Sunday, March 03, 2013

Let's take a short break from politics to enjoy something uniquely Alaskan.

These pictures below come to us courtesy of our friend Dennis Zaki who was downtown yesterday for the unofficial start of the Iditarod here in Anchorage.

 I have sometimes been critical of the way sled dogs are treated up here in Alaska (Though I have to admit things are much better for them now than in the past.), however you cannot help but to be impressed with the enthusiasm these beautiful animals demonstrate at the opportunity to pull that sled.

As somebody who has ridden on the back of a dogsled I can tell you that getting the dogs to run is NEVER the problem, the problem is getting them to stop.

According to my e-mail it looks like Dennis is headed out to Willow for the official start of the race today, so perhaps he will gift us with a few more of his amazing photos.


  1. Seeing the amazing pictures you post of Alaska makes me more and more enthusiastic to move there when my family gets out of the military :) I grew up watching Iron Will and Balto (I was 6, people), and in 3rd grade our class tracked the Iditarod on a daily basis. I would LOVE the opportunity to watch it end, no matter how much snow on the ground!

    1. Anonymous1:49 PM

      The dogs love to run! Look at their faces! When I was up in AK I went to a Musher Kennel and saw happy healthy dogs 13-14 years old! Lower 48 big dogs rarely live past 10 yrs old!
      Go Dawgies and thanks Dennis for the pics.
      Also what I saw is all the Mushers help out one another. I've haven't heard of them ever mistreating the dogs. Most Mushers love their dogs more than themselves.

  2. Anonymous6:56 AM

    Gryph, this is off topic, but you simply must should check out Steve Schmidt on the "Overtime" section of Bill Maher's show last Friday. Schmidt did not discuss Sarah Palin on the regular broadcast version of Real Time, but during the internet-only portion, Bill and Steve had a HILARIOUS exchange about Granny Grifter. Post for all to enjoy!! I don't want to spoil it, so I'll just say this: Schmidt kept his answers simple... ;)

    1. Anonymous8:12 AM

      It's too bad that there is no "like" button here. I LIKE 6:56's comment! I especially like it because it has really outraged Sarah's fans. Steve was part of the McCain Campaign. He was there, and he has two months of first hand knowledge about Sarah. It was Steve who told Sarah that he would not lie about Todd's AIP membership. (Sarah claimed that Todd meant to check off "independent" when he registered to vote. Ain't so).

    2. Anonymous8:14 AM

      OK, Alaskans, which "sport" requires more skill-- Iron Dog or Iditarod?

    3. Just looked at it. Funny. Thanks for mentioning it.

    4. Anonymous8:43 AM

      The funniest part was the reaction at c4p,well only if you think armed zealots are funny.

  3. Anonymous7:33 AM

    Is that ice fog or smog??

  4. Beautiful! One of these days maybe I'll get up there to see it in person. I hardly ever think of going north when I leave Juneau...always south. I should rethink that.

  5. Anonymous8:15 AM

    Ah... the real IRON/Steel/titanium Dog race.

  6. Anonymous8:51 AM

    Sigh..just one more reason I wish I could move to Alaska.

  7. Why are those dogs smiling!? Oh, wait ...

  8. Anonymous9:44 AM

    I see the smile on all the pups faces and then I look over at one of my poor boys who has had to be in house all winter, due to developing arthritis in his hip. The fact that it snowed last night certainly doesn't help the "please mum????" look that I received when calling him back in this morning. My daughter started "training" him to pull as a wee pup by hooking him up to her wagon and her bike.
    Beautiful pix Gryph. More like this please!!!!

    1. Anonymous10:37 AM

      Just curious, do you have your arthritic dog on any kind of joint support for canines? Dr's Foster and Smith have a nice chewable variety that includes Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Also a daily regimen of buffered or etogesic aspirin can help with mild pain and keep your pet active even with arthritis. We've had a few dogs with severe arthritis and they were prescribed Rimadyl, a canine NSAID, later in life to control pain, but most times buffered/etogesic aspirin is enough to combat mild to moderate arthritic pain.

      It does break one's heart when they begin to age though, doesn't it. Best of luck to you and pup.

