Friday, March 29, 2019

A Dream Visit From Foley Changes the Outcome of the Iditarod

You may have read how the leading dogs on the last day of the Iditarod steered, by musher Nicholas Petit, quit leaving the sled and it's occupant stuck miles from the finish.

Many people who read about this wondered what had happened to cause the dogs to quit.  Readers of this blog asked themselves “hmm, I wonder if Foley had anything to do with this?”  Of course, I did.

I am not against the Iditarod race.  Some dogs love to run in the snow. I like sitting in the sun and licking myself. If someone turned it into a competition, I would be an Olympic athlete.  But humans prefer to watch running and not licking.

I know Huskies love to run in the snow.  They don't even mind dragging a human behind them.  Many an adorable winter photo have been made by a happy dog pulling a gleeful child on a small sled.  Dogs like running in the snow and making people happy. The Iditarod combines them both.
Mushers need to keep in mind that they are not the athletes any more than the coxswains who sit at the head of a rowboat and barks orders are.  This endeavor is so unathletic it is what aunt Becky chose to lie about her daughter doing to help her get in college.

I hear Iditarod dogs complaining because In a horse race the animal is declared the winner.  The jockey is recognized as the Robin to the horse’s Batman. In the Iditarod, a bunch of Batmans is pulling the sled, and Robin is getting the glory.

Still, I kept my opinions to myself until I got a prayer request from a huskie named Joey who was part of Petits’ team. They were in first place with a day to go.  They had an insurmountable lead. Joey and his mates were exhausted after running hard. At camp, Joey and another dog began to fight for reasons Joey couldn't remember.  It was a brief skirmish. No dogs were physically hurt, but Petit screamed at Joey and hurt his feelings.

“I want this stupid race to be over” Joey prayed.

That night I snuck into Joey's dreams.  I told him if he no longer wanted to race he shouldn't.  He was an athlete. While I couldn’t condone two teammates fighting one another unless they were In the 
NBA, Joey shouldn't have been yelled at.  The competition was in his and his teammates’ paws.

The next morning over breakfast Joey talked about the competition with his teammates.  When the race started Petit in sat in the sled and ordered his chargers forward. None of the dogs moved.  Petit ordered them again and again to no avail.

Petit got out and first yelled,  then begged his team to move. None did.  Some sat in the snow. Joey looked at petit from the corner of his eye and snickere
Desperately Petit tried to think of a way to get his sled moving.  He went behind the lead dog and attempted to crank his tail like he was an old Model-t. The offended dog almost took his hand off.  He looked through his bag for something he could use to jumpstart the team. But he came up empty.
Soon, the other teams passed him has as Petit sat shivering on his sled.

Well, Joey and his teammates may not have won that day, but They did strike a blow for dog athletes everywhere.  Maybe next year the Iditarod will spend more time celebrating the dogs that won than the human that rode.

Even though they did not finish first, Joey knows he is a true champion.


  1. Joey is THE CHAMPION in our book. and we are totally with you... in any way, glad that you told Joey the truth...

  2. We thought we detected the paw of Foley in this story.

  3. Foley, with you where there is a will, there is always a way:)

    Woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  4. We love that back story, we wondered what was up!

  5. As a former musher and dog lover I do have a problem with running a dog team 1,029 miles. The original serum run to Nome was done as a relay. No single team was pushed that far. I love your blog Judge Foley and thank you for telling your story. But this musher will never be a fan of the ultra races the ititirod or the Yukon Quest. Love you bunches!

  6. Foley, you inspired a peaceful protest. May the humans understand what it was all about and change their way of thinking. Good job!

  7. We do hope that the dogs will get the recognition they deserve. They do all the work
    Hazel & Mabel

  8. Joey, you are a true canine hero, along with Foley's help!!


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