Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Huskies Get Checked Out for Iditarod

Stuart Nelson is unloading boxes at Northern Air Cargo. In an hour or so, he will drive back to Iditarod headquarters in Wasilla and spend the rest of his day examining blood samples of dogs entered in this year's race.

The weekend won't offer much of a break. On Saturday, he will continue screening blood work and calling Iditarod mushers with the results.

On Sunday, he may be able to briefly relax.

"There are a lot of things going on right now," said Nelson, the Iditarod's chief veterinarian for 13 years and before that a volunteer trail veterinarian for nine years.

This Iditarod, his 22nd, is the busiest. With 96 mushers due to race, this is the biggest Iditarod field ever. Multiply each musher by the 16 to 24 dogs they are allowed to bring with them to the race's start (only 16 dogs can ultimately be chosen for the team), and you're talking nearly 2,000 canines to check.

Good man. I'm sure glad that I'm not running in that race. If you're not the lead dog the view never changes, you know?

Woof! Woof!

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