I remember getting phone calls almost every day. Emergencies. My father was in a panic. It was 30 below zero, and he didn’t have any power, and his car battery wouldn’t start. And if his car didn’t start, then he couldn’t drive to town to get water for the dogs. The situation turned from a real romantic dream into a real harsh Alaskan reality, for my father, very fast. And he came out to Alaska to try to run the Serum Run, which is basically like a thousand miles by sled dog, through the Alaska wilderness. And I was in LA at the time, and I got a phone call from another musher. And they said that my father had passed away, and what I wanted to do? Animal control had come and assessed the dog situation, and had decided, determined that they were going to put 80-90% of the dogs to sleep. And to me that was just totally unfathomable. I couldn’t allow that to happen. I got on a plane, and flew up here, and basically moved into my dad’s trailer, on the property out there in Willow. And kind of took over the daily responsibilities of taking care of the dogs.
It’s been intense. Just maintaining the dogs, you know, in temperatures at 30 below zero. I basically was watching my money just dissipate at a rapid amount. I mean, the costs of maintaining this amount of dogs is a lot. I realized that just giving the dogs as much as I could, was my priority. Some locals out there in Willow said, “Well there’s really only one real solution “to dealing with that.
And it’s a box of .22 shells.” It’s just a terrible thought. I couldn’t handle it then, I still can’t handle it now. So on some level, this was a real spiritual journey for him, with these dogs. So to me, this, letting the dogs go…be put down, it was unfeasible. I just couldn’t do it. After my father had passed away, it was, I mean, it was the hardest, saddest thing I could have imagined. it was like every time I walked around and pet one of these dogs, I was just replacing my father’s love that he would walk around and give them. And so I really felt very out of my element, and very alone. I’ve committed pretty much all my time, and almost all of my money, to the situation. And I’ve gotta see it through. Best case scenario for these dogs is that, you know, people that are looking for a dog reach out and try to adopt one of these dogs, and bring it into their lives. That would be my ideal. My ideal would be to really move as many of as these dogs into loving home situations, as fast as possible.
And giving them their freedom. Being able to allow them to get off these chains, and to be able to run and just be dogs. For the most part these are not a typical super high energy sled dog. Come here you little sweet heart. Alright, come on, you’re coming up with me. Come on up on my lap. This is Humphrey. And these are the kinds of dogs I think should be. Little snuggly, fluffy lap dogs. Say hi, say hi..