Justin Savidis breathed a big sigh of relief on Sunday night.
The rookie musher had already scratched from Iditarod 2010, but the crisis that forced him to scratch had finally been resolved: Savidis found his lost dog Whitey-Lance, after more than four days of searching.
Savidis lost Whitey – a three-year-old male – between the Nikolai and McGrath checkpoints. He exited from Iditarod 38 on Friday to focus on finding the dog. According to Iditarod’s Eye on the Trail blog, volunteers from McGrath and the Iditarod Air Force assisted Savidis in the search.
The Anchorage Daily News reports that Alaska State Troopers and even local residents gave their support. At around 5:30pm Sunday, some of the McGrath residents helping Savidis “spotted an animal matching (Whitey’s) description.”
Iditarod’s Eye notes that Whitey was “returned to McGrath in good condition,” and ADN‘s Mike Campbell says that the dog “sat on (Savidis’) lap during the flight to Anchorage.”
Savidis told ADN that he owes the people of McGrath “a huge debt of gratitude” and that he plans to return to Iditarod next year with Whitey in tow: although he might put his GPS tracker on Whitey.
Just in case.