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More Yukon Quest Photos

Photos taken shortly before the start of the Yukon Quest this year. Double click on them to view them full-size. Visit Sled Dog Watchdog and the Sled Dog Action Coalition for more on the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.

Sorry about the funky spacing. ‘Damn near tossed the computer across the room after trying to get it right for 40 minutes.     

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  1. Forster #

    No truth is more absolutely certain than that all that exists for knowledge, and, therefore, this whole world, is only object in relation to subject, perception of a perceiver — in a word, idea. The world is idea.

    First let me say that I somewhat agree with you on the point that the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod can be percieved as cruel to animals. Especially in this day in age when the races are finsihed in much faster times then they were in years past.

    I stumbled across you "blog" a few months agos, and I have some questions intertwined with my perceptions of your beliefs. If you prefer not to humor me in this public forumn I will give you my private email address. I am in no way trying to attack your views, just to understand your points of view.

    First let me give you a brief background of myself(to give you a little perspective). I was born and raised in San Francisco until I reached the tender age of twenty. At this ripe and headstrong age I became wary of living in the city, dealing with the development, the politics of the US, and many other issues that just gave me a bad taste. I was what most people so elequently deemed a trust fund child, so chose to relocate to Alaska. After months of floating around the state I decided, with the help of some new friends, to build a log cabin and homestead. Forty some odd years have passed and I am still here. The cabin has been updated but I still have no running water, my house is only accesible in the winter by snow mobile or sled. I do have ten dogs which are my family, my companions, my best friends. My dogs love to run, they pull me in the winter and in the summer. It is especially evident when Araya my "lead" dog when sledding brings me his harness and incessantly barks until I take him out for a run. I must add that I have never raised a hand at any of the dogs.

    Now here come the questions and comments:
    You have made a a point to post pictures of some of these animals stating that the photos are per say proof of cruelty. I would like to point out that this is your perception or reality. Some of the dogs that live with me, which all but two are rescues, have this same look on any given day. I am lucky in the fact that I have satellite cable which gives me a glimpse into life in the lower 48. The question I have is this: I look at the way children are raised in Florida and most other states. They are forced to conform to a societal norm. They are made to go to school and learn a curriculum put together by a board. They for the most part have no say in what they learn. But over generations and generations this is deemed normal and "the right thing to do". They are bombarded, or as I like to say brainwashed, by mainstream media as to what to eat, wear, and how to act. In turn they, in my opinion, have someone elses will forced upon them. Most others I have discussed this with say that humans are different they have the ability to choose. But in my opinion most humans are a sum of all of their experiences, their choices are very much influenced by this early experience. I feel that this is cruel, do you?
    Is this the right or natural enviornment for children or is this a learned behavior that over centuries has become our nature?

    Second and I will make this the last for now, I am becomming longwinded. How do you justify living in south Florida. I have made an assumption from earlier posts that you live in a newer neighborhood. How as an "activist" do you justify the destruction to the enviornment that was done when your house was built. The cruelty that was imposed on all of the creatures that were misplaced or killed when your planned neighborhood was built. The destruction of the local eco systems when people or humans decided that to expand into that area. The fact that the carrying capacity of south florida has been reached. It is a tragedy of commons, yet the creatures are not part of the commons. For example, how many of the alligators that you wrote about in an earlier post were affected when your home was built? Is this not hypocritcal? Once again I am not attacking just trying to understand.

    I usually do not post on these type of boards or any for that matter. I just see your perception of these dogs that you have recieved from a third party and it somewhat pains me. My perception of the lifestyle in a city in the lower 48 is entirely cruel and hypocritical.

    Thanks for taking the time to read my rant and hopefully repsond.

