- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Inspirational Story - Lance Mackey Iditarod

August 30th, 2009, 12:54 AM
Just saw this video and thought it was wonderful. It is very clear that this man loves these dogs :). m%2F&feature=player_embedded#t=13

August 30th, 2009, 09:07 AM
What a man! Thanks for sharing that video, TeriM.

August 30th, 2009, 09:33 AM
Wow!! What a great story. Brought a tear (or ten) to my eye.
:thumbs up

August 30th, 2009, 12:09 PM
incredible!!! what a man

August 30th, 2009, 03:49 PM
"Don't tell me what I can't do." I love that. Amazing guy.

August 30th, 2009, 03:58 PM
Teri,what a great story,thank's:thumbs up
I know nothing about sled-dogs,really,but I often think that maybe they don't have such a wonderful life.
However these dogs seem to be loved an awful lot by their owner:lovestruck:

August 30th, 2009, 04:06 PM
Teri,what a great story,thank's:thumbs up
I know nothing about sled-dogs,really,but I often think that maybe they don't have such a wonderful life.
However these dogs seem to be loved an awful lot by their owner:lovestruck:

It really depends on the owners. My coworker has sled dogs (7) and those dogs are very much loved. They do, for the most part live outside because it is much too warm inside in the winter for them. They are not tied up and have their pen that they live in. They are in the best of shape because they are run daily. Their owners are super atheletes (he can run 100 miles without stopping, she can run 50 km) and the dogs are exercised with them. OC Spirit is another sledder and she loves her dogs.

August 30th, 2009, 04:29 PM
Yeah,like I said,I don't know enough about sled-dogs,I am sure most love their dogs.
I don't remember when I saw this,but it was about sled-dogs on a reservation waay up north and they were treated horribly and I should not base my judgment on that.
The dogs in the Video obviously love their owner and the sport,as do OCSpirits dogs:dog:

August 30th, 2009, 04:36 PM
Thats a great little video. I passed it on to my mom who is battling breast cancer right now. :candle: thanks for sharing.

Gail P
August 30th, 2009, 10:36 PM
On dial-up videos take soooo long to load that my computer usually freezes, so I couldn't see it :frustrated: Lance is an amazing guy though, cancer survivor, very tough competitor. Before him it was unheard of to win the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest back to back (only a couple of weeks between them) and he did it two years in a row, plus went on to win the Iditarod again the following year. Truly amazing! This year he will be mentoring Newton Marshall of the Jamaica Dogsled Team in the Iditarod.

Lance is going to be in Bonfield, Ontario on Sept. 19-20 doing a meet and greet and training seminar with members of the Ontario Federation of Sleddog Sports and others who wish to attend. This time it's being privately hosted by a kennel by the name of Paws-e-Trax, last year he was also in Bonfield for the OFSS Fall Symposium.

The vast majority of mushers care deeply for their dogs, ensure that their kennels are up to the Mush with PRIDE guidelines and have voluntary kennel inspections done. In the case of distance racers like Lance, their very lives can depend on their dogs in a race like the Iditarod and you can bet they take great care of them.

Hound Dog
August 30th, 2009, 11:26 PM
Racing dogs to death ( [excerpt]
March 12, 2009

Imagine running four marathons a day for 11 days straight. Throw in biting winds, blinding snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures. Unthinkable, isn´t it? Yet that´s exactly what dogs in the Iditarod will be forced to do in the next few weeks.

Dogs love to run, but even the most energetic dog wouldn´t choose to run more than 100 miles a day for 10 to 12 days straight while pulling heavy sleds through some of the worst weather conditions on the planet. Along the 1,150-mile stretch, dogs´ feet are torn apart by ice and rocks. Many dogs pull muscles, incur stress fractures or become sick with diarrhea, dehydration, intestinal viruses or bleeding stomach ulcers. Some have died from inhaling their own vomit. The Iditarod—and its cousin, the Yukon Quest—are life-and-death contests, but only for the four-legged participants.

No records were kept in the early days of the Iditarod, but before the start of 1997´s race, the Anchorage Daily News reported that "as many as 34 dogs died in the first two races" and that "at least 107 [dogs] have died" since the Iditarod´s inception. In the 12 years since that report, at least 29 more dogs have died that we know of.

