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March 12, 2019

Iditarod Round-Up

A French musher was rude to his dogs so they said casse-toi, con.

The lead group at the Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska gave up a five-hour edge on the field Monday when the dogs refused to run.

The Associated Press reports that French musher Nicolas Petit lost his lead after yelling at one of his dogs Monday morning for fighting with another dog.

"I yelled at Joey, and everybody heard the yelling, and that doesn't happen," Petit told the Iditarod Insider website. "And then they wouldn't go anymore. Anywhere. So we camped here."

Petit said there was nothing medically wrong with the dogs, chalking the incident that saw several teams pass his by as "a head thing."

"We'll see if one of these dog teams coming by will wake them up at all,” Petit said.

For those who worry about the dogs' well-being, well, they do get pampered if they have to leave the race for medical reasons.

Mushers that complete the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race don't always finish with all of their dogs. The person in charge of the "returned dog" program says dogs are withdrawn for various reasons.

"Anything from getting tired, to maybe like a sore foot or a sore shoulder and, you know, sometimes a female goes into heat and that will cause issues," said returned dog coordinator Liz Millman. "Sometimes it's just attitude issues."

...

Veterinarians in Anchorage examine the dogs from head-to-tail, checking on their health. Dr. Erika Friedrich and the rest of the medical staff want to know as much as they can about their patients.

...

"We try and get them checked in and we feed them," Millman said. "We make sure they're good to go and we try to get them home as soon as possible."

If any of the dogs need to spend the night in Anchorage, they are sent to the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center where they are cared for by inmates.

"It's a really safe location," Millman said. "The dogs get a really nice pavilion to be under and a lot of straw and they get bedded down."

An Alaskan musher is in the lead and is just 77 miles from the finish line. He has a very short lead over a Norweigan.

Pete Kaiser, from Bethel, Alaska, was the first musher to arrive at the checkpoint Tuesday in White Mountain.

All mushers must take a mandatory eight-hour break at White Mountain before making the final 77-mile (124-kilometer) push to Nome in the 1,000-mile (1,600-kilometer) race.

Kaiser and defending champion Joar Ulsom of Norway are locked in a battle for the lead. Ulsom arrived in White Mountain 41 minutes after Kaiser.

This link has some videos of interviews with the mushers.


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