    March 29, 2007
  2. Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful comments. There's so much great stuff in there. Let me address:
    *My doctorate is in Applied Linguistics, which is basically the study of learning. I couldn't agree with you more about education and curriculum, and if I ever have or adopt a child, I'll be homeschooling, I hope, and it will look nothing like what occurs in our schools.
    *I say "I hope," because I am not alone in my marriage. And this is related to your comment about living in South Florida. I do not want to be here, and everyone knows it, however I'm trying to make the best of my life. When I got married at the tender age of 34 (I'm 40), I wasn't thinking about living here. I was living on Palm Beach at the time (I came here because of work, and it was supposed to be temporary, then I met my husband), and I fully planned to moved back to NYC. I picked my battles, and waited out the Florida thing thinking, "There's no way a guy born in Chicago actually really wants to live here!" But I was wrong. And when it came to choosing a neighborhood, I lost that battle (I chose an older, more rural area, but there are no paved roads or street lights, and the houses aren't up to hurricane code, so technically it isn't safe). Together, we made a choice. It wasn't my first choice, and yes, yes, yes, plenty of creatures and trees were displaced/destroyed to construct my house.
    *As far as the dogs go, the problem with addressing the cruelty of the Iditarod, the Quest OR greyhound racing, is that the treatment of the dogs ISN'T really my issue. Mine is far more basic. I am an abolitionist, and as such I do not believe in using animals for fun, profit, food or clothing. I don't even think we should have pets, in the perfect world, but until we correct what we've done to dogs and cats, I believe giving them loving homes is an option for now.
    *When my dogs see their harnesses or leashes they are thrilled because they know they're going to play and run. But that doesn't justify me profiting from their nature or exploiting it.
    *We all make choices, and when we are in partnership those choices get dicey, as some put the partnership at risk. It's silly to only know and relate with people just like us, and I don't believe that people like me should only marry people like me. With that said, it isn't easy, and it's often painful to be with someone who is so different. But he has a boundless capacity for transformation, and he evolves and expands every day.

    I hope that helps. We are all hypocrites. That's why we're here–because we're human and we need to learn lessons and rise above the things that push our buttons and deal with them with integrity.

    Thanks again for reading and commenting.

    March 29, 2007
  3. Anonymusher #

    Here we go again…

    What exactly are these pictures supposed to prove? The dogs are hooked to lines beside the truck before they are hooked to the sleds – they don't LIVE there.

    They don't even look miserable either. Maybe a little bored. The white dog in the first picture seems to be questioning someone – "Are you going to pet me? Harness me? Feed me?"

    In the second picture, the harnessed dog on the right is obviously plotting some mischief. "Hmmm that yellow banner looks like it might be a fun toy – must make sure nobody's watching me…"

    In the third picture, the dog on the right is wearing a protective jacket. Just look at the proud expression on his (or her!) face!

    By the way, I believe the dogs' musher is Regina Wycoff. You can see a picture of her team running on
    and read an interview with her on

    March 29, 2007
  4. Anonymusher #

    UPDATE – I mentioned in another post ( that the Sled Dog Action Coalition had NO mention on their website about what happened to Ramy Brooks. That has now changed.

    The SDAC now mentions the incident on both and but does NOT indicate ANYWHERE that Brooks was DISQUALIFIED. In fact, part of the quote mentions that he arrived in Nome and implies that this is normal and accepted behavior in the Iditarod and that nobody took action.

    I call that deceptive.

    March 31, 2007
  5. Mike Grieco #

    Thats right, these dogs don't live their,most of them exist in slave like conditions somewhere else,(yes slaves)!
    To all you mushers/supporters,put yourself in the position of these animals,where YOU are "Used and Abused" for selfish reasons.
    Where you are expendable,(traded,shot,clubed,life on a chain),always at the "Mercy" of others…what then? Different view perhaps?
    These dogs are clearly(and I was their)in command mode.Ok,when,where,how MASTER,Sir…these are their thoughts(worries).
    Bless the dogs…

    April 25, 2007
  6. Anonymusher #

    Ah yes, it would be bad for me to be abused by an evil, greedy person who considered me expendable. Fortunately that is not the norm. I've never met a musher who considered dogs expendable or who abused, shot or clubbed his or her dogs. Yes, some are traded or sold. Obviously. That isn't cruel – a good musher will make sure the dog is going to a great home.

    Life on a chain? For some kennels, dogs are tethered on a swivel which gives them room to exercise. It also allows them to interact more with their musher who must spend hours each day working in the dog yard and socializing with the dogs. It's also important to note that dogs are regularly allowed to exercise off-tether.

    Would I like to be a sled dog? You bet! If I could turn into a sled dog and run up there with the rest of my canine friends, I would.

    April 26, 2007
  7. Hi Mary (you great animal angel):

    Thank you for being one of the brave few who speak up for sled dogs way up here in the Yukon and Alaska (from way down there in Florida). I think the dogs would be extremely happy to know that there are a couple of wonderful Florida women (you and Margery Glickman) who spare so much time and energy thinking about them. 'Anonymusher's' postings are great indicators of the low mentality that is so pervasive up here when it comes to 'dog mushing mania.' It took three dogs being killed in each of these obscene races (Idiotarod and Quest) in 2007 to wake a few people up about the various brutalities inflicted on sled dogs. Add to that the Idiotarod hero Ramy Brooks beating and humiliating his entire dog team this year.

