Today’s wrap up features that overall in Alaska...dogs drool and rule! I just was served king crab and praised by an entire Anchorage restaurant for being not a veterinarian, but an Iditarod veterinarian who’ll be taking care of their state’s ultimate heroes. The keeper of their stars! Stories of stewardship and leadership centered around the bonds of musher and dog. At orientation we completed several hours learning of the musher, Alaska‘s heritage and the trials we might face respectfully alongside the mushers as they work their ways toward Nome on days that can be colder than -40 degrees. Down in the lower 48 states I think the emphasis and connection, the partnership of the musher and sled dog, is way underestimated. In Alaska from this early experience, the dog’s mental health and physical comforts are of utmost emphasis, lives surround the dogs’ needs, and the race priority is taking dogs in the highlight of their energy and spirit healthily across the state while letting the dogs prove themselves the real champions. No one today took claim in the race that could be won by the musher; focus was on the fact that the race is what each dog is willing to do as commanders of the towline. The beautiful stewardship over the pack, the measures identified by handlers to precisely ensure each dog’s needs is just glorious. The respect of the sled pups as a ”precious pack of family members” was clearly stated by renown musher Dee Dee Jonrowe. Lead Veterinarian Dr Stu Nelson as well emphasized we are all here to “steward” over the canine athletes to ensure that all of their needs are safely met. As a veterinarian, we are here to lead and tend to the needs of other teammates and oversee to the needs of everyone we may find needing a kind face, warm welcome or helping hand.
I was thanked 4 times by strangers today in town for being simply a DVM and regarded with the highest respects which is more than humbling; makes working this race even more of an honor and privalege... not from having my degree acknowledged but by being privy to the grace and a recipient of such kindness. Love, respect, unity and partnership were the keys of point today and I cant wait to elaborate more in the morning as I head out to tend to some of the super sled pups!