Things are off to a bad start already as Cole began her fourth run of the Copper Basin. We woke up last night at midnight to drop the dogs so they could pee and when we went out we found another musher had pulled up in the night and was letting his truck run to stay warm.
Unfortunately, the exhaust fumes from this mushers truck were blowing right into our dog box. Luckily we caught in when we did and moved our truck. I don’t think a whole night of it would have asphyxiated our dogs, but it would likely made them very sick at the least.
That’s not the bad news by the way. The bad news is while we had the dogs down and attached to the truck this morning before the race, nervous Wolf spun under the truck to possible avoid a passing stranger and he gave himself a huge laceration down through the skin, to the muscles in his hind leg. We check the truck for these kind of thingds all the time, but the reality of having an ’99 truck that is rusty from years of driving on winter roads, is sometimes things pop up you just don’t see.
So, sadly, Cole had to drop a dog before even starting the race. Losing not only a leader, but a little more power compared to the other team who all went out with 12 dogs each. This weighed heavy on her conscience, which was already burdened with the usual race worries.
The sad irony of the situation is that every other race we have ever done we have always brought a few “spare” race dogs, just in case something like this ever happened. Last year I brought Metoo, and we considered bringing her this year, but at the last minute we found out our usual dog sitters could not care for our oldest dog, our German Shepherd: Tatika. Not wanting to over burden our other petsitter, I took a few of the problem children with me, so she could focus on Tatika, and rather than riding around with a full cab of dogs, I left Metoo behind. As Murphy’s Law has it though, the one time we didn’t bring the dog we needed one.
I tried to best to cheer her up and by the time she pulled the hooks to leave the chute, she had a smile on her face. The dogs were definitely jazzed to go. Quigley, being the wildman he is, broke our drop chain as soon as he saw the first teams starting to go out. It was long hour and 20 minute wait let me tell you.
After she left I got with the race veterinarians and they performed arroom surgery on Wolf, cleaning up his wound and suturing it. I guess he’ll be riding with me and my other copilots, Shagoo and Buckwheat, for the next three days.
All for now. More when I get near better internet.
Cole giving me the usual dirty door directions of which dog will go where.
Quigley going nuts!
Penny and Keno lead the way.