An hour and a half out of Pelly Crossing, one of Aaron Burmeister’s dogs collapsed.
The Iditarod musher ran up to the fallen animal.
It wasn’t breathing.
He started hitting Step’s chest, but nothing was working.
Then he realized Step had swallowed his tongue.
It was all purple, he said.
Burmeister pulled the tongue out, and started doggie CPR.
After about a minute, the sled dog gave a little cough and started breathing again.
It was incredibly scary, said Burmeister.
I was pretty shoot up.
After Step was stabilized and on his feet again, he loaded him into the sled and turned around, and travelled two hours back to Pelly to leave Step with the vets.
When a thing like that happens, you don’t care about the race anymore, he said.
It was pretty fortunate that things worked out and I happened to be on top of it.
Down to nine dogs, Burmeister hauled into Dawson in eighth place, at 9:55 a.m., on Wednesday.
Step was howling to go about an hour after you left (Pelly), said Burmeister’s handler Doug Luther.
I get the impression that a lot of the dogs we dropped, so far, want to go on.
The rest of the team is doing well, said Burmeister.
I only have one tired dog.
As it was crashed out in the middle of the street, it was obvious which one he was taking about.
Burmeister, who plans to take the race as it comes, was looking forward to a hot shower, a sleep and maybe a good burger.