Iditarod dog, missing 5 days, found alive

March 15, 2013 at 5:51 PM
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BIG LAKE, Alaska, March 15 (UPI) -- A sled dog that went missing during the Iditarod race in Alaska was found nearly a week later after backtracking much of the race.

May, owned by Jim Lanier of Chugiak, was on loan to Jamaican musher Newton Marshall during the 41st Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race last week and went missing from her team Friday, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported Friday.

Veteran musher Stan Smith, a of May's owner who is giving the dog temporary shelter at his home, said sightings indicate May backtracked much of the race after being separated from her team.

"She traveled several times from Rohn to Nikolai, all the way up the Dalzell Gorge, up the Alaska Range to the other side, through Rainy Pass, across Shell Lake; she was spotted multiple times in Skwentna," Smith said. "So many reports of seeing her. They were all heading south. It's an incredible journey."

May is believed to have traveled 300-to-400 miles on her own before she was spotted on a trail near Big Lake Wednesday by Matt Clark and Michael Hansmeyer.

Clark and his girlfriend took the dog back to their home and soon determined she must be the missing sled dog they had heard about.

Smith traveled to the cabin and took over May's care.

"Everybody who has a dog has a tendency to think these sled dogs are poodles or something, and they're not," Smith said. "These are absolutely incredible athletes, and they have the internal drive of an athlete.

"She knows, 'Well, I came from here, so let's go.' It just shows the determination of those guys," he said.

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