Anchorage, AK—Standing at the back of the pack of 16 huskies, third-year Iditarod veteran Togo is beginning to question whether his career as a sled dog is turning out the way he had hoped.
This is Togo’s third Iditarod, and each year he has been placed at the very back of his line of 8, on the right-hand side.
“It’s what I’m good at, I s’pose. Seamus—that’s my owner, see—he likes me in the back,” Togo explained. “He says he needs a good, strong dog like me bringing up the rear. Trouble is, I get about all the rear ends I can stand.”
Preparing to run for the next ten days barely a foot behind the dog in front of him, Togo spends the waiting time at the starting line staring to the left, right, up, back, and anywhere else that isn’t right in front of him.
“There are a lot of excited people around, and I’m sure soakin’ up their energy. But I’d stare at a blank wall right now if that’s the only other thing I had to look at, doncha know. It’s gonna be a long couple o’ weeks.”
Togo laments that there are more downsides to being in the back besides just the lack of scenery.
“One time the boys up front got into some artichoke hearts at one of the stops. That was an awful day. Even at 25 miles per hour their farts were overpowering.”
Togo really loves the sport and is unsure what he’d do next.
“I really like running, doncha know,” Togo says, “and winter is my favorite time of the year. But boy, I’d sure settle for something a little warmer if it meant less, uh, you know, butts. So many butts.”