letter to the editor378

Dog story with happy ending Strange things can happen under the Midnight Sun. After lunch on January 25, I left Yoda, my five-and-a-half-year-old…

Dog story with happy ending

Strange things can happen under the Midnight Sun.

After lunch on January 25, I left Yoda, my five-and-a-half-year-old malamute-cross, alone at home with a soup bone.

I went to work and came home at around 6:30 p.m.

When I opened my house door Yoda immediately ran out and did his business, but the unusual thing was that he had his bone in his mouth.

I thought it was strange.

After he came back into the house I realized that the bone was stuck around his lower jaw. I immediately called my friend Erika. We decided that an emergency vet call was in order.

Erika drove Yoda and me to the Alpine Veterinary Medical Centre Ltd, where Rick Brown was on emergency duty.

After weighing the odds, we decided that it would be best to put Yoda under anesthetic.

It was a blood-sweating 90-minute effort for Brown and his assistant to remove the bone in a way that left Yoda’s teeth totally unharmed.

I would like to thank them both and my friend, Erika, for being there and making this a success.

I also learned another big lesson!

If you ever get into a situation like this one, put your dog into a sit or down command, where the dog feels totally comfortable.

Try to calm your dog, and practice this before an emergency occurs so that you can comfort your animal when it counts the most.

Obedience is not about winning the highest scores in a trial, it is about keeping our animals safe in day-to-day life!

Thank you, Brown and Alpine Veterinary Medical Centre Ltd. from Nancy and Yoda

Nancy Steffen


Vet abuse

In my opinion Hugh Neff made an unjust comment about Yukon Quest vets, accusing them of not doing their job.

I have followed the Quest for years. I was a handler for Cor Guimond and I participated in 2004 Yukon Quest race.

From my observations Yukon Quest vets are an excellent bunch of professionals who are helping dogs and mushers in every possible way.

They share their knowledge with mushers and, foremost, take care of the dogs.

 If not for Yukon Quest vets, lots of mushers, especially rookies, would not be able to finish the race.

One just has to listen to them.

I would like to thank them for their efforts and hard work.

Agata Franczak

Dawson City

Advice to Quest organizers

Did the Quest make the right decision, finishing in Dawson? Probably.

(As an aside, when did it become Whitehorse mayor Ernie Bourassa’s business what the Quest does with its trail?)

As a sometime Quest volunteer and full-time Quest fan, it is disheartening, to say the least, to be staring at mile after mile of prime, class ‘A’ winter trail stretching away into the distance and hear the Quest isn’t coming.

This is not whimpering. Few people will continue to support a race they can’t see.

If the Quest can turn around at Pelly Crossing, it can turn around at Dawson, or Eagle, for that matter.

This is the second time in four years that the Chain lakes trail has been by passed. And snow conditions in the future will only get worse, not better.

I wonder whether the ’37 Mile’ Lake trail was considered as an alternative to the Trans-Canada Trail.

I would urge the Quest to look at its process and timing. I’ve been at Braeburn for nine winters and this year’s conditions are not unusual.

If snow isn’t here by the end of January, it isn’t coming.

Waiting until Dawson, then leaving the decision to a vote by mushers isn’t fair to fans and volunteers.

The best option for the dogs would have been stopping at Pelly Crossing. The best choice for fans would have been Braeburn.

While returning to Dawson was the mushers’ choice, I’m not sure it is fair to the race as a whole.

It might be better to bite the biscuit and make tough decisions before the race.

I would suggest the Quest put permanent ‘low-snow’ procedures in place.

I would move the race start-up a week to the first weekend of February.

I would commission a comprehensive professional survey of the mushers in the Yukon and Alaska to find out what’s preventing more mushers from signing up.

I would take a look at the purse, although I would not increase the number of purses paid.

Mushers beyond 15th should be trying to complete, not compete.

I wish the Quest well.

Pete Neilson


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