    2. Anonymous12:43 PM

      Thank-you. I give him Glucosamine and baby asprin when the pain seems to bother him too much. We also have a "doggie heating blanket" which is heated by the dog's body heat when they lie on it. When he refuses to be still (he is a Husky/Border Collie X, so you can see how hard that is....), we put him in his 'bed' with the blanket. Most of the time tho, he is in with my son (his 'master') where he is put up on the bed and 'covered up'. (my son has had him since he was little and is now 15). Just waiting until the snow is finally gone and he can enjoy outside again!!!
      Yes, it sure does break your heart. I have another (Cocker Spaniel - mine, all mine) who is 10, and his age is showing as well. Don't know what I will do when my boys hit the Rainbow Bridge o:O
      (altho, there are still 2 'youngsters' here to keep my on my toes.... Yes. I have 4 beautiful boys).

  9. Go Snowhook!

    Hi Griffin, I have watched and read about the Iditarod race for years, but back in 2010 I got hooked. Snowhook Kennels musher, Justin, had a dog slip his harness. Justin spent days and nights in 30 to 50 degrees below 0 until he found his dog. The love that he and his wife have for their team is wonderful. He is not one of the favorites, but he is a favorite of mine.

    I hope Dennis is able to keep those pictures coming . . Love pictures of those dogs smiling as they start and when they finish.

  10. Argg, I just wrote a post and it went into who knows where.

    Anyhow . . Griffin, I love the Iditarod Race and have followed it for years. I got hooked completely in 2010 when I read about Justin, the musher from the Snowhook team, losing a dog on the trail. He had slipped his harness. In 30 to 50 degrees below 0 Justin looked for his dog. A white dog in a white landscape. He found him days later. The love that he and his wife have for their dogs is wonderful. I will be cheering him on! He is not a favorite. He supposedly doesn't have the build for a musher (he's 6'4"), but he and his dogs have heart.

  11. Anonymous12:00 PM

    I spent a summer working in Denali Natl Park a few years back, and got to take care of a sled dog a few evenings a week. they go nuts in the summer when there is no snow for them to pull sleds on. So people volunteered to take them out for some exercise in the evening. I spent a lot of time being pulled up a hill by my dog. If you didn't make an effort to keep up she could pull my arm right out of the shoulder socket. I went back to visit her a few years later, and as soon as I rounded the corner she recognized me and started yelling and leaping around. It almost broke my heart that I couldn't take her out for a run right then. They are such great animals and very intelligent. I can easily understand why that man spent so long searching for his dog.
    Cal Gal

  12. Love the Iditarod! When I lived in Fairbanks back in the 90' and the family got to see the end of the race! It was colder than a motherfubber! Also had moosemeat chili with the lady musher Mary Shields too!

  13. Anonymous12:38 PM

    How can anyone POSSIBLY enjoy a 'sport' where animals are used? I read and enjoy your blog everyday but your glorifying this 'sport' is shameful. Uniquely Alaskan? How about Uniquely Stupid? I hear Sarah and Todd love this race which means it is ignorant, cruel, requires no more than a first-grade education and has to use and abuse something with a heartbeat. Want to change the perception that Alaska is a stupid state? Start by getting rid of this crap. Can you imagine having something like this in New York? And you of all people, what, admiring the photography? And I honestly didn't think your readers were that stupid. I know, let's all move to Alaska with the kiddies and watch and glorify animal cruelty! Can't wait!

    1. Anonymous1:53 PM

      Anonymous12:38 PM
      Obviously you don't know WTF your talking about.
      The dogs are WORKING DOGS! Do you get mad at the DOGS of war getting blown up? or how about the police K-9's? Or is is just the iditarod?
      Your full of shit, your no reader here, You're Margery Glickman Idiatrod TROLL! Fuck you.
      You must be blind not to see the DOG Smiles!
      Fuck off!

    2. SledDoggy2:13 PM

      Hey Glickman you need to get laid you old bag and STFU!
      You're famous for spreading lies and misinformation about the Iditarod.

      And We don't give a Flying FUCK what Serra or tawd like or not. GET IT FUCK off bitch.

