It is a common belief amongst those who do not know the Iditarod well enough, that the mushing dogs are abused. I wish to prove you wrong through my writing and photography. 🙂
“The dogs are forced to run!” If you have watched, or been to, the Iditarod, you’ll know that these dogs are BARKING like crazy!! You can barely keep them FROM running! In fact, it is the people who hold the dogs who are forced to run!
Some media has said, “The dogs are starving for attention.” Well, this is just not true! The mushers get so attached to their dogs, that if one very gets hurt or dies, they are heart broken and say that “…it’s just not the same if you don’t cross the line with all the dogs.” The mushers know all their dog’s names, even if their is over fifty; and before the race, they take time to whisper to and let each dog. At the check-points, the dogs are massaged until they are sleepy! All of the mushers and dogs are extrealmy attached— that includes mouth-to-mouth licking! And we all know, an animal will do whatever they can to make you pet them more, right?
The mushers never push their dogs, letting them run at their own pace and resting if that is what is needed. A few years ago, on guy was coming in first; but his dogs were just not able to keep up the past, so he didn’t push them…settling in for third. Their dogs are MUCH more important than the race. A lot of the mushers just do the race for the beauty of Alaska and the thrill of the solitude and bonding with the dogs.
Most people are used to seeing 20 pounds over weight house dogs. Mushing dogs are just very fit, just as Olympic athletes are; and the dogs are purposely bred small so they can run faster. A lot of them are also bred with greyhound, which are actually very thin dogs.
Now that we have those out of the way, shall we just enjoy a few pictures of these gloriously happy dogs? 😀
I would highly recommend this documentary on the history of the Iditarod. I watched it this week, and the stories behind are very interesting! Be ready to have tissues and a table to slam your fist on;