Mushers ride and sleep while dogs pull. In February´s Yukon Quest, two mushers—including four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser—ran out of food for their dogs. Buser fed his dogs reduced rations; the other musher resorted to feeding his dogs melted snow.

Iditarod organizers downplay dogs´ suffering and work to hide abuses from the public. Even when mushers are caught beating dogs, as musher Ramy Brooks was in 2007, they barely receive a slap on the wrist. One of Brooks´ dogs later died, but rather than banning this bully for life, the Iditarod committee will allow Brooks to race again....

Gail P
August 31st, 2009, 12:35 AM
Racing dogs to death ( [excerpt]
March 12, 2009

That is the biggest load of bullcrap I've ever read. You CAN NOT force the dogs to run, they must want to. You can't make a team out of dogs who's hearts are not in it. Have you ever seen a team screaming with excitement to go? Leaping and harness banging in their eagerness? The number of handlers it takes to bring even an 8-dog team to the starting line? I have seen drivers get tripped and dragged by their team on the way to the starting chute, despite having several handlers holding the dogs lines and the sled. That's how much the dogs enjoy it. My own dogs go into a frenzy at the mere mention of the word "sled". Just the same as "frisbee" "swim" or anything else they love to do. Have you ever seen sled dogs in action? And I'm talking real life, real training runs or races. A friend of mine used to be heavily involved in animal rights and PETA and all that and now she goes to the races with me, handles for me and has even had her own dog pulling. Seeing is believing. Properly trained, properly conditioned and properly cared for sled dogs LOVE their job.

The Iditarod and Quest dogs are finely tuned, highly trained athletes. They are not suddenly forced to run more than they are capable of, they train for months to be at their peak for these races. They must pass a vet inspection before they are allowed to start the race, and there are vets at the checkpoints. Any dog that is not fit to continue for any reason can be dropped at the checkpoints for veterinary care and will be transported back to the owner's handlers. Health, feeding and footcare is of utmost importance to the mushers. (You wouldn't believe the amount of discussions on sled dog message boards about the care and feeding and the amount of thought that is given to it) When they take a break they will massage special creams and ointments into each and every dogs foot, before tending to their own needs. Depending on conditions the dogs may be bootied as well, and the mushers carry bags and bags of spare booties that are pre-treated with foot powders and ready to use. The dogs always come first. As well as the supplies carried with them, in a race like the Iditarod they also have bags dropped along the way with extra supplies, including extra food and snacks for the dogs. High-energy snacks which are fed along the way during rest breaks, in addition to the daily meals. They also do not run for 10 to 12 days straight. Most of the time the mushers choose when and how long to rest their dogs but there are also mandatory layovers of certain lengths, one of which is a full 24 hour layover.

Mushers DO NOT EVER "ride and sleep while the dogs pull". It is dangerous for the driver, dangerous for the dogs and it is not ever done. Never. No matter what photoshopped picture you may have seen. The only time a person is ever in the basket of a sled is if they are a passenger and somebody else is standing on the runners driving. There must at all times be someone at the driving bow to control the sled and use the brake when needed.

It is a testament to the level of fitness and training of a team like Lance's that he was able to win the Yukon Quest and then 2 weeks later head out on the Iditarod Trail with the same dogs and win again, finishing with happy dogs jogging easily to the finish line. Those are some very tough, very fit athletes and that doesn't come about through neglect or abuse.

Anyone wanting to read more about Lance can go to the "About Lance" page of his site:

August 31st, 2009, 11:05 AM
If you want to know more about the day to day life at one of the sled dog outfits, you should read Mad Dogs and An Englishwoman by Polly Evans. It's a 2009 nonfiction book, this Englishwoman goes and stays at one of the places that keep and race sled dogs. She stays for six months, and learns to look after and race the dogs. She describes all the work and care that goes into keeping these dogs healthy and happy, even though there are a lot of dogs. The dogs in the book are not exactly pampered, but they are by no means mistreated. They are working animals who are treated very well, vet visits at the drop of a hat, anxious checking over, exercise every day. She even talks about one dog that doesn't like pulling, and is found a home as somebody's pet. There are old dogs hanging around, because they keep the dogs long after they are retired, Does this sound like cruelty to you?