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Taking Care of the Dogs

audio by Laureli Kinneen; photo by Ben Matheson; text by David Dodman

Bethel musher Pete Kaiser's dogs looked especially eager to race at Saturday's ceremonial start in Anchorage.

You’ll hear it often from the mushers: “the dogs are the real athletes of Iditarod.” It’s not just false modesty. Over more than 1,000 miles of challenging Alaskan terrain, the dogs are the ones that, literally, move the Last Great Race forward: over snow drifts, across glare ice, through blizzards and fierce winds. (There’s a reason they call it the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.)

Perhaps no one understands this more than Iditarod’s trail veterinarians. Before they hit the trail, each Iditarod sled dog must be examined by one of the race’s volunteer vets. One of them – Stuart Nelson – recently talked with KNOM’s trail reporter, Laureli Kinneen, on what goes into the yearly “vet check” in Anchorage:

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  1. […] (For another interview from an Iditarod race vet, see yesterday’s post with head veterinarian Stuart Nelson.) […]