Miraculous May: A Sled Dog's Long Journey Home
An Iditarod dog lost for six days travels hundreds of miles through the Alaskan wilderness
BIRCHWOOD - It’s a storybook ending to a tall tale you’d usually see on the big screen.
“This is absolutely a Walt Disney movie, that's what she is,” said Stan Smith.
Nine-year-old May, a sled dog from veteran musher Jim Lanier’s kennel, is recovering after spending six days lost along the Iditarod trail.
Volunteers did everything they could to find her.
“These dogs are family. During both of my Iditarods, I bonded to that dog team; it's pretty incredible. To lose one it's like one of your kids being missing so it's no surprise people put in the effort they did,” said Smith who is currently looking after May.
The only person who wasn’t looking for her was her owner. May was on load to Jamaican musher Newton Marshall and Lanier was still running the race himself.
“He was shell shocked... didn't even know she was missing.”
Smith took her in until Lanier returns home from Nome.
“She was very thin. She spent part of six days on her own with no regular meals, so she was thin. She does have a slight abrasion on the pads of her feet but not bad. That will heal,” said Smith as he rubbed diaper rash cream onto her feet. “Doesn’t that feel good, honey? You smell like a baby now.”
It’s no wonder she was in such rough shape; her trip home was a long one. May broke free from Marshall’s team near Rohn. Smith said she went up to Nikolai then back to Rohn before backtracking more than 150 miles down the Iditarod trail.
She was finally caught by snowmachiners near Big Lake.
“I wish you could interview her. She's got the stories. She's encountered what she thought was mean, weird people, snowmachiners, wolves, maybe? The amazing story is May.”