Monday, March 23, 2015

The Iditarod , a lesson for our future leaders.

Martin Buser's dog , Seattle photo courtesy of Happy Trails Kennel
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."- Unknown

      Who really won the Iditarod? I think Mr. Dallas Seavy would be a little upset by that question, but I mean no disrespect. I do take my hat off to Dallas for being the first to cross the finish line of the 2015 Iditarod.This is  his third time to do this, not to mention the youngest musher to ever to accomplish this feat. This is quite an amazing accomplishment and I give him my utmost respect.  What I mean by my  question of ‘who really won’ is that  I believe all who participated are winners, in my eyes. I give each and every one of them my utmost respect and admiration. This is an accomplishment of a lifetime that I admire more than words can say!
     Erin Montgomery, teacher on the trail, writes this when speaking about Iditarod musher Cindy Abbot, “students asked Cindy which is harder, climbing Everest or running the Iditarod. Her answer shocked the students. She told us that the Iditarod is much more difficult. Her reason is because in the Iditarod, not only are you caring for yourself, but you are responsible for the care of your 16 best friends.”
 Dallas Seavy Photo courtesy Alaskan Dispatch Loren Holmes

  I believe, just by participating in this, all 79 participants and especially the 65 that finished the 1049 miles of the Iditarod, deserve an award. This year they faced temperatures of -40 below, and such high winds that Wade Marrs, one of my very favorite mushers, lost the trail for a brief time. Can you imagine just being out there in the middle of nowhere, in a snow globe someone won’t stop shaking? As scary as that sounds, to me, I can feel the exhilaration and just imagine the wonderfulness of it all.
Friend of Wade Marrs, Ashley Perry, who had Turner's syndrome ,Marrs dedicates his miles to her and bringing awareness to the disease. Photo courtesy of Jeff  Schultz
      I think Dallas Seavvy explains what I feel on this matter so well, by what he expresses, at an interview, at a checkpoint, during the race. He is talking about his dogs, “We love the life style, every single day of it, every single run out here. We go through it together. You can’t race just to win, you gotta love it!” He reintegrates  his love for the race by stating, “Gotten to see some of the most amazing country in all the world by dog team and had success in racing while doing all that, I feel pretty blessed on that account.”
Artwork courtesy of the official Iditarod artist John Van Zyle

     Another reason I believe they are all winners is the way they treat their dogs and put them first. I admire the camaraderie so very much. The Iditarod is not only a race but a time to spend with your dogs. It is a time for our youth to see what you can accomplish if you put your mind to it.
Martin Buser in Huslia , photo courtesy of Matthew Smith KNOM

     I believe most of the contenders in the Iditarod have wonderful morals and integrity. This year my favorite musher, Martin Buser, decided to not push his dogs too hard, he thought of the big picture  after spending time thinking on the trail. As he came into a checkpoint he states he saw a sign that read, “We teenagers look up to you.” Martin says, “It made me choke up alittle bit. Maybe the local teenagers might actually have some meaningful lessons learned by us old timey mushers. Maybe I touched somebody just by being me, by doing what I do.”  He also states, “That’s when you can really lead by example. That’s maybe when in the darkest moments you can make a difference. When somebody thinks about checking out, but they don’t. People can overcome, people can tough it out. If I make this race so important that I compromise my values, then I’m a loser. That’s what I don’t want to happen.”  Martin ended up placing 22nd this year. In my opinion, by putting his dogs first and knowing they were not up to being pushed hard this year, and deciding to just let them enjoy the ride with him, makes him also a WINNER!
     Yes, Mr. Dallas Seavey is the first to cross the line but what makes him a winner in my eyes, was when talking about his dogs he stated, “They trusted me and put everything on the line and got us their fast and I trusted them and gave em back more rest and I knew they’d give it back to me on the next run.”
     There is true love being shown for these dogs and you are always a winner when you spend time with your dogs.They always give you their all and a bond is formed that words cannot describe.
Fifth place musher Aliy Zirkle photo courtesy of SP Kennel

     Camaraderie , care for our dogs, feeding them first before you eat, being a good team mate, and having a goal and achieving it are wonderful lessons and  is what the Iditarod is all about . These ethics , in my opinion, are a lesson  worth sharing and most importantly, as Martin states, ‘leading by example.’
Martin Buser with a young fan , photo courtesy of Erin Montgomery

31 comments:

  1. What is Iditarod? I've never heard of it before!

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    1. It is a 1049 mile dog sled race across Alaska . You can read more about it on the blog before this one :)

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  2. The Iditaod is a great event - we love the teamwork and strong human-animal bond that results. Paws up to the racer who chose not to push his dogs to their limits.

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    1. Yes he is a honorable man! <3 Teamwork is the key :)

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  3. Thanks for posting more photos - they really help to tell the Iditarod story and the human-animal connections!

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    1. Thank you for the reply :) I do love all the photos too, so fun :)

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  4. What a great post! Athletes, one and all, and truly the greats put their dogs' welfare above winning. As they should!

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  5. Makes me wish we could take part too.

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    1. My dream! Odin and I take a motor home stay nearby the opening ceremonies :)

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  6. Since the first time I heard of the Iditarod, as a teen, I have been in awe of the dogs and their human companions on this adventure. I've always wanted to see just a part of it, and yes, the part that you share here--the unbreakable bond between canines and their humans as they work together to win, however they place in the end.

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    1. Ruth, yes that unbreakable bond is so magical !

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  7. I so admire all the mushers and the dogs who train all year and run this incredible race. I especially admire that this race is run in honor of the Great Serum Run of 1925; that story melts my heart every time. I feel honored to own a Husky, they're an incredible breed in so many ways. Even if mine doesn't run any races! Thanks for sharing these photos I really enjoyed seeing them!
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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    1. Thank you !!! :) I share your admiration :) If you haven't already, you may want to check out my previous blog that has some more great pics and info on the Iditarod :)

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  8. My mother recently attended a smaller race, the CanAm, and one of her favorite parts was seeing how joyful the dogs were. Some were bouncing as high as their harness allowed, others were more reserved, but all were clearly happy to be playing the game.

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    1. Your mom is very fortunate to see that in person ! I love watching on video, what she describes , how joyful they are and ready to play!!!

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  9. You couldn't do the Iditarod without devotion to your dogs. That's what I love about it most.

    --Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

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  10. What a wonderful article. I've only seen bits and pieces on TV and read about it. There is a race here in Montana every year and I read about that too.

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  11. I find mushing to be a fascinating sport - it's too bad that Oscar and I aren't fans of the cold or the snow. But my buddy Kevin is really into mushing, and I've learned so much about it. I'd like to do the urban mushing in the summer, if I could borrow a bigger dog.

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    1. It is very fascinating ! Doggie kisses to Oscar <3 Maybe he would like a big brother to pull him in sled while he is bundled up :)

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  12. It really is amazing that anyone can finish a race like that. They all really do deserve an award. This race show just how important the human-animal bond can be.
    -Purrs from your friends at www.PlayfulKitty.net

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    1. Yes that bond is priceless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3
      Kitty kisses <3

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  13. Wow! That is dedication to your sport!

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