the people they tend to harrass.

    Cheers,
    --
    Donovan Rebbechi
    http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/
     
  17. Doug Freese

    Doug Freese Guest

    "Charlie Pendejo" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Doug Freese wrote:
    >> If I could only learn to eat dogs and cats.....

    >
    > Maybe you just don't have the right cookbook yet:
    > http://tinyurl.com/b6xax
    >
    > If and when I head north to join you and the harem for a run in
    > Middle-of-Nowhereresville, I could loan you my copy.


    Middle of nowhere? It's the middle of the 60's drug capitol and heart of
    the Catskill Mountains and home to Rip Van Winkle. Hell, they still have
    bowling leagues to honor Rip. We are not far from the original Capitol
    of NY. Why don't you bring some hors d'oeuvres to snack on while we
    change for breakfast. The last chapter in the book is Milk, Eggs and
    Sperm. Not to suggest I'm homophobic let's skip the sperm.

    -Doug
     
  18. Dot

    Dot Guest

    Doug Freese wrote:
    >
    > I notice Dot is staying away from this. Living in the world of mushers I
    > wonder how she sees this?


    I hit "ignore thread" when I saw it pop up since it appeared to be a
    troll, and just stumbled on it in google now, but have only looked at a
    smattering. It's a troll. Kind of interesting the OP popped up out of
    the blue.

    My short answer is in my next life I want to be an Iditarod dog -
    running across the great Alaskan outdoors with a bunch of buddies.
    Someone to feed and water us, massage our feet, put our booties on. Dang
    they have better lives than university faculty.

    Think about it. You're driving a sled and 18 dogs across the middle of
    nowhere in Alaska in winter. Are you going to abuse the dogs that are
    your main way back to civilization?

    Most mushers will treat those dogs like family members. Rookies may not
    have the adequate training or nutrition so don't make the cutoffs all
    the time. Some dogs get dropped if they tire or are showing signs of
    overuse. They get to ride in the sled until the next checkpoint where
    they can be dropped and get an airplane ride home. This adds weight.
    Races are won by the dogs left in the kennel. Some teams may only start
    with 16 or 14. When they near the finish, say after White Mountain, they
    may only keep their fast dogs (sprinters, if you will) in line and
    switch to a sprint sled. The team goes only as fast as the slowest dog.

    Some mushers run their teams on one of the trails I sometimes use. Those
    dogs are usually so happy to be running, you wouldn't believe it. Some
    of my friends run teams. I've worked with the wife of one of the top
    mushers. Iditarod dogs are generally well cared for and many run several
    races. Heck, some of them run some of my trail races. (A local 5k was
    started as fundraiser for one of the mushers diagnosed with cancer. The
    running, mushing, and her church communities pulled together on that.)

    Sled dogs are well-trained runners (or in the process of getting well
    trained), through and through.

    Dot

    --
    "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste
    away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
     
  19. On 2006-01-25, Dot <[email protected]#duh?att.net> wrote:

    > My short answer is in my next life I want to be an Iditarod dog -
    > running across the great Alaskan outdoors with a bunch of buddies.
    > Someone to feed and water us, massage our feet, put our booties on. Dang

    ^^^^
    > they have better lives than university faculty.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    There's a delightful ambiguity in that sentence. One of the funniest things
    I've seen on usenet for a while.

    Cheers,
    --
    Donovan Rebbechi
    http://pegasus.rutgers.edu/~elflord/
     
  20. Dot

    Dot Guest

    http://www.adn.com/outdoors/story/6388808p-6267758c.html
    http://www.iditarod.com/vetcorner/index.php
    http://www.cabelasiditarod.com/mazour_arterburn_dogs.html

    Jeff King in the last link:

    'A competitive musher's love for his dogs goes beyond the practical,
    King said. Sure, the musher needs the dogs to make his way across the
    Alaskan wilderness and could be in a world of hurt without a good team,
    but "the first thing is, if for no other reasonable motivation, a true
    affinity for the animals," King said. "This is a poor man's sport, so to
    have so much invested in so many dogs, you really have to love them."
    Plus, he said, the dogs' "enthusiasm is contagious. You really enjoy
    being around them."....

    .....What most people don't understand, King said, is that Alaskan
    huskies instinctively want to run and pull sleds just like golden
    retrievers instinctively want to retrieve. Huskies have evolved into
    perfect sled- pulling dogs over generations, he said. "What is easy for
    them would be difficult for many other breeds," he said. The biggest
    challenge a musher faces is slowing the dogs down to pace them over the
    distance of a lengthy race, he said. "There are two main things in their
    lives, running and thinking about when they can run again," he said.'
     
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