    3. Anonymous5:52 PM

      I wrote this original comment about how shameful it is that you and other Alaskans actually think of dog sledding as glorifying yourselves and your state. I guess these responses speak for themselves? I personally, always wondered how to spell the word F-U-C-K and I have always wondered about getting really laid. I don't have any idea who Glickman is, but obviously I hit a drunken, drugged-out nerve, complete with limp penises, which makes sense. I am so happy these dogs are being admired by such educated Alaskans.......good for you Gryphen for admiring the photography. Not sure I will be visiting your blog again, though......actually, I am pretty sure......

    4. Anonymous6:14 PM

      Hey do you know how to spell KUNT Glickman?
      Look in the mirror, and take your limp penis with you.
      Bless your heart.

    5. Anonymous6:19 PM

      Hey marg, you forgot your website:

      She has Iditarod on goggle alerts..when ever it pops up she's in your face with her bs.

    6. Sarah Paylin6:26 PM

      Margery Glickman EVEN wen to Susan Butcher's memorial site to spew her anti-Iditarod bs! Prompting team Vet to respond:
      Dr. Stuart Nelson:
      March 3, 2008 at 11:22 pm

      I would like to take this opportunity to respond to the accusations made by Marjorie Glickman and her Sled Dog Action Coalition. Before specifically addressing those on a point by point basis, I believe that some background information is appropriate.

      I have been the Chief Veterinarian of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race for twelve years. Prior to that, I was a volunteer trail veterinarian for nine years. My primary livelihood is a relief veterinarian. Obviously, much of my career has been dedicated to the sled dog, and more specifically, those competing in the Iditarod. I take my role very seriously, and am fortunate to have a large staff of dedicated volunteer veterinarians whose purpose is to examine the canine athletes at each race checkpoint. Typically, 35-37 veterinarians from all over the world serve as trail veterinarians in any given year, the majority of whom have worked multiple Iditarod races. One of my primary roles has been to educate mushers and veterinarians about medical conditions affecting racing sled dogs. Most of those conditions are common to marathon athletes in general, whether they be human, equine or canine. During my tenure, I have been very proactive in promoting research studies to help us gain the knowledge needed for developing protocols to further protect the health of the four legged athletes.
      *****Go to the website to read the rest.
      Yes she is not Glickman and I'm Sarah Fucking Paylin!

  14. Anonymous1:13 PM

    You don't have to live in Alaska to participate in sled dog races. My Lower 48 state hosts a major race every winter, as well as two shorter races. Not the Iditarod, but impressive still to be at the start and the finish.

  15. Anonymous3:06 AM

    Thanks for the awesome pics. I had a bit of a PETA attitude about using these dogs for the sport until I met a man in Anchorage who had raced when he was younger and educated me about the care of the animals and providing for them and their health. It was an eye-opener. I have since studied other types of work dogs and how they, too, have been bred for specialized activities to support man, many for thousands of years. These dogs love what they do, and will be like an NFL player who is forced to do work as a CPA instead of play football after years of training to enhance their natural skill set.

    Just do some homework 5:52. Sounds like your heart is in the right place to prevent abuse of animals, but you are using a small minority of the speeders and too broad of a brush to paint all sledders as bad guys, and that will only hurt your credibility in trying to shine light on the bad guys. Best of luck.
    But I never knew anything about the functionality of the dogs bc of the emotional wall I built around my own love of our lap dogs, which are just rescue mutts. I guess I had been so pissy because of the Michael Vick dog-fighting stuff in the media, and couldn't separate true work dogs used in sport versus those being abused. Two totally different subjects with only a tiny sliver of overlap in which the sportsmen do not take great care with their dogs in doing what man and dog both love doing together.

  16. Anonymous3:08 AM

    Awesome pics. Makes me want to visit again before summer. Thanks Jesse & Dennis!

  17. Anonymous8:11 AM

    What I want to know is how do they keep the boots on the dogs' feet? I had boots for my very furry-pawed dog and they kept falling off. Are they specially made for Iditorod dogs?

    1. Anonymous4:36 PM

      Yes they are. They have "Fake" one they sell at the Iditarod store but you have to buy the "Ril Dil" at a musher supply store.

  18. Anonymous9:23 AM

    The white band is elastic...


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