The Eagle Rules
Trip Start Oct 16, 2007
71Trip End Dec 16, 2007
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Update on Lance and his dogs
There are, however, some different rules in the Sweepstakes. The Iditarod and Quest allow mushers to drop injured, sick or tired dogs, and require some lengthy rest stops along the trail. Those races also prohibit outside assistance in dog care or race strategy. In the Sweepstakes, for which the mushers can harness a maximum of 12 dogs, they alone choose when and where to rest their teams and for how long. Outside assistance from a pit crew is permitted but the most controversial and problematic rule is the prohibition on dog drops. Mushers must finish the race with the dogs with which they start. If a dog dies the musher is immediately out of the race. If a dog goes lame or gets sick, the musher will face the choice of hauling it or quitting. If a dog simply gets tired and slows down, the choice will be similar but different: slow the whole team or haul that dog. Unfortunately, there is no quicker way to slow a team in a sled dog race than to start adding the weight of canine passengers to the sled
I was surprised when, as the winners crossed the finish, I didn't hear Mackey's name. I found out Sunday that early in the morning, a snow-machine had crashed into the back of Mackey's dog sled. He broke down in tears telling how his most prized dog. Zorro (the key animal in his Comeback Kennel), was critically injured as the canine was riding in the sled's basket from Safety to Nome - less than 22 miles from the end of the race. As the details have come out, Mackey has been the ultimate professional and has been unwilling to cast blame. However, the machine impaled the sled bag with its runners and had to be physically removed from the sled. It trapped 3 or 4 dogs underneath. Zorro was trapped in the sled bed. He described the incident by saying it was like a truck hitting a Pinto. He brushed off comments about the damage done to his custom sled by saying, "That's only material. I would give my life for my dogs. I can't make anyone know how important animals are to me."
Zorro, who is related to 40 of Lance's 80 dogs and who 9 of the other dogs on his team were direct decendents, was pretty lifeless at the finish line. He awoke and was unable to walk
For those of you who continue to have questions about what I do while I am away from home please make it a point to go see Stop-Loss. I think this movie provides some insight about a few of the issues soldiers and their families are facing.
Spring is coming. Dirty snow, dust, and warmer temps. Moose sightings have slowed. We did see a highway fatality on the way home from work that made us all feel a little weepy and cause us to meet up for a beer at the end of the day. I also read that Buzzwinkle, a favorite of the locals, had to be put down when he was found in bad shape lying in a downtown lot. He had badly worn teeth and a infected wound on his rump that rendered him severely emaciated and unable to get up. The wildlife biologist who put him down said, "He had a good life, other than getting tangled in Christmas light from time to time." Everyone has their favorite story about Buzzwinkle, the most embarrassing nickname ever given to a moose after he ate a pile of fermented crab apples in the courtyard of Bernie's Bungalow Lounge. They still talk about him getting tangled in the Christmas lights he'd found in the Town Square Park and finding him in a disoriented pose snorting steam and staring off into the distance
FYI: 14 hours of daylight is coming to Anchorage by the first of the week. Seems very strange to have blue sky at 9 PM and it all happened so quickly. To my friends at home on the lake who told me when we spoke today that it's in the 60's, feel free to put the dock and the Martin house up any time:)