    Speaking of cowardice, the Yukon Quest, cowardly organization that it is, has always been jealous of the media attention directed toward the Idiotarod ("Hey, WE'RE the TOUGHEST sled dog race in the world!"), while the poor little Quest stood in the shadows. Well the Quest got a lot of media attention this year, unfortunately much of it happened to be of the unwelcome sort. Yukon Quest veteran musher Frank Turner was pro-active in bringing up the issue of dog culling, asking that the Quest organization require prospective Quest mushers (most of whom are from Alaska, where the Quest race was invented) to DISCLOSE THEIR DOG CULLING POLICIES, should they wish to enter the race, and that if they did cull dogs, they should not be allowed to participate. The 2007 Quest race marshal responded to Yukon media that the dog culling practices of Quest mushers were "not our [the Quest organization's] concern." No surprise to me there – I call it the 'Don't ask/Don't tell/DON'T CARE' policy. At least NOW we have the official word.

    To add to the callous attitude held towards sled dogs, after the races are over, upon looking in the local 'Pets' classifieds in one of the local papers, you see how many of our local male and female mushing heroes are selling dogs who have pulled their masters through a thousand miles of the Quest, and, in one example I saw, through both the Quest and Idiotarod – Thanks for pulling me a couple thousand miles in less than two months… HAVE A NICE LIFE! What a bunch of heroes.

    I was at the start of the 2007 Quest with my friend Mike who posted above on this board. We were out the night before and froze various appendages putting up race protest posters around town. I was very proud that we helped to demonstrate a bit of an alternate view about this local 'sacred cow' known as the Yukon Quest. About bloody time in my view. I know that a seed of doubt was planted in the minds of those whose minds are open and receptive to a dose of reality and truth. I am aware that at least one lady (I was told by a friend) discontinued her support of the Quest race after reading the sleddogwatchdog web site. Good for her. Also, the Quest is now an official 'social pariah' up here and one had better be very sure he or is among fellow Quest disciples, before they decide to 'wax eloquently' about the glories of the Quest.

    About the photos, I took those photos myself and know fear in animals when I see it. Sorry if I can't come to understand how so many seemingly intelligent (apparently, the Yukon has one of the most highly educated work forces in Canada? Hard to believe after seeing the hordes of people at the Quest race start!) people get off over the idea of running a few scrawny dogs a hundred miles a day in -30 to (close to) minus 60 degree Celsius weather. And yes these dogs suffer. They damage their lungs. They suffer injuries to life and limb. Some dogs froze their private parts in the 2007 Quest. This information was reported by an Alaska-based reporter to our local Whitehorse CBC radio station during the race. It was news to me that those cute doggie coats 'Anonymusher' speaks of are actually a mixed blessing, because when the dogs urinate (these dogs do not stop for pee breaks), they do so in the belly protectors and the urine freezes, thereby freezing the dogs' penises if it is really cold out (which it was, in 2007, especially between Dawson and Fairbanks).

    No word of what happens to these dogs AFTER the race, as most of our Yukon Quest media cheerleaders don't really care what happens to these dogs who froze their private parts, or about the other dogs who die in Yukon and Alaskan dog yards after they burn out their hearts and lungs to entertain some stupid northerners, and who give up their lives to bring glory to a few egotistical mushers who choose to attain that glory 'on the backs of their dogs.' Nor do our northern governments care about these dogs either, as our animal protection laws are practically non-existent, and there is no regulation or oversight of mushers' dog yards. In the Yukon, our Territorial tourism department is actually the major race sponsor – over $200,000 Canadian in 2007! Things like that make it somewhat embarrassing for me to live here.

    Thanks again Mary for the support. It really meant a lot to me and to the dogs.


    P.S. – I know from looking at discussion forums such as the one on the Iditarod section of, that not all dog mushers support the Iditarod and Quest, and would agree (at least on some things about dog mushing) with people like you Mary, and with Mike and myself, that these races are cruel and exploit sled dogs.

    May 1, 2007
  8. Anonymusher #

    I wrote a response to Terry on

    May 1, 2007

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